Ah yes, trail bikes- usually somewhat short in suspension travel, but still quite relaxed, with ever slackening head angles and growing wheelbases, these bikes usually have near-enduro geometry with near-XC pedaling efficiency. But within that category of “trail bikes”, we’re seeing some totally different takes on the concept- enter Orbea, who has done something pretty neat with the new Occam.
Before we dive into this, I want to clarify a few things- I am proudly supported by PNW Components, Industry Nine, Shimano, and of course, Jenson USA. Beyond that, I have no additional obligations or current industry affiliations.
HUGE thanks to my pals over at Jenson USA, who not only are a dealer for Orbea here in the United States, but who sponsored this video. If you’d like to learn more about the Occam, check out Jenson USA’s Orbea inventory here via my affiliate link: https://bit.ly/Orbea2022JKW
The Occam is a 150/150mm travel trail bike, rolling on 29” wheels, and has a little shorter, steeper geometry than many other bikes that feature similar amounts of travel. Before we dive into the details, let’s clarify a few things:
• 150mm of travel is more than some “enduro” bikes
• 66° head angle is pretty steep these days
• 1194mm wheelbase is pretty short
• The price is actually REALLY good! I’m riding an M10 LT, which retails for $6299 with a full Shimano XT groupset, a Fox 36 Grip 2 Factory fork, and a DHX coil rear shock.
Folks often ask me to compare this bike to others as a result of the travel measurement. First off, a frame’s travel isn’t nearly as significant as the fork travel. A frame’s geometry is far more critical, and then fork travel is next most noticeable. However, the first bike we’ll look at is the Yeti SB130LR.
I love the Yeti- it’s only got 137mm of rear travel, but that’s mated to a 160mm Fox 36 Grip 2 fork up front. The head angle is noticeably slacker than the Occam, the wheelbase longer, and the suspension is MUCH more progressive. Where the Occam likes to have its wheels on, or close to, the ground, the Yeti loves to be pushed hard into the obstacles, or simply lofted high above them. For super aggressive riders and racers, the Yeti does great with an “enduro” riding style. The Occam, despite more travel, feels like a tad smaller bike. What’s this mean? Well, it means the Yeti does a little better on faster, more wide open terrain. The Occam has the edge for tight, rough, natural trails. The Occam’s suspension feel is more active and plush, giving a touch more traction. This is beneficial on the slower paced trails, but you’ll find the bottom of the suspension sooner if you do jump often. Both are GREAT bikes, but they do better in some different situations.
Another bike that gets a lot of fanfare, and accompanying requests to compare to the Occam, is the Ibis Ripley. Both versions- the older V4 Carbon and my preferred option, the AF, have quite a bit less travel, and feel a little more efficient. The Occam pedals quite well in my opinion, but if you allow your pedal strokes to get sloppy, you’ll get that additional 30mm of travel oscillating a little more. Not a big deal, but if you stand up and sprint on smoother trails, you might notice it. On the flip side, the Occam has noticeably more traction than the Ripley. I really like that for the “tech climb challenges” that I love to include in my videos.
The Ripley AF compares VERY closely to the Norco Optic, and both of those do feel quite a bit longer and slacker than the Occam. This translates to more confidence on steep terrain, and especially so on faster stuff. As long as your jumps aren’t too steep and deep, the slacker bikes will be a little more forgiving there as well.
Orbea is not a well known brand for many here in the United States. While that has been changing over the last 18 months or so, I went ahead and did a whole video about their unique history. I hope you enjoy it!
While we’re on the topic, here is my first ever ride on an Orbea, shot in early 2020:
And we didn’t just film one ride on the Occam last year. We filmed a bunch! Here’s a full Occam playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLeOypo4MBUCt59109MsAXcMJug2S-mGRM
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be setting up the Occam with my own parts. This means the wheels from I9 that I usually ride, my normal cockpit from PNW, and my usual longer drop PNW seat post. After I make those changes, and get a couple more months in on this bike, I’ll be posting a longer form ride review video. Stay tuned!