Orbea Loki 27+ H-LTD - Review

Mar 14, 2016
by Vernon Felton  




Loki, if you’re not down with the whole mead-drinking, 12-sided-dice-tossing Norse mythology set, was the Norse god of general douchebaggery; as such, Loki was keen on deceiving others by changing his shape whilst bringing the chaos, which, in a roundabout fashion, brings us to Orbea’s new line of Loki 27+ bikes—bikes that shape-shift a bit themselves by virtue of being compatible with both 29er and 27+ wheel and tire combos. All of the Loki models follow the same basic blueprint—slack head angle, long-ish top tube, low bottom bracket, 120-millimeter travel fork. As far as hardtails go, the Loki 27+ appears to be a hard-charging brute.

Loki 27+ H-LTD Details

• Intended use: trail
• Wheel size: 27+ and 29"
• Head angle: 67°
• Hydro-formed, triple-butted aluminum frame
• 73mm threaded bottom bracket
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Weight (as shown, size L w/o pedals): 30.6 pounds (13.87 kg)
• MSRP: $2,999 USD
www.orbea.com / @orbea

There are three Loki 27+ models in the 2016 Orbea line-up, ranging in price from $1,499 to $2,999 USD. We tested the top-shelf Loki 27+ H-LTD version, which sports the same aluminum frame, decked out in a fairly pimped-out parts kit that includes a (largely) Shimano XT 1x11 drivetrain, Fox 34 Float Factory fork, RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post and Orbea’s own Ready 27+ 40c wheelset.


Riding and detail shots of the Orbea Loki
ISCG05 tabs allow you to run a chain guide and/or taco bash.
Riding and detail shots of the Orbea Loki
Every time I see a threaded bottom bracket, my faith in mankind is restored. At the very least, the bike won't creak.


Frame Details

The Loki 27+ features an all-aluminum frame that gets a whole lot of hydroforming love. The only tube that gets the old-school, round-profile treatment, really, is the seat tube, and even that tube bends as it nears the bottom bracket shell in order to help improve tire clearance. The Loki 27+ is, to put it simply, a pretty thing. Not digging the baby blue color? You can also get this thing in Darth Vader-y black or a fetching bumble-bee paint scheme.

But there’s more than swoopy and fluted tubes at play here. The Loki sports ISCG 05 tabs, for everyone who wants to run a chain guide or, at the very least, a taco bash guard. The frame also features plenty of ports to cleanly route shifter cables and rear brake line, though there is a bit of external routing here and there. The dropper post line, for instance, routes its way along the top of the downtube before diving into the seat tube. Similarly, the last foot or so of rear brake line rolls along the non-drive side chainstay on its way to the brake caliper. All in all, however, it’s a fairly clean and hassle-free setup. No birds’ nests under the bottom bracket on this one.


Riding and detail shots of the Orbea Loki
Can't get enough front derailleur in your life? The Loki's removable front-derailleur mount allows you to go either 1x or 2x.
Riding and detail shots of the Orbea Loki
While I didn't run into tire clearance issues with the stock Maxxis Chronicle 3.0 tires, a more aggressively-lugged 3.0 tire might prove a tight squeeze between those seatstays


Here’s where some people begin gnashing their teeth over backwards compatibility (or lack thereof)—Orbea gave the Loki 27+ Boost 148 rear spacing, ostensibly to keep the rear end reasonably tidy (16.9 inches/430 millimeters) while still providing clearance for 27x3.0 or 29x2.4 tires—even when you’re running a front derailleur. And, yes, the Loki does front derailleurs as well. While our model is running a 1x11 set up, Loki 27+ frames also sport removable front derailleur mounts, so you can get all 2x on this thing, if that’s how you roll.


Geometry

The Loki 27+ is no crusty throwback. The Spaniards aimed to make a completely up-to-date rig, as evidenced by the relatively slack head-tube angle (67 degrees), low bottom bracket (12 inches/307 millimeters), long top tube (24.4 inches/621 millimeters) and tidy chain stays (16.9-inches/430-millimeters). What does all this geo wankery actually add up to on the trail? A bike that doesn't feel nervous in the least when the descents grow steep and tight.

Orbea Loki geo


Specifications
Specifications
Release Date 2016
Price $2999
Fork Fox 34 Float Factory 120 FIT4 3-Position Adjust Kashima QR15x110 Boost
Headset FSA 1-1/8 - 1-1/2" Integrated
Cassette Shimano XT M8000, 11-42
Crankarms Race Face Aeffect SL
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT M8000
Chain Shimano HG701
Shifter Pods Shimano XT M8000
Handlebar Race Face Aeffect 35mm Riser 760mm
Stem Race Face Aeffect 35mm interface
Brakes Shimano M506 Hydraulic Disc
Wheelset Orbea Ready 27+ 40c Disc Tubeless ready
Tires Maxxis Chronicle 3.0" 60 TPI TLR Exo
Seat Fizik Gobi M5
Seatpost RockShox Reverb 31.6x385mm Stealth

Riding and detail shots of the Orbea Loki
12x148mm rear spacing helps keep the chainstay length to a reasonable 430mm and still allow for a front derailleur.





Setup

Dialing in a hardtail ain’t exactly rocket science. Generally, it’s simply a matter of getting the sag right on your fork and riding off into the sunset. To that end, the Fox 34 Float Factory is dead simple to set up. I set my sag at 25 percent, adjusted the compression damping a bit and was good to go. Tire pressure, though, whew…it’s absolutely make or break on a plus-size bike like this one. Sure, tire pressure is always key on any bike, but there’s no point at all of even mucking about with these balloon tires if you’re not getting just the right amount of compliance from the tire. Doing so without also getting an unnerving amount of tire roll in the corners takes a bit of trial and error.

