This Orro Terra C Ekar has a 13-tooth cassette, whose smallest two sprockets give an edge on gear size compared with some brands. That sits well with the Orro's racy gravel intentions – and should you want to put the power down on the road sections in between. Add that to its fun handling and comfort, while still offering loads on the stiffness front, and this gravel bike is up there with some of the best I've ridden. It looks sweet too.
While I like loading a bike up with some camping kit or going long distance on some tough off-road byways, I have the most fun on shorter rides, those of two or three hours long with as little kit as possible. I like speed and efficiency, hence why I spend a lot of time on the road.
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The Orro behaves off-road how I want a road bike to behave on the tarmac. Out for a hard blast on the local byways, it's nimble, and the handling feels quick and precise; you feel like you are part of the Orro rather than being sat on it. This is why I think the Terra C is such a fun bike; it's more of a gravel racer than an out-and-out adventure machine, and I love it.
At 8.75kg it feels nippy – flickable, if you like – and turning off the big gravel routes onto twisty singletrack through the woods or other technical sections, you can really have a blast.
A lot of that is down to the geometry. This medium size model has a 71-degree head angle, which when paired with the 1,031mm wheelbase gives the Orro a confident stance on the trail. It never feels flustered, even when the surface is moving around beneath you. It almost goads you into having a bit of fun, and if it all goes wrong it's like, don't worry, we've got this.
For a road rider making the transition to gravel, the Orro makes an ideal bedfellow. The steering still feels quick and the 74.2-degree seat angle puts you in a good forward position to get the power down.
The stiffness is spot on as well. Orro has gone for a press-fit bottom bracket, which might not be to everyone's taste – especially on a bike that is likely to see a lot of dust, mud and water, which can lead to ingress and creaking – but on all of the Terra Cs I've ridden I have had no issues, and the majority of the miles I put in on this one were on wet and muddy trails.
Pressing the bottom bracket bearings into the frame rather than having them seated outside does allow Orro to increase the width of the frame, increasing stiffness without affecting the width between the cranks (the q-factor).
Stamp on the pedals for a climb and you won't be left wanting; nothing is wasted in terms of power. The massive width of the down tube, wide BB shell junction and chunky chainstays (the drive side is dropped for extra clearance) make it quick off the mark, even from a standing start.
Up front the head tube is tapered, adding stiffness, and I can't fault the fork for its tautness.
It's worth mentioning that Orro designs its own moulds rather than buying off-the-shelf carbon fibre sections to build its bikes. It's a big investment, especially when you are offering five sizes, but it does allow Orro to control the tube profiles and therefore the overall ride quality.
By way of the design and carbon fibre lay-up, Orro has managed to deliver a stiff bike that doesn't overstep the mark when it comes to comfort – or lack of. The Terra C is a firm bike, but I never found it uncomfortable, even on the road when I've had the 38mm tyres pumped up hard. It absorbs plenty of the surface vibration but still offers a performance bike feel.
Taking it easy
I don't want to make out that the Terra C is all about smashing it here, there and everywhere. You've got that performance if you want it, but if you are out for the day or even a longer jaunt, it's a pleasant place to be.
As I've said, the comfort levels are good, so you are never getting beaten up, and those mild-mannered handling traits allow you to just tap out the miles without any mental fatigue, even when loaded up.
My main gravel testing route is three hours of remoteness. I'm not too far away from civilisation, but I can ride the whole loop and see maybe two or three people, and the odd army convoy. It's even worse now that I'm riding it mostly in the dark. This means I need to carry plenty of kit: bar bags, top tube bags and seat packs carrying extra clothing, first aid kit and an emergency blanket alongside the usual tools and food.
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Loaded up, the behaviour of the Terra C doesn't really change. It's heavier, yes, but it still has those same fun characteristics and that stable feel to it. Over the course of a 100km ride with 90 per cent of that offroad (grass, chalk, gravel, mud and so on), I could turn on the pace when I wanted for the downhills and the like, but when I wanted to kick back and just enjoy the scenery the Terra C just rolls along.
One of the biggest concerns about carbon gravel frames is impacts from stones and the like. I've experienced them and they don't sound pretty, but none have ever caused any damage.
To give further protection to the Terra C's frame, Orro has incorporated Innegra, which is a high modulus polypropylene fibre that can be blended with the carbon fibres to offer high levels of impact resistance. It's used in areas like the bottom of the down tube.
As you can see from the pictures, the Terra C has all of its cables and hoses run internally, and not just via the down tube and top tube but right at the front via the head tube.
