Buyer’s Guide 2017: Orbea Avant M20iTeam-D
Orbea's Avant offers an upright position that might work well for some riders and a stiff ride that feels fast on brisk group rides.
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Some riders have very specific needs — fit, performance, spec, or all of the above — and Orbea’s Avant might be just right for you. However, this beautifully pearl-colored bike offers an odd combination of characteristics that won’t work for every rider.
Out of the box, the Avant puts off a strong endurance road vibe. The 55cm model we tested had a tall 181-millimeter head tube and a 1,002-millimeter wheelbase. The FSA Gossamer crank’s 34x50T chainrings, combined with an 11-28 cassette afford generous gearing. Disc brakes, especially Shimano’s excellent RS805 calipers are a welcome sight on a bike meant for long, adventurous rides.
The Avant’s behavior on the road, however, didn’t jive with our expectations. We immediately noticed that this is a rather stiff frame. In fact, its .46-millimeter head tube deflection is even stiffer than that of a Specialized Venge. Riding dirt roads or rough pavement wasn’t an entirely comfortable affair. The 25-millimeter Vittoria Rubino tires also seemed inappropriate, given the ample tire clearance disc brakes allow.
Ignore for a moment that we pigeonholed this bike as an endurance ride. As an all-around road bike, the Avant is actually pretty nice.
Is the frame a little harsh? Perhaps, but that translates into a snappy feel when you get out of the saddle. That said, the .79-millimeter bottom bracket deflection is a little soft. Likely the race-friendly ride feel is aided by the Mavic wheels, which tend to be stiffer than most.
But here’s the catch: That tall head tube and rather shallow 72.4-degree head angle make the Avant feel and fit less like an all-rounder, let alone a race rig. The steering tends to wander at slow speeds.
If you have a short torso/arms and require minimal saddle-to-handlebar drop, the geometry might suit you well. If you’re looking for an attractive bike with quality parts and hydraulic discs at a fair price, the Avant might check all the right boxes for you.
Component highlights: Shimano Ultegra Di2, hydraulic, flat-mount disc brakes, Mavic Aksium wheels.