2023 Orbea Oiz Review | A superb example of a modern XC race bike

The not-so-minor details


2023 Orbea Oiz M10


From $4,699 AUD ($9,499 AUD as tested)




- Lightweight, elegant full carbon frame
- Plush & deep-feeling suspension
- Fantastic geometry boosts descending capability
- Squidlock delivers useful on-the-fly adaptability


- Headset cable routing
- Not the quietest bike
- Heavy & sluggish dropper post
- Limited clearance for 2nd bottle

Wil reviews the 2023 Orbea Oiz

It was back in 2020 when we last reviewed the Orbea Oiz. At the time the Oiz was offered in both 100mm travel XC and 120mm travel TR variants. That changes for 2023, with Orbea bringing the two together to develop what it believes is the ultimate contemporary XC race bike. Purpose-built around 120mm of travel, the latest Oiz debuts an all-new chassis that features updated geometry and some fresh bells and whistles. It certainly looks the goods, but is it enough to take the mantle of being the best XC bike on the market? I’ve been putting the Orbea Oiz through the wringer over the past few months to find out.

Watch our 2023 Orbea Oiz video review here:

This bike absolutely rips up technical XC trails, offering a plusher ride with more grip over rough terrain.

2023 orbea oiz m10
We’ve been testing out the 2023 Orbea Oiz over the past couple of months to see just how capable it really is.

An overview of the 2023 Orbea Oiz

For 2023 the Orbea Oiz has undergone a ground-up redesign. It’s still Orbea’s flagship full suspension XC race bike, but it’s now equipped with 120mm of travel front and rear. That puts it into contention with other long-legged XC bikes such as the Scott Spark RC, the Specialized Epic EVO and the Pivot Mach 4 SL.

The latest Oiz frame is produced in three variants. There’s an alloy frame (Hydro) and two carbon frames (OMX and OMR). The top-end OMX frame is claimed to be one of the lightest on the market, weighing just 1,750g including the shock.

2023 orbea oiz m10
The new Orbea Oiz is purpose-built around 120mm of travel front and rear.

Regardless of material, all Oiz models are designed around the UFO single-pivot suspension platform. This sees a small degree of flex throughout the slender seatstays as the chunky Fiberlink compresses the shock. With the main pivot sitting above the chainring, there’s a high amount of anti-squat to maximise pedalling efficiency.

Both the fork and shock are cabled up to the Squidlock remote that allows you to cycle between Open, Medium and Lockout settings on-the-fly.

2023 orbea oiz m10
The Squidlock remote allows you to toggle between Open, Medium & Lockout suspension modes on-the-fly.

Geometry & size chart

With the Orbea Oiz no longer having to perform double-duty with both 100 and 120mm travel variations, the geometry has been optimised and brought right up to date.

The head angle has slackened out to 67° and the seat angle has steepened to 76.5°. Reach measurements have grown across the board, though the rear centre length remains quite short at 432mm. The BB also sits low for a 120mm travel bike, with a 42mm drop between the hub axles.

orbea oiz size chat geomtry
Orbea Oiz Size Chart
2023 orbea oiz m10
The UFO suspension design features a high main pivot that creates a lot of anti-squat for snappy pedalling performance.

2023 Orbea Oiz price & specs

With three different frames on offer, there are no fewer than 11 spec options across the Orbea Oiz lineup for 2023. For the specs and prices of all of those models, check out our first look article.

Prices start at $4,699 AUD for the Oiz H30, which is pretty accessible for an XC race bike. We’re stoked to see Orbea producing an alloy frame, especially when most brands are carbon-only when it comes to their XC models.

The bike that I’ve been testing is the Orbea Oiz M10, which sits in the middle of the lineup.

2023 orbea oiz m10
The Orbea Oiz M10 sits in the middle of the range and offers an appealing spec for the price.

2023 Orbea Oiz M10

It’s quite brawny given its sub-12kg weight, putting it into a similar pool as the latest Spark and Anthem.

2023 orbea oiz m10
Wil chose the size Medium in the Orbea Oiz to suit his 175cm height.

Orbea Oiz sizing & fit

At 175cm tall I’ve been testing a Medium size in the Orbea Oiz, and I have to say that the overall fit and geometry on this bike are superb.