It gives a really clean look, stops branches and stuff catching on them, and also makes fitting bar bags and the like very easy.
You also get rear rack mounts, which will take a load of up to 5kg, and mudguard mounts, plus a third bottle cage mounting position under the down tube to go with the other two in the usual places.
The Terra C might not be a class-leader when it comes to tyre clearance, at 42mm (700C) maximum, but that is the same as the Canyon Grail, a similarly racy gravel bike.
The Orro is still a capable machine. For the routes I ride, I'd say 40mm is the minimum, and I sort of bounce around between that and 45mm depending on the conditions, but the 38mm Vredestein Aventura tyres fitted as standard have been great on the dry and firmly packed trails that I found at the beginning of the test period. They can't really cope with the wetter conditions we've seen more recently, though, so I've been using the 42mm Specialized Rhombus tyres I tested back in 2019.
13 sprockets! Unlucky for none
This is my first-time riding Campagnolo's Ekar groupset and I like it a lot. Given the choice, on a gravel bike I'll take a 2x system over a 1x for the type of riding I do. My own machine has a 48/32-tooth crankset with an 11-32T cassette. My main reason for that is I still want the top end, as most gravel rides take in some road sections, and I like to keep to quite a close cadence range of around 90-95rpm when possible. I find some 1x cassettes too gappy.
Ekar is 13-speed, and the cassette option here is a 9-42T which runs thus: 9-10-11-12-13-14-16-18-20-23-27-31-36. Paired with a 40T chainring, it gives a high and low of 122 and 26.1 gear inches respectively.
As you can see, the higher end of the cassette has close grouping, which I found great for high-speed sections, and while the lower gears do have some pretty big jumps, as you are using them for climbing it's not as noticeable.
Swapping in some 32mm slicks, I found this gearing to work well on the road, which means the Terra C Ekar could work well as a winter commuter with guards fitted, with a quick wheel or tyre swap at the weekend allowing you to play on the gravel.
Functionality of the groupset is typically Campagnolo. If you've not used it before, the action can feel heavy compared to Shimano or SRAM, and in the early miles I found it a little difficult to get all of the gears on the cassette to run smoothly, but everything bedded in nicely on a 35-mile ride.
For those who haven't been up close and personal with Campag's groupset, it uses a lever behind the brake lever to change gear, along with a thumbshifter on the inside of the hood.
For the road, that thumbshifter is a flat button, but for Ekar it's been made much larger, which gives you easy access from both the hoods and drops when you're being bounced around on a bumpy surface.
One thing about Ekar is that it lacks the flat front section on the brake lever that I love about Shimano's GRX. When you are braking hard on rough terrain, the bigger the cross-sectional area the better. Other than that, though, I can't really fault it. The shifts feel smooth once it's bedded in, and the braking is top notch.
You can read more in our full review of the groupset here.
Other fixtures and fittings
Orro has gone for a Deda front end, with a Zero 1 stem and the impressive Gravel100 flared handlebar. I love the shape of this bar, and it is a quality piece of kit too. I've reviewed it separately if you want to read more.
Both the carbon fibre seatpost and Bostal Plus saddle are Orro branded, and while I have become quite fond of short-nosed saddles for quite a lot of my riding, I got on okay with the latter.
For the wheels, Orro hasn't massively pushed the boat out with a set of Fulcrum Rapid Red 5s, but they do keep the price down.
I had no issues with riding them – they don't feel overly heavy or like they take anything away from the ride – and seem reliable. If you want to drop some weight, though, or just add a bit of bling, you can upgrade the wheels to carbon from the likes of Scribe or Hunt for not a huge amount of money.
Ekar isn't a cheap groupset; for the same money you can get other bikes with similar finishing spec as the Terra C with GRX Di2 if you want to go electric, like the Canyon Grail CF SL 8, which gets DT Swiss G1800 wheels.
Canyon's Grizl CF SLX 8 comes with Ekar, but gets carbon fibre DT Swiss wheels, which bumps the price up to £4,499.
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For about £300 less, you could go for the GT Grade Carbon Pro, which comes with GRX 810, Stan's No Tubes alloy wheels and a Praxis carbon chainset; you also get a dropper post too.
> 19 of the best 2021 gravel bikes & adventure road bikes
The new Giant Revolt Advanced 0 (I reviewed the Advanced 2 last year) also comes with a GRX 810 groupset for £3,499, but you get carbon fibre wheels.
