For 2017, Orbea is refining the Loki 27+ bike with an updated spec, color scheme and making it exclusively a 27.5+ bike instead of offering it in 29er form as well. The top-end H-LTD spec includes everything a plus bike should — making this one versatile beast.

Orbea Loki H-LTD 27+ Features:

  • Hydroformed triple butted alloy frameset with internal routing
  • Boost 12×148 rear axle
  • ISCG 05 chain guide mounts
  • Fox 34 Float Factory 120 FIT4 Kashima fork
  • Race Face Aeffect cockpit with 760mm bars
  • Shimano XT 1×11 drivetrain (32t chainring and 11-46t cassette)
  • Sun Ringle Duroc 27.5 TR40 TLR wheelset
  • Maxxis Chronicle 3.0 TLR tires
  • Race Face Turbine dropper post
  • Shimano M506 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Weight: 29 lbs (Large, tubeless, as tested)
  • MSRP: $2999
The Orbea Loki H-LTD 27+ in all its glory.

The Orbea Loki H-LTD 27+ in all its glory.

Loki what we have here

I’m thinking the current sweet spot of mountain bikes is the 27+ hardtail. Just why do I think that? Well, glad you asked. For starters, you can get on a fun bike with gobs of traction and a smooth ride for $1000-$1500. On top of that, you don’t have to fiddle with full-suspension designs, which are perplexing to the bulk of riders and cause issues when mounting to your typical hitch rack (you know, the type). And, those 3.0 tires can float atop sand, gravel and snow quite well for a super-versatile, all-year bike.

While the Loki H-LTD tested here does come in at a $2999 price point, you can get into a Loki for as little as $1399. The extra dough gets you lighter components, a smoother fork, TLR 3.0 tires and that nifty Race Face Turbine dropper post. Whether it’s worth it, that’s up to you, but I’ll say that the whole package is quite nice if you’re so inclined.

The full Shimano XT drivetrain worked quite well.

The full Shimano XT drivetrain aboard the Loki H-LTD.

The full H-LTD kit really leaves nothing to be desired with a dependable Shimano XT groupset that shifts smooth and reliably even when caked with sloppy mud. With a 32t chainring up front and an 11-46t cassette, the Loki H-LTD has no issues making it up any climb and doesn’t top out too early. I let my wife take the Loki for a long ride and even though she’s not quite as strong a rider as I am, she didn’t complain about not having enough gears.

One of my favorite things about the Loki is its looks. I think it’s quite the looker in all four different color options. While I like the bright green/grey tester, I’ve always got a thing for powder blue bikes, so that Blue-Black color would be my choice.

Testing the Loki H-LTD in late-fall conditions.

Testing the Loki H-LTD in late-fall conditions.

All-season brawler

Luckily, we’ve had an unseasonably-warm fall and I’ve been able to hit all the local haunts over the few weeks I’ve had with the bike. I’ve also ridden it into winter on mixed snow/mud trails to see just what the Loki can do. Just one spin on sinuous singletrack makes it easy to see just how much fun you can have on a 27+ hardtail.

The Loki is responsive and fun under power. Stand up and it scoots along just fine. No question you’re pushing a bit more meat than a standard tire, but the rolling resistance doesn’t stand out. What does is the smooth ride that 30 tires afford. Yeah, at low pressures, you do get a little bit of the “bounce with me, bounce with me” going on, but it’s just a part of the flow and lets me know that I’m getting more cushion for the pushing. My lower back truly appreciates that little bit of tire squish as there’s no way I’d be having such a good time on a traditional hardtail.

Lung-busting ascents are a good time and the Loki feels comfortable and balanced on switchbacks and mixed standing/sitting terrain. It is 29 lbs and you are pushing 27+ tires, but I’ve been quite pleased climbing on it.

Good times on the Loki before the weather turned into winter.

Good times on the Loki before the weather turned into winter.

After all that climbing, it’s time to see what the Loki can do down twisty, turny singletrack. For me, it was a little bit mixed as I felt like the handling could have been a little more crisp. Looking at the geometry, I think the 67-degree head angle may be a little too slack for my liking. I’ve also got a Cannondale Bad Habit 1 and it feels much more natural and smooth on the descents (it has a 68-degree head angle). That said, to get the most out of the Loki, you need to angulate and put in a little more steering input. Once adjusted to that, things got much better.

I’m a huge fan of dropper posts and the Race Face Turbine dropper has been fantastic. I’m also quite impressed with the smoothness of the latest Fox 34 Float Factory fork — without question, it’s the best Fox fork I’ve tested to date. The Sun Ringle wheelset comes in a nice 40mm width and goes tubeless with ease. Never, ever would I want to ride a 27+ bike without tubeless tires. I challenge you to heft a 27+ tube and think otherwise.

The Good

  • Simplicity of a hardtail with a smooth ride and extra traction
  • Unique bike that you won’t see that often
  • I think it’s quite the looker
  • The full kit leaves little to be desired
  • Race Face Turbine dropper is smooth and responsive
  • The Fox 34 is their best fork to date — so smooth
  • Easy to go tubeless

The Bad

  • Requires a lot of steering input to get it to respond
  • Hard to find locally

The Bottom Line: 2017 Orbea Loki H-LTD

While you may not be able to challenge your XC buddies to a drag race and win, you’ll certainly win out when it comes to the “fun race” since that’s what the Loki is all about. Ride it anywhere. Ride it hard. Then do it again, and again with the simplicity of a hardtail that has all the good stuff that 27+ bikes have — namely a smooth ride and extra traction.

Buy Now: Available at JensonUSA.com

In Summary

8.2 Go Anywhere

27+ hardtails are really fun and the Loki H-LTD has been a blast to have around. I found it to be quite capable and a willing climber with an excellent parts spec. I just wish it had a little nimbler handling for tight, twisty terrain.

  • Handling 8
  • Climbing 9
  • Descending 8
  • Pedaling Efficiency 8
  • Fun-factor 8
  • Value 8

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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