Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Product Review - 2010 Orbea Carbon OIZ

Although the current trend in the mountain bike industry has been all about 29 inch wheeled bikes, it's imperative to not forgot what a sweet machine the 26 inch dual suspension truly is. As a matter of fact, I like to call that sexy 2010 Orbea Carbon Oiz above, my secret weapon! Living and racing in Colorado, I'm constantly climbing extremely steep, rocky and technical terrain for hours on end. After testing both the 29er and the Oiz on the same trails, I think that for a person 5'4'', the 26in 'dually' is the absolute perfect all around ride. Check out the features below of ultimate race ready bike that is guaranteed to knock your socks off!

I should probably start with aesthetics of this gorgeously stealth looking bike! The black carbon color combined with the sleek and integrative frame design is a total head turner. I know the built-in fender on the down tube looks cool, but it's also incredibly effective and really helps shed a lot of mud. Same goes for the small fender behind the rear wheel. It's not something you'll see on any other bike and everyone knows that a shock full of mud is never good so protecting it from flying dirt and debris is exactly what it is designed to do.

The Suspension - it's almost impossible to go wrong with the Fox RP23 rear shock! The 85mm version on this bike is spectacular for cushioning and absorbing rough terrain. It allows the bike to ride comfortably and reduce the fatigue on your body as you plow through jarring trail. My favorite component of this shock is the ProPedal function. With a flip of a switch, you can eliminate the ''bob'' while climbing or on flatter terrain from having the suspension semi locked out. It gives you just enough 'cush' to keep the ride comfortable while staying stiff enough and allowing the rider to be as efficient as possible. I also have to mention how nice the pivotless design is. It is so simple which requires very little maintenance and saves quite a bit of weight as well!

The Fork - The Rock Shox SID XX World Cup might possibly be the best all around cross country fork on the market! With 100mm of travel, a hydraulic remote lockout, a carbon steerer/crown and BlackBox Motion Control, this front end is a high end racer's delight. It delivers stiffness with the when the trail gets tough for complete efficiency but has total plushness for a smooth ride. What could be better?!?

The Motor - I guess you could say that I'm technically in charge of producing the power, but the mechanics of how the OIZ flies on the trail are all in the Shimano XTR Hollowtech II Crankset. Although it doesn't incorporate the newest technology of 10 speed, this 3x9 drivetrain can get the job done...and well! The 44-32-22 chain combo in conjunction with an 11-32T XTR cassette provides an array of gears that work perfectly for the various and steep terrain of the Rockies. The shifting is flawless and smooth which gives added confidence with racing and riding. Add an XTR pedal on the 170mm crank arms and you have a devine set up to crush it on any mountain!

The controls - I generally prefer to run an extremely wide bar but the 660mm Orbea Carbon riser handlebar couldn't be more perfect for XC racing. It's light, stiff, has just enough rise/sweep and works great with my favorite ESI Super Chunk Grips. To compliment the XTR shifting, I am running the 2010 Shimano XTR hydraulic disc brake setup. These brakes are powerful, consistent, have a great feel and EXTREMELY reliable - all things an XC racer needs! With a Specialized Phenom 130 saddle for sheer comfort and a 90mm Orbea OC carbon stem for precise handling, I'm not sure what else I could do to make it better :)

How the OIZ rolls - Mavic calls the Crossmaxx SLR Disc wheels ''The reference wheelset in Cross-Country''. Not only are they are extremely responsive to fast accelerations, they are lightweight and high quality wheels. They aren't the lightest on the market but they are durable and reliable which is a component I would rather have any day in a mountain bike wheel. There's nothing worse than braking an ultralight wheel during a race and not being able to finish. Attached to these rims are a set of the Maxxis Ikon 26 inch cross country tire. Unless it's a total mud fest, you will find this tire on every one of my race bikes. Great in almost every condition, this tire acts just like velcro and makes cornering way too much fun.

I'm still recovering from some health issues in 2010, so I'm not 100% on form but the races I have brought the OIZ out to, I haven't been let down. Since the OIZ was truly my 2010 race bike, I contemplated selling the black beauty earlier this year and boy am I glad I didn't! There is definitely a time and place for the Alma 29er, and it too has been extremely good to me, but the OIZ is the ideal bike for my riding style and the terrain in my area. If you're in the market for a new mountain bike, definitely demo as many different bikes as you can and take into consideration the majority of trail in your area before you purchase solely based on a written review :)

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