In full blast of the bicycle in all areas, from the urban to the most radical enduro, of course with the e-bike variant always lurking, Orbea has allowed itself to do what nobody had been able to do before in the sector: customize a Shimano engine to one of their electric mountain bikes .
The result is the Orbea Rise with the revolutionary Shimano EP8 motor. But not just any one but a version that the Spanish manufacturer, in collaboration with the Japanese giant, has been able to customize for the first time to get an electric mountain bike ( e-MTB ) that does not control the human but allows himself to be enjoyed the way more natural and real possible so far in the sector.
Orbea Rise M20 2021 electric bike with Maxxis Dissector 2.40 “60 TPI 3CMaxxTerra Exo TLR tires, Race Face AR 30c Tubeless Ready wheels and Shimano SLX M7100 SGS Shadow Plus rear derailleur.
La Rise started a new path in mountain e-bikes
The Orbea Rise is not the first electric mountain bike that seeks to separate something from the idea and above all the image of the most common market for this type of product: the world of enduro . In the sector they are called light e-MTBs and their rise is unstoppable.
What is different about the Orbea Rise case is that the Spanish manufacturer has been able to participate in the development of its own version of the Shimano EP8 to achieve a different user experience than what we can find on the market.
Orbea has achieved something unprecedented in the sector: being able to modify (and customize) a Shimano series motor for its new electric bike
The result is the Shimano EP8 RS (Rider Synergy), a great achievement for the Spanish manufacturer as he has been responsible for the Rider Synergy (RS) firmware that Shimano has used to configure the “Spanish” version of the EP8 engine. Part of that customization has consisted in the choice of the power curves and the detailed behavior of the engine.
The entry Shimano EP8 RS is presented as a version of the EP8 with 60 Nm instead of the usual 85 Nm of the official version available for other manufacturers and bikes. It may seem like a step backwards but as we will see, it is the base ingredient for this new way of understanding e-MTB.
Balance between weight, support and muscle
Except for users outside the mountain bike circuit, although it is not difficult to identify the Rise as an e-bike , the design and appearance of Orbea’s new electric is one of the most successful among electrified MTBs.
We are talking about a bike with an OMR carbon frame weighing less than 2.5 kg , a geometry that is closer to the trail bike than to the enduro bike, but that meets both ends and of course in disciplines located in the middle.
The trail geometry and its peculiar way of delivering power seeks to attract the rider who until now denied the e-MTB but without discouraging the enduro sector
With this premise, the main difference between the Orbea Rise and the classic e-MTB is that, in philosophy, it is not a bicycle that takes you nowhere, but your legs that must earn the power delivery , which is it adapts to the natural cadence of pedaling, which, as we shall see, we can “personalize” with the help of two usage profiles.
The starting point is clear: the rider’s pedaling (and more specifically the cadence) of the cyclist is basic and essential for the EP8 RS engine to act, as is quickly seen in the choice of a 32-tooth chainring that helps to achieve a more cadence. high.
Although in this test I am focusing on the experience and sensation with an e-MTB that is different from what is currently on the market (and that it will probably take a couple of years to replicate other brands, which Orbea has been using for two years from the start). advantage in joint development with Shimano), the Orbea Rise is quite a machine at a technical and component level . In fact there is no “economic” range for this model, which starts at 6,299 euros for the most basic model, the Rise M20.
The Orbea Rise, with a 29-inch wheel and double suspension, integrates a 360 Wh battery as standard, but we can expand it to 600 Wh thanks to an external battery that is attached to the bottle cage.
There are several montages. The one that I have tried is the highest range, and we found a good part of the best on the market at the level of components and a lot of exclusive creation precisely for this model, from the aforementioned 32-tooth chainring to the wheel compound, exclusive for now for this version of the Orbea Rise.
In total, in the best configurations, we are talking about a weight of just over 16 kg , an uncommon figure for an electric bike in this segment.
