Today in the test: the Orbea Vibe H10 MUD. A lightweight e-bike whose electric drive can hardly be seen on the slim bike and which offers many options for customization. But that’s not all: as a direct successor, the Vibe also has to compete with its predecessor from the Gain Urban model series (here we tested the Gain F40) — the bike that made such lightweight bikes with invisible electric drive system popular among the masses. While the Gain platform was used equally for road bikes, gravel and urban bikes, the Vibe now focuses entirely on urban riding. What advantages this brings, will be shown in our review!
That’s an e-bike? While you had to look closer to see the electric drive system on the predecessor, Orbea takes this game of hide-and-seek to the extreme on the new Vibe: with the exception of a small cover for a charging socket on the bottom bracket, there is no indication that this is an e-bike on the elegant aluminum frame itself. Even the down tube, where the battery is installed, matches the other components of the frame in its dimensions. The motor is controlled simply via a small button on the handlebars, which is hardly noticeable there. It is hard to implement the drive system of an e-bike in a more inconspicuous way!
But the Vibe also convinces in other areas with a clean look: all cables and wires are routed directly underneath the handlebars in the stem, making them largely invisible from the side and from above. In addition to a sleek design, this also has the advantage that the cables are better protected against damage from the outside — a relevant aspect when parking the bike in public spaces.
Another highlight is the integrated daytime running light above the head tube. A small and flush integrated LED element that cannot be found on any other manufacturers. Of course, it does not replace a full-fledged headlight, but this also exists on the Vibe — centrally positioned on the handlebars.
And there’ s another special feature: the design of the bike can be extensively customized! Although the cheaper H30 models of the Vibe series always have a fixed color scheme, the more expensive H10 bikes offer the option for a truly versatile customization thanks to Orbea’s MyO program.
Orbea was kind enough to build this test bike to our specifications — resulting in the following configuration: Out of five available frame colors, the beguiling Metallic Dark Red prevailed here. A multi-layered metallic hue whose brilliance is barely reflected on the photos. While the fork could have been painted another color, here it is also red that should be used. And even the mudguards can be painted in one of the five colors, but this quickly leads to results that are a bit daring. Optionally, the fenders are also available unpainted and thus in matte black – perfect to make them appear as inconspicuous as possible! The tires are available in ordinary black or as here with brown gumwall flank. This shade matches the rubber elements on the saddle and the handlebar grips from Brooks quite well. Both parts are selected in the almost white Nature version here, alternatively they are also available completely in black or in black with copper-colored details. Finally, even small frame details such as the Orbea badge on the head tube can be ordered in copper or silver — but we have kept it here in neutral black. As you can see: the options are many, the result enjoyably individual!
Let’s start with the electric drive system: Mahle’s X35+ consists of a compact hub motor in the rear wheel that offers 40 Nm of torque, which is typical for this type of motors. While this makes such a drive weaker than many mid-mounted motors, it allows for a very light overall weight. The Vibe H10 MUD in size L weighs 16.5 kg ready to ride — a really good weight for an e-bike with an equipment that makes it ideal for everyday use! The electric drive system is completed by a battery with 250 Wh capacity, permanently installed in the down tube. It is controlled via the thumb switch on the handlebars, which is called iWoc Trio. A conventional display is therefore deliberately omitted here, but detailed information is provided on request by the Mahle app for the smartphone.
To ensure that hilly roads can be mastered even despite a hub motor, a derailleur with a huge cassette is installed on the Vibe H10. This is from Shimano’s XT series and the cassette features sprockets from 11 to 51 teeth. The braking system comes from Magura — on the front wheel with the MT5 E-STOP model and four brake pistons, on the rear wheel with the MT4 eStop and two pistons.
In addition to the already mentioned position light, a proper lighting system from Lezyne is also installed. In front on the handlebars with the headlight POWER STVZO PRO E115, which offers a low beam and a high beam function. The FENDER STVZO rear light is attached to the mudguard, but does not offer any additional function such as a brake light.
Saddle and handlebar grips are from Brooks Cambium series with the C15 saddle and the corresponding handlebar grips. The Kenda K1052 tires are pleasantly wide with 45 mm and tubeless (so without bicycle inner tube) mounted, the 10 mm wider mudguards from Curana fit well. Completing the equipment is Knog’ s Oi bell and a kickstand.
A rear carrier is missing on this bike — for a good reason. This model, called MUD, is aimed at all those who can or want to do without a carrier. Who would have this, however, simply reaches for the EQ variant and then even gets a matching pannier, which can be converted into a backpack!
As mentioned at the beginning, the electric drive directly on the bike can only be controlled via a thumb switch on the handlebars — which inevitably leads to the question of whether that is enough? The answer to this is clearly a yes! Although this control element called iWoc Trio is kept quite compact, it allows very simple and intuitive control of the motor.
You can easily switch between the 4 modes (motor off, weak, medium, strong) using the arrow keys. During this process, the LED display alternates between the colors white, green, orange and red. Shortly after the driving mode has been changed and displayed, the LED display then changes to show the remaining battery capacity in 25% increments. White represents the highest capacity, red means the battery is running low — and when it starts flashing, the battery is almost empty. Additional functions are available with a walk assist (hold down the down arrow for a long time when stationary) and for controlling the lighting system (press the up arrow for a longer time). It is also worth mentioning that every keystroke also provides haptic feedback via vibration.
