Orbea has launched an update to its Gain carbon electric road bike. The new model gets a change of geometry with shorter chainstays and clearance for narrower tyres than its predecessor.
It also swaps from the Mahle ebikemotion X35 rear hub motor to the newer X20 for an 11.5kg claimed weight in the flagship spec.
Orbea says that the new Gain is designed to allow any user to enjoy cycling as never before, riding faster and further, regardless of their age and sex. The bike is designed to have road bike-like aesthetics and performance and what Orbea says is ‘enough power’ without the motor overwhelming the rider’s input.
Prices range from £5,299 for the Gain M30 to £9,299 for the top spec Gain M10i.
Mahle X20 system
Orbea uses the Mahle X20 rear hub drive system, said to be the lightest available and also used for the Wilier Filante Hybrid.
The new motor is more compact than the older Mahle X35 system used on the previous model Gain. It also delivers more torque, which Orbea says gives it the best torque-to-weight ratio of any system available, although it points out that for road riding, high torque output isn’t as important as for an electric mountain bike.
Orbea has tuned the motor to provide what it says is more natural, less obtrusive assistance, so that it feels more like riding a normal road bike, with a linear assistance power curve for each of the three assist levels.
The torque input by the rider is measured by a bottom bracket sensor, which regulates the motor’s input. Orbea says that its objective is not to help you ride faster up hills, but to keep the same speed while exercising in a more aerobic zone rather than at FTP.
The linear power curve also results in greater range, which also contributes to Orbea’s aim of a better ride experience. Orbea has fitted the larger capacity 350Wh Mahle battery in the Gain. As usual with Mahle’s batteries, it’s totally enclosed in the down tube and isn’t designed to be removed in normal use.
Orbea says that this will give you up to 4,000m of climbing (which it suggests is a better way to measure range than distance, as most riders will be spending a lot of time over the motor’s 25kmh cut-out on the flat). Charge time is 2 hours to 80 per cent, with a further 2 hours to 100 per cent.
If you want more climbing potential, you can fit the optional bottle cage range extender which adds another 1,900m, as well as acting as a power bank for other devices if you need it.
Orbea points out that often other brands are fitting Mahle’s lower capacity 250Wh battery, which will only assist for 2,800m of climbing. The difference in battery weight is only 700g though, which it reckons isn’t a great saving in an electric bike weighing 11.5kg with a 70kg rider aboard.
The new Gain has what Orbea calls pure road geometry, unlike the previous model that looked to straddle road and gravel.
Orbea says that gravel riding is still evolving and 45mm tyres or more are now the norm, so that a frame designed to handle both road and gravel ends up not serving either well.
The brand has shortened the chainstays on the new model to 415mm from the previous Gain’s 420mm, giving a more road bike-like ride feel. This has reduced the tyre clearance from 40mm to 35mm.
Orbea points out that you can still fit a 35mm gravel tyre, which should be fine for light gravel, if not for more extreme off-road.
It’s also added a sixth size, up from five, for a better fit for more riders.
As with the old model, there’s a high level of cockpit integration, with Orbea’s ICR system providing enclosed cable routing through a sleeve under the stem and into the head tube. This allows you to change the bars or stem without needing to disconnect cables and hoses.
There are also the same integrated lights front and rear, with the front light forming part of the computer mount. Orbea offers the Mahle display unit, although it believes most riders will want to use their bike computer to monitor the motor and battery levels.
Orbea mounts the latest generation of Mahle’s top tube control button in the Gain. This allows you to switch the motor on and off and change assist level.
It also gives you information on assistance level selected via its LED colour and the battery level via the length of the coloured bar in the display.
Orbea reckons that changing assistance level via the controller isn’t the best solution though as it means taking your hand off the bars and your attention off the road ahead.
So the Gain also has Mahle’s eShifter buttons mounted on the bar tops, letting you change assistance levels from there. They’re wired, but there’s enough length to the cables to mount them at the brake levers or in the drops if you prefer.
Orbea gain 2023 specs and pricing
The new Gain carbon will be available at six spec levels. Shimano 105, 105 Di2, Ultegra and Dura-Ace are designed for road use and Rival AXS XPLR and Force AXS XPLR specced for light gravel. Prices range from £5,299 for the Gain M30 to £9,299 for the top spec Gain M10i.
Orbea says that this flagship Dura-Ace build with carbon wheels weighs 11.5kg, which it claims makes it the lightest electric bike in its class. There are two stock colours and the option to choose your own colour scheme and alter some parts of the spec like crank length via the MyO customisation programme.
Orbea will continue to sell the previous generation alloy Gain alongside the new carbon bike, at prices from £2,899 for the Gain D50 to £4,299 for the Gain D30i. More info on the new Orbea Gain on Orbea’s site.
For more on electric bikes, check out our e-bike coverage.