Review: Orbea Rallon M10 I9

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Orbea, from Mallabia, Spain, was established in 1840 as a rifle manufacturer, the brand branching out into bicycles in 1930. While they might not have the latest in flashy web edits, or the most out-there geometry, what they do have is history—and lots of it. The Rallon M10 19 I tested is an investment in over a hundred years of family values and expertise.

From the moment you pull the Rallon out of the box you can see the commitment to quality that’s kept Orbea so highly regarded in the bicycle industry for so long. All the bolts are greased and done up properly to torque spec. The wheels are taped ready to be set up tubeless, with valves included. The factory has taken the time to make sure this 29” wheeled, 160mm/150mm travel weapon is ready to go straight to the races, where its stunning asymmetric carbon frame will have heads turning.

The build spec on the M10 Rallon is solid. A DT Swiss Spline wheelset wrapped in Maxxis Minion DHF and Aggressor tyres, Race Face cockpit and dropper, Shimano 4 pot XT brakes, X01 Eagle derailleur, Fox 36 and Factory DPX2 should keep the pickiest of buyers more than happy. This bike is not only great looking, but is a serious piece of kit ready to tear it up.

However, one thing that surprised me was the 125mm dropper spec’d on the Rallon. With such a low top tube my guess is that the average rider on a large Rallon will have to consider upgrading to a 150 post. Geometry-wise the Rallon has an effective top tube length of 611mm, which feels short in the car park but is hardly noticeable on the trail. For the moment at least, Orbea seems to be ignoring the latest trends and sticking with tried and tested; the Rallon’s geometry chart won’t appeal to your inner trend whore. This is no Pole Machine. This is the Orbea Rallon, and it has 175 years of industry experience saying just go ride the damn thing.

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The Rallon does have an adjustable geometry option. By moving the shock bolt into the lower of the two mounting positions, the head angle is reduced by half a degree to 65°. This was my preferred option, which I found put the Orbea in the perfect position for all-day bike park trips, while still keeping the front end from wandering on the climbs when trail riding. An interesting and not overly advertised choice by Orbea is to utilise a “reduced” offset fork. The 44mm offset 36 fork that came on the bike may be the latest hot industry trend, but Orbea haven’t adjusted the rest of the geometry on the Rallon to accommodate it. This made the bike feel twitchy on my first few rides, as though the front end wanted to slide underneath me on steep berms.

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While I’m sure I would have adapted to this over time or solved it with a bigger sized bike, in the interest of the test I decided to swap out the reduced offset fork and replace it with a 51mm offset Fox 36 (from my own bike). This felt a lot more like what I was used to and suddenly the handling on the Rallon came alive. No longer twitchy and indecisive, the bike was now planted, holding onto high lines previously reserved for full blown DH rigs. This is where the Rallon wants to be. It’s a purpose built, EWS-smashing monster truck, not afraid to punch above its weight class—and I was loving it.

The Fox DPX2 rear shock performed remarkably well. Never feeling under-gunned or pushed around by the big enduro sled, it held its own admirably. I do feel, however, that Orbea’s choice to run the DHX2 coil on the higher spec M-Ltd model is highly justified. This bike is calling out for a coil and some heavy duty rubber. With a frame as sturdy as the Rallon’s the build spec should be ready to party.

Overall I was very impressed with the Rallon, a long travel 29er that performed like a DH rig with the climbing prowess of a trail bike. I believe this is the perfect bike for someone who wants a carbon enduro race rig but is looking for something a little different to the big brands all your mates ride. The Rallon stands out from the crowd, not only for its looks and construction, but also its heritage and ride performance. Think Maserati over Holden HSV. It’s not the bike that gets bought by accident; it’s the bike that gets bought because the rest just weren’t right.