I was riding a Specialized Epic, which is a great bike, but wanted something a little closer to a hard tail. Personally, I think that a 29" rigid geared bike and a short travel 26" bike are all you need, so I set out on a mission.
After dealing with Chad from Orbea and my local rep, Eric Pirtle, I felt really confident that the OIZ Carbon and Alma 29'er were exactly what I needed. Phase one of the project, the OIZ, is complete, dialed in and one sick riding machine.
This bike is truly the best race bike I have ridden. From light Specialized hard tails, Giant Anthems, Specialized Epics and a number of Giant NRS Airs, this bike has the best combination of snap with suspension when you need it. The wheelbase on this bike is 1" shorter than my Epic was and it handles like a race bike should; it begs to be driven through corners.
The combination of the UFO flex stays, the Horst Link and the Fox RP23 rear shock is amazing. I used to have to run my shock setup on the Epic and Anthem as tight and with more air than need be to get the out of the saddle snap/stiffness I wanted, which took away quite a bit of the use able suspension. With the OIZ I am able to run my body weight (155 psi) and leave the shock in the "open" position and still get amazing out of the saddle snap without so much as feeling the suspension, but at the end of any long descent the rubber O ring always is showing that I got full travel. With the Horst link you don't have to worry about any brake jack, always a problem with the NRS. Ohh yeah, not to mention it comes with a lifetime warranty and the guys from Orbea are real peachy to deal with. Win WIn.
My only complaint about this bike is the head tube length, but my mom is at fault for my 75 cm seat height on a 5'9 frame. I'm not a big fan of the way it looks with the full 4 cm of spacers, riser bar and 6* stem, but that's because I am an anal retentive little b***h.
I built this bike up with a combination of light, durable parts. With my STANS ZTR RACE wheelset it sits at 22 pounds 5 oz with pedals and cages. This is with a Park Tool Digital shop scale folks, not a bathroom scale. The scale is accurate enough to detect the 1 oz difference between 1 or two cages. (the WCS stem in the photo is slightly heavier than the Syntace F99 stem I run, but the one I had on the EPIC was too short and don't have the replacement yet). With a pair of XT wheels and heavier tires it sits in at 24.5 pounds, lighter than most full suspension race bikes.
Phase two, a Orbea Alma 29'er with full XTR and a White Bros rigid carbon fork is coming in this week (once again thanks to the good ol' boys in Ar-Kansas) and I'll be sure to let you know how that tips the scales once I get it all dialed in... Good stuff!
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