Spotted: A Dual Crown Orbea at the Lourdes DH World Cup 2022

Mar 25, 2022 at 4:35
by Ed Spratt  

While Orbea does not produce a DH bike of its own, we have spotted something potentially new at the Lourdes World Cup.

Previously Martin Maes had told us that he would be racing the DH World Cup, but we did not know what bike he would use. Now at the first round of the World Cup we have a better look at the Spanish brand's bike for Martin Maes.

Orbea Rallon 2022
A Rallon in enduro guise

We don't have any information on what exactly this bike will be, it does appear that it could just be the brand's Rallon enduro bike with a dual crown fork (it's worth noting that the production version of the Rallon is not approved for use with a dual crown fork).

While this could be the start of something new from Orbea, riding an enduro bike with dual crown forks is definitely nothing new for Maes. To make his GT Force ready for the rigours of a downhill race Maes swapped out the standard 170mm fork for a 190mm Fox 40 with the standard 160mm of rear travel remaining the same.

Martin Maes' Force enduro bike with a dual crown fork from Maribor last year.

We previously asked Martin about racing DH on the GT Force, and he said, "It was not the best idea to be honest! I gave it a go because my enduro bike had a newer geometry than the downhill bike. However after a couple of training runs, I soon realised that the stiffness of the frame wasn't adapted to the need of DH racing. It was rough & tough especially with the blown out conditions that we had."

It sounds like adapting an enduro bike to race a World Cup level downhill wasn't exactly what he wanted, so it will be interesting to see how he finds the Orbea this weekend.

Following us spotting the bike at Lourdes, Orbea sent us this:

bigquotesMartin Maes is passionate about DH. Although his primary focus, as part of the Orbea Enduro Team, is the Enduro World Series, Martin has always enjoyed competing in DH races when he can, pushing himself to the limits and helping to improve his performance for the Enduro World Series. And that’s exactly what happened this weekend.

Maes participated in the Lourdes DH World Cup on a modified Orbea Rallon with a special name printed on the bike: OOLab. OOLab is the part of Orbea’s research department which exists outside the standard product development cycle, meaning it’s not necessarily tied to a specific product.

This is our “blue sky” project where we can test ideas, build knowledge and develop out-of-the-box solutions for the future. OO stands for Orbea Optimization, and the infinity symbol perfectly reflects the limitless nature of the research and the constant search for improvements. Although this is a new project, innovation and research have always existed as an essential part of Orbea.

Although we debuted the OOLab project through Maes’ Rallon in Lourdes, the Orbea Optimization Lab expands to all models and categories. OOLab exists to allow Orbea to experiment and test new ideas outside the product development cycle, giving us more freedom to test ideas in order to continue generating knowledge.

In this way, OOLab encourages creativity and offers a pathway to develop innovative, new ideas that could be applicable across our product ranges. OOLab also allows Orbea to share our passion for innovation with the public by freeing some of our research from ties to a specific product and thus the strict need for secrecy.

This is exactly what transpired with the modified Rallon we saw in Lourdes. This is not a project to develop a DH bike, nor to build a team in this category. Rather, it’s an effort that advances our knowledge, which we’ll apply to our next ranges. In this case, our learnings from developing this model will potentially be used in future MTB designs.


  • 145 35
 Headline : "Whoop whoop! A dual crown Orbea!!"
Martin Maes : "This is just my Rallon with a Fox 40. It sucks and I fully expect it to disintegrate the moment I point it at a WC rock garden. FML."
  • 131 5
 I think Maes was talking about the GT force with the dual crown being bad.
  • 245 3
 @slimjimminnies: let's pretend he wasn't, cos you're making me look like an idiot here.
  • 71 0
 @BenPea: It's cool, I think we're all idiots here Big Grin
  • 21 0
 It’s all good. I think anyone trying to convince themselves that enduro bikes are up to the task of wcdh tracks is a bit silly.
  • 4 0
 @BenPea: I didn't even see @slimjimminnies' comment.
  • 18 4
 that's because you need a #bmxbackground for this bike
  • 15 4
 @SHREDWORX: PB Academy DH #BMXbackground sponsored by Orbea
  • 3 1
 @derekbnorakim: I think that is assumed yes Smile
  • 6 0
 @slimjimminnies: In @BenPea 's defense, the article is worded poorly
  • 5 2
 @leviatanouroboro: Fair statement
Race bikes are race bikes, no matter the category, fully optimized for the task at hand, whether it be XC enduro or DH.
I do still love to see enduro bikes with DC forks, something about it screams early 2000 freeride to me.
New Spire on the way, and I’d love to have a DC fork to bolt on for bike park days…
  • 2 0
 @therealmancub: hard agree. Feels good to have my name cleared.
  • 2 0
 @onawalk: that spire with 40 on it would be a ton of fun and what a looker!
  • 6 3
 And another gross orange fork.
  • 3 0
 Different photo angles, but that looks a lot like a longer, broader custom linkage on MM's dual-crown bike. Appears they're trying to tease a bit more travel out of both ends.
  • 1 0
 @therealmancub: I would agree. Too many pronouns in a short space.
  • 2 0
 This comment was rather too prescient...
  • 1 0
 @leviatanouroboro: however, Did you see Connor Fearon on his Dreadnaught, and the Norco team on WHr is essentially a Range at Lourdes…..
The gap is getting more blurred for sure.
  • 46 0
 That's a lot of words in the Orbea statement for saying that they aren't promising to build a downhill bike.
  • 7 0
 Ya. Whole lotta fluff to say nothing.
  • 21 0
 "We're paying Martin to dick around for a weekend."
  • 40 2
 Not a high pivot, so 2019.
  • 47 2
  • 10 0
 looks like it has a custom link, maybe increased stroke too for more travel?
  • 5 0
 Beat me to it. Link on silver DC bike definitely looks longer and broader. If Maes felt he was getting beat up by his his old, overly-stiff, short-travel GT, I'd imagine Orbea will try and tease as much travel and compliance out of this new upforked-enduro setup as possible.
  • 11 0
 Wait, are high pivots good or bad now? I can't keep track
  • 8 7
 Good for DH. Bad for everything else.
  • 5 1
 @Jvisscher: what is everything else?
  • 9 0
 @Mntneer: gravel bikes, road bikes, triathalon bikes, dirt jump bikes, xc bikes, enduro bikes, downcountry bikes, unicycle bikes. Maybe not for motor bikes (electric or gas). Hopefully not everyone thinks the same as me because I want local companies like Forbidden to do well!
  • 1 1
 Gravel bikes, mountain bikes, downcountry... I can't keep track!

