Orbea’s Wild M-LTD electric mountain bike is an enduro bike designed to deliver an experience beyond power, where riding quality and performance are of primary importance. It’s a bike set to take on the EWS-E Enduro World Series under the Orbea Factory Team. So, with performance intent and a racing pedigree, how is the new Wild M-LTD for we mere mortals?
2023 Orbea Wild M-LTD frame and suspension details
The 2023 Orbea Wild frames now feature an integrated battery to increase frame stiffness and shave weight. The batteries are no longer removable. Significant updates have been made for the new Wild, including frame stiffness, weight, geometry and kinematics. The bike keeps its enduro bike genetics, with 29in wheels and 160mm of rear travel. The first significant change is Orbea now uses an integrated, non-removable battery. This is intended to improve frame stiffness. As a result, the new bike has a 50 per cent stiffer front triangle than the previous Orbea Wild.
This is also nearly 10 per cent stiffer than Orbea’s Rallon enduro bike, which the brand feels is needed for an electric bike to keep the same ride feel on the trails. The Wild M-LTD comes with a smaller, thus lighter, 625Wh Bosch PowerTube battery, though I tested the bike with both a 625Wh and a 750Wh battery. All Wild frames are compatible with both. Thanks to its refinements to the frame, plus losing the complexities of having a removable battery, Orbea has shaved approximately 900g from the frame weight. A large Orbea M-LTD weighs in at 20.90kg (625Wh battery).
Bosch’s Performance CX Race motor is used in the Wild M-LTD. For the drive unit, Orbea uses Bosch’s Performance CX Race motor, which is around 140g lighter than the non-race version. In its Race Assistance mode, which replaces Turbo, software updates mean it delivers 400 per cent assistance rather than the 340 per cent of the Performance CX model. The modes are controlled by Bosch’s 2023 System Controller, which is mounted in the top tube and displays battery level and modes. The modes are changed using Bosch’s wireless Mini Remote that mounts on the handlebar. The Mini Remote and System Controller use a Bluetooth connection.
Bosch’s 2023 Mini Remote and System Controller communicate wirelessly to enable mode selection and show battery charge. A Bosch KIOX display can be added if you want more display information. More frame details include Orbea’s SIC (Sealed Internal Cables) system that threads the rear brake, dropper post and gear cable through rubber plugs in the headset cap, which then runs internally through the frame. This was done to give the cockpit a neat look and reduce noise from cable rattling. To help keep the headset from needing more maintenance, Orbea now uses an Enduro-brand stainless steel bearing, which it claims will last the lifetime of the frame. Inside the headset is Orbea’s Spin Block. This stops the handlebars and forks from rotating fully to prevent them from damaging the frame in a crash.
Orbea’s SIC (Sealed Internal Cable) system threads the dropper post and gear cables, plus the rear brake hose, through the headset. There is plenty of frame protection throughout the bike to help minimise noise and damage. The frame bearings use additional seals to prevent water and dirt ingress, also helping to reduce required maintenance of the bike. Suspension-wise, Orbea has tweaked the leverage curve to give the 2023 Wild a more playful ride character. It has reduced the overall progression of the bike, increasing the mid-stroke support.
This should help riders move the bike around on the trail. The starting leverage ratio is similar to the old bike, because Orbea was keen to keep the initial sensitivity. Changes to the anti-squat are minimal, while the anti-rise is a fraction lower to help keep the suspension less influenced by braking forces. All modes get a customed-tuned Fox shock. The Wild M-LTD uses a Fox Float X2. But, while the progression of the frame has been reduced, the bikes are still compatible with a coil shock.
2023 Orbea Wild M-LTD geometry
Orbea has borrowed the Steep ‘N’ Deep seat tube concept from its Rallon enduro bike. The geometry of the new Wild has been overhauled and reflects modern long-travel bikes without taking things to the extreme. The bikes are compatible with 160mm or 170mm-travel forks. The geometry chart below shows the bikes with a 160mm fork. However, I tested a 170mm Fox 38 Factory. This slackens the bike approximately half a degree and shaves 5mm off the reach. So, the medium bike I rode has a 450mm reach, which is relatively common nowadays for that size of bike. The head tube angle is around 63.5 degrees and the effective seat tube angle is approximately 77 degrees.