I wound up settling on 12 psi up front and 13 psi out back. Unlike a “normal” 2.3 or 2.4-inch tire, being off by just two or three psi in either tire results in an absolutely horrid experience on the trail. A little too high and you’re getting your fillings rattled out of your head. A little too low and your sphincter gets a workout every time you come off a jump or hit a corner hot and your tires suddenly feel like they want to travel in a direction you’re not actually pointing the bike at. Get tire pressure just right, however, and it’s a whole ‘nother story.

Riding and detail shots of the Orbea Loki
No surprise - you put a lightweight tire with a massive footprint on a bike and the climbing traction is unreal. The Loki 27+ scales the steeps with ease.

Climbing

The Loki 27+ is no cross-country racer. With a weight creeping towards 31 pounds, it’s downright “big boned” by hardtail standards and, let’s be blunt, even heavier than some of the 150-millimeter travel super bikes out there. And yet despite all that, this thing absolutely rips up climbs. Sitting down. Standing. Moshing about like some kind of drunken fool—the bike really doesn’t care what you are doing up there in the cockpit. If your heart is beating and you can turn the pedals, the Loki 27+ just heads up the hill with you aboard it.

Those three-inch Maxxis Chronicle tires simply hook up. There are more aggressively-lugged plus-tires out there, but the Chronicle’s big footprint negates the need for massive tractor-style crown blocks. I routinely cleaned stretches of trail that normally leave me cursing. At least, that’s true in conditions ranging from dry to sorta-wet. In absolute downpours, the Chronicle is less effective at getting you up and over techy bits of climbs, but that’s generally true of just about any tire during monsoon season.

Don’t get me wrong—billy-goat XC racer types, hell bent on destroying Strava KOMs, should opt for a different rig entirely, but if your goal is simply to get to the top, the Loki 27+ gets you to the summit with far more grace than its weight might suggest.


Riding and detail shots of the Orbea Loki
Plus-size hardtails aren't going to magically make rear suspension obsolete - at high speeds, the limits of an undamped air spring make themselves known, but descending on the Loki 27+ is still a lot of fun.

Descending

When the plus-size hardtails began rolling out at Sea Otter 2015, there was some fairly giddy talk from certain quarters about how strapping those big tires to hard tails might make them so capable that they'd one day replace shorter-travel full-suspension trail bikes altogether. Well, look, I think we all knew that was a bit of bullshit. Put a massive tire on a hardtail and it’s still a friggin’ hardtail. It doesn’t become some kind of magical unicorn that eats rear shocks for breakfast. To that end, if you’re going mach-chicken into a boulder field on the Loki, the rad factor diminishes quickly. As with any hardtail, you’re going to find that the rear wheel is off dancing to its own evil tune when you’d like it to be placidly sticking to the ground beneath you.

Adding a bigger tire to the mix does add a surprising amount of control and stability—and I’ll beat that drum a bit more in a second or two—but an undamped air spring quickly shows its limitations on successive big hits. The Loki is better than most hardtails when you're blazing along at eye-watering speeds down uber-technical terrain, but it’s not some new, magic-carpet ride. There are definite limits to what a mid-fat tire can do. So, now that we’ve dispensed with that, let’s talk about where the bike shines.

Riding and detail shots of the Orbea Loki
bigquotes Adding a bigger tire to the mix adds a surprising amount of control and stability, but an undamped air spring quickly shows its limitations on successive big hits.


The Loki 27+ truly comes into its own on rolling, technical trail. To put it plainly, it’s a hell of a lot more fun than you might expect. Orbea nailed the geometry on this thing. The roomy cockpit imparts a confident, centered feel to the ride. The bottom bracket is nice and low (and it’s lower than the spec sheet suggests, since the tires sag significantly once you’re astride the bike). The 67-degree head angle sounds a bit slack, but never led to excessive wheel flopping on steep climbs and, more to the point, gave the bike a very neutral feel on steep, techy descents. There are bikes with shorter chainstays, but Orbea’s done a bang up job here as well. The end result is a bike that can be easily threaded through tight and chunky sections of trails. There isn’t a crappy, blown-out downhill switchback that this bike hasn’t met and loved.

So, yeah, it’s a nimble little number, but those big tires add an interesting twist to the Loki’s ride since they also allow you to ignore the smart line entirely and plow, instead, into and over all manner of things on the trail that you'd normally avoid like the plague. “Forgiving” sorta sums things up, but still doesn’t do the Loki justice. Is this a good thing or bad thing?

Doubtless, there will be people who argue that plus-size tires merely dumb down the ride and allow for people with shit skills to do things they shouldn’t do. I'm familiar with that argument, but having once made the same pitch against both suspension forks and rear suspension (two things you'd now have to pry from my cold, dead fingers), I’m loathe to dismiss an emerging breed of bikes just because we haven’t used them before or, moreover, because they haven’t fully come into their own yet. Plus-size tires make this Orbea hardtail a lot more fun to ride on a lot more trails....and I am completely copacetic with that.



Riding and detail shots of the Orbea Loki
Shimano has earned a reputation for reliable brakes, but I was expecting, at a minimum, SLX spec at this price.
Riding and detail shots of the Orbea Loki
The Kashima-coated Fox 34 Float Factory 120 fork, on the other hand, is a nice, stout bit of spec.

Component Check

• Wheels and Tires: Orbea equips the Loki 27+ with an in-house wheelset. Both the hubs and wide, shallow rims are of Orbea’s own design. No complaints there—they stayed true and got the job done. The Maxxis Chronicle tires are outstanding in dry conditions, okay in mild rain and a bit freaky in truly sloppy mud. There were a few sobering, hydroplaning moments when I hit peanut-butter consistency mud at high speeds. Since nobody’s 3.0 tire seems to actually be the same size, choose carefully when it's time to retread this bike—tire clearance will be scarce with some of the meatier models out there.