I'm a big fan of the Terra C and I feel that the Ekar groupset brings that extra bit of speed that complements it, especially if you want to press it into commuting duties or use it as a multi-surface touring machine. As an out-and-out gravel machine it offers the ideal geometry to be fun and confidence-inspiring on loose surfaces, which makes for one very capable bike.
A great bike for those who want speed off the beaten track, and it'll happily carry your gear for longer adventures
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
Make and model: Orro Terra C Ekar 1x
Size tested: Medium, 55cm
List the components used to build up the bike.
Stem: Deda Zero 1
Seatpost: ORRO Carbon Aero
Chain: Campagnolo Ekar
Saddle: Orro Bostal Plus Saddle
Cassette: Campagnolo Ekar 9-42T
Shifters: Campagnolo Ekar
Wheelset: Fulcrum Rapid Red 5
Handlebar: Deda Gravel 100 Flared
Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Ekar
Brake Calipers: Campagnolo Ekar Hydraulic
Tyres: Vredestein Aventura 38c
Chainset: Campagnolo Ekar 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, "The lightest Terra C we've ever created also has the gearing range to open up your riding potential thanks to the innovative Campagnolo Ekar gravel optimized group. The maxim of the entire Ekar groupset, to smartly mate strength with light weight, is a common value for our design processes with Terra C. Finished in our exquisite iridescent Dark Radiant frame colourway to a limited production run, the Orro Terra C Ekar is our ultimate specification gravel bike offering.
Terra C is characterised by its light responsive ride quality, built with the specifications necessary to provide capable control across varied terrain. The frame geometry is poised to descend and corner with ease inspiring confident off-road handling. Take it back to the tarmac and the excellent power transfer provided by the carbon layup is immediately apparent. Innegra fibres are woven into the carbon at strategic locations to protect the frame from impact damage; this ensures the 'light and fast' design ethos is met with the durability riders expect. Terra C is an adaptable bike crafted to ensure that your next adventure, new route, or old commute is a total blast."
The Terra C is aimed at the performance end of gravel riding, but it does that without sacrificing its adventure capabilities when loaded up and taking it easy.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
This Campagnolo Ekar model is the top of the range. There is a SRAM Rival eTap model coming soon for £3,099.99, next is the Shimano GRX 800-equipped model at £2,699.99. Below that are three models which all cost £2,199.99, fitted with Shimano 105 and GRX 600 1x, and SRAM Apex 1x.
Overall rating for frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Very well made and finished to a high quality.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Both the frame and fork use carbon fibre in their construction, with Innegra fibres added for strength against stone strikes.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The geometry is a little more aggressive than most gravel/adventure bikes, with a steep seat angle and short head tube giving a kind of road position but with a slightly slackened front end that just tames the steering a little.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
The medium model has a stack of 587mm and a reach of 387mm. That gives an overall ratio of 1.55 which is similar to many endurance road bikes.
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Considering the stiffness, the comfort is rather good.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
No problems with stiffness at all. It copes with the power delivery without feeling harsh.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
The stiffness of the frameset makes it efficient, helped by the large spread of gear ratios.
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? Well balanced off-road without being dull on it.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The front end of the Terra C really lets you know what the bike is up to, and the handling is quick without being twitchy.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The Deda handlebar gives loads of comfortable positions and I found the saddle plush enough for rutted gravel tracks.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The carbon fibre Ekar cranks give loads of stiffness for out-of-the-saddle or climbing efforts.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
Ekar gives the same low ratios as, say, GRX 1x, but with added higher gears for the faster sections.
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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?
I really like Ekar. The range of ratios is great for a 1x system and I found the gear changes and braking to be up there with the best of the groupsets on the market.
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?
The wheels offer decent levels of performance and durability.
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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're good tyres that will transfer well between trail and road in the summer months, but you'll definitely need something more aggressive for winter.
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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?
Decent quality components, especially the Deda handlebar which provides plenty of hand positions, and the flare helps on fast descents when in the drops.
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?
There still aren't that many Ekar-equipped bikes out there, and many that are, like the Canyon Grizl mentioned in the review, come with deep-section carbon fibre wheels; that adds £1Kish to the price over the Orro. The Grail with GRX Di2 comes in at the same price as the Orro and uses alloy DT Swiss wheels; it's electronic shifting-wise, but you lack two gears.
The latest Giant Revolt Advanced 0 has carbon wheels and costs £3,499, but you are only getting a mechanical GRX 810 groupset.
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Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a solid four stars for the Terra C Ekar thanks to a very good frameset. The finishing kit could be seen as a little low for the money, but you have to offset that against the cost of the quality Campagnolo groupset.
Age: 42 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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