New 2017 Orbea Avant Lowers Weight and Refines Ride of Endurance Platform
While the recently launched 2017 Orca was a complete reinvention of Orbea’s grand tour racer, the 2017 Orbea Avant is more evolutionary. The endurance platform was well received when it launched two years ago, so the Basque brand made some subtle changes that deliver more high-end performance and may see the bike as a legitimate option for Orbea’s World Tour team, Cofidis, come Paris-Roubaix and other cobbled races.
peloton/Riding Images Courtesy of Orbea
Orbea took significant weight out of the Avant platform – 200grams – dropping the frame to under 1000grams for the first time. Along with that weight reduction the 2017 Orbea Avant is now much stiffer, in fact, its global torsional stiffness is higher than the 2015 Orca – 90nm – and just a shade less than the new Orca. This means the overall stiffness to weight ratio has increased enormously and you feel it. The bike has plenty of reactivity for the punchy climbs in the Basque Country and won’t let you down when your endurance ride gets spirited.
In the name of comfort Orbea has increased the top tube’s slope to expose more seat post, a simple way to improve seated compliance. It has also increased tire clearance to 30mm and while we imagine a 32mm would fit, this is no gravel grinder. It’s dirt road capable, but still firmly a road endurance bike.
The overall package looks racier than the previous Avant, but that isn’t due to more aggressive geometry. Orbea took 10mm out of the head tube and added it to the fork blades. This had two effects, the bike no longer looks like it has a giant, laid back head tube and the fork blades offer more splay for more comfort.
A danger to adding more splay in the fork on a disc brake is fork chop and shudder under hard braking, which we find unforgivable. Happily the Avant does not suffer from this, braking is stable and confident. Overall comfort on the Avant is not at Specialized Roubaix or Trek Domane levels, in fact, it feels very similar to the Orca in the amount of overall compliance. The Avant looks to gain comfort from large volume tires and the relaxed position, not an active frame.
The rest of the bike features all you’d expect from a high-end endurance road bike – Internal cables, chain catcher, 386 EVO bottom bracket, carbon bearing race at the fork, flat mount 12mm through axles. Riders looking for a super plush magic carpet may need to look elsewhere, but riders wanting a true endurance position with plenty of get-up-and-go will find no better than the 2017 Orbea Avant.
The Avant M10 Team-D tops the range with Dura Ace Di2, R9170 Hydraulic discs, Fulcrum Racing 5 disc wheels for $6000. That’s the highest end carbon frame, the OMP version, but carbon Avant’s start all the way down at $1600 for the M40 with Shimano Tiagra. Our first ride impressions are based on the top of the line OMP frame with an Ultegra Di2 build.