• RockShox Reverb Dropper Post: I’ve long been a fan of the Reverb’s infinite travel and consistency, but was surprised and a bit frustrated by a leak in the remote assembly on this particular post. It was easily remedied when I returned to my work bench, but it rendered the post inoperable mid ride when the thing started dribbling 2.5wt suspension fluid.

• Shimano XT / Race Face Aeffect 1x11 drivetrain: Shimano’s XT rear shifter and Direct Mount rear derailleur bang out precise and consistent shifts. There’s also plenty of granny gear to go around, given the 28-tooth ring that graces the Race Face Aeffect crankset.


Riding and detail shots of the Orbea Loki

Pinkbike's Take:

bigquotes The Loki 27+ is a little ripper of a hardtail, capable of being ridden hard over terrain normally reserved for all-mountain bikes. That says a lot. Personally speaking, the Loki wouldn't ever replace my favorite full-suspension bike, but I'm a squishy-bike kind of guy. If you, on the other hand, favor the simplicity of a hardtail and are looking for a bike that offers a bit more versatility and capability, the Loki delivers with good spec, dialed frame geometry and an ability to play nice with both 29er and 27+ wheels and tires. - Vernon Felton




Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this review




About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 44 • Height: 5'11” • Inseam: 32" • Weight: 175lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
In 1988 Vernon started riding mountain bikes—mainly to avoid the people throwing cans of Budweiser at him during his road rides. At some point, roughly when Ronald Reagan was president and Hüsker Dü was still a band, he began loving mountain bikes on their own terms. Vernon Felton spends most of his time riding bikes, thinking about bikes, thinking about riding bikes and then riding some more on the wet and filthy trails of Bellingham, Washington. If it has a greasy chain and two wheels on it, he’s cool with it. Except for recumbents. Well, okay, maybe those too. Nah, forget it. No recumbents.



142 Comments

  • + 171
 So it can be a 29er orbea 27+?
  • + 4
 Nice One ^^^
  • + 27
 I would be very loki to have this bike in my quiver.
  • + 22
 On the plus side this is a well spec'd rig for a $3K hardtail
  • + 4
 winner winner chicken dinner!
  • + 3
 loki out for the puns
  • + 7
 Be a lover orbea hater, it appears that plus bikes are here to slay.
  • + 4
 Morpheus is gonna be pissed!
  • + 11
 I Felton the words were good, But the photos were Meagher,
  • - 3
 Diorrbea has quite a rip available. The only isssue is the croud of millionaires willing to purchase? ???????
  • + 6
 I'm glad they offer the frame in black. I like bikes with a color scheme that's a little more loki.
  • - 2
 Loki I really want this bike
  • + 1
 Loki yes
  • + 3
 Something something Loki pun. Yay
  • + 71
 All this 'you have to get the psi right to within 0.6 microns' business. I just run 30psi in my minions, I don't care about your opinions
  • + 15
 Mountainbiking is serious business. #IFHT
  • + 1
 My pump is out by at least 10 psi so I sorta guess
  • + 10
 The highly technical tyre squeeze test works well for me Razz
  • + 0
 PSI makes a big difference dudes, h8 2 br8k it 2 u
  • + 4
 "I just run 30psi in my minions, I don't care about your opinions"

Dope rhymes Beer
  • + 1
 My pump is 7psi off, takes a little calculation.
  • + 1
 I set my tires at an exact pressure at home but I often end up lowering the pressure on the trail.
  • + 1
 Experience has taught me to trust the squeeze test more. I do however try and get the pressure right with the floor pumps dial, but the final fine tunning follows by hand.
  • + 1
 Depends on your pump I guess. Used to have shit pumps all the time, but recently upgraded to Leyzine pump (+-€50) since my old pump blew off the valve at 6 bars while my track bike tyres need 8-10 bars.

Now I actually have an accurate meter on my pump that always works well Razz
  • + 27
 Bike looks killer. My bike is still more fun Smile www.pinkbike.com/photo/13269127
  • + 0
 Gotta agree with Dusty on this......The N9 rules!!!
  • + 8
 canfield makes such kickass stuff, nice rig by the way!
  • + 5
 Damn that is one nice looking bike!
  • - 7
flag Longtravel (Mar 14, 2016 at 13:45) (Below Threshold)
 Minus the dropper post, I like it.....
  • + 3
 This Orbea would be really cool... if there weren't other bikes (like the nimble 9) with just as great geo that don't tip the scale at 31 lbs. Oh, and routing the derailleur along the bottom of the chainstay after internally routing in the DT just makes me question their sanity...
  • + 3
 I have been wanting a bike set up that way for a long time. That's a sick rig.
  • + 4
 Here is another vote for the Nimble 9! You can run 2.8 Fatties even with the rear end slammed to 416mm!

canfieldbrothers.com/canfield-brothers-nimble-9-wtb-trail-blazer-28-275-wheels
  • + 5
 yeap.. new formula for Trail bike = 26'er + steel + 135 rear hubs
  • + 21
 Vernon saying it like it is- thank you for being honest about where this bike excels. I'm getting real sick of every plus size review say "its the best ever! at everything! seriously just buy this bike there's no point to anything else!".