I initially thought the steep seat angle and 120mm travel fork would perch me up high over the bike, though the generous reach and low BB means you end up sitting centrally within the cockpit and nicely tucked in between the wheels. Orbea has designed the upper headset to sit within a recess in the head tube, and along with the angled stem and flat handlebar, your weight is naturally positioned forward and low.

2023 orbea oiz m10
You can get the front end quite low thanks to the angled stem and sunken headset, but the cable routing and split spacers make adjustments a fiddly process.

It’s good to see a decent amount of spacers under the stem for dialling in your grip height. I lowered the stem down 10mm, which is an awkward process since the cables pass through the split two-piece spacers as well as the upper headset assembly. The specially-shaped spacers won’t fit above the stem, so you’ll need to use standard round spacers unless you decide to cut the fork steerer down.

For those who are especially limber, Orbea offers a specific low-stack upper headset cap that allows you to slam the stem as low as possible.

As for contact points, I really didn’t get along with stock Fizik saddle and the thick lock-on grips. After a couple of rides I changed those for an Ergon SR Pro saddle and smaller diameter GXR push-on grips to improve comfort while also dropping some weight.

2023 orbea oiz m10
The Orbea Oiz comes standard with a 760mm wide bar, which complements the contemporary geometry nicely.

Suspension & tyre setup

The Orbea Oiz comes with a hugely detailed manual that covers technical specifications, spare parts and suspension setup, which is fantastic to see. The manual recommends setting up the shock with 20-25% sag, and Orbea even provides suggested pressures and rebound settings to get you started.

I found the air pressure recommendations to be spot-on. To support my 67kg riding weight I needed 160psi in the Fox Float DPS shock, which put me right around 22% sag. The suggested rebound setting was too fast for my liking, so I ended up slowing it down until I was just one click faster than halfway at 8/14 clicks.

2023 orbea oiz m10
The chunky Fiberlink compresses the shock, which features a slightly firmer compression tune than the old Oiz to improve mid-stroke support.

Orbea has spec’d a medium compression and rebound tune for the Oiz’s shock. There are no volume spacers inside the air can, and Fox doesn’t recommend fitting any in this particular size. This is because the shock already has quite a small air volume, so it ramps up a lot towards the end of the stroke.

I set up the Fox 34 Step-Cast fork as per usual with a single volume spacer and 72psi in the air spring, with the rebound damping halfway at 10/20 clicks.

I’m a big fan of the 2.4in Maxxis Rekon Race tyres, which plump up nicely on the 30mm wide carbon rims. I fitted a CushCore XC insert into the rear wheel and ran tyre pressures at 20-22psi up front and 22-24psi at the rear.

2023 orbea oiz m10
With its commitment to the 120mm travel platform, we’re stoked to see the Orbea Oiz coming with a Fox 34 SC fork as standard.

Orbea Oiz weight

Our Orbea Oiz M10 test bike weighed in at 11.57kg without pedals and with the tyres set up tubeless.

That’s pretty decent given the spec, especially since the stock dropper is on the heavy side (541g confirmed). The Oquo wheels also came in heavier than claimed (1,616g including tubeless tape and valves), and the Maxxis Rekon Race tyres aren’t the lightest either (840g each).

It’s worth pointing out that the Oiz M10 that I’ve been testing makes use of the cheaper OMR carbon frame. While the overall shape and geometry are identical, the use of lower modulus carbon fibre results in a 200g weight penalty over the OMX frame that you’ll find on the more expensive Oiz models.

2023 orbea oiz m10
The Orbea Oiz M10 weighs 11.57kg, which is reasonable given that it comes with 120mm of travel, a chunky Fox 34 SC, 2.4in wide Maxxis tyres and a 125mm stroke dropper post.

For those wondering, here’s how the claimed weights compare between the three Oiz frames (including the shock, derailleur hanger and chainstay protector);

Indeed that top-end OMX frame is impressively svelte, though it isn’t quite the lightest XC bike on the market. If you’re curious to see how it shapes up alongside the Giant Anthem, Specialized Epic World Cup and Trek Supercaliber, see our first look article for a detailed comparison.

2023 orbea oiz m10
For an XC race bike, the Orbea Oiz is an absolute ripper on the descents!

What do we dig about the Orbea Oiz?

No doubt about it, the 2023 Orbea Oiz is a terrific example of a modern XC bike.

I spent a lot of time on the previous version, which I thoroughly enjoyed thanks to its sharp handling and remote-adjustable suspension. The new version carries much of that over while bringing about some welcome improvements.

