Newton's Carbon Orbea Alma 29er
On October 2 of 2012 I got a 29er. Since cracking the seat and chain stays on my aluminum 2001 Cannondale F2000 early this year I've been looking (saving) for a replacement mountain bike. Took my ass a long time to finally get a bike after test riding a lot of different bikes. I really loved all the full suspension bikes most out of what I rode, but my purchasing decision came down to defining my riding style and what I wanted to do with the bike in the coming years. I like to go fast and climb, have a weight weenie mentality, plus wanting to race next year I decided to go with a carbon hard-tail. Honestly, you really need two bikes. A hard-tail and a full suspension rig, but most of us have to decide between the two. If I was just trail riding for fun, full suspension would of been the better buy, wait, actually it's the better buy all around these days, but the price with XT build was something I just couldn't stomach. Wanting XT or better and by month 9, mountain bike less, I pulled the trigger.
I got the last Orbea Alma from Competitive Cyclist at $2949. I love the design of the bike. Being an industrial designer, I appreciate all the surfacing details that went into this frame. Sincerely happy with the bike, it does what I'm good at, goes fast, and climbs well.
Lesson learned through the waiting and test riding experience:
1. Don't wait too long, 9 months was too long for me, I wasted a whole summer season of riding thinking, waiting and finding the "perfect" bike and that somehow I'd be better off. Truthfully if I had just gotten a 1500 or 2,000 dollar bike off craigslist, and gotten a good bit of riding in, I would of been happier.
2. Waiting that long also drove my wife and friends crazy. They cared for about 3 months, then I'll I heard was "just f-ing get something already", "you buy a mountain bike yet?".
3. The plus side is all that waiting, and thinking allowed me to get what best suited me at a price I was comfortable with.
4. In between test riding (months) mountain biking became greater than what it really is! I glorified it. Back to earth dude, just freaking ride already!
Hopefully I can educate others through trial and error. I've learned a lot through others posting, so it's my turn now.
24.8 lbs (25.2 upon arrival)
2011 Large Carbon Orbea Alma 29er
Full XT, (SLX chain, cassette)
Fulcrum Red Power XL wheels (converted to tubeless)
100mm Reba RLT
Tubeless conversion (done)
XTR shadow plus rear derailleur GS (done)
SLC helicopter tape (done)
Anti Chain Suck device (done)
700mm bar, came with an uber short bar
Wobble Naught Fit!!!
Black i9 / crest wheels
11-32 XT cassette, XTR chain
cyclocross cat 4
Fulcrum Red Power XL conversion to tubeless (stans)
I converted my Fulcrum Red Power XL wheels with Geax 2.2 AKAs to tubeless using the 29er kit from Stans. I bought it off amazon for $50. Losing 1 pound, on average, costs between $400 and 800 bucks. (lots of variables there, another post), so $50 for 0.4lbs is a great bang for the buck.
The tubeless conversion went really well, so well that the tires held air for hours without putting the sealant in them. I good first sign that one's wheels are round. I couldn't find any good info on the conversion process specifically for these wheels, so all you need to know is do it!, works great.
rim strips 0.13 lbs
Tubes .912 lbs
total: 1.042 lbs
stans tape 0.04 lbs
rim strips 0.288 lbs
1.5 scoops per wheel 0.3 lbs
total: 0.628 lbs
Weight Saved: 0.414 lbs
Certainly more weight (a full pound) can be saved by going to XT cassette and lighter tires. But that can wait, must ride...
Great Bike!!! I also looked at the Orbea carbon in my search for a carbon endurance hardtail. How's the ride? I'm also considering the Niner Carbon and Trek Superfly...
I haven't been able to test ride my Alma for any long amount of time, I've only got about 20 miles on the bike right now.
Originally Posted by claystrick
First impressions were expected, the bike is stiff when you pedal aka FAST, slightly mutes the trail. Meaning you still feel it all in your back, but you can tell its absorbing some of the initial shock from rocks, roots etc. At least more than my previous bike, an aluminum 26" hard tail.
I test rode the Air 9 RDO and it felt very similar to this, again I didn't get very long with the RDO, but it was a really nice ride too, and a touch lighter than my Alma. I really wanted a Niner since I began searching, as far a a brand goes they are one of my favorites. Happy to send them my $.
I have test ridden a hard-tail Superfly, but it was so long ago (2009?) I cant remember what it was like. I did test ride a 2012 Superfly 100 (full suspension) and loved it, that bike would take you anywhere. I liked it better than the Niner Jet 9 RDO, personal preference, I think it was a geometry thing.
