Tested : Joe’s Orbea Wild FS M10 e-Bike Review.

At the other end of the scales from the Rise is the Orbea Wild FS M10, a full fat e-bike that Joe has been putting through its paces.

The base model in Orbea’s full fat ebike range, the Wild FS M10 still packs plenty of punch. Joe has been seeing how it stacks up against the competition.

Photos by Dave Price.

Key features:

  • Fox Float Performance 36 160mm fork
  • Fox Factory X2 shock
  • Shimano XT/SLX 12-speed drive
  • DT Swiss H-1900 Spline 30c TLR wheels
  • Bosch Performance CX Cruise motor
  • Bosch Powertube 625Wh battery
  • £6678.00 RRP
  • Orbea.com

Wild by name, Wild by nature. The Orbea Wild M10 had plenty of surprises in store and proved to be an exciting bike to own for the last few months. A 160mm travel 29er, it’s a bruiser of a bike that encouraged hard riding, with some wild moments along the way.

Build and spec

First off the frame is all carbon fibre including the linkage and battery cover. Cables are routed internally, and were rattle free. The battery sits in the down tube, with a carbon cover that clips on to protect it from mud spray and debris.

A neat feature is the battery lock key which screws into the top of the stem, so you should always have it to hand if you need to get the battery out for any reason and there are water bottle mounts which also double up as the mounting point for a second range extending battery. The frame has integrated steering stops in the headtube which prevents the fork crown from hitting the downtube, with the added advantage that it also stops the bars from spinning round too far in the event of a crash which can pull on and damage the brake hoses and gear cables.

One thing to mention at this point is that Orbea offer a ‘customise’ option during the online purchasing process, whereby you can upgrade certain components, which I’ll touch on throughout the review. It does appear from having a play about with the website, that there are limits to what you can swap out.

For example you can upgrade this bike from a Fox 38 Performace to a Factory, but on the lower spec bikes there is no option to upgrade forks and shocks, but you can upgrade brakes, wheels, Bosch display and a few other things. I think this is a great idea as it give you the option to reign in the budget by perhaps choosing a lower spec bike and making a few upgrades where it counts.

At the centre of the Wild FS is the latest Bosch Performance CX Cruise BDU450CX motor combined with a Bosch Powertube 625Wh battery . This is the first time I have ridden it and it’s a marked improvement over the previous Bosch motor. I can’t compare it to the latest Shimano as I’ve not ridden that yet, but it feels slightly more powerful than the Shimano 7000 I rode on the Merida eOneForty I had a few months ago.

I do prefer the simplicity of the Shimano handlebar controls and display screen over this Bosch system. It just seems too complicated and cumbersome. The screen is large and clear, but there are so many settings to scroll through. I found myself using it just as an odometer, but if you are into that side of it then there is lots of settings and info to delve into.

When it comes to riding, the motor is very impressive, with bags of torque. There are four settings; Eco, Tour, eMTB and Turbo. I mostly rode this bike on my own with limited time, so I did tend to keep it in either eMTB, with the odd burst of Turbo. In these settings, keeping the hammer down I managed around 35km in around 2 hours in various locations from the Mendip Hills, Forest of Dean and Bike Park Wales. That’s a damn good 2 hour ride if you ask me.

I was at Bikepark Wales on the first day post-COVID closure and running it in Tour mode for most of the day the Wild allowed me to get in around 8-9 full runs (I lost out on one due to a puncture) which is on par with an uplift day. Ok, so we did manage to get in a sneaky battery charge at lunchtime in the office, but it only gave an extra 10% charge as we didn’t stop for long.

On the first climb from the carpark, using the Eco mode I managed to limp it to the top using only 6% battery, so if you were really careful and put in some effort I reckon it might be possible to get in 15 runs or so depending on rider weight (I weigh around 72kg).

Now to the battery. It should sit in the downtube, doing its thing. Charging up, running down, not really attracting much attention. Except when it fell out mid run at Bikepark Wales. Yep you read that correct, the battery fell out mid ride. Ok, so I cased a jump, but not ankle breaking hard, just a usual rear wheel case that I would suck up with my legs and maybe a bottom out of the shock, and the battery went tumbling off down the trail taking chunks out of the earth.

At first I thought I had dislodged a large rock which had bounced down the trail until I saw the battery skid to a stop. Basically the sprung clip mechanism which holds the battery in place had just given way under the load. By some miracle the two small black plastic bits which had fallen out were just sat there in the middle of the trail, so with more luck than anything I managed to piece it all back together, clip the battery back in and carry on my day.

A true e-bike specific mechanical if ever there was one. The battery came away with a few battle scars but still functioned so at least that proves its pretty tough. For the next couple of months it was fine, until another hard landing when it came crashing out again. This time the little beady bits vanished into the autumn leaves so I had to resort to good old zip ties to strap the battery back in to continue the ride and get home. Not to laugh though, this is a pretty serious issue which needs to be addressed if you ask me.

During the sales process of this bike, Orbea had ticked the box for a shock upgrade, from a Fox Performance DPX2 to a Fox Factory X2, which pushed the price up by £179. To be honest the DPX2 would have probably been fine, but I think it was done to prove a point on the test bike, that you can pick and choose the spec of your new bike.

The X2 lacked a bit of support at times, particularly when railing round long rough berms and on the take off of big jumps where the bike loads up. But then on the other hand, it soaked up rough chattery flat turns and roots very well, a compromise I became willing to accept. Perhaps with more patience the should could be tuned to be more supportive, but with both high/low compression, and fast/slow redound it can take a while to fine tune an X2.

On front suspension duties was a Fox 36 Performance E-bike optimised fork which I found to be more than capable and it performed flawlessly.

