Orbea has been working on this project for many years, so the launch of the new Rise is a big deal for them. The Rise is one of the first in a new breed of e-bikes that use a somewhat regular motor in a much lighter package, with a possible lowest total bike weight of only about 16.2kg / 35.64lbs. With 140mm of rear wheel travel and 29 inch wheels front and rear, the Rise caters to trail bike enthusiasts that are looking for some extra boost.
Utilizing a Shimano EP8 motor with a proprietary software setup that was developed closely with Orbea according to their specifications, the motor delivers 60Nm of maximum torque.
The Rise brings to mind Orbea's regular Occam trail bike, and the similarities are not a coincidence. Because of that likeness, I can't help myself but make some comparisons - mostly because you don't often get the chance to compare a regular bike to an e-bike directly.
Orbea Rise Details
• Intended use: trail
• Wheel size: 29"
• Rear wheel travel: 140mm
• OMR carbon frame
• 66°/65.5° head angle
• 77°/76.5° seat angle
• 445mm chainstays
• Frame weight (w/o shock, motor): 2,300g
• 12 x 148mm rear spacing
• Sizes: S-XL
• Price: €5,999 (US $6,599) - €9,899 (US $10,499)
• Colors: Ice Green Ocean, Sap White/Green Fog, Coal Blue/Red Gold, MyO custom
The Rise's frame is constructed using their high-class OMR (Orbea Monocoque Race) carbon process, blending high modulus fibers and high strength fibers for an optimized strength-to-weight ratio. Pre-preg carbon sheets are laser cut to minimize excess materials and overlap while hours of pre-molding ensure optimal compaction. In the end, the frame tips the scale at only 2,300 grams without shock and motor, according to Orbea. That's low for any frame and incredibly low for an e-bike.
Compared to the Occam, the Rise does not need the extra asymmetrical strut connecting the down tube towards the shock link, as the frame is stronger overall in that area.
Internal cable routing enters the head tube, with the brake and shift cable locked into place by an insert and the dropper cable and wire from the e-bike remote routed through an opening on the other side. Towards the rear, cables are routed over the motor into the chainstays inside protective covers.
The dropouts feature Orbea's 148 mm-spaced Concentric Boost 2 rear axle system. Thia design, with the pivot around the rear axle, allowed Orbea to save some weight while also adding stiffness. It's easy to swap the derailleur hanger by hand on the trail, assuming you're carrying a spare.
A chainstay protector with raised ribs is keeping the noise from chain-slap down. PM180 rear brake mounts, and durable Enduro MAX Black Oxide bearings are parts of the feature list.
There's also plenty of room for a water bottle cage, which is important, as it doubles as a holder for a range extender battery in the shape of a water bottle.Geometry
The Rise is available in four sizes from S to XL and its geometry specs are basically a carbon-copy of their regular Occam trail bike.
The reach is modern but still moderate by today's standard, at 425mm for size S, 450mm for M, 474mm for L, and 500mm for XL. The head angle measures 66 degrees with a 140mm travel Fox 34 fork, with the effective seat angle measuring 77 degrees. An optional 150mm travel Fox 36 fork can be spec'd, which slackens the angles by 0.5 degrees and raises the bottom bracket a notch.
The only difference to the Occam appears to be the length of the chainstays, which are 5mm longer, at 445mm.Suspension Design
The Rise's leverage curve is progressive, even a bit more than that of the Occam, especially towards the end, starting out at about 2.9 : 1 going down to 2.275 : 1 in almost a straight line. The leverage ratio and average leverage ratio is a tad lower compared to the Occam, as the Rise is using a 210 x 55mm stroke shock (Occam 210 x 50mm), bringing it to a low 2.55 : 1.
Orbea is equipping the Rise with either a Fox DPS or DPX2 air shock with reservoir depending on the spec package or your choice in the MyO program. Orbea ships a 0.2 and 0.4 inch volume spacer with the bike, giving you the possibility to change the progression of the shock slightly (even bigger spacers are available aftermarket). Motor Details
Shimano's EP8-RS is a regular EP8 with a custom profile, featuring a powerband developed together with Orbea that is unique to their needs. The motor is limited to a maximum torque of 60Nm (not changeable), and weighs in at 2.6kg.
Part of the system is a custom battery sourced by Orbea with 360Wh, with the option of fitting a patent pending range extender with 252Wh (an extra 70% of range) into the water bottle cage, which gives you a combined capacity of 612Wh. When adding the range extender, that extra battery is drained first completely before using charge from the main battery. The batteries use 21700 cells, which are also used by Tesla and allow for a higher capacity within the same form factor of lower rated cells.
