Ride Review: Orbea Rise SL

Ride Review: Orbea Rise SL

Written by Ezra Jefferies, on June 03, 2024

The all-new Orbea Rise boasts the tagline, "The best just got better." But how true can this really be? I had the unique opportunity to spend a day on the new Rise in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Bentonville is quite an experience. The Waltons, the family behind Walmart, hail from Bentonville and have invested heavily in the area, calling it "The Mountain Bike Mecca of the World." While I don’t quite agree with this statement (Utah is pretty hard to beat), Bentonville offers a lot, especially close to town. It's a mountain biker's paradise, with trails starting right in town, featuring a couple of rollers parallel to an apartment building. Beyond that, the trails are densely forested with endless rolling paths—nothing super steep, and no climb or descent is too long, making electric mountain bikes perfect for the job. Honestly, I might have been disappointed riding the Bentonville trails without an electric mountain bike. More on that later.

Bentonville trails

The Bike

Orbea provided the crème de la crème: the Rise SL M-LTD. The SL has 140mm rear travel paired with a 140mm Fox 34 Factory fork with the new Grip X damper. It’s equipped with a 420 Wh battery paired with the new Shimano EP8 RS motor and Orbea’s custom RS firmware tune. Being the SL model, it had "light duty" tires, Schwalbe Wicked Will front and rear. I rode a size large and am 5'10".

Orbea Rise SL M-LTD

Climbing // Motor

The ride started in downtown Bentonville, heading straight to the Slaughter Pen trail system. These trails consisted of rolling terrain with man-made features scattered about. We began in the base RS tune, meaning the motor was capped at 54Nm of torque. I was completely content riding the bike in RS with boost. Thanks to Orbea's custom firmware tune, the motor felt natural and did not lag when putting down power. Keeping the bike in the RS tune with boost and the 420Wh battery allows for plenty of range for an after-work or early morning ride, keeping the bike's overall weight down.

Shimano EP8 RS

About halfway into the ride, we stopped to switch our Rises into the RS+ tune, which offered 85Nm of torque. This was made easy using the Shimano E-TUBE app, which makes changing settings effortless and instantaneous.

Shimano E-Tube App

The RS+ tune makes the bike comparable to a full-bore electric mountain bike but would still lose in a drag race off the line. On the flip side, the Rise would still win in terms of mileage. The RS+ tune provides more torque at lower cadences, making climbs easier, especially on technical terrain. While this setting was fun for punching through uphill berms and rock gardens, I preferred the feel of the standard RS tune. The Shimano app allows users to fine-tune each setting for the exact ride quality they desire, including max torque, assist start, and assist character. Orbea recommends starting with their pre-configured settings, and I would agree.

Rise Shimano E-Tube App Change

Descending // Geometry

Descending on electric mountain bikes, in general, is a lot of fun. The added weight of the battery and motor helps keep the bike feeling very planted and confident. However, it can also feel vague and not as nimble. Luckily, the Rise SL maintains the liveliness of a traditional bike while keeping the weight low for a confidence-inspiring feel. The low weight is where this bike really shines. Short 440mm chainstays make it easy to navigate and make quick decisions. The Rise SL excels on flowy trails where nothing gets too steep. The bike really wants to go fast and pump through every roller or berm the trail offers.

On steeper or chunkier trails, the SL had its hiccups and felt a bit uneasy. The issue was mostly with the front end. With the long reach of 490mm in size large, I had to position my weight forward to maintain grip, which made the Fox 34 feel uneasy with its 140mm of travel. This isn’t necessarily a problem because Orbea offers the Rise in both SL and LT options. The LT model would likely solve the issues I encountered. Additionally, swapping the front tire from a Schwalbe Wicked Will to something meatier could improve the SL’s performance on steeper terrain. Fortunately, Orbea offers the MYO program, allowing you to customize parts of the bike to match your riding style and terrain.

Who is this bike for?

The Rise SL is for riders looking to cover a lot of ground while maintaining a strong trail feel. It’s ideal for those who don’t want the cumbersome feel of a full-bore electric mountain bike. Whether exploring new terrain, wanting to go further, or short on time, the Rise SL embodies Orbea’s motto: “less e, more bike.” It handles and feels almost exactly like a regular trail bike.


On the other hand, the Rise LT offers more capability on steep trails. Although I didn’t get to ride the LT, it features 150mm of rear travel and 160mm up front with a Fox 36, is coil compatible, and shares geometry similar to the Rallon, Orbea’s enduro offering, with just a bit less travel. If you want to push the limits on descents but still have a lively and light electric mountain bike, the Rise LT is for you.


Orbea offers many options for the Rise, including two battery sizes, a range extender, and the choice between SL and LT. Personally, if you lean towards the SL, I recommend the 420Wh battery to take advantage of the Rise’s lightweight build. Then opt for the range extender, which adds 210Wh for longer adventures, giving a total of 630Wh. It’s worth noting that when plugged in the range extender keeps the bike out of boost mode for better mileage, but turning it to sleep mode allows you to tap in to the regular battery and use boost mode. Think of the range extender as a reserve tank.

Rise SL

For those leaning towards the LT, the 630Wh battery is ideal. If you prefer bigger travel for steeper terrain, you’ll need more battery power to get up to those steep descents, ensuring your ride isn’t cut short. The range extender is also a good option for long adventures, providing a total of 840Wh. For those riders who will keep the bike in RS+ with the 85Nm of torque most the time, the the larger battery is a no brainer. Rise LTThe new Rise definitely offers several improvements. We think the biggest improvement is the ability to get exactly what you want.  With two travels, several different build options and Orbea's custom MyO program, there is for sure a Rise for every rider.  Add a much broader "range" of tunes for the motor, the Orbea Rise can really be the bike to do it all. Give us a call or visit us in-store to learn more about the Orbea Rise. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and get you out riding!


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