Adrian Jackson is one of the most recognisable, succesful and most consistent mountain bike racers in Australia. He’s also one of the more reserved riders, and unlikely to spark up a social media storm and hashtag frenzy. But ‘AJ’ has been racing on Orbea mountain bikes for 2-3 years now, and we caught up to AJ (eventually) after the Otway Odyssey, where he rode to 2nd place on his Orbea Oiz.
The Otway Odyssey is a hard mountain bike marathon. Possibly the hardest in Australia. There’s a lot of climbing, it’s often super hot, and as it is in Victoria, there are countless strong Victorians who race it. Like AJ. AJ has won the Odyssey before, and knows what it takes to win. So there’s a lot that can be learnt from looking over his bike.
The Orbea Oiz
The Oiz is the cross-country and marathon dual-suspension frame that Orbea make, to complement the Alma hardtail they make. The frame design is size specific for wheel size, so a small size will have 650B wheels, whereas in a medium you can opt for 650B or 29″ On AJ’s medium, he runs 29″ wheels.
Built for low weight and efficiency, the Oiz sports 100mm of travel via a seat anc chain stay assembly that is free from a pivot but relies on flex instead. The 70 degree head angle and 44mm rake makes for a fast handling bike, and a low front end with just 100mm head tube length.
The Oiz runs internal cable outers and has full Di2 and FOX iRD capability, plus it can take a sideswing front mech if required. The rear brake hose runs just off the ridge of the down tube – which means fitting or changing a brake is far simpler – a nice nod to race specificity.
The claimed weight of the frame is 1700g, and while we didn’t weight AJ’s bike he’s claimed it’s sub 10kg.
Throughout 2016, AJ was running Shimano XTR M9000, including the Race brakes, mechanical shifter and Race crank set and pedals.
He has a 1x set up with a tight ratio 11-40 cassette – even on a hilly course like that at Forrest.
XTR pedals grace the ends of the Shimano XTR cranks.
Up front, AJ runs a Ceetec chain device to help keep the chain in place. He runs a OneUp Components chain ring.
Suspension on the Orbea Oiz
AJ runs Fox Float Factory suspension front and rear, with a 32 up front – he also uses a Fox lock out switch to activate them both.
Up front, you can see that AJ has upgraded to a thru-axle, with an FRM unit taking place of the stock Fox QR15 lever.
Rolling stock on the Orbea Oiz
AJ has been a long time user of Curve carbon rims, even back in 2014 when we took a look at his bike then, he was on their rims. HIs reasoning then was for durability through an entire race season – and it’s true. A carbon rim is less likely to be flat-spotted in a race, plus it’s stiffer and often rides better.
The Curve rims have been laced to XTR hubs with bladed spokes for smooth rolling, fast take up and minimal service requirements.
For the Odyssey, AJ ran a Schwalbe Thunder Burt out the back, and a Racing Ralph up the front. There aren’t too many rocks to flat on in the Otways, so many riders were on narrow and fast tyres.
Otway Odyssey specs
The Odyssey has a few requirements, as do many marathons. One is carrying spares, this is for just about any race though. And AJ opted to get his spares out of his pockets and onto the bike. A tube, lever and CO2 were taped to his top tube.
On the seat tube, AJ had a small multitool. It doesn’t look to have a chain breaker – this might have been in his pocket, or at home if he chose to chance it.
The Otway Odyssey can get pretty hot, and hydration is key. AJ has one bottle mount on his bike, but started with a small bottle in his pocket, to go along with the one in the King cage.
The Odyssey organisers mandate carrying a First Aid kit, and many people choose to attach this to their bikes. AJ had his taped under his bars, behind his race number.
All in all AJ’s bike is what you would expect, fast, light, and with considered spec for an experienced racer. This is AJ’s 2016 bike, and he has a new one ready to roll for his next big event. His new Oiz moves to Boost spacing, and a SRAM drivetrain.