Orbea’s new Terra Hydro is an alloy gravel bike we’re eager to test

Orbea updates its aluminium range of Terra gravel bikes to be a lot like its carbon range of Terra gravel bikes.

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[ct_story_highlights]What it is:Orbea’s alloy-take on a top end carbon gravel bike.||Frame features:Terra family traits, dropped chainstays, hidden cable routing, clearance for 700×45 mm or 650×50 mm tires, updated geometry, front and rear optional fender mounts.||Price:Varies.||[/ct_story_highlights]

Back in November, Orbea debuted its second-generation Terra carbon gravel bike with a host of frame updates including size-specific geometry and conservative styling. While we haven’t yet seen or ridden the new Terra, on paper at least, it ticks a lot of boxes. Four months on from that launch, Orbea has updated its aluminium Terra range with a new frame and three new build options. The new Terra Hydro range is said to offer the same comfort and control as its carbon siblings at more accessible price points. 

The Terra Carbon was one of my favourite looking bikes of 2021, and the new Terra Hydro shares many family traits with its more expensive sibling. The new Terra Hydro inherits the family’s instantly recognisable Orbea Terra OMR carbon fork with the same aggressively angled yet somehow endearing kink forward at the top of the fork. Working with hydroformed aluminium, Orbea has created a metal frame remarkably recognisable as a close relation to the Terra Carbon. 

Accessible gravel

Beneath the surface, the new Terra should feel pretty similar to the current carbon offering. Bar an increase in chainstay length and a knock-on increase in overall wheelbase length, the aluminium Terra is a carbon copy (no pun intended) of the size-specific, slightly longer and much higher geometry updates Orbea introduced with the Terra Carbon range last year. Orbea says this is not a competition bike, but that “fun and speed are interconnected”, I happen to agree.

Those longer chainstays mean that the claimed tyre clearance is also identical to the Terra Carbon. Like the carbon version, the Terra Hydro has asymmetrically dropped chainstays that are said to accept 45mm tyres with 700c wheels and up to 50mm with 650b wheels.

The Terra Hydro geometry is almost identical to that of the Terra carbon.

The new Terra Hydro does have its unique features, though. Orbea has opted for butted tubes of varying shapes and thicknesses to balance weight, strength and rigidity – claimed weights have not been provided. More immediately noticeable, Orbea’s proprietary integrated cable routing stem and headset system are identical to that used on some of the carbon models, but the limitations of alloy manufacturing give it a more detached, less flowing appearance. The alloy frame also has an extra kink in the top tube, just in front of the seat tube. These elements combine to provide the alloy frame with its own aesthetic that’s not an identical twin to the carbon frame.

While the Terra Hydro misses out on Orbea’s Lockr downtube storage compartment for stowing spares, it gains mounting points for a rear pannier rack. Those pannier rack mounts are in addition to the mounts for up to three bottle cages plus front and rear mudguards. Although, mounts for top tube bags are still conspicuous in their absence.  

The Terra Hydro frames feature plenty of mounting options for bottle cages, mudguards, and a rear pannier rack. Of course, there are also all the usual mountless bag options.

Amost there, but not quite

The press release we received on the new aluminium Terra range speaks to “completing the Terra family” and making “gravel more accessible for a wider cycling community.” Offering more affordable, robust, and modern alloy bikes is something we wish the bike industry would do more. With the Terra Hydro, Orbea is offering a bike that looks and theoretically should handle much like its carbon sibling but at a lower price point.

Commendable, for sure, but Orbea has stopped short of offering the alloy frame with top-end builds. The highest spec 1x and 2x mix of Shimano GRX RX400, 600, and 810 equipped aluminium Terra H30 models priced at US$2,699 / £2,199 / €2,199 and US$2,799 / £2,299 / €2,299 feature almost identical specs to the entry-level carbon Terra M30 Team models which sit at a US$800 premium. To be clear, all four bikes are well equipped with quality components, but I, for one, would like to see the SRAM Rival Etap AXS and Campagnolo Ekar builds currently offered on the carbon Terra as an option with the aluminium frame. Perhaps even the Force Etap AXS or GRX Di2 carbon builds with the Fulcrum Rapid Red wheelsets for the ultimate rad alloy gravel bike. If we assume for the same US$800 savings in switching from the carbon to alloy frame on the H30 builds, that could mean a Di2 equipped gravel bike for US$4,600. On paper, I am a fan of both new Terra frame offerings, but where I feel Orbea falls short on its accessibility objectives is in offering higher-spec builds with the accessibly priced frame. 

In keeping with the accessibility objectives, Orbea also offers its entry-level Terra H40 build on the alloy frame. The H40 (US$2,499 / £1,999 / €1,999) features mostly GRX RX400 components, RX600 cranks, and the same Orbea wheels with Shimano RS470 hubs.  

Orbea has told CyclingTips its popular MyO program will offer limited parts and fit adjustments for the new Terra Hydro models, however the custom paint option will not make it to the alloy frames. The full Terra range is available now. More information is available at Orbea.com.

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