Going by weight numbers, Orbea’s new Alma frame is a strong candidate for the title of best lightweight mountain bike.
The Spanish cycling brand has invested in a significant geometry refresh and new composite material structure for its XC hardtail.
Orbea classifies the new medium frame size Alma at only 830g, which is remarkable for a mountain bike. To assist in achieving this incredibly low mass, Orbea has applied OMX carbon-fibre technology, as found on the new Orbea Orca road bike.
Individual carbon-fibre ply sections are laser cut and Orbea’s production technique for its OMX carbon ensure a great deal of manual skill, thereby reducing machining waste. The result is a frame which enters the Alma curing mould with negligible unfinished material.
Beyond its lightness, Orbea’s industrial designers have also altered the Alma’s overall shape, allowing this lightweight hardtail to be on-trend with current XC geometry.
The head- and seat tube angles calculate to 68° and 74.5°, creating a tidy balance between seated climbing power and descending confidence when standing on the pedals. Compared to its predecessor, the new Alma is a full degree slacker upfront and steeper in the seat tube
Orbea has also made the cockpit roomier, with 448mm of reach on a size large, up from 435mm on the previous model year Alma.
A rigid option for purists
Frame details include most of what you would come to expect from a premium XC hardtail. There is a removable chain guide, integrated chainstay protector and flat-mount rear brake. Orbea has also included an Arcos sourced Block Lock, limiting the fork’s arc of rotation to 164°, thereby avoiding potential frame damage from a crown impact, due to over-rotation.
The thin 27.2mm seat tube does feature stealth dropper seatpost routing and has been shaped to allow for meaningful compliance when riding along on gravel roads or mildly technical flat sections of trail.
Designed to be used with a 100mm fork, Orbea offers a dedicated rigid option too, for purists who seek to reduce their XC race bike’s weight even further. The Spirit carbon fork weighs only 500g and is sized to duplicate the structural axle-to-crown spacing of a conventional 100mm fork.
Orbea’s OMX Alma hardtail starts at $4,300 for a Shimano XT build and peaks at $8,000 for the SRAM Eagle AXS equipped version. If you desire Alma’s revised geometry at a more affordable price point, there are aluminium variants finished with a Shimano Deore kit, at $1,100, whilst the NX-specification prices at $1,500.