This electronic-geared gran fondo bike from a young, innovative British brand caught our attention with its good looks and well judged geometry
Orro calls the Gold STC its figurehead – it’s a bike specifically designed for gran fondo riding made from a striking-looking specialist carbon-fibre from fellow British brand Sigmatex. We’ve been impressed with the detail that’s gone into the design of the Orro Gold STC Ultegra Di2 – it not only looks beautiful but has a stunning ride feel, landing it a well deserved spot in Editor’s Choice 2017.
Orro is based in East Sussex at the foot of Ditchling Beacon. The British brand is not yet as well known as its neighbouring hill, which has hosted both the Tour de France and the national hill-climb championships as well having a reputation as being the most feared section of the annual London-Brighton, but if it continues to produce bikes as good as the Gold STC Ultegra Di2, it will soon be breathing the same refined air.
Orro uses spread tow carbon-fibre from British producer Sigmatex, which gives it its chequerboard appearance. Spread tow carbon has fewer interlacing points compared to standard 1K fibres, making thinner laminates possible resulting in a claimed improved mechanical performance. Although the carbon-fibre is produced in the UK, the frames themselves are made in the Far East and then built up in the UK back in Ditchling.
The Orro Gold STC frame itself is all elegant curves, with a gently arcing top tube that flares at either end. The flattened wishbone emerges from the seat tube in one piece of carbon, presumably adding stiffness to the juncture as well as being able to provide a small amount of vertical compliance.
Stacks of comfort
Orro calls the Gold series its “figurehead… the ultimate Gran Fondo machine”. The geometry reflects its endurance rather than race designation and is nicely judged. The 71.4° head tube of the medium is relatively slack, meaning plenty of steering stability without the twitchiness of a pure race bike. The stack is also aimed at comfort rather than head-down speed, and with the wheelbase just over the 1,000mm it’s clear this is an all-day rather than a hour type of machine.
Shimano Ultegra Di2 is the perfect choice for the Orro Gold STC. Keeping the cost as well as the weight down but still supplying the same superfast, accurate shifting at the touch of a button as Dura-Ace Di2, it’s an excellent match. Deda Zero 1 bar and stem and a Prologo Kappa Evo saddle top off a good spec, and the Fulcrum Racing Quattros on Conti Grand Prix tyres are a great choice, accelerating well and giving the Gold STC a light, zippy feel.
We could have ridden the Orro Gold STC Ultegra Di2 all day long – well, we did. But as well as comfort we found it didn’t hold us back on the hills: the geometry might be longer and slacker than that of a pure race bike but there’s nothing slack about its performance. The stiffness of the frame keeps the Gold’s ride exciting as well as comfortable – exactly what you need if you’re tackling an all-day epic.
At £2,799.99 the Orro Gold STC Ultegra Di2 is pretty good value too. The Dura-Ace Di2 version, which also has an upgraded Fulcrum Racing Zero wheelset, costs £4,599.