For a start, the increase in travel means the suspension is considerably smoother and deeper. Much like the Scott Spark RC, the Oiz is plush for an XC bike. There’s heaps of grip and control over rough and rocky terrain, with the rear wheel quickly getting out of the way when needed.

I’ve been able to use full travel comfortably, with the rear end providing plenty of cushioning and support for soaking up bigger impacts. I only managed to bottom out the shock once throughout testing (it was a particularly ugly huck-to-flat), which goes to show that Orbea has dialled in the relationship between the regressive leverage ratio and the small-volume shock.

With 120mm of travel at your disposal, the Oiz affords a greater margin for error that allows you to push it quite hard on the descents.

2023 orbea oiz m10
The plush suspension offers excellent grip and control on rocky terrain.

Stability in spades

The contemporary geometry also plays a strong role in the Orbea Oiz’ confidence-inspiring stance, with the low BB and long wheelbase placing you very much in-the-bike.

The raked-out front centre does require you to actively weight the grips in order to keep the front-end sticking. I was caught out a couple of times during the first few rides where I’d occasionally feel the front tyre drifting through a dusty hard-packed berm.

It’s easy to build trust with the bike though. There’s loads of damping and grip from the Rekon Race tyres, and the supple Fox 34 SC fork tracks the terrain closely. Much like a modern trail bike, you’ll benefit from straightening your knees and bending your elbows to get your chest further over the stem on the descents.

2023 orbea oiz m10
The long reach and slack head angle mean you’ll need to get your weight over the front through tighter corners.

This tweak in riding position proved to be a bit of a revelation for me. As well as improving front-end grip, I found it helped to reduce leg fatigue as I wasn’t squatting down so much like I would on a less planted and shorter travel bike.

Indeed the Oiz offers a very comfortable and calm ride quality on rowdy trails. It’s quite brawny given its sub-12kg weight, putting it into a similar pool as the latest Spark and Anthem.

Powerful pedalling

It isn’t just about the descents with the new Orbea Oiz however. This is still a very fast bike on the climbs too thanks to its efficient pedalling manners and remote-adjustable suspension.

2023 orbea oiz m10
The Orbea Oiz is plenty responsive under power thanks to its high anti-squat and the shock’s medium compression tune.

The Squidlock remote is unchanged from the previous Oiz, which is a good thing. The smooth paddle shape is one of the most ergonomic out there, and it offers a nice defined click between each position. The three suspension modes also remain the same;

While each mode is usable, it’s the Medium position that delivers the key advantage over the Oiz’s competitors. The fork stays open to continue absorbing bumps, which is welcome on rocky and rooty climbs. Meanwhile the shock firms up to provide a stronger platform. That’s great for speeding along smoother singletrack, though the bigger benefit comes from the change to the bike’s dynamic geometry.

In this setting the effective seat angle steepens and places you in a more powerful pedalling position as you’re heading uphill. The taller ride height also increases clearance under the crankarms, which is hugely advantageous when you’re heaving your way up a ledgy, slow-speed tech climb.

2023 orbea oiz m10
With the Squidlock set in the Medium position, the Orbea Oiz offers incredible technical climbing prowess thanks to its steeper seat angle and higher BB.

Sharp steering

The Medium suspension mode isn’t just for climbing either. On tight and twisty sections the firmer shock pushes more of your weight onto the fork to sharpen up the steering. In fact, this was my preferred setting for riding smooth and flowy singletrack where I could take full advantage of the stiff carbon chassis.

According to Orbea there’s been a 12% boost in lateral stiffness through the swingarm due to changes in the profile of the seatstay and chainstay tubes. While that number is hard for me to quantify, the Oiz feels plenty sturdy and the short 432mm rear centre length ensures changes of direction are prompt and precise. Along with the wide bars and grippy tyres, you can really crank it over into the corners.

It doesn’t quite slice and dice buffed-out turns like the short travel Epic World Cup or Supercaliber, but the rougher the trail gets, the more the advantage tips back in favour of the Oiz.

2023 orbea oiz m10
It handles beautifully too, with the short chainstays allowing you to change direction quickly.

What didn’t we like?

While the suspension on the Orbea Oiz is plusher and more effective than most XC bikes I’ve tested, it doesn’t track as well as the dw-link rear end on the Pivot Mach 4 SL. When pedalling through particularly rocky and chunderous trails, the back end of the Oiz can bounce around a little more with the rear tyre occasionally scrabbling for grip.