Orbea Rise ebike

The rest of the build kit is quality stuff. The DT Swiss H-1900 wheels stayed true and I had no issues with the bearings. Tyres were Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR2 combo in the Maxx terra compound, and EXO+ casing. In a previous review of a Nukeproof Reactor I praised the bike for specing EXO+ casing tyres, but on a hard charging E-bike the EXO+ casing is not quite up to the job.

There is nothing wrong with them as a tyre, but I feel with the motor driving you up the hills, a thicker casing tyre such as a Maxxis Double Down, or even a DH casing would be more appropriate, especially on the rear. And you could also get away with the stickier compound on the front in particular. Not a negative, but opportunity for improvement in my view.

Brakes are Shimano XT 4 piston which have huge power but did on occasion suffer from a wandering bike point on the rear, something that Shimano still need to get control of as it does seem to be pot luck with their brakes. I know Ben had a set of SLX 4 pots on his Vitus Sommet and they were faultless.

Orbea have interestingly chosen to mix brands with the gears, with a Shimano XT mech and SLX shifter, a Sunrace 11-51t cassette and a KMC chain. I can only assume to cut costs, but it worked flawlessly together so I have no reason to doubt their choice.

Other finishing kit includes Raceface bar and stem, an own brand OC2 dropper post and E-thirteen cranks and chain guide, again all worked without fault during the test. The dropper post was paired with a very neat and compact Shimano trigger style lever which was smooth and light in action.

Down Hills

Ignore the battery issue, point this bike downhill and you cannot fail to be impressed. I found myself pushing the Wild harder than any bike I’ve ridden. On familiar trails that I use as a benchmark for getting a feel for a new bike, it just begged to be ragged to within an inch of its life.

The Fox 36 Performance fork and Factory X2 shock were very impressive which is to be expected.

The Shimano XT 4 piston brakes are phenomenally powerful, but I do find them a bit grabby compared to the SRAM Guides and Hope Tech 3 E4 I have been using recently. Some people swear by the feel of Shimano brakes so it is quite a personal thing.

It’s hard to put a nail on it exactly why it felt so good. Usually I prefer bikes with a reach of around the 470mm mark, so with the Wild’s 455mm reach I was surprised. I put it down to the fact that on a regular bike, the longer reach gives you more room to move about to weight the front/rear of the bike, whereas an ebikes inherent weight means your body movements don’t have such a drastic effect, meaning the reach isn’t as critical.

Another trait of ebikes tends to be longer chain stays due to the position of the motor… a good trait mind. 455mm on the Wild (the same as the reach by chance) they make for a very stable bike, and controlled rear wheel drifts become a common theme. Don’t worry about what people say about long chainstay not going round corners, that’s a load of bunk. A well-balanced bike will go round corners, and the Wild is really well balanced. While riding the Wild, I found myself thinking about how I wished I had a pedal powered bike that handled as well.

Its not even got a particularly slack head angle but it still handles amazingly well. Orbea have designed the geometry of the Wild to be an all round e-MTB trail bike, so the head angle at 65.5 is fairly conservative as not to scare off people who want to ride it on all day epics on less aggressive terrain, but I think they could get away with making it a degree slacker.

In fact, on flatter or undulating trails a slacker head angle would still probably be better as on flat turns, shift your weight forward over the front wheel like on an MX bike and you can generate so much grip, while the weight of the bike itself keeps the rear wheel planted. I find the weight of ebikes creates an immense amount of grip. Trails that would have before been dull slogs, are transformed into MX enduro style sprints.

You can’t help but use the motor’s power in bursts between corners, weight the front wheel, drift the rear, power on, repeat. It really does transform the way you ride. Climbs and trails that just ‘get you there’ don’t tend to have berms, so with the speed of an ebike, the flat turns become a challenge and really make you work on your technique. Bermed climbs though, what a hoot.

If you know the Freeminers trail in Forest of Dean, its an average, single track red trail. On an ebike it becomes such a blast. Bermed climbs can be railed with power wheelies on the way out. Rough undulating sections and awkward climbs become technical challenges at speed.

Climbing in general is obviously a breeze on an ebike, and this is no different on the Wild. The Bosch motor’s smooth power delivery allows you to power up the most ridiculous slopes. There is a pedal assist/lockout on the shock that seems a little unnecessary on an ebike really, and I never used it.

In my local woods there is an old rocky river bed/footpath with some sections almost unrideable in the wet on a regular bike. The Wild turns it into a moto trials/enduro style climb and it brings a whole new element to riding. The Fox suspension demolishes the rocks and you can just power though, head up, pick a line and just go. Using the banks either side to bounce off, keep the pedals tuning and it is a rewarding style of riding, and good for your skills.

Having to keep pedalling while picking a line through technical terrain is a new skill to learn. It’s got nice short 160mm cranks which give good ground clearance which really helps with this kind of riding. Most regular bikes have 170/175mm cranks so that’s 10-15mm more ground clearance than I am used to which makes a big difference as to what you can pedal through.

Reliability

Other than the aforementioned battery escapade incident, the bike proved very reliable. Just a slashed rear tyre which could have happened on any bike to be fair, although I think a DH casing tyre would have survived, and a kinked gear cable which caused some poor shifting on occasion.

What do we think?

Unfortunately the battery incident does leave a stain on what would have been a glowing review. The Orbea Wild FS M10 is one hell of a bike. It does everything that I think a good full fat ebike should do, and does it very well. The custom options at point of sale gives some great options to personalise the spec and make some valuable upgrades right from the off.

We Love:

  • Big travel, big wheels, big fun
  • Smooth, latest generation Bosch motor
  • 625Wh battery gives great range

Could Do Better:

  • Battery fell out
  • Could do with tougher tyres

You can check out the full Orbea Wild FS range on Orbea’s website here.

Read all our other bike tests on our Bike Reviews page here.