That being said, I think hardtails are an excellent place for plus tires. Like you said, they're still no going to charge as hard as a FS rig, but those big tires can add a ton to the fun factor when you want to get nasty. Thanks for the write-up. Definitely a bike to consider.
  • + 3
 which review ever said that...?
  • + 2
 Here's one:
www.pinkbike.com/news/scott-genius-lt-700-tuned-plus-review-2016.html

Here's another:
www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-reviews/plus-size-wheels-vs-standard-wheels-the-real-scoop-on-the-future-of-mountain-bikes

And half of this one:
nsmb.com/specialized-6fattie-fsr-comp-carbon-dual-tester-review

Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but every experience I've had on full-sus plus bikes has been the latter part of that last NSMB review. Great low speed traction, but wallowy and awkward at speed and in aggressive corners.
  • + 1
 So when I ask you to show me all the "best ever" plus bike reviews being shoved down your throat, you send me to a 1/2 negative NSMB review? Smile

You got one "Yay" who also points out that if the whole thing fails than he'll still have a good 29er. You got one tester who flat out says NO. You got a "plus size tire introduction", and not a bike review that specifically points out the disadvantages and advantages. And then you got RC saying, "Capable, easy to ride, and confidence inspiring".

Seems like a mostly positive mixed bag of opinions. Like this review here...
  • + 0
 So that was 30 seconds of googling, I'm not going to dig up a pile of reviews just for you. As far as pointing out the disadvantages- there was exactly one tester who went beyond "low speed traction, bump compliance, a little less efficient, and maybe not quite as playful".

A good tire review will tell you how a tire differs from it's competitors in very specific ways. What is the impact of nob spacing on cornering, braking, etc? Weight? Sidewall stiffness? How does it match up with the suspension? These are all question that need to be answered for a tire review to be good. Now companies are building up entirely new bikes using a whole new size of tire, and all we get is a few lines about how "its pretty good"? Even this review could have added a lot of details, but at least it's recognizing there are tradeoffs.

Maybe generic platitudes are good enough for you. They aren't for me.
  • - 1
 Generic platitudes? lol. Maybe you should be Gerry the Platypus instead of tsheep.
You haven't tried one of these tires yet to create an opinion of your own, yet you are putting down the more informed opinions of those that have? Come on Gerry. Their descriptions were fine. If they felt vague, maybe its because they dont really feel all That radically different from a "normal" sized tire, and when the conditions permit they actually feel more normal than a conventional size, as loose dusty sometimes crappy conditions become predictable and enjoyable again.
Also, these tires and wheels do not Require a new or specific bike. My preferred local shop has had a wide 27.5 wheelset set up with both 2.8's and 3.0's that people can take out and demo, or at least use to determine if there is clearance, and guess what... They fit a Lot of normal 29'ers with clearance to spare in many instances. You don't Need boost to run them either. 27+ Diameter is slightly smaller than 29 as well, so thats also not a concern. People have tried them, liked them, bought them, passed on them, loved them, but each was able to at least form a real experience based opinion. Maybe you could do this too if you can talk your local shop into it?
The only real offender here is Boost. No great way to get around that. Boost was not needed to accomplish fitting a bigger tire between forks and stays, and its going to be a boundary for a lot of people that might like to try.
Maybe we should start a new club??
I'm claiming it now... 100/142 For Life! ;-)
  • + 1
 Where on earth are you getting the idea I haven't ridden them? I have a Trek Stache in my garage, and have ridden a few other HTs, the Scott genius, mojo HD3, and stumpy 6fattie. As I stated in the original comment, I think it makes sense for HTs, but is terrible for FS bikes. That's based on experience. But please, continue with your unfounded and incorrect assumptions.

Also, Boost, per Trek, had nothing to do with plus sizes. It was originally about making mid and low level 29er wheels stiffer and stronger. They just discovered it worked well with plus sizes. And in a vacuum, it is a better spacing since you can get better clearance, stiffer wheels, and shorter chainstays (in theory). The problem is everyone and their dog already owns 12x142 wheels, and it reeks of planned obsolescence.
  • - 2
 tsheep, your original comment that "every plus review says they are the BEST EVER at everything" is bullshit. You wouldn't have needed to go googling for reviews that supported your bullshit comment if you weren't full of bullshit in the fist place.

All the other points you've brought up in the meantime, some I agree with, some I don't, are just cover for the original bullshit. But just because, I'd like to point out the largest piece of bullshit as related to the topic at hand.

"Even this review could have added a lot of details, but at least it's recognizing there are tradeoffs."

Now that is complete and utter bullshit... cause I've never heard anyone anywhere at any time not be fully aware of tradeoffs to plus. EVERY aspect of mountainbiking has tradeoff's... plus size bikes/tires/etc. are no different.

Course, all of us are full of shit sometimes. So no biggie. Smile
  • + 0
 tsheep, that is quite a revelation. I never would have guessed you actually own the plus-est of all plus bikes when in every article around plus whatever you seem to be very conflicted yet curious about them, and never a mention that you actually have any experience with them. Which I find just a bit surprising is all.

Now I'm genuinely curious, what details would you like to see added here and feel has been missing from other reviews? I guess I've always been able to extrapolate what I want from reviews and take them for what they are... to Me. Someone can rave about something, but if there is remotely something to baseline against you should be able to tell fairly easily if you will share their opinion when weighing your own personal considerations. Or do people really take everything they read and hear at face value??
Did you read Uncle Dave's review/experience with them? I thought that was a great example of where the platform can shine and make a huge immediate difference. Like everything, there is going to be two sides to the coin. Uncle Dave is the best. Vernon's not bad ;-D
nsmb.com/uncle-dave-eats-27-5-crow
  • + 1
 Dearest brave internet luminary Metacomet-
I also own a DH bike, but I'm curious and conflicted about other DH bikes. In addition, I own an AM and an XC bike, and am curious and conflicted about other AM and XC bikes as well. Are you surprised by this too? Does the color of your oatmeal in the morning surprise you? How about the smoothness of the pavement on the drive to work? Oh, and my stache is running 2.8" 650b nobby nics, so it's about the barest minimum "plus" you can get. Which is why I like to use that tire for, say, the procore example, because I happen to have direct experience with it. I can't tell though, are you insinuating something? If so, cut the passive aggressive crap and state it (but no, you don't get pictures, had a bike stolen that way).