The chainstay length is 448mm for all sizes, which is pretty short for 29in-wheel electric bikes. The seat tube lengths are good and short. Orbea took its Steep ‘N’ Deep concept from the Rallon enduro bike. It has straight, uninterrupted seat tubes, so even the size small and medium frames, which share the same 415mm seat tube length, can run a 200mm Fox Transfer SL dropper post if needed. The bottom bracket drop has been raised 5mm over the previous model to help prevent pedal strikes. Orbea says the added stability of ebikes means you can get away with the bike being higher off the ground.
|2023 Orbea Wild geometry (160mm fork)|
|Head tube angle (degrees)||64||64||64||64|
|Seat tube angle (degrees)||77.5||77.5||77.5||77.5|
|Seat tube length (mm)||415||415||435||460|
|BB height (mm)||353||353||353||353|
|Top tube (mm)||573||595||622||649|
2023 Orbea Wild M-LTD specification
Orbea now uses OQOU wheels across its range of bikes. There is no shortage of top-spec kit on the Wild M-LTD, but my bike was specced differently to the Orbea’s stock M-LTD. The frame was the same, but I tested the bike with a 625Wh and a 750Wh battery. As stock, it comes fitted with a 625Wh battery, but this can be changed on the Orbea website. The drive unit is Bosch’s Performance CX Race motor, with a 625Wh PowerTube battery. It also features Bosch’s new wireless Mini Remote and System Controller. Fox Factory-level suspension decks the bike out front and back, with its burly 38 fork and capable X2 shock. There’s a full Shimano XTR M8100 drivetrain, but the bike uses 160mm e.thirteen Race Carbon cranks. Shimano’s XTR M8120 brakes are also used, but these are mated with 203mm Galfa rotors.
While Orbea specs Shimano’s XTR M8120 brakes, they’re matched with Galfa’s Fixed Disc Wave rotors. The Wild M-LTD uses OQOU Mountain Control MC32LTD Carbon wheels, a new brand from Orbea. These are fitted with Maxxis DHF 3C MaxxTerra EXO+ and Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO+ tyres in a 2.6x29in size. My test bike was fitted with a Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGripp DH-casing 29×2.5in tyre up front and a Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxGrip DH-casing 29×2.4in tyre at the rear. The remaining parts were standard, including Orbea’s OC Mountain Control MC10 Carbon handlebar and OC Mountain Control MC10 Alu stem. The bike uses a Fox Factory Transfer dropper post and Fizik Terra Aidon X1 saddle to finish off a bling bike.
2023 Orbea Wild M-LTD ride impressions
I rode the bike for a couple of days in Spain’s Basque Country. Trails ranged from mellow and following to steep and tech. This was true for both the uphills and downs. Conditions were dry and dusty.
Climbing on the Orbea Wild M-LTD is comfortable, thanks in part to the updated geometry. Sitting on the Wild M-LTD, it feels like many modern enduro bikes. The steep effective seat tube puts you in a strong position to pedal the bike when sat down. This, blended with the moderate reach and head tube angle, gives an effective top tube length that sits you in a reasonably upright position. This makes for a comfortable bike to pedal – especially welcome an ebike, where you spend most of your pedalling time sitting down.
I found it was easy to shift my weight fore/aft when needed on steep technical sections of trail. However, on very steep climbs, I needed to lean forward over the bars to help load the front wheel, especially when using the Bosch Performance CX Race motor’s Race Assistance level. The extra assistance in this mode is certainly noticeable. I found it beneficial that it continues to provide assistance for a short while after you stop pedalling. That was great for helping ride up steps, steep rolls, or drops where you can’t turn the cranks without hitting the pedals. Here, I could pedal up to a feature, then let off the power before it, knowing the motor would continue to drive the back wheel, maintaining momentum.