The 360Wh battery is said to weigh 2.2kg, and the 252Wh range extender 1.4kg.
Orbea says that because of the lighter bike and lower power consumption the range over a battery inside a regular e-bike extends by a factor of 1.5. Thus, the Rise's 360Wh RS battery is said to deliver ride times (three to four hours) and ranges similar to a 540Wh battery in a typical e-bike. Adding the RS Range Extender is supposed to deliver ride times comparable to a 900Wh battery on a regular e-bike. Riding in the bike's lowest Eco mode suggests a total possible altitude of 4,000 meters (about 13,000 feet).
On the lower side of the seat tube a charging port is integrated into the frame, which also acts as the connector for your range extender. The main battery is fully integrated into the down tube and can't be removed. A neat on/off switch sits on the front of the lower seat tube.
In an effort to reduce clutter from the cockpit as much as possible, the RS interface makes do without a display. Only a small inline Shimano E-Tube Junction (EW-EN100) box at the bike's front cable routing with a single cable connecting Shimano's E7000 button remote on the handlebar can communicate with third-party displays like Garmin's computers or watches via LEV. Two tiny LEDs on the box provide ride mode info. One shines green when the bike is turned on, the other is changes color for the ride mode you're in (blue for Eco, green for Trail and yellow for Boost).
If you really can't live without, you can connect a Shimano SC-EM800 display to your bike and remove the E-Tube Junction. It's available during setup from the MyO program, or, if you decide later to upgrade, from your Shimano dealer.
The powerband of the RS tune is smooth and responsive, especially in the beginning, mainly basing its calculations on rider input and cadence. The big power delivery happens between a cadence of 75 to 95 RPMs, a value where riders usually generate the most power and efficiency. Also, the harder you pedal, the more assist the system will provide. Orbea tells us that this is another factor that sounds simple but is hard to achieve.
The Rise comes with two preset profiles. Profile 1 delivers a subtler support, maximizing range and natural riding experience. Profile 2 delivers more assistance on the climbs within the RS power parameters. The moment the bike is launched, communication with Shimano's E-Tube Project app should also be available to further customize ride modes in both profiles. Maximum torque can be set between 20 to 60Nm, assist character in ten steps and assist start in five.
As mentioned, Orbea will also have a RS Garmin IQ software feature available that you can download onto your Garmin device for detailed information about the e-bike system, including battery level in percent. It even gives you battery state and assist mode info in accordance with your GPS tracking after your ride. This tool will only work with Orbea Rise bikes.
The RS motor, battery and electronics are lighter than other e-bike systems by over half. Their combined electronics only weigh about 200 to 300 grams more than Fazua's system, with a bigger main battery.Specifications
Orbea's MyO program is an individualist's dream. Next to three stock color schemes (Ice Green Ocean, Sap White/Green Fog, Coal Blue/Red Gold) you can customize your frame with plenty of primary and secondary colors as well as sticker colors.
You can find a few custom parts on the Rise that at least for now are exclusive to Orbea. E*thirteen made a custom aluminum 32-tooth chainring made out of an exclusive alloy (there is no 32-tooth option available from Shimano) and Maxxis created 2.4" wide Rekon tires with MaxxTerra compound and Exo+ casing.
Component-wise, you start out with four differently priced build kits (M20, M10, M-Team, M-LTD) and have the option of customizing a lot of the individual components from a list of alternative choices. For 2021, the Rise comes with Shimano brakes with Galfer rotors. Size S features a 125mm dropper post, M and L come with 150mm and XL with 170mm drop (M-LTD only uses 125mm dropper posts).
Prices start at €5,999 (US $6,599) and go all the way up to €9,899 (US $10,499). The Rise will be available in Europe and North America from November 2020 onwards.
I was lucky enough to spend a decent amount of time on Orbea's Occam, and although I usually feel more home on bikes with more travel, I couldn't stop praising the trail bike's ride quality. Looking at and jumping on the Rise feels incredibly familiar, which isn't surprising considering it has almost the same geometry and suspension layout.
This similarity is one of the Rise's biggest advantages, and it immediately translates into the feeling that you're almost riding a regular bike. The Rise isn't the first eMTB to try and bring the weight down by using smaller motors and/or smaller batteries, but their approach with an altered full-size motor that can still provide plenty of torque is one of the better solutions out there.