What is the review missing? Well, it did an okay job of discussing tradeoffs, and at least recognized that some of the issues with plus size are inherent to bigger tires. For example, it at least recognized that putting a big balloon tire is basically like putting an undamped air spring on your bike. Sure it may suck up small chatter, but if you hit a rock or root garden at speed, things are going to go sideways in a hurry. Which, as Felton notes, makes all the talk about replacing shorter FS bikes complete BS. I would like to see a bit more talk about cornering, which I've felt is the single biggest area plus tires fall short in. Maybe there's a trick to it? Maybe not?

As for the uncle dave review, I too love uncle dave but that is the perfect example of everything wrong with plus reviews. Pros: EVERYTHING. Cons: tire selection sucks right now. He states he ate shit in a berm, but there's not any connection that maybe, just maybe, the tires had something to do with it. Also "made the non-plus genius seem silly and archaic". That's quite the statement- maybe some non-plus genius owners would take issue? I was able to demo the genius LT + for an afternoon, and frankly I cannot disagree more with dave. It was the least versatile non-DH bike I've ridden. It had great low speed traction, but still was a 160mm AM bike. Which means it still gets spanked on the climbs by any trail/XC bike. On the descents, again, great low speed traction, but plus size tires roll like a dog in corners, and as mentioned earlier are terrible at hitting rock gardens. So it was neither a better AM bike than existing AM bikes, nor a better trail bike than existing trail bikes. Ironically, it might be good on uncle dave's home trails on the north shore, where speeds are low, drops are big, and traction is at a premium, but Deer Valley? The list of bikes I would find more appropriate for that terrain is quite long.
  • + 3
 Very cool. Was not trying to come across passive aggressive or insinuating. Was actually being genuine with a bit of humor is all. Maybe I was provoking the discussion with some smart-assed sarcasm in the beginning though. I kind of like the ring of brave internet luminary... haha
Now its great to hear more about your opinions, experiences and comparisons. Maybe Vernon couldn't elaborate more on the tires themselves specifically because he didn't already have a baseline +tire to judge against and draw a comparison from?
  • + 2
 Sigh, now you're being reasonable and a cool person. Dammit I need more coffee... ride on buddy.
  • + 1
 Just gotta say, @tsheep has a point about most of the plus reviews. They are absolutely full of "generic platitudes" (perfect description, btw). @stiingya, perhaps he was being a bit sweeping with his initial remarks, but you have to admit he has a point
  • + 11
 Hi Vernon, I´m riding that exact bike (medium) just now and love it. Great review. The bike´s a blast on technical trails. I´ve not tried anything super rocky yet but on tight, steep, rooty trails it´s amazing. I´ve just built a nasty trail on the hill outside my house and the Loki is just loving it.

One thing. I´ve got a decent set of scales and my bike is coming in at 27lbs plus or minus a little bit. Is the weight you quote with the standard build? Are you sure about it? If so I´m going to replace my scales! I thought that the scales weight I had matched up with the hand held test.
  • + 8
 Hey, Doug, dead sure on the weight. Weighed it a couple times on the Feedback Sports digital scale and, after reading your comment, ran out to the porch in my underwear and weighed it again. Same weight. That said, the bike does ride lighter than the scale suggests and, at the end of the day, it's one of those bikes, as you know from riding the thing, that is more about mixing it up and having fun than about counting grams or winning any kind of race in which Lycra bib shorts are the common denominator. Yeah, it's a fun bike.
  • + 4
 I thought you would have got it right! I guess it´s a bit of difference with the Medium frame and then the rest must be my scales. I´ll get a new set this weekend and check my weight again.

Sorry about getting you out in your underwear!
  • + 3
 No worries. It gave the neighbor something to talk to her shrink about in their next weekly appointment.
  • + 1
 I have the same bike in L and I get about 29lbs. Only difference are my XT brakes, but that won't make much difference.
  • + 13
 Awesome to see Vernon putting some material out with some wit and good humour. Great move for Pinkbike to get him on board. BIke looks sick too.
  • + 9
 I'm gonna be that guy here, 3 grand? Hardtail? Deore brakes? Shitty tire clearance? 30+lbs? Whoever set the price must have figured their crack addiction into the equation lol no thanks you can get a mid spec'd fully for that price with better brakes and a couple pounds lighter. Plus size shouldn't mean plus extra cash for absolutely nothing other than some semi fat tires.
  • + 1
 What's wrong with Deore brakes?
  • + 5
 There is nothing wrong with them but being it's a 3 thousand dollar bike there is alot wrong with them being deore.
  • + 5
 Past that, they're not even the top spec deore, they're the m506 not the 615. The 575 is only £70 new as it is, on a 3 grand alu ht that does take the piss a bit. By way of comparison iirc the lowest spec Giant Reign is around that price, full sus at a similar weight.
  • + 2
 *615 not 575
  • + 2
 Well I'm "that guy" too. No one is convincing me this bike can be a good deal.
With this kind of money,and if you want a hardtail,you can pick a very nice cromoly frame,some very good wheels and components and build a way better bike.
  • + 1
 I just picked up a 2012 Reign 1 at the beginning of the year for a thousand bucks and it weighs 29.5lbs. Its not a plus bike or 27.5 but its got a tapered headtube and thats all I cared about lol it's been great on the trails so far loving this mid winter/spring in southern Ontario!!!!
  • + 1
 Mild**
  • + 7
 Fair enough. Looks sweet, I love the lines on that frame. Neat color scheme on the fork as well. I'd love to own one. I am just a bit disappointed that Vernon didn't throw any food to the "Hardtail makes you a better rider" troll feast.
  • + 3
 They may not make you a better rider... but I'll tell you right now if you're a wild on the weekend, mild trails during the week type rider, a plus hardtail makes those weekday rides a ton more fun...
  • + 3
 I would think as you are the only one who mentioned it trolling belong'em you...
  • + 5
 It ain't the components so can someone break down where all that weight come from?

