Colorways and carbon are both big deals in mountain biking, but few companies offer a true unpainted carbon fiber finish on their frames.
If you are a follower of the Spanish brand, Orbea, your interest will be piqued by its latest announcement that some of its frames are now available in a raw carbon option.
Splashy colorways allow brands to differentiate their bikes and model years in the market. But since the move from steel to aluminum frames in the 1990s, there has been a fringe appeal to having a raw finish.
Polished aluminum was long regarded as the purist mountain bike finish and this idea continued with carbon fiber frames.
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The best bikes, in raw
Four of Orbea’s mountain bike models are now offered in a raw carbon fiber finish. These raw frames are also a touch lighter since the layer of cosmetic paint has been removed.
The core appeal will be appearance. Exposed carbon fiber has a great look, especially when it reflects direct sunlight.
Orbea is targeting a purist mountain biker who values the industrial design aesthetic of the brand's carbon fiber frames, in their rawest form.
Without a painted finish, the Orbea frames in raw carbon are also claimed to be 80-100g lighter. That is not much if you are comparing enduro bikes, but for those dedicated XC racers any grams saved are valuable.
Orbea will offer either a matte or gloss finish on its raw frame option, which can be applied to some of the brand’s most premium new models.
If you are in the market for a new Oiz, Alma, Orca OMX or Rise eMTB, the raw carbon fiber frame option is now available from Orbea.