The Orro Terra E is one of the latest additions to the British company's line-up and has been created by adapting its highly regarded gravel bike to accept the FSA System HM1.0 rear hub motor. Yes, this makes it heavier, but that weight is offset by the power unit providing plenty of punch on the climbs and long, draggy climbs. This reduces the load on your legs from the constant accelerations required when riding those technical sections. And while the bike tested has Shimano GRX, the first model available to buy will actually have SRAM Apex.
> Buy now: Orro Terra E for £3,899.99 from Orro
If you are on the lookout for an e-bike, our best electric bikes buyer's guide shows the wide range of e-bikes that are available to us today. And if you don't require electrical assistance, our best gravel bikes buyer's guide rounds up the best human-powered gravel machines.
I have ridden various versions of Orro's Terra over the years, most recently the Ekar-equipped Terra C, and Dave also gave his thoughts on the same model kitted out with the latest Shimano 105 Di2 groupset last year.
Both of us found the Terra to be a fun and fast gravel bike to ride, with its geometry placing it somewhere between a gravel racer and that of an adventure bike. An endurance gravel machine, if you like...
The new Terra E retains most of those qualities. Orro has subtly tweaked the geometry to allow the use of the FSA system, but those changes don't affect the way the Terra E handles, which I see as a positive.
With the Terra E you get a bike that is very easy to ride. The geometry provides balanced, neutral steering and a wheelbase that's long enough to bring stability. The ride is involving, and the frame and fork offer enough feedback for you to can crack on at a fair old rate of knots without ever feeling that you're out of control.
Knowing exactly what is going on underneath the tyres allows you to push things on loose terrain, and if you do end up out of control the Terra E kind of gets you out of trouble in a relaxed manor. Riding in the muddy slop at the beginning of the year on the lightly treaded tyres there was plenty of sideways action, but the Orro was always ready to kick back into line with a shift in your bodyweight, or it was easy to style out the slide.
The main thing to consider is what power assistance mode you choose. At the highest setting you can get quite a power kick, which can exacerbate a rear-wheel slide. While the FSA System's power delivery is relatively smooth, I did learn to use the lower power options for technical stuff, keeping back the higher power modes for hard-packed tracks and trails.
The Terra E is 4kg heavier than the 105 Di2 Terra C, which means it isn't quite as nimble or quick to respond to shifts in weight on technical sections. Thankfully, though, this added weight is mainly situated lower on the bike, which makes it less of an issue, and if you're riding below 25kph (15.5mph) and the motor kicks in, balance is restored.
In short, I didn't find the added weight had any detrimental effect on the Terra's handling. Thanks to the front-end geometry and because of the planted feel the extra weight gives you, the Terra E is a confidence-inspiring descender.
Gravity means you'll pick up a little more speed on the e-bike version too, but as you've got loads of power from the hydraulic brakes and the fact that the Orro doesn't feel flustered when you're pushing it into a bend, again this isn't a problem.
The 250Wh battery delivers 42Nm torque, so climbs aren't a problem either. The FSA hub motor system doesn't have the punch of some bottom bracket-mounted motors, so you can't just sit and spin your way up the steepest hills – you will still have to pedal, but just not as hard.
You get five different modes of assistance ranging from ECO at the bottom to Boost at the top, and I found the range okay unless you're bike-packing or planning long-distance adventures.
On my commute to the office along the canal towpath, with a bit of road at either end, I managed 27 miles (43.5km) from a fully charged battery. And while the route is pretty flat, pedestrians on the towpath and stop-start traffic on the tarmac meant there was a lot of accelerating and quite a few sections under 25kph, so the motor was on if not exactly pushing out maximum power.
FSA claims a range of around 50km, so on full power I'd say what I achieved was pretty decent.
Flicking though the modes though I was able to make the battery charge last for the length of my main gravel route, which is exactly 50km. It's lumpy and uses a whole range of different surfaces, but I never felt I had to sacrifice power output for battery life.
I found on average I was around 10 minutes quicker on the Terra E than I was on the Ekar Terra C in similar riding conditions. This is because the motor let me take it easier on climbs, which in turn allowed me to push harder on the flats, while the downhills took care of themselves.
When I arrived home, there was still about 20% of battery life left after just under three hours of riding. You can increase range further by buying an extender cell that fits in the bottle cage.
But do try to ensure you're never left with a flat battery. If that happens, you're left with a 13.4kg gravel bike, which is on the sluggish side.
More positively, I found little resistance from the motor when it's not active, to the point that when you are freewheeling or pedalling you won't notice it.
I found the Terra E a very comfortable bike to ride. Orro has kept the top tube, seat tube and seat stays slender for a bit of flex, so that even when you pump the tyres up hard for a bit of road use, the Terra shuns high-frequency vibrations while still feeling stiff and responsive.
