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Orbea Road Bikes? Value or Marketing Hype???(9 posts)

Orbea Road Bikes? Value or Marketing Hype???Texican
Jan 20, 2003 11:04 AM
The Houston chain of Sun&Ski sports stores has recently dropped Cannondale, Giant, and Lemond lines of road and mtb bikes. Sun&Ski is replacing these bikes with Marin, Bianchi, and Orbea. Apparently, the only problems they're having with those lines are issues relating to profit margins. So its not as though Sun&Ski has chosen to offer its customers better bike lines, but rather bikes with better margins.

Specifically, I interested in anyone's experience with Orbea's Altec 2 or Lobular frames(the only two in my budget). The potential for an affordable custom frame makes an Orbea an interesting choice, however I've never even seen one in the greater Houston area and am at a lost for an informed opinion. An Ultegra equipped Altec 2+ frame NON-carbon seat stay and fork runs about $2000 before an extra $150 for a custom frame. At heart I know I only need 105, but the 105 bike being sold is the entry level aluminum frame that Orbea makes(Columbus Zonal). Is there value here, or over marketed European graphics???

All opinions welcomed!

Thanks for the opinions.
re: Orbea Road Bikes? Value or Marketing Hype???jhr
Jan 20, 2003 11:34 AM
Orbea is an old Spanish co-op that has been around for a long time. They have sold frames and bikes for a long time under a number of different names including Zeus. They are new to the United States. My local shop sells them and I have an 2002 Airplane model (airplane and Altec 2 are the same material shaped and butted a little different). I got a pretty good deal on mine (couple hundred less than several Italian airplane tubed frames).

Is it the greatest frame ever? NO. Was it a good deal for the money? Yea. Is it a good frame? Yes but not better than most other airplane or comparable frames. Would I do it again. Probably not. I think I would order a C'dale from GVH bikes for about $610.00.

FYI: Zonal is also identical material to Altec 2 and Airplane, it is simply the least manipulated (butted and shaped) of the three. However, it only weighs about 50 grams more than Airplane for a given frame size.

Hope this helps.

re: Orbea Road Bikes? Value or Marketing Hype???Texican
Jan 20, 2003 11:44 AM
Just the insight I was looking for. As a shorter rider(I size 47-50cm frames), I've been hesitant to embrace an aluminum frame. Hence a desire to find a well made alum. frame w/ a possible custom option. I can't say that I've found C'dales in my size particularly harsh, but not particularly comfortable either. Any other suggestions. I'm working on a 3 month window before I make a purchase. So I hope to test ride everything that makes sense.

Check out, they have De Rosa's forchopper
Jan 20, 2003 12:29 PM
$730 and in really small sizes, too. I always see great deals for tiny frames, I'm always jealous too, being from the other side of the spectrum.
re: Selling like Hot Cakes in Fresno CA!Morgan
Jan 20, 2003 3:55 PM
One of the local bike shops is making guys on our cycling team killer deals on Orbea's. I seriously considered it, hard to beat for the money. Life time warranty on frame, as well as some beautiful welds and paint jobs. which says for the frame quality. I ended up with a Merlin XL compact that I also got at an awsome price.

Sun&Ski's reason for not carrying C'dale anymoreTig
Jan 20, 2003 5:11 PM
Last winter's poor ski season after the 9/11 induced travel decrease caused Sun&Ski to lose quite a lot of money and couldn't pay Cannondale for past orders. Cannondale dropped them, which may be part of their current financial problems as well. I haven't heard if the same happened to Giant and LeMond. Sun&Ski already carries Bianchi.

One thing we see every time a pro team (Euskaltel in this case) wins a few races, stages, or a tour on a manufacturer's frame, is that the manufacturer becomes very popular and the asking price naturally goes up. Meanwhile, a well respected manufacturer that hasn't sponsored a major team in a while sells a comparable frame for much less. Not a set rule, but just an observation of a recurring trend.

I've never heard anything bad about Orbea frames. Be sure to shop around for an equivalent bike and frame at the other area shops like Boone Cycles, Bike Barn, Bike Sport, Northwest, Bay Area Schwinn, etc. (I have all their websites available if you need one)
Sun&Ski's reason for not carrying C'dale anymoreTexican
Jan 21, 2003 12:05 PM
Thanks for the heads up on Sun&Ski. As I'm not a skier, I'm completely clueless as to what is driving Sun&Ski's business decisions. I'll probably look to see what Bay Area Schwinn has that's comparable. Maybe a Pinarello that would be comparable to an all aluminum Ultegra Orbea. I'd be fine even on a tiagra bike 4 out of 5 times as I don't race, but its nice to have a stellar looking ride beneath you after spending a chunk of cash. Having been "downsized" last year, I can't possibly replace my Litespeed, so I'll have to settle for a nice aluminum bike for a couple of years. Thanks for the great feedback everyone.

I have an Orbea Zonal and had a CAAD5sjomi
Jan 20, 2003 6:54 PM
Got it two months ago and have about 900 miles on it. I am coming from a 54cm Cannondale CAAD5 and I am more comfortable on the Orbea.
I am only 68.5" and 135lbs and I find the diamond shape tubing of the Orbea resonate alot less then the fat tubes of my CAAD5. There is less seat to bar drop also.
Both were equally stiff. I would say the CAAD5 total bike was about 1/2 pound lighter.
Even though I am really light I like a super stiff bike since I am pretty good at climbing and really like to stand and hammer and both bikes served this purpose extremely well.
I bought mine as a frame only. Had the shop put on the Zeus all carbon fork and Campy Centaur. The wheels are Velocity Aeroheads. The total price was $1800 out the door and that including tax, the complete fitting, etc.

Since then I have sold my CAAD5 and never looked back. The Zonal is not super light but I have seen the starships and XL8TR frames built and they are soo light. I am not into stupid light stuff anyways.

Quality frames and quality ride. I would recommend the Altec2 or similar highly. For a under $2000 bike they are excellent. But honestly I can say if I had $3000 or more to spend I can't say that I would buy the Starship bike but I wouldn't buy anything from Cannondale either.

One negative thing to consider: I got the white with blue Pro 2 paint job (a stock color) and it looks killer but it chips easy. The paint on my all black CAAD5 was much more durable.
My experience dealing with Orbea was ridiculous!ATLien
Jan 21, 2003 10:50 AM
I originally was looking at the 2002 Force Carbon frameset and decided to buy in July. Orbea informed me that due to the TdF they would not ship until late August/early Sept. I lamely agreed and waited. By mid-Sept, still no word and finally by Oct 1st, they promised that a new 2003 FC was in a shipping container but it was being held off-shore in CA due to the longshoremans's strike (great excuse). I waited another 2 weeks and finally made a final demand: frame delivered in 7 days or I'm walking. The Pres of Orbea's U.S. distribution called and said they'd be replacing the 2002 FC with the 2003 Lobular Carbon and that he couldn't get one until January. However, he'd ship me the team bike of my choice overnight to ride until mine arrived.

Long story short, I was so pissed and disillusioned by Orbea that I'd started looking around and found a ridiculous closeout deal through GVHBikes for a 2002 Merckx Team SC, which I snapped up and absolutely love.

Maybe I just had a bad experience, as I know friends that love their bikes, but I wouldn't go back to them if you paid me (unless it was a whole bunch of $$).