The 2023 Orbea WILD M-LTD eMTB is made for demanding terrain, relying on the new Bosch CX Race motor, paired with either a 625 Wh or 750 Wh battery. It’s built up around a carbon frame and offers plenty of customizability. We spent a week in the Basque Country putting it through the wringer to see how it fares on the trails.
Orbea know how to build an ebike, as they’ve already proven with their light eMTB, the Rise, securing itself the Best Buy award in several of our group tests. It won us over with its excellent handling, and good motor and battery integration. Now, its big brother, the WILD, has been brought up to date. On paper, the two concepts couldn’t be more different: while the Rise is lightweight, relying on a small battery and natural-feeling assistance, the WILD is all about maximum power, and features a big battery for long and demanding trail rides. The flagship M-LTD model goes for € 11,999 and is equipped with the new Bosch Performance Line CX Race motor. The frame provides 160 mm at the rear, which is paired with a 170 mm travel fork, and it rolls on 29″ wheels. Thanks to the MyO configurator, you’ve got countless customisation options, too.
The development of the new 2023 Orbea WILD
We visited Orbea in Spain and were given the opportunity to test the new WILD M-LTD and find out more about its development and production. The company’s headquarters are situated in the Basque Country where it was founded more than 100 years ago as a weapons manufacturer. In the 1930s, they made the switch to producing bicycles. And it’s remained that way ever since, not just developing and designing bikes but also spraying the frames and building the complete bikes to order on site. We had several days to test various configurations of the WILD M-LTD on the local trails.
The new 2023 Orbea WILD M-LTD in detail
The new Orbea WILD M-LTD features a modern and distinctive design language. The cables are routed into the frame via the head tube and only reappear shortly before reaching the components where they’re needed, making for a clean look. This is underlined by the continuous down tube since the Spanish brand have opted against having a removable battery in favour of improved stiffness. Compared to its predecessor, the new WILD is said to be 51.59% stiffer and 901 g lighter.
For those who prefer metal, the WILD is also available with an aluminium frame, which looks deceptively similar to the carbon model. It’s only because of the weld seams on the rear end that you’ll recognise the difference. There’s a small fender covering the main pivot of the rear end, preventing stones from getting stuck in there and damaging the paint. The generously-sized seat and chainstay protectors also guard the frame by fending off chain slap, keeping the bike nice and quiet on the trail.
The Bosch System Controller integrated into the top tube provides an overview of the battery level and the support mode you’ve selected. You can change the support mode via the System Controller or the Bosch Mini Remote on the handlebar. The remote is wireless, relying on a Bluetooth connection.
The motor and battery concept of the new 2023 Orbea WILD
Depending on the model, the new Orbea WILD is available with the Bosch Performance Line CX or the CX Race motor. The CX Race variant is almost identical to the existing CX motor range, differing predominantly in the way the software has been tuned. Compared to the less competition focused motors, it comes with the Race mode, which makes it respond more sensitively to input on the pedals, unleash its power more quickly, and keep assisting for longer after you stop pedalling. The motor has been beautifully integrated into the frame and it’s well-protected by a large plastic skid plate. Powering the motor, you’ve either got a 625 Wh or a huge 750 Wh Bosch PowerTube battery. It’s up to you to decide which one you want, as you can take your pick in the MyO configurator, but more on that later. The battery is permanently integrated and can’t be removed for charging, which is unfortunate. However, the charging port is easily accessible, positioned above the motor, and protected from dirt and moisture by a sealed flap. Unlike the predecessor, the 2023 Orbea WILD doesn’t come with the DualBattery option.
Customizability thanks to the MyO configurator
Thanks to the MyO configurator, you can largely spec the WILD to suit your riding style. Orbea leave it up to you to choose many of the components, including the suspension, brakes, tires, wheels, handlebar and the length of the dropper post. Besides the large range of components to choose from, you can also give your creativity free reign with the colour scheme. If you want, you can even have them paint your name on the frame – and it’s completely free of charge.
