An Equal Opportunity Offender


Friday, August 5, 2011

I present to you the Orbea Orca. Winner of the worst cable routing EVER Award!

I got the opportunity to wrench on a 2011 Orbea Orca with full Dura Ace this morning. The lady was complaining about her shifting. Seeing that I had worked on this bike and tried to explain to this lady over the phone what was going on, I took the occasion to explain the problem. I took pictures so you could all enjoy how fucked this bike is.

Obviously, this is the bottom bracket cradle. The cable runs down the down tube, making contact the entire way. It is then routed through a small metal bracket on the BB. Fairly straight forward except that the cable makes contact all the way down the down tube and then enters the bracket at one angle and leaves at another. Kind of like this, >.

After leaving the BB cradle, it heads toward the rear derailleur. I see three problems here. 1. the cable makes contact with the chainstay as it enters the cable stop. 2. The cable is again required to enter at one angle and leave at another, >, remember. 3. It then has to route right around the QR nut.

Ah, to the beginning of the problem. The cable enters at one angle and leaves at another, >. It leaves and makes contact for about three inches on the down tube. I don't know how long this customer ran the cable casing down the down tube, but there was wear almost all the way to the BB.

The customer was obviously, as mentioned, having shifting issues. I mean, how could she not? Right? I took the time to show her the problems and explain why it would shift poorly. She got it. She was smart. I said we had two options. I could make it shift perfectly with Di2. Seeing that there wasn't any cable friction to worry about. 2nd option, I could put Gore cables on the bike to reduce the friction. She opted for the latter and also decided to go with a Dura Ace chain. They are directional and can help shifting as well.

When the bike was done, it shifted almost flawlessly. As it entered the lower spring tension of the bottom of the cassette it would take an extra tooth or two to drop, but did drop. She left happy.

Luckily, I also gave her the disclaimer that Teflon can wear off and therefore the shifting may not stay as "awesome" as it is right now. She's looking at her options.

Good job, Orbea!


  1. Ur such a good guy lukas. I dont care what they say.

  2. One of our customers pointed this out to me as a cause of concern so I'd like to offer Orbea's point of view on this: That frame is designed to always use the Gore cable system and when installed properly, as it seems you have done, should provide nearly flawless shifting with much lower cable drag than on other bikes. We ship all of the new Orcas with Gore cable sets so I'm a little surprised it was built with standard cables and can definitely imagine that would not provide a good experience.
    You can check out our tech page on cable routing at

    1. Guys why isn't the gore cable system working well on my orbea?

  3. This is bad press! Don't blame the cable routing, blame the idiot that did not use the specific gore cables the bike was designed for! It was developed like this for a reason so the cable almost disappears in the frame. It's also meant to completely reduce cable friction by have the cable completely in housing so no nothing exposed. This is why when you either buy complete bike or just frameset it comes with a set of Gore Ride-On cables :)

  4. I have a new Orca with the gore cables. After numerous attempts my bike is going back to Orbea. This is going to be an ongoing problem. Now they are skipping part of the cable run to try and make it shift. It still shifts slow.

  5. My Orca has only used Gore cables (second set after seven thousand miles) and shifts lbs wants me to try shimano cables

  6. I just purchased a used 2011 Orca frameset, looked at the cable routing and wondered why it was routed this way with the cable contacting the downtube and the chain stay nearly the entire run. Then I looked at the BB shell and saw that there is no threaded hole to attach a Di2 junction box. This design is purely artistic without any considerations whatsoever for mechanical functional efficiency. I shudder to think how the frame is really built !! So I googled the problem and found this site and learned that this design is BAD BAD BAD.

  7. i own a 2012 Orbea Orca Gold frame running Campagnolo Super Record. The system uses Gore Ride-On cables with no shifting issues at all.

  8. The bike was designed and spec'd for gore cables. I don't even own a Orbea and I know that. I think the problem here is the mechanic.

  9. I use Gore cables on my 2012 Orca and have completely changes the drivetrain and have never had clean shifting. My guess is un-needed turns and contact points in the cable system.

  10. Just picked up my new 2012 Orca gold running sram red. At first glance I realised I have no gore cable on the front derailer line. Rear derailer cable has gore. Also where the cable goes around the bb30 shell and through the frame it looks like it should have a sleeve and it aready appears to be cutting into the carbon. Bike is unridden until I get to the bottom of this unforeseen problem.

  11. Talk about short sighted fucked design. As of Dec 31 2012 Gore quit making this cable system. Orbea has since changed the design to internal routing. I spoke with sram and they advised me to stock up on cables. At 50.00 bucks a pop just for derailuer cables I am none too pleased with that option. Sram guy said well you know it is an expensive frame. No shit I bought it !!!!