This made certain features on technical climbs much easier. In some sections, though, it helps to use the rear brake to help modulate the power. Having all that power when tackling very slow, technical hairpins can make you lose balance because the bike feels as though it always wants to drive forwards. Using the rear brake is helpful. The bike’s climbing ability will be limited by rider control and skill rather than its performance. It’s a capable climber, and after riding 40+ kilometres with around 2,000m climbing each day, I never had any aches, pains, or discomfort in my back, hands or neck.
I only reached down to firm the shock up to see what difference it made, but most of the time, I kept the bike in its open mode. Even when sat deeper into the bike’s sag, I never felt as if I was sliding off the back of the saddle or I was hitting my pedals often. Of course, if you want the bike to maintain a more efficient geometry for climbing, it’s easy to reach the shock, but I didn’t find it necessary.
The rear suspension helps keep good traction for the rear wheel. Thanks to the motor, you don’t have to put in crazy suspension-compressing watts to get the bike up the hill. Leaving the shock open provides a comfortable ride with plenty of traction that doesn’t feel as though it’s robbing your power or the bike’s. The new Mini Remote is a big improvement for Bosch and makes changing modes much easier on the move. I didn’t miss having a display on the handlebars, either.
The neutral geometry enables you to feel comfortable on the bike very quickly. That, and its predictable suspension, enables you to hit sections of trail confidently. With geometry figures in the ballpark of most modern enduro bikes, e-bikes included, I felt right at home on the new Wild almost instantly. I lowered the handlebars one spacer, which put me in a position I preferred. The Wild’s handling is intuitive, and even with a 750Wh battery, it doesn’t feel like a chore to ride. I was able to lean the bike into corners confidently.
The well-balanced proportions of my medium bike meant I didn’t have to ride aggressively over the front to weight the front wheel and find grip. Instead, I could keep myself centred between the wheels and found plenty of traction. The 64-degree head tube angle, weight and 448mm chainstay length gave me more than enough stability when speeds picked up, even if the reach numbers were more moderate.
The new suspension kinematics help give the bike an active ride. Pumping through sections of the trail, I got support from the suspension, but not so much that it inhibited the suspension’s ability to track the ground and keep the rear tyre in contact with the dirt. There was enough firmness to prevent the bike from wallowing through high-load berms and landing drops. Still, over rough ground and braking bumps, the rear end isolated me well enough that it wasn’t a harsh ride. The initial sensitivity is good, and the mid-stroke balances support with bump absorption. I never found I had any harsh bottom-outs with 30 per cent sag, so the progression felt good.
On long, steep, rough trails, there is a reasonable amount of feedback through the bike, that fatigued my hands. One thing to note is you can tell it has stiff and direct handling. On longer, continuous descents, I noticed more hand fatigue than expected. This probably isn’t just down to one part of the bike, but the combination of downhill tyres that were speced on our test bikes, the OQOU carbon wheels, OC carbon handlebars, Fox GRIP 2 damper, and the frame. Still, this all adds up, and it wasn’t the most user-friendly ride on long, rough trials.
On the other hand, that direct responsiveness is excellent for quick direction changes and correcting line-choice mistakes or rider errors. The high-spec components worked without a glitch for my two and a bit days of riding. The brakes had enough power, and never made me feel less than 100 per cent controlled, even on steep tech trails. While the bike is light compared to many similar ebikes, I still knew I was riding an electric bike, but I quickly got used to the weight. It certainly has fewer negatives than some chunkier ebikes I’ve ridden regarding braking points and handling.
2023 Orbea Wild M-LTD bottom line
It’s easy to keep your weight balanced between the wheels on the Wild M-LTD, which made cornering intuitive and fun. The Wild M-LTD certainly feels like a race bike, with responsive and direct handling, well-balanced geometry and suspension that finds a middle ground between being supportive and plush. Still, it’s a bike that’s a lot of fun and inspires confidence on a wide range of trails, which will suit and flatter a lot of people’s riding. There may be more comfortable bikes out there, but if you’re looking for high performance, the Orbea Wild is a good place to start.