Tested : Pete’s 2023 Orbea Wild M-Ltd eBike Review.

Pete headed out to the Basque Country to see what Orbea had conjured up for their next generation of full fat ebike, the Wild.

Orbea get ahead of the game with the latest Wild ebike, that sports plenty of neat features including class leading weight, a sensible rear centre, battery size options and Bosch’s new Race motor, on top of Orbea’s legendary customisation options in their MyO programme.

Pete had a chance to swing a leg over the range-topping Orbea Wild M-Ltd in the Basque Country a few weeks back.

Photos by Jeremie ReuillerIllprod.

Key features:

  • Fox 38 Factory 170mm fork
  • Fox X2 Factory shock
  • Shimano XTR 12-speed drive
  • Shimano XTR 4-piston brakes
  • Bosch Performance Line CX Race motor
  • Bosch Powertube 625Wh battery
  • OQUO Mountain Control MC32LTD Carbon wheels
  • Fox Transfer Factory dropper
  • £10,999.00 RRP

Starting with their Rallon enduro machine, the Rise is essentially the ebike equivalent, although the frame has been repackaged to accept the Bosch motor.

In order to maximise the stiffness of the new frame, Orbea have opted to make the battery fixed in the new Rise. Orbea claim, and it’s not hard to see why, that the window cut to allow the battery removal reduces frame stiffness by 70%. The new Wild is over 50% stiffer than the 2020 model it replaces. Despite this, Orbea have managed to reduce the frame weight by over 900g and is now almost the same weight as the Rallon frame.

Geometry has been updated to bring it in line with modern enduro bikes, the Wild having a strong influence from their EWS-e team racers. You get 29″ wheels only, no Mullet options here. Head angle drops by 1.5 degrees from 65.5 to 64, reach on the Medium grows from 455 to 480mm, whilst chainstays drop from 455 to 448mm. Seat angles steepen from 76 degrees to 77.5 degrees. BB drop is 5mm less at 25mm, and head tubes have shortened from 130 to 110mm.

You also get some serious post insertion on the new Wild, with 310mm post insertion on the size Small with up to 350mm post insertion on the XLarge.

Geometry

The new Wild is available in sizes Small, Medium, Large and XLarge.

Reach on the Medium is 480mm combined with a 415mm seat tube. Head angle is 64 degrees with a 77.5 degree seat tube angle. Chainstays are 448mm across the sizes with a wheelbase 1247mm.

The range-topping Wild M-Ltd comes with the new Bosch PerformanceLine CX Race motor with a frame integrated System Controller and the much neater Mini Remote that does away with the small screen TV of older Bosch models. You also get a Fox 38, X2 shock and Transfer dropper, all Factory models. Drive is via Shimano XTR’s 12-speed setup, with the four pot anchors being XTR units too. Wheels are Orbea’s sibling company OQUO’s Mountain Control MC32LTD carbon hoops. These are shod with the now obligatory Maxxis Assegai and Minion DHR II, in EXO+ flavour.

Our time in the Basque Country would mostly be spent being shown around a myriad of different trails by the guys at Basque MTB, everything from easily repeatable setup laps to big missions into the hills that are sandwiched between the Bay of Biscay and the Spanish interior. This would be a great opportunity to put the new Wild through its paces on a variety of terrain.

With some help from Diego at Fox, I soon had my dampers dialled in, and after promising myself that I wouldn’t get too excited and try too hard on the first few runs of the opening day, I was soon going far faster than I’d planned and a very near miss at high speed with a very large oak tree told me that the forks were running slightly too fast on the rebound side. This had led to a sliding understeer on the front wheel of a magnitude I’d not experienced in a while. Thankfully the XTR anchors saw me right. Adding two clicks of high and low speed rebound were, as it turned out, the only changes I’d feel the need to make all week.

For me, weight is a massive factor when it comes to ebikes. With me coming in around the 60kg mark, those ebikes at the heavier end of the spectrum are a far greater proportion of my weight and usually are exhausting to ride. Orbea have managed to get the new Wild into the same weight bracket as the Specialized Kenevo SL I tested a while back, an impressive feat, and puts the full power ebikes squarely back into the realm of the rideable, rather than just being a passenger. The size large M-Ltd bike coming in at a hair over 20kg.

Beyond that is the shorter chainstay than most ebikes running full 29″ wheels. While I certainly wasn’t manualling this bike everywhere, it certainly seemed that it would do what I told it to do, rather than me have to adjust my riding in a begrudging acceptance that I lacked the strength to boss the bike about.

With this in mind, I could simply focus on what the bike could and couldn’t do on the climbs and descents. Happy to slot it into Tour+ or EMTB for the most part, more a fan of controlled assistance than the whirling dervish of Boost/Turbo and on this bike, ‘Race’ mode. For those who haven’t had a chance to try the new race motor, they will take some learning, as I found out. The power delivery is brutal and the second and a half or so of overrun can, and will, see you off into the undergrowth if you get your timing wrong. Ever had to brake going uphill? No? You will in Race mode…

The opening lap was down the local enduro tracks, with most of them in sunken roads and tracks that gave them a much faster feel. Speed was high from the off, with plenty of natural rises, crests, fadeaways, you know, the good stuff. Shifting the bike about to make the most of these was crucial and at no point did I think I was on an ebike on the way down.

Later in the day, we headed to a more technical track, plenty of blind compressions and way more root and rock, and far more tight turns. Again, the bike felt way lighter than the headline weight suggested, and we were soon back at the top for another go. This is where the bike’s balance started to show as everything from big compressions to rooty chatter were in full effect, often simultaneously, and handled with a measured feel that inspired confidence.

The way the Wild handled the opening round of laps left me pretty excited to ride more of what the trip had to offer. It’s rare that I go this fast on blind trails from the get-go, but the Wild had made it feel pretty straightforward, beyond the near tree interface on lap one.

The following two days saw everything from the sublime to the ridiculous, and most of it done at least twice with the help of the motor and every now and again, a battery swap courtesy of Orbea’s mechanics, exchanging our 625Wh batteries for the larger 750s to feel the weight and range difference.

We’d ride everything from jump lines; greasy, rutted tracks in the woods, old mining trails and hand-cut tracks made specifically for the trip. The settings I’d honed in on by the end of day one would not see any change, and I’d be happy just to focus on building the speed through the week.

While you’d expect a bike knocking on the door of eleven grand to perform, there really was very little to pick holes in over two nine hour riding days. While I didn’t have any issues, ebikes and EXO+ casing tyres may not stand up to regular use that a bike of this calibre will be asked to perform. DH casing tyres are an optional upgrade in MyO, however.

Beyond that, the Bosch Race motor was quite a novelty for me, and I’d argue unless you plan on racing ebikes, then you’d be better off picking one of the lower spec models with the standard PerformanceLine CX motor if you can deal with the very minor weight penalty. The new remote and frame integration are a far better option than the old screen style unit by a country mile, however. The M-Team drops you to XT over XTR, drops the wheel spec slightly, and gets you the standard Bosch motor while asking two grand less in the process.

What do we think?

Orbea have upped their own and the general ante when it comes to full power ebikes in a way that means most people will have to follow suit.

The new Wild is a well-balance machine that allows you to focus on the thing you enjoy doing, blatting about the trails, and on this one, you get a healthy dose of assistance to have you back at the top in no time.

We love:

  • Full fat, low weight
  • Confidence-inspiring ride
  • Go anywhere capability
  • Doesn’t look like a bag of smashed crabs

Could do better:

  • Will EXO+ casing survive daily use?

You can check out the new Orbea Wild range over on their website here.