Overall, this is a great bike. I bought it because I am most comfortable on 57 frames. Some say this is just a 56, some say it's a 58. It is in-between those two more common sizes and justifiably referred to as a 57. Frankly, I've only felt "right" on Orbea's 57 frame bikes (I'm 6' tall with a 34 inseam and 6' 1" arm wingspan). If I get on a 56 (even if sized) it feels tiny. If I get on a 58 (even if sized) it feels too big (usually due to the head tube).
Anyway, I'll start with the nitpicks; things I think could have been better (for the price and in comparison to other bikes I've looked at). The first are the welds. I have a $99 Walmart bike with better welds than this thing has, I kid you not. On the Walmart bike (a Mongoose/Schwinn), the welds are narrow and consistent, as if done by a well-calibrated robot. Albeit the Walmart bike is steel (which is easier to weld), on my Orbea, the welds are wide with comparatively inconsistent beads. The most noticeable weld (head tube to top tube), you can see where the welder stopped -- there's a larger bead at that point and it's right on top. If you're going to end a weld like that, you should be doing it below the tube where it's not visible 100% of the time. Another nitpick is that this bike, despite being able to support a 45 tire, only comes with 38s. Nobody is using 38 tires on gravel anymore. The included tires are a good tire, but for a few bucks more Orbea could have included the 40 version of the same tire, or ideally a 42.
Another nitpick is that the included handlebars do not have any alignment marks. You become dependent on those to ensure the bar is centered and to help orient them. I was, of course, able to get the bars where I wanted them and centered, but these days even my $800 MTB has reference lines. My final nitpick is that, for the price, the included wheels are just too heavy. At the MSRP, we really need to expect CF wheels. If I can buy an Orbea Orca M30 for $2,600 with a CF frame and aluminum wheels, I should be able to buy an Orbea Terra H30 with an aluminum frame and CF wheels.
Finally, while I realize it isn't Orbea's fault, per say, I find the Shimano GRX brake lever shifting to be pretty mushy and plasticky. The left brake lever shifter feels notably different than the right and they both require far too much throw to change gear. I really shouldn't have to press what feels like a mile just to change rings. It should be a positive (resistive), short throw. Worse, the brake levers (due to this design) aren't very "solid" feeling. This is my first Shimano GRX-equipped bike and, frankly, I'll be glad to avoid Shimano GRX in the future if this is the norm. I've had older Shimano Ultegra on prior bikes and I don't remember disliking shifting on them like this bike, but I'm also a SRAM and Campagnolo guy these days. The SRAM shifting feel, ignoring the literal confusion that is their double tap design, is better in terms of feel. Campagnolo's design is best, in my opinion - it feels luxury comparatively. I realize this is a midrange bike, but everyone is all "in love" with Shimano GRX and I really don't get why (with my experience). I did have to adjust the front derailleur out of the box (it either wasn't set up right by Performance Bicycle or got knocked around in shipping). I will have the bike checked over by my preferred LBS. Maybe they can improve the shift feel and the above complaint will be moot. We'll see.
I would have liked to see a bottle mount position on the top of the top tube, but then again that would look hideous on this bike's design.
I also feel a little slighted as my bike (purchased from Performance Bicycle) did not come with valve stem caps. I want my valve stem caps! :)
Onto the good stuff. The included Fizik Alliante R5 seat is darn near perfect. I'm so glad it came on this bike and I will be buying another for my MTB. I have tried seat after seat after seat from WTB and all the other "go to brands" reviewed by (paid) YouTube reviewers and mentioned on forums. I had never come across this Fizik seat and boy do I regret it. The side-sloping design and kind of raised backside fits my behind without digging into me, without crushing my berries, and without having weird pressure points on the edges. It's as if Fizik modeled my (incredible) body to design it.
The murdered out black on black design is absolute fire. The bike looks so cool. I'm not a flashy paint job on a bike kind of guy, and this is just killer. I do wish the logos were somehow reflective (and if they're supposed to be, they aren't), but I won't be using this bike at night anyway. Just the overall look of this bike in any color is beautiful. The only other gravel bike frame that I think looks "as good" is an Argon 18 Grey Matter, but it only comes in green and red (yucky). The Specialized gravel bikes look good, but I refuse to pay for Specialized's inflated pricing for inferior kit. Never, ever, ever.
The brakes are pretty good on this thing. I'd say they're on par with any other disc brake out there. They do make some rub noise, as they all do. The included rotors are bottom of the barrel Shimano Deore SM-RT54-S which will only work with resin pads. I think on a gravel bike, that's not okay, even at this price point, but then again I've never really needed hardcore MTB-grade or racer grade braking. Something to upgrade later, I suppose.
The included bar tape is acceptable, if not slightly better than. Certainly when you compare it to what comes on a $3,500 Scott Speedster Gravel (absolute garbage), you realize you have a pretty nice place to grip. The Shimano hoods are very comfortable, as well. I tend to prefer a little more grip tape padding, but this will do nicely until it wears out. I like that the included seat post is carbon. That will have positive impact on ride quality, especially extended out far. It has nice little hash marks on it to help you re-establish your seat height in the event you need to remove it for transport or whatever reason. All seat posts should have these lines, frankly (and, yes I know... most of the carbon ones do these days).
As for how it rides... this is why I keep flocking to Orbea's bikes (I also have an Orca). The mix of the 57 frame, reach, stack, and all the other bike nerd measurements seem to fit my body well without having to spend even more money to buy exotic stems and goofy seat posts. That allows me to shove the pedals down hard (I'm a climber/sprinter at heart), cruise with comfort, climb hills in-seat without getting all catawampus, and all the good things. I am very picky about how my legs are oriented and strongly dislike 175mm cranks. This bike comes with 172.5mm cranks, which isn't a huge difference but I have been able to determine a 170 to 172.5 is far more suited to me (during a bike fitting). I'm a little confused why so many gravel bikes come with 175mm cranks... that makes sense on MTBs. Frankly I would have preferred this bike to come with 170mm cranks, but... at least it didn't come with 175s. On this Terra, I'm lined up really well for full power and it makes for an overall more comfortable, form-aligned ride for me.
I will say that the heavy aluminum wheels don't help you at all. I did slap on a set of e11even CF gravel wheels just to fool around and the bike really opens up in a very desirable way (and I'm pretty sure e11even CF wheels are just stickered up Chinese Aliexpress wheels, so not the best out there). The included tires roll like butter on the road. I haven't gotten them on anything more than your basic hardpack gravel, but I wouldn't want to do a gravel event on these, even the short courses. They just don't have the knobs for that kind of thing, in my opinion. Maybe I'll give them a try at at upcoming event considering this guy isn't doing those events to be in the top 10 and gain a sponsorship and end up in the Olympics.
One thing to note is that Performance Bicycles assembles the bike - understandably - with all of the stem spacers, which appear to be plastic. Given the cable routing is internalized at the stem, dropping the bars downward requires a little more effort than a totally externally wired bike. Trade-offs.