This is the downside of employing a single-pivot suspension platform with a high level of anti-squat. Sure the Oiz is lighter than the Mach 4 SL, and it offers snappier pedalling performance when you’re sprinting flat-out. But it doesn’t eat up square-edge hits quite as seamlessly.

This may be a moot point as I suspect many XC racers would prefer the more responsive pedalling performance of the Oiz. But given the Squidlock remote is so usable, I do think that Orbea could lean on it harder and make the suspension more neutral in the Open position to really maximise its technical capabilities.

2023 orbea oiz m10 squidlock
The Squidlock remote works well, though the over-the-bar dropper lever isn’t the most ergonomic solution.

The Squidlock remote isn’t perfect

Speaking of the Squidlock remote, it too isn’t perfect. It only took me a few rides to adapt to the push-to-unlock function, though I never quite got used to the over-the-bar dropper lever.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that Orbea has spec’d the Oiz with a dropper in the first place. It’s just that you have to loosen your grip on the bars every time you use it, and the small lever requires a decent amount of force to actuate. I actually had some wrist pain following a particularly long trail ride.

It isn’t the end of the world, and to be fair the Squidlock is a fine solution given the constraints of its manually-controlled suspension. However, I reckon the Oiz would be a great candidate for an automated suspension platform, something like RockShox Flight Attendant or Fox Live Valve.

2023 orbea oiz m10
We reckon the Orbea Oiz M10 hits the sweet spot in the 11-model lineup when it comes to spec for the money.

Component highs & lows

With its OMR full carbon frame and blingy Kashima-laden suspension, the Orbea Oiz M10 offers an appealing package that hits the sweet-spot in the range when it comes to value for money.

It also provided my first experience with an Oquo wheelset. Oquo is Orbea’s in-house wheel brand, and the MP30Team is its second-tier offering. These wheels feature carbon rims with a nice shallow and asymmetric rim profile that’s actually different between the front and rear. I found them to offer a smooth ride quality and provide a great platform for 2.4in wide tyres, and I like that they spec DT Swiss 350 hubs and J-bend spokes for ease of servicing.

The Shimano XT groupset has mostly worked well. The two-piston brakes are good, though the finned pads emit their usual rattle on the trail, which was joined by some general cable noise from the head tube and downtube area.

Rear shifting isn’t as light as it could be, as the cable has to bend quite heavily as it moves from the shifter into the frame. It left me unconvinced by the headset cable routing, particularly with the integrated spacers. I will say that the hidden steering limiter is a nice addition though. It’s entirely unnoticeable on the trail, but still prevents the handlebar controls from smashing into the top tube in the event of a crash.

2023 orbea oiz m10
We’re not big fans of the internal routing, with the cables passing through fiddly two-piece headset spacers as well as the top cap and upper bearing.
2023 orbea oiz m10
A discreet built-in steering limiter prevents the handlebar controls from smashing into the top tube.

Many will be happy to see the Oiz move from a press-fit to a threaded BB, and it’s worth noting that frame is compatible with both 52 and 55mm chainlines with room to run up to a monster 38T chainring. There’s plenty of mud clearance around the 2.4in tyres, and the addition of a rubber gasket between the chainstay yoke and the back of the seat tube helps to keep debris from getting jammed up in there.

Unfortunately clearance is less generous for the second bottle mount on the seat tube. In fact, I struggled to fit most 600ml bottles in this position, with the bite valve actually contacting the shock. I expect there will be more clearance on the larger frames, but for those on the Small and Medium frames, you may need to seek out a specific cage and bottle to fit in that secondary position. One option would be Orbea’s own OC MX20 side-entry cage, which features longer mounting holes that allow you to position the bottle further down.

2023 orbea oiz m10
Some bottles and cages won’t provide enough clearance when mounted to the seat tube.

What upgrades would you make?

In terms of performance there’s not a lot I would change about the Orbea Oiz M10. However, there’s certainly room to make it lighter while dialling in to your personal preferences.

Along with changing the saddle and grips, I’d also upgrade the dropper post to a Fox Transfer SL. For a rider of my height, I think 100mm of drop is perfect for an XC race bike as it allows you to get the saddle out of the way on the descents without forcing you to squat down as far every time you compress the post. The Transfer SL is nearly 200g lighter and it’s also faster in action compared to the somewhat sluggish MC20 dropper post.