The Shimano EP8 RS motor, the key to the experience
El Shimano EP8 RS de la Orbea Rise no presenta diferencias físicas respecto al EP8 que podemos ver montado en otras e-mtb. Sus dimensiones y peso son las mismas. Pero no es ni del lejos el mismo motor en todo lo demás.
Que el motor EP8 RS sea físicamente igual que el modelo base no debe despistarnos: lo interesante está en el interior
Puede llamar la atención que ofrezca 60 Nm en vez de los 85 Nm nominales del original, pero en nuestra prueba no hemos echado de menos en falta nunca esos Nm extra. Trialeras con pendientes de más del 20% se han podido subir con agilidad y precisión recurriendo al modo Boost que nos “saca” efectivamente los 60 Nm.
The work of Orbea engineers has been produced in the firmware and everything that has to do with the experience of the power it delivers. Work has been done on how and when the assistance should be produced so that it is as natural as possible, as well as the adjustment of the motor torque or the cadence necessary to start helping our muscular effort.
But while the people at Orbea have been in charge of shaping the operation of the EP8 RS, it is the user who has the management of their experience in their hands.
The options that Orbea engineers have left in the hands of the user of their Rise are managed from an application on our smartphone
Shimano engine management is done with the help of Shimano’s E-Tube app . From there we can change profiles, configure them to our liking and ultimately create an experience with the Orbea Rise as close as possible to how we want to enjoy the e-MTB.
From the outset we have two possible profiles. For each of them, there are also three operating modes that in turn allow 10 levels of customization of the assistance level parameters, maximum torque delivered and assistance start. The app, although quite intuitive, is not quite as agile as one is used to with other services.
Of the two profiles, the first is the one that is more intended for use of the calmer and “trail” e-MTB, while for the second profile the usual thing will be to choose settings that resemble an electric mountain bike (which is almost say enduro) classic, with more power delivered and also acting much earlier.
Your legs determine the level of electrical assistance
As we have mentioned before, the maximum torque of the Shimano EP8 RS motor is 60 Nm , which is just 25 Nm less than the standard of this motor in other bicycle models that already use it.
So what is special about the RS version in which Orbea and Shimano have collaborated? Well, the key is in how that engine has been mapped so that it delivers that power.
Orbea’s mapping of the Shimano EP8 RS engine has achieved a natural and personal experience that adapts the engine’s power delivery to what our legs demand at all times.
Orbea’s goal was to make the service experience as real and invisible as possible . Eliminate jerks, dispense with delays in the transmission of energy and above all that it is our legs that demand the delivery of the electric motor.
This more invisible experience is joined by aspects of design and also of operation, where it stands out that, in the more conservative Eco assistance mode, the noise in operation is not at all noticeable . When we look for a more classic use, the engine is already present.
Even more remarkable is the fact that, without the engine running, there is no penalty. You can complete a full outing without starting the engine and without any friction of that component.
The Orbea Rise allows you to go out with your “muscular” rump without being looked down upon. And at the same time, enjoy harder and more demanding outings alone
In general, in Eco mode you can achieve a completely natural and jerk-free push of the bike . When we need more assistance because there are climbs, we must first tighten ourselves and improve the cadence so that the Rise offers us its help.
The final sensation with the Eco mode is to have a slight but continuous reservoir of strength that does not make us lose heart or discourage us on the climbs. The more we try to pedal, the more help we get from the motor. If we stop doing it, the electric ” bargain ” is over. Immediately. And that happens in all modes of assistance.
The Eco mode of the Orbea Rise is like meeting the peak annually but throughout the year
In the end, despite its high price largely due to the components used, the Orbea Rise seemed to me to be a very versatile and usable e-MTB .
We can go out with the usual muscular rump without anyone feeling offended because not having the active engine does not penalize us at all. But at the same time we have a bicycle that performs perfectly on “hard” terrain both for electrical performance and for agility and resistance. And to top it off, the more conservative Eco mode provides us with a continuous point and to be able to say goodbye to the feeling of not being able to do more on the most demanding climb without it meaning going for a walk. Absolutely.