The components of the 2023 Orbea WILD M-LTD on test
We tested the M-LTD version of the new Orbea WILD, which relies on FOX Factory suspension. Up front, you get a 170 mm travel FOX 38 fork, featuring the top-end GRIP2 damper, allowing you to adjust the high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping. Like the fork, the FLOAT X2 shock represents FOX’s flagship range and controls the 160 mm travel at the rear. The coil shock has been removed as an option in the configurator, which is good because we didn’t like it on the predecessor.
Thanks to the four-piston Shimano XTR brakes and 200 mm GALFER Wave rotors at the front and rear, you’ve got plenty of stopping power, reliably bringing you to a halt even on long and steep descents. The gears are also taken care of by Shimano’s XTR family, providing a 510% gear range and crisp shifting.
The Mountain Control MC 32 LTD carbon wheels are supplied by Orbea’s new in-house brand Oquo, as are the aluminium Oquo 32 Team variants, which you can opt for in the configurator if you prefer. Fitted to the wheels are a set of MAXXIS tires, consisting of a 2.4″ Minion DHR II featuring the soft MaxxGrip compound and robust DH casing on the rear, paired with a 2.5″ ASSEGAI relying on the harder MaxxTerra compound and lighter EXO+ casing up front. If you want more puncture protection and wish to lower your tire pressure for more grip, we recommend going for the aluminium wheelset and/or replacing the EXO+ casing with something sturdier – which Orbea said will be available in the online configurator.
The FOX Transfer dropper post can also be configured in the MyO platform at no extra charge. On our test bike, a 200 mm long dropper was installed and can be completely inserted in the L-size frame. The OC Mountain Control MC10 carbon handlebar lets you keep everything under control with its 20 mm rise and 800 mm width. Before shortening, remember that doing so will also make it stiffer.
Orbea WILD M-LTD
Motor Bosch Performance Line CX Race 85 Nm
Battery Bosch PowerTube 625/750 Wh
Display Bosch System Controller
Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2 160 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer 175 mm
Brakes Shimano XTR M9120 203/203 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR 1x12
Stem Oquo OC Mountain Control MC10 Alloy SL 50 mm
Handlebar Oquo OC Mountain Control MC10 800 mm
Wheelset Oquo Mountain Control MC 32 LTD 29"
Tires MAXXIS Assegai 3C MaxxTerra EXO+/ MAXXIS DHR II 3C MaxxGrip DH 2.5"/2.4"
Weight 20.9 kg
The different models of the new 2023 Orbea WILD
Along with the M-LTD on test, Orbea also offer the M-Team, M10, and M20 models. The € 9,499 M-Team slots in just below the M-LTD, featuring the same FOX Factory suspension, either with a 170 mm or a 160 mm travel fork. The new Bosch Performance Line CX Race motor is exclusive to the M-LTD model: all others will have to make do with the standard Performance Line CX. Instead of the carbon wheels, the M-Team relies on the aluminium Oquo MC 32 Team wheelset, though the carbon models are optionally available in the configurator. For stopping, you get a pair of reliable XT four-piston brakes, and a matching XT drivetrain for the gears, all supplied by Shimano. The € 8,399 M10 is specced with the FOX 38 FLOAT Performance GRIP 3-position fork and FLOAT X Performance air shock, both providing 160 mm travel. You can upgrade to the higher-end FOX 38 fork with the GRIP2 damper in the configurator, though. The M10 model relies on Shimano’s Deore four-piston stoppers. If you prefer an aluminium frame, the Spanish brand are offering three versions to choose from: the H10, H20 and H30. For € 6,999 the top-end H10 aluminium model comes specced with a FOX 38 FLOAT Performance fork and a FLOAT X Performance shock, offering 160 mm travel front and rear. Like the frame, the Oquo MC 32 Team wheelset is made of aluminium.
