The Orbea Terra M21e Team Custom M isn’t a specialist, but rather a jack of all trades. It’s a gravel generalist that prioritises versatility. It also seems quite inconspicuous up against the adventure gravel bike test field, though it has a lot to offer upon closer inspection. Is versatility its trump card?
This bike was tested as part of our 2024 adventure gravel bike group test – you can find an overview of the group test and the test field here:
If a bike has earth in its name, then it obviously wants to go off-road. But how far off-road can it go? Boasting by far the catchiest name in our test, the Orbea Terra comes to the adventure party as a classic gravel bike without suspension. It doesn’t have a dropper post either. On the other hand, it has a versatile frame and a down-to-earth feel, which almost lets it go unnoticed amongst. Furthermore, it’s the lightest bike in the test field. Does it have what it takes to beat the competition?
Orbea Terra M21e Team Custom M – Nothing special, or just pleasantly reserved?
The Orbea Terra actually features quite an elegant design, but the inconspicuous finish lets it get lost in the adventure gravel bike test field. Fortunately, however, you can pick from a wide range of colour combinations in their online configurator. That said, the silver/grey Orbea logo looks fantastic. The classic diamond shaped frame and angular tubes make it look modern yet timeless. The Orbea Terra M21e Team Custom M isn’t a rockstar that’s out to steal the spotlight, but rather an unobtrusive companion. The only thing that really stands out is the dropped chainstay and the tall stack of spacers under the stem. The latter should have a significant influence not just visually, but also technically. The integrated seat post clamp in the top tube is beautifully designed and easy to use, but the rubber cover just lies loosely on top of it, like an afterthought. The convenient storage compartment in the down tube has also been beautifully integrated, hidden under the bottle cage.
The drivetrain on the Orbea Terra is taken care of by the SRAM Force eTAP AXS XPLR groupset, like many of the bikes on test – four other gravel bikes in our adventure gravel bike shootout rely on this 1x drivetrain. However, the gear range seems to be a little more suitable on the Orbea. The Terra M21eTEAM CUSTOM is not an off-road monster like the Santa Cruz Stigmata or YT Szepter, and is much more clearly targeted at fast gravel roads, climbs, and woodland paths. This is underlined by the lack of suspension and the 40 mm Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H tires, which feel most comfortable on fast gravel roads. Added to this is the Vision 40 DB SC wheelset with an internal rim width of just 19 mm, which is quite narrow for gravel and far too skinny for trails, etc. There are just a few mounting points on the frame, and none on the fork. You’ve got space for three bottle cages, two inside the front triangle and one by the bottom bracket, as well as eyelets for mudguards. At € 5,499, the Orbea Terra is an appealing and well priced option, and, surprisingly, it’s also the lightest on test at 8.76 kg.
Tuning tip: wider, more aggressive tires for better off-road performance
Orbea Terra M2IETEAM IX
Fork rigid fork
Brakes SRAM Force 160/160 mm
Drivetrain SRAM Force eTap AXS XPLR 1x12
Stem OC 100 mm
Handlebar Easton EC70 AX 420 mm
Wheelset Vision 40 DB SC
Tires Pirelle Cinturato Gravel H 28"
Size XS S M L XL XXL
Weight 8.76 kg
Plenty of compliance
Integrated storage compartment
A relatively fast setup in comparison
Orbea Terra M21e Team Custom M – A bike for everyone and everything?
The look of the Orbea Terra is also reflected in the ride. It’s a very balanced bike that’s in no way extreme, landing right in the sweet spot between agile and composed. The result is an intuitive ride. The tall stack of spacers under the stem results in a fairly upright riding position, which doesn’t quite suit the bike’s fast setup, but you can always remove some of the spacers to suit. As is, the Orbea invites you to cruise along, without setting any records, but it also instils you with confidence. The light Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H tires make the gravel bike feel a little more responsive, but they also rob you of confidence as they hardly offer any grip on wet and loose surfaces. They perform best on dry, hard packed terrain.
In terms of compliance, the Orbea Terra errs on the side of comfort. The frame and seat post offer noticeable vibration damping. This also performs best on fast gravel roads, which makes them even more fun to ride. That’s not to say it can’t cope with venturing onto moderate trails from time to time. It’s a fast climber, which speaks for efficient power transfer. However, when things get steep and you’ve got your bikepacking gear hanging off the bike, the limited gear range of the 1x drivetrain will have you pushing the bike.
Removing some of the spacers under the stem would make the bike look better and ride faster.
What adventures is the Orbea Terra M21e Team Custom M destined for?
The Orbea Terra is a very versatile gravel bike that can be ridden fast and relaxed. However, you should plan the route well, because you’ll want to avoid long stretches of trails and footpaths. It’s not a bike for heading into the unknown, but rather one for easy-going speed. The Orbea Terra will do bikepacking, especially along towpaths and bike paths with a relatively flat elevation profile. It will happily ride fast in that kind of terrain, too.
Conclusion on the Orbea Terra M21e Team Custom M
The Orbea Terra is a generalist par excellence, catering to a wide range of use cases. This makes it an all-rounder in the best sense of the word. For € 5,499 you get a well-rounded package with cool wheels and a convenient storage compartment. The Terra M21eTEAM CUSTOM feels most comfortable on dusty and smooth gravel. You can’t really go wrong with this bike, unless you’re looking for something more capable or a bike that excels at a specific discipline.
- caters to a wide range of applications from touring to racing
- customisable paint job via the online configurator
- comfortable even without suspension
- limited off-road performance of the tires
For more Information orbea.com
This bike was tested as part of our 2023 adventure gravel bike group test – you can find an overview of the group test and the test field here:
All bikes on review:Argon 18 Dark Matter | BMC URS 01 ONE | Cannondale Topstone Carbon 1 Lefty | Canyon Grizl CF SLX 8 Force AXS Trail | Falkenjagd ARISTOS TRAIL GRAVEL | Focus Atlas 8.8 | Ghost Asket Advanced | Giant Revolt X | Merida Silex 10k | Mondraker Dusty XR | Orbea Terra M21e Team Custom M | Ridley Kanzo Adventure | Rose Backroad AL Plus | Santa Cruz Stigmata | Scott Solace Gravel eRIDE 10 | Specialized Diverge STR Pro | Trek Checkpoint SL 7 AXS | Wilier Adlar | YT Industries Szepter Core 4
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Words & Photos: David Feddersen