- frame?
- fork?
- wheels?
- tires?

31lbs seems like a lot. What does it weight setup as a 29er with light wheels and tires?
  • - 5
flag ryan83 (Mar 14, 2016 at 13:50) (Below Threshold)
 Must be, my fat bike with near identical components (Bluto fork) and 4.8" tires weighs 32.5 lbs with pedals. Not exactly the part of the bike to have your weight but hey...you'll look really cool and be able to talk down on all those losers with their tiny 2.35 tires.
  • + 2
 Good point...the Chronicle 3.0" are like a kilo a piece and the in house rims might not be the lightest...steel axle on the rear hub like the lower end shimanos? Dunno, it does seem heavy for a ally hardtail even with the big tyres. Cool looking bike though.
  • + 1
 That number caught me off guard as well. I think we're getting used to seeing weights on carbon bikes. This one is aluminum. So that's part of it. But it does seem really heavy. I've got a 15 year old Azonic DS-1 with a Jr. T on it... 2x. Weighs 35 pounds. This should be less than 30...
  • - 3
 My fat bike is 28 pounds with pedals. My 29er full suspension is 26 pounds. My carbon 650B full suspension is about 24 pounds. I am looking to add a plus to the stable this year, I'm not particular set on hardtail or dually, but its gotta be under 30 pounds complete.
  • + 2
 It has to be a combo of the tires and frame. And those 11 speed cassettes are heavy as well.
  • + 1
 I feel like this an overestimate My cheap BD steel frame fatbike with similar parts weighs 34lbs, no dropper
  • + 1
 Cassette is probably cheap and adds 200 grams, reverb is half a pound heavier than a house branded seat post, deore brakes are like hundred grams over XT, AEffect stuff isn't that light, so components are probably a pound or two heavier than usual spec...plus wheels and tires. Still kinda sad that's the weight for 3k when my 170mm free ride bike weighed 32 pounds with a dropper and pedals...
  • + 1
 Specs say the cassette is an M8000, not a cheapo one. 150g over its 10spd predecessor? That frame cannot weigh that much, it's made of aluminium and there's nothing to it! I had a quick look at the Aeffect stuff - it's not heavy, it's pretty light, the cranks in particular. Unless the frame is filled with water I can't work out how this thing weighs that much..? Even then...
  • - 3
 Funny I've never had a fat biker pass me while im on my Reign but I've passed quite a few fat bikes lol. Nothing to brag about...
  • + 2
 Wheels and tires Thom. I'll bet that's a bunch of the weight. I think I need another hard tail. So many nice ones to choose from. Samurai 650?
  • + 2
 Yeah I guess it is just the wheels and tyres after all but it still seems a bit heavy. I do tend to be critical of hardtails that cost over a grand though, maybe over 30lbs isn't so bad if it's what you're after. Not sure I could pay that much money knowing that - no matter how well it climbs - but I don't think I'm the target market.
  • + 2
 I've passed plenty of overbiked people flow trails with my fatbike.

One guy even said "are you fcking kidding me?!"

I take it to the jump lines, too. It's just a hardtail with big tires.

Rider and setup are still like 80% of the equation
  • + 0
 I never said you can't go fast on fat bike dude, I said "I've" never been passed by a fat bike on the trails.
  • + 2
 You said that fatbikes are nothing to brag about, as in they're slow. They're not. It just happens roadies ride them in the winter and give the rest of us bad names with their poor mtb skills.
  • - 1
 I was more talking looks beacause the guys I see riding them look ridiculous lol. I mean if you have skill on a mtb already by all means but the guys im seeing are yuppies that didn't have anything better to spend their money on so they putt around the trails at like 2 km an hour thinking they're cool lol. It is funny watching them hit rooty sections though!!!
  • + 1
 @UtahBikeMike, roadies definitely give y'all a bad name, but here's my logic - I don't hate on fat bikes just because, and I much prefer to bike than to ski, despite the amazing ski options that persist for the majority of the year (Oct-July) where I live (you probably have a similar situation). That being said, if the snow is soft and deep enough to necessitate 5 inch tires, wouldn't you just pull out the skins and tech bindings and ski some pow? I'm on a bmx bike as soon as the snow melts in the streets, I'm riding snowy trails early and late season (and I could even see the benefit of a 2.8-4in tire for those times in late fall and early spring), but I have just never seen the appeal of simply riding a fatbike in the snow as my winter "mtb" riding. I see the appeal for trekking and bike assisted ski touring and all that, but every time I see my buddies out fat biking at the local xc ski trails, they're going a lot slower than the skate skiers, albeit they look like they're having more fun than most of the guys on classic skis. If I was still an xc racer, maybe I could get with it, but again, why not just ski when you live near decent snow and tall enough hills?

Just my .02. Perhaps you can offer a retort to my comments. Oh, and regardless of what anyone thinks about fat bikes, I'm still stoked to see people out riding all year. We've got a local pro who can be found at 5:30am, in a blizzard, riding up the interstate towards the national forest, where he will proceed to ride for hours before heading back to town.

enough rambling for me in the PB comments for today...
  • + 1
 I always get the "why wouldn't you just ski/board/dogsled instead?" Ritort.

Fact of the matter is that when snowboarding is good, I go do that. Riding pow on a bike sucks, so does hiking in balls deep powder.

When the biking is good, the snowboarding sucks. It's usually super icy and cold, and I hate snowboarding on ice.

