The Orbea Rise e-bike was released last week and has generated a lot of reaction from the mountain biking community worldwide. We aren´t surprised! I have been riding the bike since July, as well as organising the launch so I already knew that it was something special. The Orbea Rise is a new concept, it isn´t the same as other lighter e-bikes, and not just because it´s lighter. This isn´t an Orbea Rise review, lots of places have done that really well, I´m just going to talk you through what the bike does and who I think it´s for. I´ll copy some quotes from the web that I think most apply to my feeling with the bike.
As soon as Orbea told me about the bike I realised that the launch was going to be critical. It is a bike that is really a completely new concept, it isn´t just a light e-bike. If we didn´t communicate that to the journalists properly then they couldn´t explain it to everyone else properly. The bike is a great ebike, it´s also a great trail bike but it is more than that. It was really important that the subtitles of the bike come across during the launch rides.
Then Covid happened and all of a sudden the Rise launch became even more complicated.
Suddenly it wasn´t possible, or responsible, to gather together journalists from all over the world as we would normally do. It was a challenge for sure! In the end we also had a big storm pass through just before the launch and we almost had to change the venue at the last minute! A fun bike for natural trails.
Normally I would do this section last, however for this bike I think it deserves to be first. Like I said, this isn´t an Orbea Rise review, but hopefully this article helps you work out who the bike would be good for and if you are that person! Let me ask a few questions…
The Orbea Rise is a bike I love, if I had to have one bike it could well be the Rise. If I could have two it would be the Rise and the Rallon! I ride the Wild FS a lot but it´s not my type of bike bike, I don´t love it and it´s limitations frustrate me. Understanding who I am and what I love about the Rise might help you decide if you are a Rise rider or a Wild FS rider, or an Occam rider!
Hopefully that gives an idea of where I¨m coming from. The question isn´t about whether the Orbea Rise is a great bike or not, (it is!), it´s whether it is your bike or not.
I´m not going to review the bike here. There are lots of other reviews out there. I´ll tell you about how i´ve found the bike.
My first few minutes on the Rise were a big dissapointment. I had been expecting a light e-bike but that wasn´t what I found. Yes it is an e-bike and it is light, I know! I found that it lacked that feeling of really pulling you up the hill. It is true that the climbs here are steep but in Eco and Trail the bike was asking me to contribute to the climb. I had been riding the Orbea Wild FS a lot as i have been using it for trail building jobs during this strange year and I guess I was expecting that feeling with the Rise.
After a while I started to get into it, the more I pedalled the more the bike did and it really feels natural. There is no lag, very little noise and the bike seems to mirror what you do really well. Even pedalling standing up works really well. I started to get into it and had a great 3 hour ride, using Trail mostly, and arrived back totally exhausted. It was like the bike pushes you to do more because it gives more too.
The next rides I really dialled in to the climbing. I often started the ride in Eco and then used Trail in the same way you used to use the second chainring, back when those were a thing! Instead of changing down a few gears I´d knock the bike up an assistance level and maintain speed and cadence up a steeper part of the trail. I would only drop gears if needed after upping the effort level. It felt really natural. Longer climbs I´d settle into a cadence and desired effort level and keep the bike mainly in trail. Towards the end of a ride I´d often use Boost if I was tired, and here the Orbea Rise feels more like a full-fat e-bike.
The descending was what I loved about the Orbea Rise. It feels just like my Occam, a fun, poppy and capable trail bike. It´s not an “enduro bike” like the Rallon, if you are asking if you can fit 170mm forks then it´s not that bike, it´s a trail bike, albeit one which can really take on the hardest trails and inspire confidence.
I really gelled with the Rise. I love the simplicity of it, I love how it descends and on the climbs it´s great to either reduce the effort a bit, or let it goad you into riding like a maniac for a few hours while it puts in as much as you do.
Orbea asked me what I thought of the bike and not realising it was going to be published anywhere here is what I said. I think it pretty much sums up my experiences.
“For me the big surprise is how unobtrusive the motor is. The Rise feels like a really nice, stable, trail bike and I get the sensation that it is me that is better / younger / fitter. I guess I was expecting the Rise to feel like a lightweight Wild FS but it doesn´t, it feels more like an Occam but that I´m 20 years younger and in really good shape. Descending it lets you adjust lines and play with the bike in a way that you can´t with a full e-bike and then climbing it´s feels like the hand of god gently helping you up the hill! I´m not an ebiker, it isn´t what the sport is about for me, but I am totally hooked on the Rise!”Doug (basqueMTB)
And from a quick scan through of the web I´ve added some quotes that make sense to me and echo my feelings.
The handling of the ORBEA RISE is next level! Hardly any other eMTB is this much fun and so fast on the trail.EBike-MTB
The fun really begins as you enter every decent /power was delivered in the most subtle way when you needed it. At 60nm of torque its more than powerful enough to propel you up the hills. However, what does make this motor special is the way in which the power is delivered. It feels completely natural, as you put down the powerMTB Monster
An e-Bike that doesn’t feel like an e-BikeWide Open Mountain Bike
Steve Jones is the boss and his review seems spot on for me. He loves how it descends and he gets the whole idea that to appreciate how it climbs you need to start off and work your way up through the modes. That way you really see the assistance it gives you. All those years of journalism shine through for me.
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