Frame and Fork
As with the standard model, the Terra R's frame and fork are made from carbon fibre, with the tubing adapted to suit the needs of an e-bike.
Compared with the beefed-up welds and gussets required on aluminium bikes, the carbon fibre Terra E has a more incognito look.
First off, the down tube needs to big enough to accommodate the battery. Secondly, the press-fit bottom bracket shell needs to incorporate the charging port.
Cables run to the rear hub motor through the chainstay, while the system is controlled by a button on the top tube.
This button limits the use of Bento or top tube bags and can also clash with the straps on some frame-mounted bags too.
Speaking of load carrying, I think it is fair to say the Terra isn't as well equipped as some of its competitors.
You'll find two sets of bottle cage mounts, mudguard and rear rack mounts – though thanks to the slimness of those chainstays they come with a quite limiting 5kg limit.
That said, if you are planning to use this for carrying loads or as a lightweight, credit card tourer, there are still lots of options around for frame-, seatpost- or handlebar-mounted bags.
To avoid interference with frame bags the Terra E uses fully integrated cable and hose routing with each entering the frame at the top of the head tube. It may not make servicing easier, but it gives the Orro a smooth look and keeps everything away from the elements.
Orro has gone for a press-fit bottom bracket. While some riders may have reservations about press-fit's reliability in wet mud and grit, or dry, dusty conditions causing creaking, I've had no issues.
I tested this for two months during some of the wettest weather I've known, over muddy gravel trails and with grit being thrown up from the gravel sections. The bottom bracket has been submerged in deep puddles – and to speed up wear and tear I didn't clean the bike during this period.
Even after giving the bike a full clean before it went back to Orro, the bottom bracket and motor were still working perfectly without any unwelcome, unwanted noises.
Orro has squeezed in tyre clearances of 44mm, which isn't massive these days, but will be enough for most UK conditions, especially in the dry.
The Terra E is available in four sizes. Our medium bike had a 553mm top tube, 165mm head tube and 500mm seat tube.
The chainstays are 423mm long, the wheelbase 1,030mm and the stack and reach are 584mm and 384mm respectively.
The seat angle is 73.9°, while the head angle is a relaxed 71°.
Alongside the FSA motor system, the Terra E presently on sale comes with a 1x SRAM Apex groupset, Orro/FSA aluminium finishing kit and Vision Team 30 wheels incorporating the FSA MH1 rear hub. The £3,899.99 RRP is the same as the Ekar-equipped Terra C, and there's also a flat bar Terra E, which is a fraction cheaper at £3,799.99.
If you're eagle-eyed you may just have noticed that this review bike has a Shimano GRX groupset with a deviation to an FSA chainset, along with a Deda bar and stem combo.
Orro is planning to offer this version at the same price as the Apex build, but ongoing supply issues mean the Apex version will be available first.
Apex might be SRAM's entry-level groupset but it is well built and performs well.
The Apex build will pair a 40T chainring with an 11-speed 11-42 cassette. The resulting gearing range is easily sufficient when you add motor assistance into the mix. The frame does have a mounting point for a front mech, so running a 2x setup is possible.
Having ridden Apex countless times, it does take a little time to get used to the DoubleTap shifting if you're more used to Shimano's STI and Campagnolo's Ergopower systems, but once you've learned it, shifting becomes second nature.
The shifting isn't quite as refined as you'll find on SRAM's higher-end groupsets, but it is crisp and direct and it isn't affected by mud and grit.
The lever ergonomics also take a bit of getting used to, as the hood space for the hydraulic reservoir is quite large – though this does give you a good platform for resting your hand when braking while descending.
FSA provides its Adventure Compact bar and Omega ST stem while the alloy seatpost and Borstal Plus model are both Orro branded.
It has a narrow, road bike saddle-like design with a little extra padding to soak up the bumps, and I found it comfortable.
The Vision wheels have 30mm-deep aluminium alloy rims. Even in their standard form they aren't the lightest wheels around, but that's even less relevant when they're laced around a rear-hub motor.
But they are tough, durable and capable of taking on tough gravel trails, singletrack through the woods and chalky grassland.
They were still true and running smoothly when the bike was returned to Orro, and they're tubeless ready too, which is how I'd set them up for off-road riding.
The Continental Terra Trail tyres that Matthew liked are specced in a 40mm width, and they're e-bike specific too.
Their minimal tread pattern is ideal for hard-packed gravel or dry conditions, but like a lot of gravel tyres they struggle in typical muddy UK winter conditions.
That said, their grip is pretty good in most conditions, and there were no issues with punctures or durability.
Unlike in the road market where e-bikes tend to use rear-hub motors, the gravel bike market seems to be split between rear hub- and bottom bracket-mounted systems.