While the basic functions of the switch are easy to use, there are also a few small things that can be criticized: For example, the colored LED light is difficult to see in bright sunlight and there is no visual feedback as to whether the bike’s lights have actually turned on. Unfortunately, the button does not work quite reliably here and you are forced to take a check up on the light.
However, the topic of the light control is quite a separate one on the Vibe anyway: with the thumb switch, you basically only turn the taillight on and off. The main headlight itself has its own button on the handlebars, which you press several times to switch between low and high beam. Then there is the position light: this one works completely independently of the two previously mentioned buttons and can only be switched on or off via a small switch next to the LED element.
What sounds like a big mess in total can be handled quite easily in everyday life: Position light and tail light remain on every time the bike is started, if they were already activated before. So you don’t have to worry about either before riding, both lights are always on then — which contributes to better visibility, especially in the city, no matter what time of day it is. The battery consumption of both lights should also be reasonable (the rear light consumes only 1.25 watts). The headlight, on the other hand, can be switched on specifically via its own button, if you really need it.
Due to the fixed design in the frame, the battery can only be charged in the bike. For this, a charging socket is available above the bottom bracket, which is protected from dirt and water with a rubber cover. The charging cable itself is a bit tricky to plug in, the charging time is about 3 hours. Fun Fact: during the charging process, the position and rear lights light up again — for whatever reason.
In terms of mechanical components, the Shimano XT shifting impresses with precise and fast shifting with the easy-to-use shifter on the right side of the handlebars. The brakes are also easy to reach, but have somewhat short brake levers for operation with two fingers. For some users, this may be a bit unfamiliar at first, but after a short acclimation it is not a disadvantage.
Since this topic comes up again and again, especially with hub motors, it must be explained briefly here as well: When controlling the motor, a distinction is made between fixed driving modes and a measurement of the torque. A torque sensor regulates the motor power depending on the force with which you pedal. If you pedal hard, there is a lot of support from the motor. If you pedal only very lightly, the motor also only provides a little boost. All in all, this is a mode of operation that is very similar to riding a conventional bicycle. The situation is different with fixed speed levels: here, the motor always delivers a defined amount of power regardless if you pedal strongly or weakly. In principle, this is the worse option from our point of view, but you cannot necessarily generalize this.
Because although Mahle does not install a torque sensor in the X35 system, the use of the motor was already very pleasantly controlled in the predecessor Orbea Gain in our test. And to spoil it: the Orbea Vibe also makes no exception here! Although a torque simulation via software was introduced with the launch of Orbea’s current range, the system works largely as before. A difference can primarily be recognized in the response behavior: here it shows that the motor kicks in somewhat smoother.
A big bonus of Orbea’s Vibe is the iWoc Trio, which allows you to adjust the support modes quickly and easily. If you’re cruising along comfortably on the flat, you’ll do fine with the weakest level; the highest level, on the other hand, would almost push the bike. However, if you need more power on the uphill, it is available with a simple push of a button on the handlebars. For comparison: many other bikes with the X35 drive have just a button on the top tube for controlling, which is comparatively cumbersome to use.
That hub motors are not among the strongest e-drives was mentioned at the beginning. However, Orbea cleverly compensates this by the selected derailleur with its wide range of ratios! Even steep climbs could be mastered, even if this requires some effort from the rider. Those who do not often ride in hilly areas will not necessarily need those extreme gears in everyday life — but can still be happy to have such reserves.
One advantage of the low weight is the agile handling of the Vibe: Its roughly 16 kg can be ridden almost effortlessly even with the motor turned off. By the way, you quickly learn to appreciate the aforementioned range of ratios here, which you use quite often without the motor assistance.
The basic design of the Vibe for urban use is also evident in the frame geometry. Compared to the predecessor, this is oriented less towards sportiness and more towards comfort. Orbea probably also wanted to achieve this goal with a wide handlebar, which allows you to control the bike confidently and safely — but with a width of 700 mm they have gone a bit over the top! A slightly narrower, but more ergonomically shaped type would have been desirable here. The handlebar grips please with their look, but are still very hard. Here, the new Ergo handlebar grips from Brooks would be an alternative, but these are unfortunately not available in a bright color. However, the Cambium saddle, which has the typical hammock design and is thus quite comfortable to ride, is to be rated positively as usual.
Speaking of comfort, even though the Vibe doesn’t have active suspension, the tubeless-mounted tires definitely deserve a mention here. These significantly increase the ride comfort, as they can be ridden with less air pressure than their counterparts with a classic bicycle inner tube. In addition, the puncture safety is increased, as in tubeless tires is a sealant. This should seal punctures in the particular spot on its own. However, it is important to keep in mind that this sealant should be replaced or refreshed about twice a year.
With its Vibe, Orbea has developed a worthy successor to the popular urban bikes of its Gain series that is superior in all respects. The electric drive system follows the Enough Energie principle and offers a performance that is sufficient for everyday rides in urban use while keeping the weight of the bike low. Active riders thereby get an agile e-bike with the Vibe, which is still pleasant to ride even without the motor being activated — which is also supported by the H10 model’s high range of gears. The equipment with sturdy mudguards and bike stand is aimed at commuters, as are the comfortable and puncture-proof tires.
The H10 MUD tested here is with 3,699 euros one of the more expensive models from Orbea’s’s Vibe range, but has high-quality components and allows a variety of customization options — that alone should justify a premium for many!
More information about the Vibe series is available here on Orbea’s website.