ON TEST | The 2021 Orbea Oiz M Team Is A Sub-10kg Speedster

With a long and storied history that dates all the way back to 2006, the Orbea Oiz is the Basque brand’s lightest, sharpest, and most efficient full suspension mountain bike. Designed as a no-holds-barred, World-Cup-winning, hammer-dropping race machine, the Oiz features 100mm of travel front and rear, the option to run dual water bottles, and a slick remote-adjustable suspension system.

Orbea has made some key updates to the Oiz for 2021, so to see exactly what’s changed, how it rides on the trail, and how it compares directly to the likes of the latest Specialized Epic, Cannondale Scalpel and Canyon Lux, we’ve just gotten in a brand new Oiz M Team. Here we’ll be taking a closer look at the Basque Beauty in preparation for the full review, coming soon.

2021 orbea oiz m team
Orbea’s flagship race bike, the Oiz, has just arrived at Flow HQ. And geez what a sharp-looking bike this is!

The 2021 Orbea Oiz – What’s New?

The most recent version of the Oiz was rolled out two years ago, and for the most part, the 2021 version looks pretty much identical. Indeed the frame shape, suspension design, and most of the geometry remains the same. The big change with the new Oiz is the introduction of a lighter OMX frame option for the top-end models.

OMX is Orbea’s premium high-modulus carbon fibre that, up until now, was only used in its flagship road racing bikes. During construction, carbon fibre sheets are laser cut and arranged in a layup that is specific to each frame size, in order to minimise excess material and keep weight to the minimum. Full EPS moulds along with polyurethane and latex inserts are used in order to smooth out compaction internally, eliminating wrinkles and excess resin buildup.

Compared to the existing Oiz OMR frame, the new Oiz OMX with its fancy carbon fibre is claimed to drop 250 grams, which equates to a very healthy 12% drop in frame weight.

2021 orbea oiz m team
The premium OMX carbon fibre helps the new Oiz to drop over 12% off the frame weight.

Is It The Lightest?

Orbea’s claimed frame weight for the new Oiz OMX is 1,740g for a medium frame including the rear shock. We’re still waiting to confirm with Orbea if that figure is for a painted frame, and whether that includes the seat clamp, cable bits, rear axle and derailleur hanger, which seems to be the most common way that weights are published.

Either way, if we’re talking about claimed frame weights only, the Oiz OMX is bloody light, but it isn’t quite the lightest on the market. That mantle goes to the new Specialized S-Works Epic EVO, which funnily enough, is actually lighter than the regular Epic since it doesn’t use the Brain damper.

2021 orbea oiz m team
The pivot-less back end utilises flex through the carbon seatstays.

There’s A New Back-End Too

Along with the new OMX carbon fibre mainframe, the top-end Oiz models also get a new rear end. The main difference is that it’s shorter (430mm vs 435mm), which should help to improve cornering agility, perhaps at the expense of some high-speed stability.

The one-piece carbon swingarm uses Orbea’s UFO design, which relies on flex through the seatstays to provide the necessary articulation required for the shock to cycle through its travel. According to Orbea, the pivot-less rear end saves around 100g compared to using a conventional pivot at the rear dropout. Driving the shock is a long-fibre injected composite Fibrelink, which is lighter than the alloy link that comes on the cheaper Oiz models.

According to Orbea, the pivot-less rear end saves around 100g compared to using a conventional pivot at the rear dropout. Further grams are saved via the long-fibre injected composite Fibrelink.

Also new is the move to a flat-mount disc brake, which has helped to reduce material around the dropout. It also brings the flex point down closer to the axle, which Orbea claims improves the suspension kinematics. At the very least, the direct mount calliper looks super clean with the 160mm rear rotor.

And lastly, the Oiz OMX frame now uses the SRAM UDH (Universal Derailleur Hanger). While it’s still not exactly universal, with Trek, Specialized and Santa Cruz on board, it’s apparent that this will likely become the dominant derailleur hanger standard in the future.

While it’s still not exactly universal, with Trek, Specialized and Santa Cruz on board, it’s apparent that this will likely become the dominant standard in the future.

So Fresh & So Clean-Clean

Both the fork and shock are linked up to a handlebar-mounted remote lockout lever that Orbea calls Squidlock. The paddle shape is reminiscent of Scott’s TwinLoc system, and it uses its own clamp to mount next to the left-hand grip. The Squidlock engages both the fork and shock simultaneously, offering the pilot the ability to flick between Open, Medium and Firm settings.

