Recently Cycling plus magazine took a look at the top of the range Orro Gravel bike, the Terra C. Available in a more road-focused version - as seen here - and an adventure specific model too, the Terra C is bound to meet the needs of every gravel rider.
'The frame doesn't shy away from squared tube profiles with a giant rhomboid down-tube, triangular seatstays and deep curved rectangular chainstays.'
- Cycling Plus
The Orro Terra C is an all-new evolution of the Terra Gravel aimed squarely at the UK gravel market. It boasts all carbon-fibre frame and fork that has Innegra impact protection built into its most vulnerable areas. Described as very tough, flexible fibre with great durability and natural vibration damping and impact-resisting properties. We've no idea if it improved the ride but if it can help prevent damage, that's a good thing.
Common practicalities are catered for with mounts for a rear rack and full mudguards but no third bottle cage. All cables and hoses are internally routed from frame end to end, and there's clearance for 42mm tyres or 38mm with mudguards fitted. It accepts any current drivetrain and the front mech mount is removable.
The frame doesn't shy away from squared tube profiles with a giant rhomboid down-tube, triangular seat stays and deep curved rectangular chainstays. A cutout in the lower seat-tube increases rear tyre clearance; the internal squared fork crown does the same upfront.
It's well specced, with a complete Shimano Ultegra disc groupset, Fulcrum Wheels, Continental tyres and Prologo saddle. The alloy bar and stem are from Deda and Orro supply the alloy seat post. The riding position and standover height are good, but the gearing is road-focused with a pro compact 52/36 chainset and 11-30 cassette, which offers all the tarmac speed you can wring out of your legs; it's a little more limited when climbing away from it.
Also happier on the road, the 32mm Continental Grandsport Race tyres are completely slick, although the generous width of the Fulcrum Racing 700DB wheelset makes them 34mm wide for useful additional volume. They come fitted with inner tubes, but the rims are tubeless compatible so with conversion and alternate tyres they could be more versatile.
On the road, the Orro feels very road bike-esque, although with a lazier feel, thanks to a little extra mass and its relaxed 71-degree head angle. It's quite responsive to accelerations and sustains decent road speed on rolling terrain without much fuss. Road climbing is also a strong point, although adding some luggage could see some riders cursing the 36x30 low gear.
Hitting dirt and gravel roads, thoughts turn to grip and comfort. Narrower tyres than most all-road machines require more pressure to prevent pinch flats - something tubeless tyres avoid - and coupled with the slick tread, anything other than uncomplicated straight routes needs rather more forethought and care to navigate. Wet, off-camber sections with oversized stones focus the mind, the bike slipping off-line frequently, and tip-toeing through loose corners is generally essential.
Constant roughness is quite well soaked up, although the Terra C's long wheelbase and 72mm bottom bracket drop help to keep things stable for reassuring control.
The Prologo Kappa RS saddle is adequately padded, but a carbon seat post would improve rear-end comfort on long rides/ It would benefit from having larger tyres as standard and gearing that's a little lower because, as specced, the Terra C is more a road bike that merely tolerates gravel, rather than lapping it up.