2023 orbea oiz m10
We’re stoked to see the Orbea Oiz coming with a dropper as standard, though the MC20 post is quite heavy and a bit sluggish.

I’d also consider getting rid of the Squidlock and replacing it with a 3-position RockShox TwistLoc remote. This would allow you to fit an under-the-bar dropper lever, which would be much easier on your thumb.

The stock Shimano brake rotors are kinda heavy, and the slightly rounded edges don’t provide the most positive bite. I’d swap those with some XTR rotors to sharpen things up and drop some rotational weight. I’d also fit some non-finned brake pads to eliminate the annoying rattle.

2023 orbea oiz m10
The finned brake pads cause some annoying rattle.

On the note of the brakes, heavier riders should take note that the OMR frame and its post-mount rear calliper will accept up to a 180mm rotor. This is a point of difference with the lighter OMX frame and its flat-mount rear brake calliper, which is limited to 160mm.

Orbea Oiz vs Scott Spark

Out of all the XC bikes I’ve tested, it’s the Scott Spark RC that is the closest competitor to the Orbea Oiz.

scott spark rc rockshox sid ultimate
The Scott Spark RC also features 120mm of travel at both ends, and it utilises a similar three-position remote for controlling the suspension.

The latest Spark also features 120mm of travel front and rear, and both its fork and shock are cabled up to a three-position handlebar remote called the TwinLoc. Where things differ is with the Spark’s proprietary Nude shock, which reduces rear travel to 80mm in the middle Traction Control mode. This provides greater support and a firmer platform compared to the Medium position on the Oiz.

Because that Traction Control mode is so effective, Scott’s engineers have developed the Spark with a low anti-squat figure that hovers around 80% at sag. Compare this to the Oiz, which sits at around 115% at sag.

This means that the Spark doesn’t pedal particularly well in its fully open Descend mode, and so it is far more reliant on its TwinLoc remote when you need to hustle. The upside is that when the trail gets rough and rowdy, the suspension is plusher and more active. Both bikes are great descenders, but the Spark offers more grip and control through the chunder.

2022 scott spark 910 buxton
The Scott Spark is more versatile with its adjustable headset cups and the option to fit a 130mm travel fork.

Further bolstering the Spark’s capability is its modular headset cups that allow you to adjust the head angle. The frame is also rated for use with up to a 130mm travel fork, allowing you to morph it into a lightweight trail bike. In fact, that’s exactly how the regular Spark is configured.

That kind of versatility will be less of a concern to dedicated XC racers. And if you value sharp pedalling performance, the Oiz is undoubtedly the more naturally efficient of the two. It’s also the better technical climber thanks to its fork remaining open in that Medium suspension setting.

Otherwise the Oiz and Spark share a lot of similarities when it comes to geometry, frame features and build kits. They’re both available in an alloy variant, with prices starting at $4,599 AUD for the Spark. Which one you choose may simply come down to availability and your preference for the stealth bomber-looks of the Spark with its hidden shock, or the elegant lines of the Oiz.

2023 orbea oiz m10
No doubt about it, the Orbea Oiz is a very classy looking bike.

Flow’s Verdict

With its new chassis, updated geometry and increase in travel, the 2023 Orbea Oiz has successfully elevated its capability and versatility over its predecessor.

This bike absolutely rips up technical XC trails, offering a plusher ride with more grip over rough terrain. Combined with the longer wheelbase and slacker head angle, the Oiz exudes a remarkable degree of confidence on the descents, allowing you to push it quite hard.

It’s still an excellent climber thanks to its efficient pedalling manners and remote-adjustable suspension. The Squidlock remote isn’t perfect, and it adds cable clutter that isn’t particularly well managed through the headset. If you’re less enthused by constantly toggling a remote and you tend to ride on smoother trails, you may prefer a firmer and shorter travel bike such as the Trek Supercaliber or Specialized Epic World Cup.

The Oiz is more versatile than those two bikes however, and on rougher trails it’s more fun too. In that sense it’s closer in performance to the latest Scott Spark RC and Pivot Mach 4 SL. Yes it’s lightweight and efficient, but the contemporary geometry and extra travel comes together to produce a fantastically well-rounded package that is capable of going well beyond the race track.

2023 orbea oiz m10
The new Orbea Oiz is a terrific example of a modern XC bike that’s ready for more than just racing.
2023 orbea oiz m10
The future is looking bright for XC, and we’re here for it!

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