Orbea makes beautiful, high-performance bikes. One ride on an Orbea bicycle on the road or the trails and you’ll quickly come to the same conclusion. What you might not know, however, is that Orbea has a long history in the bike world the is entirely as impressive is the bikes themselves.
Founded in 1840 in Eibar in Spain’s Basque country, Orbea was originally known as Orbea Hermanos with three brothers, Juan Manuel, Mateo and Casimiro Orbea making some of Europe’s finest firearms.
Yep, Orbea was first a gun maker long before they entered the bike business. Making a wide range of firearms from pistols to rifles, the business boomed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. After World War I, however, regulations greatly reduced the demand for guns in Europe and Orbea Hermanos needed to find new ways to keep the family business afloat. With expertise in making high-quality steel tubing, Orbea branched out to other markets and bicycles was one of them. In 1930, guns were no longer part of the Orbea business plan and the primary focus centered on your favorite two-wheeled mode of transportation. With veteran racer Mariano Cañardo riding Orbea bicycles, the brand became a force in Europe as a premier and respected manufacturer.