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The predator of the pack.
For 2014, Orca has completely reworked what was the memorable Orca Gold, Silver, and Bronze line. And by reworked, we mean completely redesigned. Yes, the legendary status of the Orca is still imbued into its frames; the changes made propel Orbea's design to yet another level of perfection. The Orca M22 - SRAM Red Complete Road Bike is bred for road racing. It features a lightweight build for climbing the highest peak and aerodynamic efficiency for long solo efforts.
To begin with, Orbea used a new standard to size its frames. Stack and Reach was developed by Dan Empfield, a pioneer in the understanding the height and length of bicycle frames. Stack and Reach are two measurements: Stack is the vertical distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the top tube at center. Reach is the distance from that point at the top tube center to the head tube, not along the top tube slope, but along the horizontal. How is this different than measuring an effective top tube length? Well, many times manufacturers lower the stack and shorten the top tube to create a smaller frame size, but they do not actually move the head tube any closer to the rider. More often, changing the seat tube angle is the simple answer. A steeper seat tube angle will result in a shorter top tube length without altering how far the head tube is to the rider. Reach is unaffected by angular geometries.
Using Stack and Reach allows Orbea to create a line that has a linear size progression. To accomplish this progression, where a 53cm frame truly fits differently than a 51cm frame, Orbea used two different fork rakes. It was able to adjust the angles slightly to ensure that every size has the same front end feel. Additionally, toe overlap was eliminated on the smaller models. This development in sizing has eliminated the need for individual molds as well as the necessity of a women's specific frame design. Now a 47cm frame truly fits like a 47cm frame.
For 2014, Orca developed two distinct geometries. The Avant is the more relaxed geometry of the two for riders who take part in longer endurance rides, tours, or who are not as flexible and prefer a less aggressive frame. The Orca M22 however, is the Orca Performance frame. Used by professional riders, the Orca Performance features a longer reach and lower stack, which yields a shorter head tube and more forward hand position. This geometry is perfect for those riders who have the flexibility to stay in the lower, more aerodynamic position.
Even though Orbea redesigned their frames, they still incorporate the technologies that make them sought after the world over. Its angular design is not arbitrary. Using FEA (finite element analysis), Orbea was able to create resistance to flex in critical areas such as the bottom bracket, seat tube, and head tube junction. FEA provides feedback so that material is added where needed and minimized where it is not necessary. This helps to maximize the frame's strength to weight ratio. The frames are constructed using monocoque technology. The carbon fibers are laid into a continuous mold, or shell, which allows for endless possibilities in tubing sizes and shapes. In addition, monocoque construction allows fibers to be laid across junctions to increase durability. The Orbea Performance frame is constructed with a similar high-modulus carbon fiber to the one used in the lauded Orca Silver.
One of results of monocoque construction was Orbea's design of its Attraction. Orbea uses some particular shaping in the seat stays and fork legs of the Orca to absorb road vibration. Take a close look at the abrupt bends above the full-carbon dropouts. Their shaping allows some shear movement between the long axes of the straight segments. While this improves comfort over coarse road surfaces, it has no effect on the efficiency of the rear triangle with regard to power transfer. Don't forget, this is the bike that the pros ride.
Orbea was one of the first bike companies to spec complete SRAM road groups, and this tradition is continues in the M22. SRAM Red 22, the latest in SRAM development and technology, features nothing less than superb shifting and durability, not to mention distinctive good looks. Featuring a 50/34 crankset and an 11-28t, 11-speed cassette, you'll be sure to have any gear you need right at your fingertips. The M22 features lightweight, yet durable Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels with matching tires. In the cockpit, you'll find FSA handlebars and stem with an Orbea Orca seatpost and a Selle Italia SL Flow saddle. All cabling is routed internally using Orbea's Internal DCR (direct cable routing). The heart of this system is a sealed inner wire for the length of each cable. This reduces internal friction by as much as 25%, which creates a lighter and more precise feel at the levers and more responsive braking. Internal cabling also increases the frame's aerodynamics.
The Orca M22 - SRAM Red Complete Road Bike is available in odd sizes 47cm to 57cm and 60cm. It comes in five colors: Carbon/red, Carbon/pink, White/red, White/blue, and Euskalel team colors.