First Look: Orbea's Updated Laufey Hardtail

Oct 16, 2023 at 22:56
by Dario DiGiulio  
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Orbea's Laufey has been around for a while now, standing apart from their typical lineup as sort of a do-it-all, down for whatever hardtail. You could build it up as a trail bike, push it more towards the durable XC end of the spectrum, or load it up for bikepacking and take off for a few days. For the updated model, Orbea has modernized the geometry, added in-frame storage, and tried to optimize the frame to reduce chatter and give some compliance to the otherwise rigid rear end. The frame itself is the highlight here, but the build kits have also been refreshed, with a satisfying lack of weird proprietary frame standards.
Laufey Details
• Aluminum frame
• 29" wheels
• In-frame storage
• 140mm fork
• 64.5° head angle
• 77° seat angle
• 427-500mm reach
• 440mm chainstays
• $1,899-$2,999 USD
orbea.com

This isn't the first time we've seen an alloy frame with purported compliance in the rear triangle, and while I'm a bit skeptical, there's something to the construction here. By using relatively skinny tubing, and omitting any sort of seatstay or chainstay bracing, the designers should be able to achieve some degree of compliance relative to an über-stiff construction method. Don't expect any travel from it, but the bumps should be a bit less harsh. I have a hardtail that uses a similar construction technique (Specialized Chisel), and it is a bit less jarring than others I've ridden, though you're still keenly aware when you hit a bump of any size.

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Featuring 0mm of supple rear suspension.
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In-frame storage is still quite rare on hardtails - cool to see.

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Geometry

There's nothing too crazy going on with the Laufey's geometry chart, representing a good synthesis of numbers that we're seeing on many trail-oriented hardtails these days. The reach numbers are well suited to each size, stack heights tall (though that's mostly due to the 65mm bottom bracket drop), and the 64.5° head tube angle should provide sharp handling and solid performance in steeper terrain without steepening up too much as the fork compresses.

The consistent chainstay length across sizes is a bit disappointing, as that really effects the balance and handling of a bike, especially a hardtail where your rear wheel is simply fixed in space regardless of the terrain. Smaller sizes benefit from a shorter stay for handling, and larger sizes might prefer something longer to better balance out the growth in reach. The Medium and Large sizes will probably be well catered to, which does represent the main proportion of the bell curve.

It's not strictly a geometry matter, but the dropper routing on the Laufey is worth highlighting. The seattube is an uninterrupted straight line from saddle to bottom bracket, meaning you could fit as long a dropper as you want, assuming the extension doesn't stick too far above the fairly low seattube lengths. Stock dropper lengths are as follows: Small, 125mm; Medium, 150mm; Large and XL, 175mm.

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Satisfyingly not through the headset.
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Accessory mounts and straight dropper insertion.
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For this.
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And some of this.

Build Kits

There are three build kits available, with a very wide range of parts quality from the low to the high end build. The frame is definitely the most valuable aspect of each build, and each presents a fine starting point to upgrade from, if you're compelled to do so. Luckily the frame's standards allow for a wide range of aftermarket builds, which I'm sure we'll see in short order.

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Laufey H30 // €1,499, $1,899, £1,599 // RockShox Recon RL SoloAir fork, no-name alloy wheels, Shimano Alivio 2-piston brakes, Shimano Deore/KMC/SunRace drivetrain.

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Laufey H10 // €1,899, $2,499, £2,099 // Marzocchi Bomber Z2 fork, no-name alloy wheels, Shimano Deore 2-piston brakes, Shimano Deore/SLX drivetrain.

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Laufey H-LTD // €2,499, $2,999, £2,699 // Fox 34 Fit4 Performance fork, RaceFace AR 30c wheels, Shimano Deore 4-piston brakes, Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain.


Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
192 articles

85 Comments
  • 87 0
 Looks like a great frame, but what a time to be alive when an aluminum deore hardtail is $2500
  • 48 1
 Those no name wheels can’t be cheap
  • 36 14
 Shameless plug- I have an almost new alloy Canfield hardtail with a 140mm new Z2 for sale on Buy/Sell right now. Has a better part spec and I’d sell for $1500 plus shipping.
  • 17 2
 @GPP2117: my name is mior and I approve of this message.
  • 1 0
 @mior: his name is mior, not mior.
  • 5 0
 I find all these new, latest/greatest, bike prices to be so comical. If you can compromise and 'suffer' with getting a 2022 or 2023 model of some bikes, you're gonna get some pretty significant discounts like 30% off or more. The actual state of how things are or are not selling right now vs these ludicrous new MRSP prices, is so disconnected. I figured we may see some reductions of MRSP after covid.
  • 5 0
 CRC has the Ragley blue pig race on clearance now for 2K USD, with a 160 lyrik, XT/SLX drivetrain, SLX 4-piston brakes and nukeproof wheelset (which is an amazingly good/cheap set!)... and a slack steel frame that actually has some compliance, unlike the doubtful claims about this ali bike. Get it now while they're still in business
  • 2 0
 I think that’s how we got to this point where we’ll see which bike brand is still around in 1-2 years. Bye bye Stanton, Guerilla Gravity and now probably Nukeproof and Vitus to name a few. It’s how greed and subsequent bubbles work. I doubt the same will befall Orbea, but I didn’t think it could happen to CRC either.
  • 2 0
 Frame only option, please!
  • 1 0
 @Ryawesomerpm: Most people nowadays either can’t afford the lump sum payment of a used bike or want to keep the money in the bank for a rainy day, so will opt for a low monthly payment on a shiny new bike. Much like cars this let’s bike companies inflate the MRSP because people only care about the monthly.
  • 33 4
 "no name alloy wheels"...aka...we paid chinese kids $.05 an hour to build these...
  • 18 0
 anyone downvoting your comment is a pine cone, because what you stated is absolutely fact
  • 3 0
 I know, wtf are 'no name alloy wheels' anyways? At least you'd expect to see Shimano, novatec, or similar on lower end builds, and maybe some low-end wtb rims or similar, or even self-branded stuff, but complete no-name junk?
  • 3 3
 agree, but then stop bitching about the pricing... cheap stuff comes from cheap products/labor. Everyone wants a highend build for 2000...
  • 1 0
 There are wheel building machines that are used for most cheap wheels, so its tough to say if your right or not...
  • 3 0
 @Ryawesomerpm: the self-branded stuff is usually the no name wheels with a small price premium for printing the logo on, technically in no way superior.
  • 16 0
 We are definitely reaching a geo plateau (which I'm totally fine with) and these seem very much in the now, although, for a full sus. I don't know if I want my effective STA to be like 80 when the bike is sagged, but maybe I'm wrong on that. Just think that dropper is gonna be used on even the slightest descent as the seat is gonna be right up there. Frames looks great regardless.
  • 6 0
 I agree with you that this STA is pushing the limit. I like mine 78° on my enduro fully, but I would prefer a bit more relaxed STA on a hardtail
  • 11 0
 Yeah... It really depends on the trails you're riding. If it's ridiculously steep climbs, the fork won't be sagged much at all and the STA will be appropriate. If you're climbing something like a 10% grade, you'll have a lot of weight on your wrists.

That's one problem with hardtails; they sag most when you don't want it and least when you do. That's why I personally prefer hardtails with shorter (120-130mm) forks. 140mm isn't bad, but some companies are going much longer.

I had a hardtail with very similar geo and ended up switching to a custom frame to get it closer to 66°/76° at sag (also switching from a 140mm fork to a 120mm). It's much more comfortable and a lot more fun on anything but super steep trails.
  • 2 0
 @DaneL: my last hardtail was I think under 76 deg for the STA with a 160 on the front and it felt steep enough that the dropper was used on even the slightest descent as it felt like the seat was way high as the fork would move into its travel. So 78ish will have you going heavy on the bars for sure. I don't mind the longer travel fork on burly terrain, but it's true it does create this scenario on the climbs. For me in the end, I don't like a hardtail on rough terrain, so a 130 is a good happy medium. If I need more, I probably want some on the back too, haha. That said, I had lots of great rides with the 160 on the front, just couldn't cope with how rough it was on the feet at speed over chunk.
  • 19 5
 3k for the top model is a horrible deal - I got a carbon santa cruz chameleon for 3k and it had better parts.
  • 86 1
 Geez one would think you could get some kind of presidential discount at least.
  • 8 0
 Nobody talks apples to apples.