The geometry of the new 2023 Orbea WILD
The new 2023 Orbea WILD is available in four sizes from S–XL, which should accommodate riders from 155 to 205 cm tall. At 435 mm in size L, the seat tube is nice and short, yet it allows you to fully insert a 200 mm dropper post thanks to the straight design, promising ample freedom of movement on the trail. In order to combine climbing prowess with downhill performance, the development team at Orbea have given the new WILD a steep 77.5° seat tube angle, which should put you in an efficient pedalling position. This is combined with a slack 64° head angle to provide stability and composure at speed and on steep descents. The 448 mm chainstays are moderately long and remain static across all frame sizes. On our size L test bike, they make for a balanced weight distribution between the front and rear.
|Top tube||573 mm||595 mm||622 mm||649 mm|
|Seat tube||415 mm||415 mm||435 mm||460 mm|
|Head tube||110 mm||120 mm||130 mm||140 mm|
|Chainstays||448 mm||448 mm||448 mm||448 mm|
|BB Drop||25 mm||25 mm||25 mm||25 mm|
|Wheelbase||1.223 mm||1.247 mm||1.277 mm||1.306 mm|
|Reach||435 mm||455 mm||480 mm||505 mm|
|Stack||621 mm||630 mm||639 mm||648 mm|
Riding the 2023 Orbea WILD M-LTD
The riding position on the 2023 Orbea WILD M-LTD is upright, yet it feels like you’ve got more weight resting on the handlebar than on the saddle. While this hand-heavy weight distribution can get slightly uncomfortable on long tours, it allows the bike to perform well on technical climbs, keeping the front wheel planted and in control. The rear suspension bobs slightly as you pedal, but it generates lots of traction on technical uphill terrain. Even if you’ve got the motor set to Race mode, unleashing plenty of power the moment you spin the cranks, the rear wheel doesn’t break traction.
Comparing the two battery size options back-to-back, you’ll notice that the WILD feels livelier with the smaller battery configuration. You might think that the longer and heavier 750 Wh battery would weigh the front of the bike down even more on the climbs and improve its climbing capabilities. However, the opposite is the case: the version with the lighter 625 Wh battery offers better handling, allowing you to correct your line more quickly and easily. You should treat Race mode like a good wine, enjoying it with intention and in moderation, or risk zigzagging along the trail. Race mode has an increased delay in the cut-out when you stop pedalling, which is something to be aware of. Especially when navigating tight corners, you must be careful of getting pushed out of the exit and hitting a tree or just taking an unintended line. Unlike wine, however, it doesn’t take long for you to get comfortable using Race mode, combining well with eMTB mode, and allowing you to fly from one uphill trail to the next as you make your way to the summit.
Headed downhill, you immediately feel comfortable and at one with the bike. The balanced weight distribution between the front and rear allows for good cornering: there’s no need to shift your weight forward to generate grip on the front wheel. There’s a noticeable difference between the two battery sizes on the descents, too. The bigger 750 Wh battery improves the bike’s composure on fast trails while the 625 Wh model results in improved agility and more responsive handling through tight corners.
If you’ve got an active riding style, you’ll be rewarded with a manoeuvrable and agile bike, but that doesn’t mean less active riders can’t ride the WILD without feeling overwhelmed. You can let it plough through a rock garden while staying precisely on your line, and steer it through tight turns with the front wheel if you prefer. As you approach a rough section, the suspension instils you with the confidence to just white-knuckle it straight through instead of swerving around the outside. The suspension has enough reserves to cope with big hits, and mid-stroke support to make getting airborne easy. Yet, it responds sensitively and generates lots of traction together with the aggressively-treaded tires, even in loose terrain and off-camber sections. When things get steep, the WILD gives you the freedom of movement to throw your weight around thanks to the short seat tube and fully-inserted dropper post.
Our conclusion on the new 2023 Orbea WILD M-LTD
The 2023 Orbea WILD M-LTD excels on the trails, whether it’s up- or downhill. Its suspension generates plenty of traction and, once you’ve gotten used to the potent Race mode, the good-natured handling makes it fun for both beginners and advanced riders. Moreover, the MyO configurator lets you customise the build and colour scheme to suit your preferences. The WILD is for all those who want to ride everything from long tours to hard-hitting downhill tracks, even if there’s no shuttle in sight.
- plush suspension generates plenty of traction
- good-natured handling
- high level of customizability thanks to the MyO configurator
- good performance both up- and downhill
- non-removable battery makes it difficult to charge indoors
For more information please visit orbea.com
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Words: Mike Hunger Photos: Mike Hunger