The moment you start pedaling, it doesn't feel like a huge compromise that Shimano's EP8-RS motor only comes with a maximum torque of 60Nm. Most of the time you are moving the bike within a range that isn't using its maximum power anyway. The bike also doesn't feel under-powered with Orbea's custom algorithm, which builds most of its power at a later point of cadence compared to an EP8's regular setup.
In some regards, people might even have an easier time handling the Rise in technical uphill sections. Due to its lower overall weight, it's easier to finesse over roots and rocks, and together with that gradual power buildup the bike is easy to control. Even when climbing over wet roots in the rain the bike didn't spin out, and still had enough push to make its way up the hill without stalling out. I've also never ridden an e-bike before where it was so easy to side lift the rear wheel or work on your trial skills in slow uphill sections.
Having said that, with Orbea's setup the bike takes longer to get up to speed when starting in a higher gear. In case of an incline, that effect becomes even more noticeable, so you have to pay more attention to gear choice, just as you would with your regular bike. Comparing a regular e-MTB next to the Rise, the more powerful setup of course offers a bit more punch, and trying to keep up with it on the uphills with the Rise requires more effort on your end, but the difference isn't dramatic. I can see both concepts getting along rather well on rides together.
You can talk about the bike's uphill qualities all day long, but it's the downhill where the lower weight really comes into play. My medium-sized M-Team spec with more downhill-capable tires came to a weight of 17.9kg (39.5 lb) without pedals. You don't even give much or any thought to the fact that you're sitting on an e-bike - the Rise is that responsive, playful and easy to handle. Thinking that you could shave another 1.7kg off with a top spec is unreal, although those components would not necessarily emphasize the bike's downhill capabilities. Nevertheless, the Rise more or less allows you to ride the way you'd be used to from your regular trail bike. Front wheel lifts, quick balance shifts and even bunny hops come rather natural.
Just like the Occam, the Rise is a capable, balanced and fun trail machine that carries speed competently and doesn't shy away from more challenging enduro trails. I assume that when things get really rough and fast at the same time that the 140 mm of travel will limit the rider in some regards, but with my setup with capable tires, a larger volume spacer in the rear shock and longer 150mm travel 36 fork up front the bike felt composed when pushing it in wet conditions. All said and done, I'd love to see Orbea's RS concept in a version of the Rallon with more travel and more aggressive geometry.
One of the few compromises of the RS concept is that it doesn't allow you to remove the battery, so in if you don't have a charging port near where you store your bike or don't have that option on the road, it might be a pain to fill up your battery. Also, even though it was less noisy and therefore less annoying than on the two test bikes I've ridden with regular EP8 motors
before, I still noticed the mechanical rattling from the motor.
In terms of the RS system's reach, it seemed like even riding predominantly in Boost and Trail mode battery drain wouldn't be dramatically far off from a regular Shimano setup with a 630Wh battery, or something in between a 504Wh and 630Wh battery, so Orbea's prediction might hold true. That's considering my low weight of 55kg; not knowing how the RS concept reacts to higher rider weights and if it also only devours about 15% more energy for a 75kg rider, as I've found out with the regular EP8 setup. It would be interesting to see how the Orbea-sourced battery with 21700 cells handles its charge until fully drained.
As for riding in Eco mode, I can't say a whole lot about it, other than I had to work a lot more to keep the bike's speed up. Since I usually don't ride that mode often and didn't have much riding time available, I didn't spend more than just a few minutes riding it. I can totally see people even enjoying this ride mode, though. A little bit of help to spend a day with 4000 meters of altitude gain does sound like an epic adventure.
Since the app integration of the RS wasn't available in Shimano's E-Tube Project app, we had to mount the extra Shimano display to try out the more powerful setup of profile 2's settings. The difference in power output isn't dramatic, but enjoying the extra bit of push and when most of the time not looking to finish a ride with those 4000 meters in altitude, it would probably be the setting I'd predominantly use. Again, it would be interesting to see how those two profiles compare to each other in terms of reach.
After such a short amount on the bike I don't want to come up with a final verdict, but I will say I really like the new breed of lighter e-bikes with capable range and power. Orbea's approach seems solid, and while the concept doesn't claim to replace all regular e-bikes (and I still also like very much what those have to offer), I have a feeling that there are a whole lot of people out there that are looking for exactly the ride experience that the Rise can offer.