Orbea Refines and Redefines the Orbea Terra
At the start of the gravel bike genre, people raced to grab whatever they had - usually an aggressive cyclocross bike or a hardtail with drop bars - a gravel bike. With an array of bikes spanning between gravel racing to adventure, that isn't quite the case anymore. Where does the Orbea Terra fall in this range? We think it strikes out a place directly in the middle.
With its integrated cable routing, massive downtube storage compartment, and new progressive geometry, the 2022 Orbea Terra gravel bike might just be the Goldilocks of gravel bikes.
Orbea’s first gravel bike, the Terra, debuted in 2016 and quickly found popularity for its classic design and unique customization process. That said, it seemed to fall behind some more progressive bikes that came soon thereafter. It offered tire clearance for just a 40mm tire, no 650b compatibility, and surprisingly long and low stack measurements. This meant that while the previous Terra was great in a vacuum, it lost a bit in regards to versatility compared to the competition.
As you’d expect for a 2021 - or rather a 2022 - Orbea Terra, there are some substantial changes to the bike.
The Terra gets a serious makeover and one that brings the Terra to the very forefront of modern gravel bike geometry. Perhaps the starkest change is to bottom bracket height, which at 78mm, should add a whole bunch of stability. This is between 8-10mm lower than before and brings the bike wholly into modern gravel geometry. While the Terra is good for both 650b and 700c wheels, the low bottom bracket height suggests the bike is better suited to 700c wheels
Reach and stack measurements aren’t all that different from the previous bike - think around 5mm longer in reach and around 5mm shorter in stack height. This is counteracted by the addition of an XXL size that brings a whole lot more stack height than the previous generation’s XL.
Size-specific forks to offer similar trail figures across all sizes. That said, trail figures aren’t super consistent, with sizes small thru large having the smallest jumps in trail. That said, a trail figure in the mid 60mm range puts this on the slightly faster-handling side of gravel bikes, similar to a Santa Cruz Stigmata or OPEN UP. Interestingly, Orbea also offers trail figure measurements with a 30mm road tire, showing off the intended goal of the Terra to work well as an endurance road bike. Indeed, these trail figures reflect that, erring right around 60mm, or comparable to bikes like the BMC Roadmachine or Cannondale Synapse.
Stem lengths are shorter now than they have been on previous Terras. Orbea says that increased fork rake and trail ensures that the increased stability at speed that comes with a slacker head angle doesn’t translate to something that feels slow at the bars or floppy at the front wheel. This is a trend we’re seeing implemented to great success, which should imbue the Terra with decent slow-speed agility without feeling darty when you’re descending your favorite canyon dirt road.
That added stability is complemented by stubby 420mm chainstays. We saw this first with the OPEN UP, and only a select few bikes manage to offer that short chainstay length with suitable tire clearances. Wheelbase overall measures 1019mm in size S, or about equivalent to the BMC URS, new Giant Revolt, or the Cannondale Topstone Carbon gravel bikes.
Perhaps most interesting is a 55mm shorter seattube on size XS, or the equivalent of over 2”. Further, the size small standover is about 40mm shorter, or just under 2”. Much needed from a fit perspective.
Features That Distinguish the Orbea Terra
This is a great time to talk about frame features. Orbea talked a lot about not needing technology that adds weight to bring comfort. Rather, they did it through standard frame flex. Of course, you see that in the shorter seattube, which is lower than just about any other gravel bike we have in the shop, and is accentuated by a hidden seatpost wedge that allows for more seatpost flex. You also see it in the more relaxed seattube angle to offer more exposed seatpost length. Make no mistake though: more important to the seattube angles here is that they change, going from a 74 degree in a size small to 73 degrees in XXL. This isn’t all that different than most other gravel bikes, and it offers enough leeway to adjust saddle position relatively easily.
Up front are longer fork blades than before. Orbea claims that longer fork blades on the new bike help with vertical front-end compliance.
Here's one of our favorite parts of the new Terra: a downtube storage area they call the downtube LOCKR. Basically, underneath the downtube water bottle mount is a trap door that opens to two sealed bags. They say this gives you space for a tube, tools, CO2 cartridges, or other necessities. We imagine this would be a great place for a windbreaker on those variable-weather rides. Either way, it keeps extra gear down low on the bike and less susceptible to the elements.
The Terra joins Orbea’s continual march toward fully-Internal cable routing from the stem onward. Orbea does a better job than most at this, however. The cables are routed under the stem - and covered by a removable plate. These go through a set of split spacers that allow the stem and bar to be separated from the bike. Maybe the best part is that the stem doesn’t require the cables to be routed in the bars, meaning home mechanics can have some cable wiggle room should they want to mess with stem length or height.
Other things to note here include the ability to run up to a compact 2x road crank, clearance for 700 x 45mm or 650b x 50mm tires with room to spare, and all kinds of mounts. The Terra uses a BB386 EVO bottom bracket and a standard 27.2mm seatpost and has routing ability for a dropper post if wanted as well.
There is a top tube bottle bag mount, three bottle mounts, and two more mounts on the fork blades. Orbea also added molded protectors to the bottom bracket area and chainstays as well. Riders looking for a poor-weather bike will be happy to note the Terra comes with fender mounts as well.
The 2022 Orbea Terra is available in a dizzying array of builds. Further, there is a high level of customization through Orbea’s MyO program. Besides the three main colors, MyO offers a full color palette that offers custom paint for no additional charge. Further, it offers the ability to customize and upgrade components as well. There’s just one carbon frame model. That means that the entry-level Orbea Terra M30 receives the same OMR Team frame as the luxe Terra M20iTeam.
Overall, there are six models available, each with three colorways. Our personal picks of the bunch are the M20i Team and the M21e Team. The Orbea Terra M20i Team features a Shimano GRX Di2 2x drivetrain and Fulcrum Rapid Red 900 wheelset. A carbon handlebar and seatpost courtesy of Orbea’s OC offer great adjustability.
Meanwhile, the Terra M21eTeam features the same OMR carbon frame paired to a SRAM Force AXS XPLR drivetrain, with a 40t chainring and 10-44t cassette. This model also receives a Fulcrum Rapid Red 500 wheelset, Easton EC70 AX gravel handlebars, and Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H tires, some of our favorite components and ones we would choose on our own custom builds.
One of our favorites is the Orbea Terra M22e. This one is a bit more interesting as it is one of a growing number of gravel bikes that feature Campagnolo Ekar (see our Six Things to Know HERE). Ekar lends itself really well to the Terra, as it's wide-range 1x cassette and 13 individual gears means there's no sacrificing high-speed cadence for climbing gears. It has been a reliable groupset for us as well, just as ready for the road group ride as a weekend bikepacking trip.
Regardless of what model you choose, each carbon Terra is eligible for the Orbea MyO program, offering everything from custom component selection to custom color choices.
The previous Orbea Terra was billed as an all-road bike. The new one says it’s all about gravel, regardless of the king of gravel you might come across, but it still offers the composure needed for an all-road bike. Has Orbea managed to turn their bike into an ultra-capable gravel bike? By finding the intersection of speed, comfort, and versatility, we think the Terra will find a lot of happy homes.
Want one for yourself? Shop Orbea Terra at Contender Bicycles or contact us with questions.
(This was updated July 29th, 2022 to include the Orbea Terra M22e)