Or is it iTrack now?
  • 6 0
 Didn't I read something about pivots getting even higher? I expect to see a Klein Mantra on the podium before the season is over.
  • 2 0
 Specialized and Santa Cruz in the latter category.
  • 1 0
 @Snowytrail: Specialized has been testing an idler pulley demo!
  • 3 0
 What kind of rotors are those? I saw Neko Mulaly is running the same ones even though he is on TRP brakes and Maes is on Saint brakes, whcih doesn't make sense, since the TRPs use 2.3mm rotors and Saint uses 1.85 or whatever standard shimano width is.
  • 15 0
 I'm guessing Galfers. The thick Intend rotors fit with all brakes, too.
  • 7 0
 I just listened to the latest downtime podcast with Neko and he mentioned using Galfer rotors
  • 5 0
 I think they’re the new Galfer, that the Commencal Mucoff team also uses
  • 6 0
 There is a Sticker a the end of the chainstay which looks like a Galfer-Logo. Just say'n.
  • 3 0
 @trippleacht: yep, galfer is sponsoring Orbea Fox enduro team
  • 1 0
 Galfer prototype
  • 1 0
 Would rotor thickness matter between brands? Surely the pads will still retract the same distance whatever the rotor.
  • 1 1
 @Bob-Agg: depends on the maximum allowable retraction of the pistons.
  • 2 0
 @Bob-Agg: Yes. If your pistons cannot retract far enough, then you cannot use certain rotors
  • 1 0
 @Bob-Agg:Galfer makes specific pads to match with their rotors depending on the brake brand. At least for retail they state specifically they should be used together.
  • 3 0
 Because no one answered your question yet, I think they are Galfer rotors
  • 1 0
 @bashhard: am confuse, wat rotors friend
  • 4 1
 Why is it that these articles try to pretend they can't figure it out by just looking at it? It's likely a 175mm Rallon (new bike) that can take a LT link for 185mm+ of travel and run a dual-crown fork and can sub in as an extreme enduro/DH bike like the Norco Range?
  • 3 0
 Maes and his enduro bike will be the only one to get to the start.... Everyone else stuck in the pits it seems... I predict an xc hardtail will win this wc
  • 7 3
 High quality images here.
  • 13 0
  • 16 1
 Our photographers are on the hill shooting practice at the moment so unfortunately will not process their images until this evening. Until then it's phone shots but we will update this some of their higher quality shots tonight
  • 2 0
Journalism is like cycling, it's always a race.
  • 6 0
  • 1 0
 In other words: not the ideal recipe of a bike to win a WC DH race. I hope Orbea will invest in developing a proper DH bike for him
  • 1 0
 And if he makes it into the top20 all others are losers by spending alll the money on new developments that are just as good as an enduro Orbea
  • 2 0
 That press release could have been so much shorter. They kept repeating the same points over and over and over again.
  • 1 0
 Damn. I need to think up some cool names for my ‘development projects’ (daft ideas).
  • 1 0
 If the thing breaks it is „by by Orbea“. That would be the worst investment ever
  • 2 0
 Wins the highest placed shock in field
  • 1 0
 Pffff.....I could ride that bike and still be the slowest @Lourdes this weekend.
  • 1 0
 Interesting that after the poor experience MM had with the GT Enduro bike for DH that he would choose to try it again here?
  • 1 0
 Martin Mais did say he would be racing DH on an orbea this year….
  • 6 5
 YoU CaNt EvEn RIdE A Non-HigH PivOt BiKE on DH
  • 1 0
 Yeah I’m sure that he’s really going to do great, on this track especially, on that bike
  • 1 0
 Oooooooooooooooooooo…is that as many in the Orbea statement?
  • 1 0
 Isn't lew Buchanan racing his Norco Enduro rig
  • 1 1
 and another aussie is as well..
  • 2 0
 Nice looking bike!
  • 1 0
 The Rallon in enduro guise looks brilliant, they ride great too.
  • 1 4
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