A new aluminum Chameleon, with the same build kit as the Orbea top spec, is $3700USD retail. But instead of SLX/XT and a FIT4 damper on the Orbea you get GX and Grip damper on the Santa Cruz. But otherwise the build specs are near identical.
  • 3 0
 Is there such thing as a carbon Chameleon?
  • 2 4
 @Ryan2949: this was in 2019, to be fair.
  • 2 0
 @jwelch33: Back in 2019, there was. Such a good bike, it was when I was just starting to ride and it was the perfect bike for learning.
  • 1 0
 @jwelch33: there used to be, but the bottom bracket is prone to de-bond from the carbon. They only make aluminum frames now.
  • 1 0
 @FensterM: that actually happened to me, I warrantied it and got a new frame in 2 weeks. 9/10 customer service experience.
  • 1 0
 @joebiden: yeah, it seems like their warranty is very-well supported.
  • 1 0
 @jwelch33: Only carma chameleon as far as i know.
  • 3 1
 @joebiden: You would think the acting president would understand inflation and what has happened to the economy since 2019.
  • 3 0
 @gnarnaimo: Outside of my username joke - inflation in the US has largely been company driven, with companies pushing up prices to increase profits at the expense of the consumer. There has also been a global inflation problem, cross comparing the US with other countries shows we have handled it better than most other countries. This is due to polices by trump and biden, which largely mirror each other, so you cannot criticize one and support the other in economic terms.
  • 1 0
 @joebiden: I don't support either, so we're good Smile
  • 2 0
 @gnarnaimo: awesome, thats been my pet peeve for years. People rush to hate and end up being hypocrites, which is why im looking at moving to new zealand becuase the US is turning into a shitshow.
  • 3 1
 @joebiden: It's the same in EU mate.
All that inflated money doesn't disappear, like water it flows to where most money already is.
Price hikes here have been, well, inflated by a few people profiting enormously.
  • 8 0
 Lots of things to like, but hardtails do not need seat angles that steep. While full suspension bikes seat angles tend to slacken when you sit on the bike, hardtails only get steeper. IDK, bad call imo. Love the stack and chain stay though.
  • 1 0
 They might also be using a steep seat tube angle for rear tire clearance. I do have to agree though. I have a fairly steep sta on my hardtail and while it's not bad at all on a steeper climb, it's not the best on flatter sections with lots of in the saddle pedaling.
  • 9 1
 车架的结构看着强度应该很高,感觉价位也比较亲民(对于欧美的车友来说),当然,如果要是在中国售卖的话加上关税肯定要1万元(¥)以上了,算是高端硬尾山地车了。
  • 1 1
 Totally bro
  • 8 0
 I just don't see why anyone would buy this with bikes like the Chromag Rootdown, Knolly Tyaughton, and Norco Torrent out there...
  • 4 0
 Norco Torrent has a Lyric Ultimate, TRP trail evo brakes, Xt/Slx drivetrain, last years had Stans wheels with XT hubs for 2999. Still overpriced but a (marginally) better deal.

As a Torrent owner i would highly recommend it, it gets more use than my enduro bike, but I'm always curious how an aluminum frame would ride.
  • 1 8
flag KickFlipABike (Oct 19, 2023 at 10:06) (Below Threshold)
 Outside entry level hardtails, these bikes are basically just worth it to anyone who buys them for aesthetics.