I'd wait until the new 2013 Superfly comes out, I was drooling for the new one, but just couldn't wait any more. That bike looks to be a stunner, I saw they took a freakin full pound out of the full suspension frame.
Good luck on your search, test ride, and wait until it just feels right!
dealing with chain suck and preventing it
I got chain suck on my first ride. Pretty upset, I took my bike apart and vowed to not ride till I could hopefully fix the issue.
Things I did:
- ICS Helicopter tape, custom shapes cut for the bottom bracket area.
- KEdge clamp on chain catcher, not exactly for chain suck, but chain drop is just as bad.
- XTR shadow plus rear derailleir, wow, this thing rocks, no trail chatter.
- Check chain length, shorten chain by 5 links. This had to be the main problem. No matter who built your bike, its best to check these things. I did the shimano big/big plus 2 links method and found the chain appeared to never of been shortened, just "slapped" on.
Chain Suck on the trail. had to basically pull the chain outta there, almost thought I'd have to take it home and uninstall the crank just to get it out.
Damage inspection: Only paint was taken off.
Quick touch up and custom ICS helicopter tape shape
XTR Shadow Plus! This is incredible, I took off the XT derailleur and was able to compare the two (same model year), amazing how much more attention to detail the XTR had.
New ENVE sweep 700mm handlebar. I just posted in the weight weenies forum that this bar weighs in at 173.3 a bit under the claimed 175grams. That is not the point here, although in grams per mm, this Enve bar is lighter than the "stock" Orbea OCIII 167gram 600mm carbon bar.
OCIII = 0.28 grams per mm
Enve = 0.25 grams per mm
Why I chose ENVE:
1. Width, my stock bar was 600mm, orbea missed the boat here, need a wider bar!
2. Design and Brand, love ENVE as a company and their palindrome logo is one of the best examples of graphic design. I'm also a big matte black fan.
3. Weight, there is lighter stuff for cheaper (see below), but Design and Brand won me over.
4. Made in the USA. Id like to say this is high on the list, but its really not, it does makes me feel good, or is that guilt?
Excel helps me make decisions, here is my list I complied of the handle bars I was considering purchasing.
ENVE was strong in brand clout and design, aside from having a desired 700mm width (one that I thought I would not have to modify for my geometry) they didnt beat the other handlebar considerations in price and weight savings.
Thomson and Easton's ec70 wide were in my next two options. Which the Easton at $110/150g is a stellar deal.
Talk to me about the tubeless conversion a bit more. I picked up the same wheels (for a song), and want to run tubeless. It looks like you used the Stan's tape like regular rim tape and then put the rim strips over the top? Did you use the Cross Country 29er rim strips?
Also, how did the valves fit? I noticed that the rims seem to have a spacer that you can remove to allow the use of Schraeder valves (?) but haven't looked that closely at them. I was considering doing ghetto tubeless, but like the idea of using Stan's strips.
Originally Posted by dnlwthrn
Besure to watch Stans video on the process, by far the best out there. I watched this a few times before I did the process, then paused played it as I was doing the procedure.
Yes, stans tape then rim strips. Here are some more detailed steps and notes to the process I took:
First take a green scotch brite pad and lightly scuff the inner rim bed. This takes off any glossy surface and or dirt. Clean the rim bed after scuffing really well.
Second step is the tape. I want to let you know that I bought the stan's plus four kit (now the "Cross Country 29er Kit") from amazon.
The tape that came with it was the 12mm tape, it just barely covered the spoke holes so you have to be really careful when laying the tape down. If I would of known this, I would of purchased stans 21mm tape instead, as it would of covered up the holes more than necessary and less care would have to be taken. (although, the more care you take, then less air will leak over time)
Then spacer you are mentioning I believe I took out. (having a hard time remembering) I do know that stans video takes about drilling your rim out a bit to allow more airflow when pumping tires up, but I noticed that by taking that spacer out there was no drilling needed. (I will try to confirm this, but I do know that I DID NOT drill out my inner valve hole)
Do as the video and as I have mentioned and you should have no problems. I have had great success, no sign of any leaks out of my tires. They are at 28 or so pounds of pressure and need a few pumps every month or so.
Thanks. I actually went ahead and converted then last night. No issues at all. I left that spacer in, a it kept the presta valve stem straight. Actually, the only issue was getting the tire to stop weeping sealant. I may have to add more tonight.