I can't ski anymore due to some knee injuries, so xc skiing is out but it's pretty similar to fatbiking conditions wise and energy output.

Also, unless your riding groomed snow or really wet, frozen snow. 5" tires are the way to go. I only ride 4" tires in the spring/fall when it's sloppy and i dont feel like getting my nice bike all dirty.
  • + 5
 it should be said that orbea do, some build to order options, so you can ditch the non-series brakes, and get XT ones, but they do charge like £80-90 for the upgrade.
  • + 5
 a 28t chainring is a granny ring but I guess its needed when it weighs that much
  • - 5
flag Scotj009 (Mar 14, 2016 at 13:24) (Below Threshold)
 Dude that's not a bad weight at all for that amount of rubber and wheels... I'd go as far to say that's pretty damn light for a bike like this and having riding one it feels a hell of a lot lighter than that and not to mention its an absolute blast to ride!
  • + 6
 The inner tubes can also double up as rubber rings if you're at the beach
  • + 2
 The 30+ lbs. is probably not right unless it's got parts made of rare earth magnets. My Stache 29+ with similar components, including dropper post and suspension fork, weighs in at 26.5 lbs. Either way, it's a nice looking bike and looks like a really fun ride. There is something to be said for crashing through lines and blasting over stuff that you would normally avoid, although it does seem a little like cheating. But it's not, and I don't care anyway because it is just so dang fun! Even when the rear end gets a little sketchy.
  • + 4
 I love it when the rear end gets sketchy, you can tell when i do cause that's when I start giggling like a fat kid who just locked himself in the closet with his brother's birthday cake...
  • + 2
 Boost or the trend to wider tyres and wheels are interesting developments but 27.5+ (and 29+ and 26 fat) take tyre profiles in the wrong direction. Experience in motocross tyres (and racing tyres generally) has shown time and again that moving to lower profiles (reduced sidewall to tyre radius ratio) is broadly the right approach to improve traction and sidewall stability. 27.5+ goes in the wrong direction by increasing sidewall height! In geometry terms the Loki is quite similar to a 29er. It would be better by far to just widen a standard profile 29er tyre producing a genuine 'low profile' tyre with a carefully designed sidewall structure that could offer real improvements in traction. For the same reason 29+ (and 26 fat which uses a similar overall tyre diameter) is also just another ill considered idea. The kind of tyre that could make the Trek Stache into something truly interesting is a properly designed wide tyre fitted to a larger diameter rim resulting in the same 30.5ish inch diameter tyre as the bike currently has but with the benefits offered by low profile tyre design.
  • + 1
 So, I see a lot of complaints about the Deore brakes and overall unfavorable view of the pricing.
Sure, $3k is a fair amount for a hardtail, but it's dressed out with some pretty nice parts.
Plus-sized hardtails with decent spec are mostly around this price range. If (leaning towards when...) I buy a 27+, the Loki is near the top of my list.
Nicely written overview, @vernonfelton !
  • + 1
 Thanks @Losifer. The brakes (these are actually a notch below Deore, but quite similar) aren't bad, it's just that at $3K, you expect something with a bit more on-the-fly adjustability, though since we're talking about Shimano brakes here, that is mainly a matter of reach adjustment. Anyhoo, Orbea did invest where it counts: well-designed frame, great suspension fork, good drivetrain, good dropper (though ours did develop a leak) and burly wheels. I just found myself thinking, "Man, I'd happily pay another $30 or $40 on the overall sticker price for slightly swankier brakes. That, of course, is the consumer in me. I know product managers are constantly struggling to bring a bike in at the exact "right" price point--they have a hard row to hoe, for sure.
  • + 1
 Anyone else find the self-steer of the Chronicles terrible? They roll fast, but I had to run mine at about 20 or so psi which takes a lot of fun out of a 3" tire. These are pretty much the pressures I run on regular tires, which suprised me as I'm running wide rims etc.. They seem to get glowing reviews, so maybe I'm weird.
  • + 2
 @vernonfelton says you're about 175? I'm about 205 before waterbags & shoes and 13psi is way lower than I'm comfortable using these things on anything but a straight line.
  • + 2
 hey, @JesseE, yup 13 PSI. Perhaps if I was catching a ton of air I'd opt to go higher, but nope, that was perfect. Tried the tires at 1 PSI increments up to 17 PSI--it gets punishing real fast. I think I was running, for comparison's sake, about 15 PSI in the 2.8 Nobby Nics that came on the Ibis Mojo 3. The key thing here is that each tire is, at this point in the evolutionary process, radically different than the next. I've seen 2.8 tires that look like much bigger than the next company's 3.0 tire. What makes sense on this tire, on this bike, is going to be different than what makes sense with a slightly different tire, even on the same frame. It's the wild west as far as plus size tires go. By contrast, I generally run my 2.4 tires at about 24 PSI.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton thanks for the feedback. It really is the wild west out there. Amazingly you runny your big tires lower than I would with any level of confidence, but skinny tires the same as me. Wacky. I don't actually get a lot of big air. It's the offer camberspeed stuff that felt sketchy.
  • + 1
 I run the chronicle tires on my rigid 29+, and they work well at the right pressure. Old school trick, sit on the tire and look at the flex. You can set the "sag" this way to avoid squirmy or overly bouncy tires. I rode the Devinci Hendrix at Interbike, and it came with the Chronicles, Broke loose too easy for a plus sized FS bike, so I recommend the Nobby Nic 2.8 or WTB Bridger & Trail Boss for aggressive riding on a dually. Also, I have been running the Vee Trax fatty 3.0 on my E-29 (rear) for 6 months with no issues other than broken spokes occasionally. Great sidewall, and fast rolling!
