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At this price point, the Orion is truly unbeatable value for money.
- Reinforced bottom bracket for increased power transfer.
- Optimal tube dimension according to frame size for maximum stiffness to weight ratio.
- World Tour geometry and oversized tubing ensure fast acceleration and precise handling.
- 24-ton carbon offers the perfect blend of stiffness and comfort.
- Mono seats stays designed to increase comfort.
Ridley Orion Bike Review:
Took ownership October 2015
Where I ride?
I live in Brisbane Australia and ride year round on a variety of terrain. During spring and summer the seasons are defined by the evening arrival of the monsoonal troughs. In the late afternoon these low pressure systems roll in from the north and tend to bring pre frontal trough activity; meaning lots of cloud, light showers and temperatures in the high 20s. This coincides with my evening rides and lately these rides have been dominated by a desire to hit the punchy climbs. If I’m lucky I can find myself in the middle of a light shower or better yet, the moment when the rain stops along with the wind. This is the sort of stuff that keeps me coming back for more. So let’s talk about terrain.
The Ridley Orion 7D7 105 Road Bike is my weapon of choice for rocky climb with road gear ratios.
Obviously there is the occasional capital city crit, but that is a small part of the general riding I do. I tend to be drawn to the same roads over and over and it’s out of necessity that I run a road bike. A 29er is a bit of a handful if you are regularly on my roads. My local area is an ever changing landscape marked by cuesta climbs, fast descents, creek crossings and a seemingly endless round of one way streets. What we lack in altitude, we make up for in ground covered in a small area. Add to that a highly developed road network, and you have a whole sweet spot of terrain just waiting to be exploited by a road bike.
It’s not all high speed descents and attack descents. Let’s not forget about the grinders.
We are typically dealing with sweeping roads on relatively flat ground. It’s not Swiss Alpine, but you would be hard pressed to find a ride where I’m not climbing for at least one third of the ride. Climbing could range from easy attacks off the saddle, or it could be the full-gas fight against a particularly steep segment of road. I would call the terrain moderately challenging, but a worthwhile reward awaits at the top. It’s usually a fast descent through neighborhoods as you make your way back to the beginning of the loop. These climbs are really where the Orion is at it’s best. The upright position and stiff frame compliment the terrain and just make you smile as you mash up the climb.
For the price point of this bike, The manufacturing is superior.
The welds are beautifully executed and the overall build quality appears to be very good. For the price point of this bike, the manufacturing is superior to the Giant, and while it doesn’t seem to be quite as good as the Trek, it is very close.
When I first picked up the Orion I noted the stiffness and talk about carbon fiber helped to set my expectations as I was sure this would be a seriously stiff bike. I would say that my first impressions were spot on. This is a seriously stiff bike. This is something that I’m not saying negatively, but rather the opposite. This bike is super fun to climb. It’s stiff, but provides a very comfortable ride. It will push you up any climb, but it’s not trying to break you off the back. The 22 inch wheels roll over road chatter really well, and once you are in the zone, it’s smooth sailing.
For the comparable Specs, here is what you get if you spend $400 more on the Ridley Madone.
The biggest difference is in the wheels and the seatpost.
The biggest difference between the two bikes is in the wheels and the seatpost. The Madone features ENVE Smart 700c and the Orion features Maddux. It’s hard to really call either a winner here as they are very different wheels and seatposts. The ENVE is a big wheelset with a light weight. The Maddux is a little on the heavy side by comparison, but I would go as far to say that the Maddux are a solid set of wheels. The seatpost on the Madone is a much fancier item. I really like the default seatpost. Otherwise the frames are very similar. Both use the same mono stays, along with a few other components. Additional components for the Orion include the Phantoms, pad file and not pictured, a short plug. The paint work is also different. I would call the Madone paint a lot better. I will say when it comes to paint the finish on the Madone is spot on!
The spec on this bike is typical of bikes in this price range. Good parts from the SRAM and Shimano groupset. Very solid groupset components.
If this is your first bike, you’re riding hard, or some combination of the two, it’s going to be a good fit.
The components on this bike match the high qualities of the frame. This bike is very stiff and efficient. This translates to a better ride all around. Considering the price point, the spec is pretty good. The groupset features Shimano 105 R7000 components. It is a 10 speed system, so you do have a little extra gear to play with. I’m not sure that I would have chosen this groupset, but then again I was not in the market for a bike in this price range.
It’s your standard 105 R7000 groupset with crankset lowered a half a gear
It has been replaced for some reason with Shimano R7000 which is a half a gear lower then R6000 list below. Let’s face it, for the price, you’re not going to get a full Dura Ace spec. At this price point you’re going to get a solid groupset like it’s 105 R7000 and save some money. If this is your first bike, you’re riding hard, or some combination of the two, it’s going to be a good fit.
Brakes and Shifting
One unexpected surprise was the braking ability. I did not expect it to be as good as it is.
The Shimano 105 R7000 shifting was a big surprise. I was a little concerned with the brakes, but they are excellent. They are really good. I find myself riding hard, and every once in a while I would just try to hard to overshoot my gear. This is when the brakes really start to shine. The difference from 0 and 90 is greater than I expected. One unexpected surprise was the braking ability. I did not expect it to be as good as it is. I have a few rides under my belt on the Orion and I feel like my confidence in the brakes has increased over time.
I have noted very few issues on the shifting. Occasionally at the beginning of a ride I need to give the rear derailleur a few tugs, but that’s it. I would say that shifting is crisp and responsive. I was hesitant after a handful of rides, but am now sold on this groupset. Shifting is smooth and crisp.