That's great! You may have done this but keep flicking the wheel and tire back and forth with the leaky part at the bottom or closest to the ground. It sloshes the sealant around and ideally into those leaky parts. checking with soapy water for leaks, repeat until no bubbles. "stan" does this in the video. I remember my forearms aching a lot, it means your doing it right.
Originally Posted by dnlwthrn
Yep, that's the drill. I did that for a while, but then decided to let it sit overnight. I've done this part before, as my 26" wheels were UST. Just sad that its so muddy/nasty out right now, as I probably won't get to ride for a while now. Its not quite cold enough for the ground to stay frozen and with all the rain and a little dusting of snow its not going to dry out for a long time.
How is the ride treating you lately. Any issues to date? I'm also eyeballing this as my next frame.
Waoooooooooooooo thats Great Bike!!!
Newton's Carbon Orbea Alma 29er
Can't speak for the OP, but mine has been flawless. Very, very nice frame.
Originally Posted by 41ants
IDK about flawless, but I love this bike and would but it again, and it's a great buy if you can get it on sale. World class design, both engineering and looks.
Originally Posted by AOK
PERFORMANCE: This bike rips! I recently did Southern Cross on it and (I) was as fast as most cross bikes. With 2.1 tires too. Picture
Managed 13mph average over 50 miles of mountainous terrain. Along with my XC racing this season, this race has given me the confidence to try out some CX on the Alma.
PAINT: Small paint chips are starting, not a big deal, or in a big way, although this frame is so good looking it kinda hurts to see that happen. Whatever, its not that bad and its only happened in a few areas 5 or so "rock dings".
CHAIN: Even with a properly sized chain, xtr shadow (clutch), I still have gotten chain suck. WHY? Because my chain (SLX) was really dirty, and I've since gotten a lot better about wiping it down and running it through the chain cleaner more often. Basic stuff here, clean lubed bikes work better. Its not anything uncommon (since properly tuning) and would highly recommend the shadow derailleur on any bike.
EXTRAS: I went ahead and bought some extra chain stay protectors, around the BB area, along with an extra derailleur hanger, just in case.
D.Hanger: I noticed that the small pan head allen screw holding the d hanger in was not in very straight. I used the new hanger's screw to replace it and it went in straight. FYI. Design wise, I dont like how the D. Hanger is in the frame, its not secure only having one screw (acts as a pivot point), I get it though, the rear skewer holds the whole assembly down, but wheel out the hanger will move (pivot) it you touch it.
C.S.Protector: This was not originally stuck on my frame very well. It was ripped off on chain suck incident #1. I put it back on (the sticker side was a little dirty too) and secured it with zip ties thinking that's what would hold it on. But what happened was that the zip ties REALLY got the glue, sticker to bond to the frame. I can pull on it now and it doesn't budge.
EXTRA PROTECTION: I did a few more areas with the helicopter tape I purchased from Amazon. I cut out custom shapes so that the tape would fit to the frame around the BB area. Kinda over kill, but its piece of mind for me.
KEDGE: I bought this after getting chain suck thinking chain drop was a possibility. Shifting is either never perfect or always changing and I managed drop chain once, having the kedge now ive heard it hit the kedge, but the kedge did its thing keeping it on the small ring.
dang that is beautiful! ride on
Hey mate, did you have any problems with tyre knock-off when hitting some big obstacles, or getting aggressively into turns?
My mates are telling me to do ghetto-tubeless with my red power xl, because it is likely to get my tyre off on off-road.
Originally Posted by NazZaR
I havent had any issues with my stan's conversion. I followed the directions from the MTB Stan's NoTube kit except that I had to buy the wider tape...Here is a look at some different wheels I didnt but its the exact same process to convert:
I know the tire is a huge part of the puzzle, but ive had good success with GEAX tires, AKA and Mezcal. They take an air compressor to seat the bead, then you have to shake back and forth to seal up, but they do seal. (this is all in the stan's how to)
Orbea Alma is an excellent Cross Bike!
My Orbea Alma also did some cyclocross last year, 2013. I had great success with two wins in cat 4. I mated some Michelin Mud2, tubeless to my Red Power XL, NEVER had an issue all race season, 10 races. I ran them at about 22 to 35 psi (im 155lbs) depending on the course.
Thank you for a quick reply!
Originally Posted by alexworthy
I ordered 21mm tape, this will be good enough i think.
Already arrived is Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evo 2.25 SnakeSkin TL-Ready, hope that they will do nicely :).