Orbea Orca M50 Complete Road Bike $3,899.00
Race ready, for the rest of us.
In the decade since Orbea graced the world with the Orca, the Basque brand’s flagship race bike has only gotten faster. And as you’d expect, that translates into sleeker shapes, lighter weights, and a smoother ride quality. But when it comes to bikes with a pedigree like the Orca’s, it’s rare to find one that’s both competitive at the highest levels, and still an outstanding value. Thanks to a careful component selection, Orbea can rightly claim to have done exactly that with the Orca M50 Complete Road Bike. Dressed in a Shimano Ultegra 11 build kit, the M50 begs to be raced, but it’s equally adept in the hands of those with recreational intentions.
As you may know, Orbea recently revamped its fit system to focus on stack and reach, instead of the oft-misleading effective top tube measurements. Upon close inspection, the team at Orbea found that many manufacturers’ sizing structures result in significant gaps between sizes, or worse, considerable overlap between frames of different sizes. But by focusing on stack and reach, Orbea has eliminated both the gaps and overlaps in sizing which have plagued riders for so long, especially shorter riders and women. The smaller frames have now been flex-tuned for lighter riders. In other words, you’ll get a bike that fits correctly, not the way a marketing team tells you it should.
Orbea went to great lengths to ensure that the Orca’s handling is consistent across sizes. Accordingly, the 47, 49, and 51cm frames employ a more relaxed head angle, with a 53mm offset fork, as opposed to the 43mm rake found on the larger sizes. This allows the smaller Orcas to have the same trail measurement as the larger sizes, and accordingly, an identical cornering feel. Additionally, it ensures that toe-overlap isn’t a factor, so shorter riders need not fear interference from the front wheel.
The M50 is built on Orbea’s monocoque carbon fiber construction, which bonds mirrored halves together into a lightweight, durable frame without the failure-prone junctions that can cause issues with tube-to-tube constructions. The Performance series frame comes from the same mold as the team issue Race series frames, but the blend employs more medium-modulus carbon fiber. While it requires slightly more material, medium modulus carbon fiber is more elastic, which results in a smoother ride. Additionally, the thicker layup makes the bike more resistant to crash-induced damage. Best of all, the weight penalty is a measly 100g — and the benefits make the Performance series a better choice for the vast majority of riders.
The Orca M50 is more than deserving of its Ultegra 11 drivetrain, which provides the crisp shifting of the latest Dura-Ace groupset at a minimal weight penalty. The sleek gray finish finds its way onto everything from derailleur to brakes. Speaking of brakes, the 6800 series Ultegra calipers feature a dual pivot, which makes them immensely powerful. The cockpit comes courtesy of FSA, with a Team Issue stem and Wing Compact handlebar. The Selle Italia SL Flow saddle sits atop the integrated Orca seatpost, keeping the weight down and the ride responsive. It rolls on Mavic’s Ksyrium Equipe wheelset, wrapped in Mavic Yksion Comp tires. Think of it as an ideal training wheelset, because if you’re serious about racing, the M50 absolutely warrants a top-tier wheelset for closed-course use.
The Orbea Orca M50 Complete Road Bike is available in seven sizes, from 47 to 60cm, and in the colors Black/pink, Euskatel, and White/blue.
Effective Top Tube
Head Tube Angle
Seat Tube Angle
Bottom Bracket Height
Bottom Bracket Drop