Orbea Ordu GLi2
$5,500 (with Shimano RS21 wheels), Orbea-usa.com
Verdict: Incredible component function and most affordable, but trailed in the tunnel
Orbea ditched antiquated road-style TT geometry and replaced it with a true triathlon-first fit scheme. In addition to a steep seat tube angle—a first for Orbea—the all-new Ordu’s front end is situated for aggressive yet attainable positions. It uses an adjustable rotating stem to affix the aerobar to the frame. This system can accommodate a wide range of fits and is easy to adjust. Conservative, upright positions are the only ones that will test the bike’s adaptability. No matter the position, the front end is elegant.
Orbea adopted Selle Italia’s Monolink system to attach the aerobars to the frame. The rotating stem pieces allow the aerobars to easily come off the frame for travel, but fixing the stem to the frame must be done precisely. The other bike with a similar stem—Felt’s DA—uses notches to prevent the stem from rotating downward, but Orbea’s does not. Carefully assembling this joint is key. The external front brake is the easiest and most functional option.
At press time, the production-grade front-end assembly wasn’t completed to allow a full ride test. Rather than speculate on ride quality without a sufficient test, we are reserving judgment for now.
The Ordu GLi2 is spec’d at the pinnacle of performance and value. Top-level electronic groupsets from both Shimano and Campagnolo claim minor “improvements” beyond Ultegra Di2, but its shift quality is second to none. It does, however, lack brake grip shifters. Orbea elected to use a standard Shimano Ultegra front brake, and the result is great performance and easy service. It may sacrifice a bit of aerodynamic performance, but gains plenty in functionality.
The Ordu created more drag than the others in the wind tunnel test. One way the Ordu attains a price several thousand dollars lower than the others is by spec’ing a less exotic aerobar—the 3T Brezza II. This component coupled with the highly functional although completely external front brake may generate more drag than the alternatives, but both provide real benefits in the form of a lower price and powerful, reliable braking performance.