I tend to review bikes that work well for a wide variety of riding conditions. That is not at all the case for the Orbea Rallon so I'm approaching this review from a different angle rather than evaluating how well it rides all-around. I rode the bike in the low setting.
CLIMBING – 1 STAR
Just to be clear, I didn't like climbing on the Rallon at all. Even with a decently fast rolling Maxxis Aggressor rear tire, I really had to work for every foot of climbing without climb mode engaged. Climbing traction seems good, but it probably requires a rider with more climbing power than I have to to work well for all-day rides.
I will mention that other Orbea Rallon owners have reported that it climbs well. See this post on MTBR for other ride impressions of the Rallon including climbing ability.
DESCENDING - 5 STARS
This is where the Rallon shines. Even compared to the other non-DH bikes I've reviewed as 5 stars for descending, the Rallon is in a different league in its ability to plow straight ahead and maintain stability. It tracked straight downhill like a locomotive on rails. I felt limited in my downhill speed on the Rallon only by the presence of other trail users.
CORNERING – 4 STARS
The Rallon was a bit slow to turn with an emphasis on descending stability over an eagerness to corner. The flip side of this was that it felt locked in once it got into a corner. The geometry is better suited for steeper descents at higher speeds.
I would recommend the Rallon as a do-it-all bike only for riders that are exceptionally strong climbers. For the rest of us, the Rallon might be better for shuttle runs or lift serviced bike park riding. In terms of set-up, I would recommend powerful brakes such as Shimano Saint or SRAM Code brakes because this is a bike that demands higher speeds.
OTHER BIKES TO CONSIDER
If you are looking for a long travel 29er, I would suggest also checking out the Yeti SB130 and SB150. I've not ridden either bike, but my impressions of the SB 5.5 were that it was definitely a better climber than the Orbea Rallon, but not quite as rock solid as a descender. The SB130 is closer in capabilities to the SB 5.5, while the SB150 has more travel. Other long-travel 29ers worth considering are the Evil Offering (140mm of travel) and Evil Wreckoning (161 mm of travel).
SUBJECTIVE RATINGS: I rated different aspects of ride and handling on a subjective 1-5 scale with 5 being the best score, 3 being an average score and 1 being far below expectations.
• 5 stars - Absolutely outstanding
• 4 stars
• 3 stars - Solid performance, meets expectations
• 2 stars
• 1 star - Misses expectations by a wide margin