“Welcome to the Jungle” The invite read …“Join us in Puerto Rico for the Global Launch of Orbea’s 2011 Rallon Mountain Bike Collection”, simple enough.

The ride: Orbea’s newest line up of enduro bikes, not to be confused with the motor bike mud track mayhem type, and all fully dialed with shimano, maxxis, and fox racing components.
The location: Toro Verde’s Nature Adventure Park & Eco Resort – Orocovis, Puerto Rico.

Hmm, let’s see – I’m in.

As if it were not cool enough to be ripping through the jungles of Puerto Rico on a ‘bad ass’ custom mountain bike I found myself handedly, and acceptingly being schooled by 3-time Olympian Katerina Nash, and world class biker & trail designer Marla Streb, both from Luna Chix Pro Team and sponsored by Orbea. Katerina was not shy to offer some ‘well deserved’ quick tips on how NOT to break my neck on warp speed jungle decents. The Orbea team was in the line up as well to lead the charge including Tony Karklins, Orbea USA’s Marketing Director.

“Orbea is very proud to launch this new 2011 Rallon series. The Enduro category is the most important and technical category in Europe and very applicable to the global markets. This new Rallon platform is first of many exciting MTB products coming from Orbea in the coming years. Toroverde, Puerto Rico was the perfect place to launch this product to the global press”, says Tony.

Orbea is a Spanish born company with a colorful history, lots of integrity, and ‘sick’ innovation. A member of one of the worlds largest co-ops, MCC, at 700,000 members. They can brag that 75% of their workers actually own the company (how does that rank as top places to work for in 2011?). In similar fashion, Orbea is very much consumer based, and community influenced; Word is, the latest Rallon color patterns were chosen based on a customer vote. This company’s got heart.

They’ve come a long way from guns and chocolate where Orbea (a family name) got its start in 1847. Transitioning exclusively to bikes (road initially) in the 1930’s. They now distribute in 63 countries and maintain the highest level of quality control owning, and operating from private production facilities in Asia, US, and Australia. The brand launched in the US in 2001, quickly moving up as the top selling European brand in the states. Orbea definitely takes building bikes seriously …crafting 190,000 bikes a year using some of the most innovative, and advanced testing in the market.

Talk about blood, sweat, and tears. Orbea has dedicated years of research and a ridiculous amount of product testing literally from every angle and altitude. Using 3-dimensional dynamic tests with advanced software, and programming capabilities to ensure the bikes are optimally designed for a premiere, efficient riding experience be it on the climb, descent, or just straight up pedaling your tail off. That’s fricking cool!

The result; I’d say “adaptability”. An ideal ride for adventure athletes …be it for extremely complicated terrain, no holds barred decents, or epically long endurance efforts. True ‘enduro’ essentially equates to blending all elements of what mountain biking can be which is exactly what these bikes are designed for. To match that, adventure enthusiasts typically thrive on dealing with adversity and overcoming obstacles whether obvious or unknown. All in a quest to discover the inner reward of persevering through unchartered terrain and conquering seemingly insurmountable feats within the raw elements of nature.

On my ride, I felt very secure on Orbea’s bikes yet free to explore. It was light and versatile. With many twists, turns, and rapid jungle downhills …I felt like it handled and responded exceptionally well. Even on the most hair pin of switchbacks where I did witness, and was every second …one mistake away from toppling end over. It was evident the ‘attention to detail’ used in crafting these bikes. In summary …I found them comfortable, assertive, and ready to roll – no question.

I was equally impressed to learn of Orbea’s “MyO” program which offers customers freedom to explore different components, choose from select geometry options, and personalize bike specifications to fit their preference. Using a newly launched state of the art interactive website…just a few taps on the keypad is all that’s required to design a bike exactly the way you like it. Then have it delivered to your local dealer within 48hrs – that’s door to door service!

With a full range of pricing options, styles and sizing for any age, gender, or rider type it’s no wonder this company is experiencing record growth globally.

Visit www.orbea.com to discover what these guys (and gals) are up to and where you can get one of these stealth rides. Expect to see them often next year as they embark on a full 2011 season event blitz.

Orbea gets two thumbs up from all of the adventure fanatics here at Adventure World!

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