The rear shock itself is also specific to Orbea, with a custom cable-actuation that sees the lockout cable entirely hidden from view inside the top tube. Orbea calls this i-Line (Inside Line), since it offers the most direct path between the lever and the shock to minimise cable friction. Combined with the push-to-unlock orientation, the paddle has a nice and light action, especially compared to the Canyon Lux we reviewed recently.

The i-Line rear shock is also specific to Orbea, with a custom cable-actuation that sees the lockout cable entirely hidden from view inside the top tube.

Of course there’s also internal routing for the derailleur cable and brake line, giving the Oiz some lovely clean lines. And in the hope of keeping things looking clean for longer, there’s a new low-profile chainstay protector, and a minimalist upper chainguide that integrates discreetly onto the main pivot.

Accentuating the frame shape is the new OC stem, which is complemented with matching headset spacers that give the cockpit a semi-integrated look. The bar and stem still utilise standard fitments though, so there’s nothing funky to worry about if you do want to change one out. Likewise, you’ve got a conventional PF92 bottom bracket shell, and 148x12mm dropouts.

2021 orbea oiz m team
Orbea has spec’d the Oiz with 760mm wide flat-bars, foam grips and its own Squidlock remote lockout system.
2021 orbea oiz m team
There’s nothing proprietary about the OC stem and bar, but the integrated spacers and upper headset give it a very sharp integrated appearance.
2021 orbea oiz m team
As well as being shorter, the new swingarm also utilises a flat-mount brake calliper. Aside from being really tidy, it also improves the point of flexion.

Ready, Steady, Race!

With the exception of the 5mm shorter chainstay length, the rest of the Orbea Oiz’ geometry remains the same as the 2020 version. Compared to some of the more boundary-pushing XC bikes out there, the Oiz stays true to the XC dream with sharp angles and an aggressive, low front end.

2021 orbea oiz m team
The regular Oiz comes with a 100mm travel fork and a 44mm offset. The Oiz TR models get a 120mm travel fork.

There’s A Trail Version Too

Orbea splits the Oiz into two distinct versions: the regular Oiz (100/100mm travel) and the Oiz TR (120/120mm travel). Both utilise the same frame, though the Oiz TR adds in a slightly longer stroke shock and a longer fork to lift travel by 20mm at each end. Additionally, the TR models come with more aggressive tyres and a dropper post, making them a more versatile option.

This trick of up-forking and up-shocking a frame has become a popular one, which we’ve seen elsewhere in the likes of the Scott Spark, Norco Revolver FS and the Cannondale Scalpel. As well as creating two bikes from one, it also gives you the potential to upgrade your frame down the track. If you bought the XC version for example, you could always change the fork and shock and turn it into more of a trail bike. And vice versa.

2021 orbea oiz m team
Both the Oiz and Oiz TR use the same frame and a 190mm eye-to-eye shock length. However, the shock stroke is different between the two.

What’s Available In The 2021 Orbea Oiz Lineup?

There are ten Oiz models available for 2021, which are spread across three different frames;

The four top-end models utilise the new OMX carbon frame, the three mid-level bikes use the OMR frame, and the three entry-level bikes use the Hydro frame. Prices start at $4,299 AUD for the Oiz H30 and go up to $12,999 AUD for the Oiz M LTD.

What’s really cool is that there are options to customise each bike with dropper posts, wheel upgrades, and tyre swaps, all of which you can select at the point of purchase. If you’re looking at the OMX models, that also opens up the option of Orbea’s MyO program, which offers you a staggering array of paint jobs and further options to change components including the drivetrain, brakes and suspension.

2021 orbea oiz m team
One step down from the top, the Oiz M Team uses a full Shimano XTR groupset, new carbon wheels from DT Swiss, and 2.35in Maxxis Rekon Race tyres.

2021 Orbea Oiz M Team On Review

To put the new Oiz to the test, Orbea Australia sent us out the new Oiz M Team, which sits just one rung down from the very top of the range. Of course it uses the new OMX carbon frame, and it comes decked out with a Fox Factory Series suspension package, new DT Swiss XRC 1501 wheels, and a full Shimano XTR groupset.

Having recently reviewed the new Specialized Epic, Cannondale Scalpel and Canyon Lux, we’re eager to see how the Orbea Oiz compares on the trail. We’ll be testing the Oiz over the coming weeks, so stay tuned for the full review. And if you’ve got any questions in the meantime, as always, hit us up in the comments.

2021 orbea oiz m team
Having recently tested the new Specialized Epic, Cannondale Scalpel and Canyon Lux, we’re eager to see how the Orbea Oiz stacks up. Stay tuned for the full review coming soon.

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