The Vitus E-Substance is an electric version of its Substance that I liked when I reviewed it last year, and which uses a Fazua mid-drive motor. It has more torque than the Orro at 55Nm, but battery range is similar to that of the Terra.
Its SRAM Rival groupset is one above Apex, it has Kanza alloy wheels, costs £3,999.99 and weighs 14.7kg.
A lot of gravel bikes around this price with hub-based systems have aluminium frames.
This includes the Ribble CGR AL e that KiwiMike tested, which costs £2,899 for the Apex-equipped Sport model that has a Mahle Ebikemotion X35+ system.
Or there's Ribble's latest aluminium gravel specific e-machine, the err, cunningly named Gravel. The Pro build costs £3,699 and has the same X35+ motor as the CGR but comes with Shimano's GRX 810 groupset.
The ride quality of the carbon frame of the Terra E though is one of the highlights, so I reckon it's worth the extra investment.
The E has taken all the qualities of the other Terra models and given it a real boost. The smooth motor brings an extra level to your gravel riding – whether you want to go quicker or go further. The downsides are extra weight, but that is more than compensated for by the extra power on tap.
Easy-to-control carbon gravel machine with a great ride quality which benefits from smooth electronic power delivery
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Make and model: Orro Terra E Apex 1x E-bike
Size tested: Medium, 55.3cm
List the components used to build up the bike.
The build spec of the currently available Terra is as follows, with a GRX build coming soon:
Seatpost: ORRO Alloy Setback
Rotor: Centerlock Paceline 160mm
Battery: FSA System HM1 36V 252Wh
Handlebar: FSA Adventure Compact
Stem: FSA Omega ST
Bottom Bracket: BB86
Chain: SRAM 11 Speed
Saddle: Orro Bostal Plus Saddle
Shifters: Sram Apex 1x
Rear Derailleur: Sram Apex 1
Cassette: SRAM Apex 11-42T
Brake Calipers: SRAM Apex Hydraulic
Tyres: Continental Terra Trail 40c
Wheelset: FSA HM1 System Team 30 AGX Hub Motor
Chainset: SRAM Apex 40T
Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Orro says: "After years of product conceptualisation and design development we welcome our first electric bike into the Terra family. Early in the design process we homed in on gravel riding as the basis for electric development. We wanted to give cyclists like ourselves the ability to take on more mileage and make it easier to tackle tough off-road climbs, such as those in our native South Downs testing ground. Terra E marks our considered entry into the empowering world of lightweight electrically assisted bikes."
The Terra E behaves just like the naturally powered models, with a responsive frame and great handling, with the added bonus of a motor for a boost on the climbs or when travelling further.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
There are currently two models on Orro's website, this one and a flat-bar build – and there's a Shimano GRX build is on its way soon.
Overall rating for frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Well made, and the matt-black finish shrugs off scuffs and knocks.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
A custom blend of carbon fibres.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The geometry gives a well-balanced, easily controllable bike that works on a whole range of surfaces.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
As mentioned in the review, the stack and reach measurements are nothing out of the ordinary for a medium sized gravel bike.
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
The ride quality is firm, but it doesn't feel harsh and I found it comfortable.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Balanced stiffness throughout.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Plenty of stiffness around the lower part of the frame where it is required.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The well-balanced handling makes the Terra an easy bike to control riding through corners, and the steering is fast enough so that the ride never becomes dull.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The padding on the saddle gave some extra comfort – but without alienating you from the ride itself.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The Deda front end found offered loads of stiffness for riding hard up hills or when sprinting out of the saddle.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The FSA motor delivers its power very smoothly and efficiently, offsetting the weight penalty of the battery and motor.
Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
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Rate the drivetrain for performance:
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Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
The Shimano GRX groupset on our test bike offers great shifting performance and braking power, as does the SRAM Apex groupset that will be found on the initial Terra E models.
Rate the wheels for performance:
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Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?
Thanks to the motor, the overall weight of the wheels isn't a major concern and they are tough enough to cope with the abuse when you hit the trails.
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Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?
They have decent tread pattern for dry conditions and hard-packed trails, but they don't work so well in wet and muddy conditions.
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Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
Regardless of whether you get the Deda components on our test bike or the FSA kit, you'll get a shallow drop and an alloy build that is strong and dependable.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
With a lot of variation in the different motor systems used on gravel bikes at the moment it's hard to make direct comparisons. Vitus's e-bike offering has a similar price but comes with a Rival groupset and a different motor system. The Orro is also competitive against alloy-framed options, which make up most gravel bikes around this price or cheaper.
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Use this box to explain your overall score
I have found all of the Terras I have ridden over the years a lot of fun to ride, thanks to their stiff and comfortable framesets. The Terra E retains all of those qualities and offsets the extra weight with a highly usable motor system that allows you to ride faster and further.
Age: 44 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
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