If you are going for value/dollar on hardtail, its honestly hard to beat a fat bike with a front suspension fork.
  • 4 0
 I'll take my Cotic Solaris Max thanks - but the Rooty and Ty are great lookers.
  • 4 0
 Rootdown owner here, it’s not the best bike for folks who aren’t aggressively riding steep terrain. Not everyone has access to the gnar or wishes to shred it.
  • 1 0
 Europe
  • 5 0
 Why state geo numbers unsagged? Makes no sense with a hardtail because when riding (sagged) you will experience a 10 mm longer reach, 7 mm lower stack, 7mm lower bb and an 1 degree steeper HA. Still comes out OK for average trail riding imo.
  • 6 0
 because most other brands don't, so for hardtail (unsagged) vs hardtail (unsagged) comparisons it works out. You just have to do some head math if you want to compare to a full sus. Kudos to the brands that give both sagged and unsagged numbers, this is the way
  • 1 0
 Are full suspension bikes reported sagged though? Therw would be changes BB height, standover and wheelbase, and even more if you run different amounts of sag front and rear or the same sag but there is different travel front and rear.
  • 1 0
 @Andykmn: again, geo only matters for the sake of comparison, so comparing full sus bike unsagged doesn't change anything. Some brands do report sagged BB height, but is it really that important?
  • 7 0
 Reminds me the mostly ignored and underrated Giant Fathom, which you can find for under 1k...
  • 3 0
 With that (lack of) value, I’d buy the base model and ride it till stuff breaks… Looks great with those clean lines. And in-frame storage on a HT is awesome. Though they’re much easier to fit frame bags on, so not a major selling point for me personally.
  • 4 0
 If you're going to directly call out the storage, you should actually show how useful it is, get some pics of putting stuff in it. Does a butyl tube even fit in there if it's folded over more than once?
  • 1 0
 What Other hardtails have In-Frame Storage?!
Only 2018-2019 Specialized Fuse comes to my mind..
  • 3 0
 What's with this trend of long chainstays on hardtails? I thought the whole point of having a hardtail was to jib off everything, not plowing through steep tech. At least do sliding dropouts or size specific chainstays and then I'll be a happier man.
  • 1 0
 My last bike was a Soma Valhallen hardtail, which oddly had 445 reach and 445 CS on a large. It was incredibly stable (for a HT) if you attacked a rock garden at high speed. My new Rootdown is the opposite philosophy (463/419) and it’s much more unsettled in those situations.
  • 1 0
 @sfarnum: but I'm grabbing my hardtail to just have fun trail riding, blitzing down rock gardens while feeling settled isn't quite a requirement for a hardtail. I can still have fun blitzing rock gardens on my 420 mm CS marino, and the unsettled nature is almost half the fun.
  • 1 0
 @vtracer: Nice to have options, I’m on a one bike budget.
  • 4 0
 How is there not a frame only option!? Geo, internal cable routing, storage, all really nice but those components are garbage for the price.
  • 2 0
 Looks nice geometry wise.. pretty much identical to the NP Scout, maybe a bit more modern. Not sure sure about the value tho.
  • 3 0
 Lookin good. Collinear top tube to seat stay is always a winner in my book.
  • 5 0
 Frame only?
  • 6 1
 Laufable
  • 3 0
 A bike with 140mm of travel should not have 2-pot brakes, let alone the Alivio's
  • 3 0
 looks wayyyyy better than the old laufey but sht value
  • 3 1
 Everyone needs to start putting rear rack braze ons for racks again on there hardtails..
  • 3 0
 I've never seen a hardtail with a storage compartment before. I dig it.
  • 1 0
 I do have to say tho I love Orbea frame designs. Price will get better soon i'm hoping. But i'm glad they keep pushing the envelop.
  • 4 2
 Whats the point of a hardtail thats not steel?
  • 1 0
 You could buy an On-One Scandal with a Pike Select and GX AXS for less bucks. Just sayin.
  • 1 1
 The 440 chainstay is way too long. 425 would be better. 420, even better. I guess the straight seattube accounted for the longer chainstay.
  • 1 0
 OOOHHHH BoooYYYY. That is hot. Way better looking than the last one.
  • 1 0
 @dariodigiulio album is set to private...
  • 1 0
 Can you use it for delicate Xc? Or what about fragile Xc?
  • 1 2
 Compliant aluminum frame? Does it come pre-cracked? Did they forget steel exists? Further proof the good engineers work at defense contractors.
  • 1 0
 The premium pricing must be because it doesn’t feature cable tourism.
  • 2 0
 Nice looking, good geo.
  • 1 0
 What the he'll is "durable xc?"
  • 1 0
 *hell
  • 3 1
 440 chainstay. NOPE.
  • 1 1
 exactly.
  • 1 0
 Moxie MX3 or ... nothing. Best on this hardtail game
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