Around 80-85 rpm, the pedaling sensation is completely natural, obtaining an assistance response in perfect relation to our effort . The more we suffer, the more we get.
Autonomy is not a problem
Talking about the autonomy of an electric bicycle is extremely complicated. Your weight, the terrain, the unevenness, your fitness … everything affects.
In this Orbea Rise, the standard battery is 360 Wh (21700 cells, the best on the market for this type of battery), a figure that will have set off the alarms of those who own a more classic e-MTB. It is true that if you are going to use this bike mainly for enduro or using Boost mode all the time, it falls very short. Unless you add the external one that adds up to 600 Wh .
What is interesting about the Orbea Rise’s battery is how well it is paired with its main operating mode, thus achieving a more efficient and precise energy management and that, in the end, ends up being translated into a longer autonomy. and a better experience on trail and all mountain outings, which tend to take longer than the disciplines where e-mtb is usually seen.
An example: when leaving for eminently trail terrain of around 50-60 km, with about 1,000 meters of unevenness distributed along the route, we return home with more than 60% of the battery still available.
In total, according to our experience, we can speak of more than six hours on average, logically reducing in modes other than the Eco. But even with the Trail, which gives us considerable push and assistance, we can make outings of about 3 hours and more than 1,500 meters of unevenness.
An important advantage of the Shimano EP8 motor is that, when we do not want to have the motor running, the experience is identical to that of a MTB without motor, without feeling of braking or penalty when riding at any time
In addition to the better range, the Shimano EP8 RS’s power limitation to just 60Nm makes system heating less and more controlled, and with it wear, something that will be appreciated in the long run.
A special e-bike even for the interface
The idea that it ” doesn’t look like an e-MTB ” on the Orbea Rise has carried over into many design elements. We have for example the power button, located right next to the engine, which saves wiring and thus weight.
But more interesting is the minimalism in the controls . The Orbea Rise comes standard without elements that give it away as electric. No big screens or controls. The different modes can be switched directly with a very simple, intuitive and compact control.
As for the information and control interface, the Orbea Rise maintains the “different” pattern of the bike itself. As we have indicated, there are no screens and we only have the Shimano EW-EN100 interface based exclusively on three LEDs.
Even the control and information interface of the electric bicycle has been designed in a minimalist way so that the user focuses on the experience and not on the classic screen
The one on the left gives us information about the way in which we are working by changing the color of the LED (ECO blue, TRAIL green and BOOST orange) while the one on the right keeps us aware of the status of the remaining battery also by means of a color code.
Too bad the choice of colors for the LEDs makes the orange-hued Boost mode hard to see at a glance at times.
The final idea is that we can use our head GPS to have the appropriate information in it. We have been able to test it with Garmin solutions, one of the most compatible with this Rise in a special way thanks to the development of the Orbea RS Toolbox application.
We can choose between advanced Phoenix or Enduro- type watches that we were able to test for this test with the Orbea Rise, or opt for dedicated solutions such as the Garmin Edge 830 or 1030 Plus cyclocomputers, the new Garmin model and that, with its large screen , perfectly complements the Rise when it comes to getting all the information we want about the status and operation of the Orbea Rise’s electric mode.
If we still want a more classic external screen, there is the option of placing the Shimano display , where we can already make profile changes (we can also do it from the smartphone but we need Internet connectivity) as well as having information about the mode and values with those of us who are pedaling.
Orbea Rise, analysis: Xataka’s opinion
Of the Orbea Rise, you may have stopped at its price to say enough, I’m not interested. Logical if you are a ” casual ” of the world of e-MTB or even mountain bikes that are not of the entry range. But this recent electric bicycle has a price that falls within its market and competitors.
The difference is made by the custom engine , a Shimano EP8 RS that, it is true, offers less torque than the native one and less battery as standard, but in return we gain an experience that convinces the cyclist more than, despite opting for an e- MTB, you don’t want to stop having classic sensations on your bike . Keep him in control and not the other way around.