  • + 1
 My problem with mine is that my feet and legs constantly hit the rear triangle unless I make a concious effort to correct for it. That and being a bigger I can actually watch the whole rear half of the bike flex while climbing or track standing. 37" cycling inseam also makes the xl a little on the small size for me still but all that said and even though I'm trading it off toward another bike it is still stupid fun to ride
  • + 1
 I'm worried about this style of bike review - dazzling words and salesmanship descriptions, but absolutely zero comparison to other bikes. Or comparison of these specific tires to other 27.5+ tires, like the NobbyNic. I enjoyed reading the review, but after reflection, it reminds me of Mountain Bike Action - that's not a compliment or an insult just my way of comparing it to an existing product - something more like newsstand fodder.
One picture shows the rider taking a rooty left-hand corner. That looks like recipe for washout. Break it down - how exactly did this bike track over the roots? How did your normal bike manage the corner? Swap the wheels (29") or tires on the Loki and ride the same corner.
I'm just challenging you to elevate. What is the purpose of this review to the reader?
  • + 1
 Motivated, I shot Vernon on that switchback about 6 times and he cleaned it each time--slightly wet off camber roots and all. Line choice kind of didn't matter: outside to inside, or inside to outside. I tried that same switchback on an Intense 27.5 full squish bike and while I cleaned it, it wasn't pretty. Likely the camera bag on my back didn't help. But it was frustrating following Vernon's lines again and again and getting caught in #ohshitmoments as he more or less charged into the kind of root filled lines that I routinely avoid in the slightly damp conditions we had that day. All pics of that corner and the rest of the terrain that we rode (that was the last shot of the day) are in the image gallery link at the end of the article--I think that'll show how the bike tracked over roots. And I think the last paragraph sums up the purpose of the review.
  • + 3
 Motivated, I'm not trying to sell anybody a bike here--I'm just telling people what I thought of the bike. about mI suppose I could have talked a bit about other 27.5+ tires, but I was reviewing the bike as it came equipped. To date, I've spent a lot of time on the Stache Plus bike, the Mojo 3 and this one. I've also fiddled around for a couple rides on the 6Fattie Stumpy and the Salsa Pony Rustler. It doesn't make a ton of sense to compare this hardtail to the full suspension bikes (apples to watermelons) and while I suppose I could compare it to the Trek, I think the review makes more sense if grounded on the basic premise of how does the bike handle vis a vis the larger world of available bikes. For me, the bottom line is really this--I could charge on sections that I normally would not take a hardtail (and actually enjoy doing so). But as I was also clear to point out, big tires are not a replacement for good rear suspension--particularly on any kind of descent that contains lots of hits, in quick succession. Nowwww, having said all of that mildly-defensive crap, I appreciate your feedback. Cheers.
  • + 1
 Great review @vernonfelton! Perfect timing as I'm just waiting for my Loki to arrive. I bought the lower spec version - H30+, 1400€ + 110€ for cheap dropper post - but it's still good enough (frame, wheels, tires are the same) to take off the load of my enduro bike when I am just riding around some local trails. Your review just confirmed my thinking and the 27,5+ hardtail is a perfect second/fun bike with great geometry as I'm not interested in an XC race bike. An added bonus is the compatibility with 29" wheel set...
  • + 4
 Personally not into the + size stuff, but that's a damn good looking bike.
  • + 2
 Spesh enduro 29er- runs 2.5x29 tires, front derailleur, 430mm chainstays... AND HAS 6" OF TRAVEL WITHOUT BOOST
  • + 2
 This bike looks so incredibly fun. and those colors with that fork are sexyy
  • + 0
 Maybe it is just me but I have never been able to run much less than 30 psi due to tire roll when cornering with my EXO Minions. I can't imagine a chubby bike helping me there but I would ride one if given the chance.
  • + 4
 PinkBike... Mag
  • + 1
 That first sentence was paragraph length... Guess legendary writers can get away with run on sentences eh
  • + 1
 92mm PF bottom bracket should be better for 27.5+ frame geometry,considering wheels' tire is 3 inch
  • + 2
 doesn't Morpheus sell a bike called the Loki?
  • + 1
 Love the paint job on that fork. I saw one at my LBS. It's retro and freaking sweet.
  • + 1
 How can you have a kashima coated fork but only Deore brakes! And how can you ever accept Deore brakes on a $3,000 bike!
  • + 1
 Please review the Advocate Hayduke if you can. 27.5+/29? Yup. 142/Boost 148 hub? Sure. SS/Geared? Can do that too.
  • + 2
 Qué manera de destrozar bicicletas con esas ruedas "plus" de mierda.
  • + 3
 How did you make it all the way to the comments without switching to english?
  • + 0
 ¡ja ja ja!
  • + 1
 Un oso polar comió mi burrito. Cabron! Voy a tener hambre hasta mañana
  • + 2
 Haha ¡Cómete al oso! @WAKIdesigns
  • + 3
 Morpheus Loki 27.5
  • + 1
 that's the first that came to my mind,

"isn't there a bike already named that?"
  • + 1
 $1499 for entry level MTB is good..but no 26"? The geometry for a 27.5 and 29er on a size small does not even make sense.
  • + 1
 My LBS have a couple of these in different colours/specs, the look awesome in the flesh.
  • + 1
 Well-written Vernon, as always.
  • + 1
 Can this be run as a single speed?
  • + 2
 Great writing!
  • + 1
 Great writeup and review, Vernon!
  • + 1
 what ever happened to the nitro shock?? 20% faster?
  • + 2
 I like it...
  • + 1
 It's good to see a new Yeti aluminum model.
  • + 0
 Looks like a yeti
  • - 1
 It'll creak, it's a race face bottom bracket!
  • - 3
 Rad! As long as it's not a motorcycle... oh I mean Ebike.
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