Orbea was the first company to mass produce a 29′er carbon fiber hard tail bike called the Alma. The bike has been a big success for the company, that is, if you fit the one and only size that Orbea ever offered the Alma in. That all changes today with Orbea’s announcement of the 2011 Alma which now will come in three sizes and two colorways. But that isn’t all that is different with this new version of the Alma 29.

CH8F6077

Orbea has packed in some modern features into this new Alma 29. But before we get to that, I think it is worth taking a look at where Orbea has come from with 29″ers. The lead in to their press release tells of the daring entry into the 29″er market for a company, from Europe no less, where at the time 29″ers were rather laughable. Here is the opening paragraph:

It is amazing how far the 29″ wheel has come since we launched the world’s first production monocoque carbon 29er at Sea Otter in 2006. The Alma 29 that was once a big risk has evolved into a staple of our mountain bike line up. Big wheels are so much more than a niche-filler for us at Orbea, they’ve become our favorite way to ride.

So you can see that Orbea stuck with the Alma, even though it may have been a bit before its time in 2006, and now, as we all know, carbon fiber hard tails are all the rage. Not many companies can say that they have already had success in carbon fiber 29″ers, nor that they have advanced to a more refined model already. In this Orbea is at the forefront.

viewerFeatures: The technical features that Orbea has brought to the fore with the new Alma 29″er are many. Things like shorter chain stays, a BB-30 bottom bracket, a tapered head tube, and increased tire clearance over the original Alma 29. Orbea also borrowed some technologies from the 26 inch wheeled version of the Alma as well. The “Size Specific Nerve” being one, which is a way of optimizing carbon layup and structure for each size. The cable routing is also carried over from the 26″er to the 29 inch wheeled Alma. Called “DCR Cable Routing”, it was developed in tandem by Orbea with the assistance of Gore. Weight was reduced from the original Alma 29 frameset by as much as 150 to 200 grams depending on the size of the frame.

ALMA29_Detail1ALMA29_Detail2ALMA29_Detail3

Geometry And Sizing: As noted, the Alma 29 will now be available in three sizes. These will be Small/16.5″, Medium/18.5″, and Large/20.5″. All geometries listed are based off a 100mm fork with 46mm offset.

-Head Angle: 71.5 for the Small and Medium with 72 degrees for the Large.
-Seat Tube Angle: 73 degrees across the size range.
-Effective Top Tube Sizes: 22.6″ Small, 23.2″ Medium, and 24.4″ Large.
-Chain Stay Length: 17.3″
-Bottom Bracket Drop: 2.6″/65mm
-Wheelbases: Small 41.7″, Medium 42.1″, and Large 43″

Frame price has been set at $1799.00 U.S.D. The complete Orbea Alma 29 models will be offered in four versions in Black or White colorways. The “Alma 29 S10″ designation is a SRAM XX equipped bike with a Fox fork and Mavic Cr29ssmax wheels. The “S30″ designation seems to be a Shimano XTR 10 speed equipped bike, again with the Mavic wheel set. Their will also be a 10 speed XT equipped “S50″ designated Alma 29 model that moves to a Reba fork and Shimano XT pre-built wheel set. Finally, a X-9 2 X 10 “S70″ variant will be offered again with a Reba fork. This model seems to have a Mavic hooped wheel set, although no mention of any hubs are made in the spec chart we received. As of press time, no prices have been announced and no word on availabilities.

The Alma 29 will be getting flogged this weekend under Georgia Gould of the Luna Chix squad at the Mellow Johnny’s Classic near Austin Texas this weekend. We’ll have more on this new model in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!