Bike Reviews

Orbea Occam M10 (2020) first ride review

Person riding Orbea Occam

Our review

Our review was based on riding the bike for two days on unfamiliar terrain. We are hoping to get a bike in the UK for a full review as soon as possible.
Pros: Up to date geometry, impressive suspension and customisable to your heart’s content
Cons: Rekon won’t be great in UK mid-winter

Orbea’s latest generation Occam ditches the multi-platform TR or AM option and gives you a dedicated 140mm travel, 29-inch wheel trail-focussed bike that still has plenty of customisation possibilities along the way. For all the detailed information, check out our first look article.

Picture of Orbea Occam

The Occam is Orbea’s new 140mm 29er trail bike Jérémie Reuiller

In essence, there’s a new asymmetrically designed frame which offers 140mm of travel via Orbea’s Concentric Boost four-bar design. There’s a spar linking the down tube and seat tube, which allowed Orbea to locate the main pivot for the rocker linkage where it wanted it, for kinematics reasons, while maintaining a steeper seat angle.

Should you buy the bike directly from Orbea, you’re able to make a number of selective spec changes to items such as tyres, forks, shocks and brakes. This version of the Occam H10 had had the original 140mm Fox Factory 34 fork replaced with a 150mm Factory 36 (a £132 upgrade) and the XT Trail brakes replaced with a pair of XTR Trail brakes (£265), boosting the original price of £4,399 to £4,796.

Fox 36 fork
Orbea specced bikes with a 150mm 36 up front, an ‘upgrade’ over the stock 140mm 34 — customers can make the change on Orbea’s online shop Jérémie Reuiller

Furthermore, if you purchase from Orbea you’ll be able to make use of the MyO program, which lets you pick the various different colours of the frame and logos, as well as have a few words of your choice (name, team etc) printed on to the seatstays.

By our reckoning, this gives you over 31 million different colour combinations, so get creative.

Orbea Occam H10 frame

The carbon frame that the H10 is built around has up to date geometry with a roomy reach (474mm, Large) and a steep seat angle (77 degrees) to put you in a comfortable, efficient position on the bike.

The cables run internally and are designed in such a way that while they flex during the frame’s compression, they don’t move forward and back. Orbea claims that this helps reduce cable noise and wear, and in use, I never noticed any undue cable noise.

There’s rubberised protection on the down tube and along the chainstays, again to keep the noise down and paint/frame protected.

Asymmetrical frame design of the Orbea Occam
The offset link gives easy access to the shock and allows the use of a water bottle Jérémie Reuiller

The spar connecting the down and seat tubes means that the bottle is only accessible from the left-hand side of the bike. The bottle cage bosses are offset by 10mm to give clearance for this spar.

The spar was placed on the driveside, and the offset of the bottle is said to compensate for weight on the driveside. This was said with a bit of tongue-in-cheek from the Orbea engineers, but the real-world cost is that in the UK, at least, you’ll be using your left hand to grab the bottle — this hand would usually be covering the rear brake. It’s a small point, but one worth mentioning. Fortunately, access to the shock’s controls is unhindered.

The rear axle holds the rear triangle together, as the Concentric Boost design’s rearward pivot is located at the axle. This gives fairly easy access to the bearings, should they need replacing.

The gear hanger also helps keep the rear triangle held together. Removing the hanger is a tool-free job, with a smart hand-opening lockring to hold it in place. There’s a knack to removing the hanger, but once you’ve worked it out (by gently pushing the chainstay out, and the seatstay in), it’s an easy process.

Shimano XT mech and cassette
The axle holds the rear triangle together Jérémie Reuiller

The only real initial criticism of the frame is the lack of ISCG05 mounts around the bottom bracket. You can still run a chainguide, but not a taco-type chainring protector. Given the way trail bikes are being ridden these days, I feel this is an oversight.

Orbea Occam H10 kit

As mentioned, it is possible to alter the kit that is fitted to the bike at purchase. Orbea fitted a 150mm Fox Factory 36 fork to the front of my test bike, to reflect the rocky, technical riding we were to be doing on the bike. This added £132 in cost over the original 140mm Fox 34. This was joined by a Fox Factory DPX2 shock.

Race Face finishing kit on a bike
Race Face provided the majority of the cockpit on the Occam M10 I rode Jérémie Reuiller

The rest of the bike was fairly standard. It was my first time riding the new Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain, with the 10-51t cassette and 32t ring, while the XTR four-pot brakes were also fitted (upgraded spec also).

The cockpit was paired with Shimano’s dropper post lever, neatly synced thanks to its I-spec system. This operated an Orbea branded dropper post.

Wheels came from DT Swiss — they’re dubbed the XM 1650 and are, in effect, a DT Swiss 1501 rim laced on to slightly cheaper hubs — built specifically for Orbea. They have a 30mm internal width, while the hubs have a slightly slower engagement than ones found on the 1501 wheelset.

Up front was a Maxxis High Roller II and at the back a fast-rolling Rekon: 2.5in Wide trail up front, 2.4in Wide Trail at the back, with the High Roller getting the triple compound treatment.

Maxxis Rekon tyre
Fast rolling, but not the most chunky, the Rekon was fine in Spain, but not an all-round UK tyre in my experienceJérémie Reuiller

Finishing the bike off was a RaceFace cockpit — Aeffect R stem and 780mm Next R bar — and Fizik Taiga saddle.

Orbea Occam H10 first ride impressions

I rode the Occam for two days in Huesca, Spain. The trails there are tough — rocky, fast, technical and loose — and our riding culminated with a ride down one of Ainsa’s EWS tracks.

Man riding steep terrain
Everyone loves throwing themselves down rocky chutes, right? Jérémie Reuiller

Our first day included a number of shuttle runs. After the first, I found that I was getting through the travel a touch more readily than I’d have wished.

The bike comes with a 0.2cc spacer in the shock, so I left this in and added a bit of low-speed compression, to see if I could control it this way. After the next run, I decided to remove the compression damping and fit the 0.4cc spacer instead to give me a better bottom-out resistance, while also being able to run less compression damping on the shock.

This instantly felt better; better sensitivity and more controlled on bigger hits.

DT Swiss XM 1650 wheels
DT Swiss made some wheels especially for Orbea — the XM 1650 Jérémie Reuiller

The bike’s shape certainly seems to lend itself to letting go of the brakes and building up speed. The 474mm reach was pretty much spot on for me, feeling neither barge-like nor too small.

While the head angle isn’t super slack, for a trail bike I feel the 65.5 degree angle is nicely balanced between stability and calm handling, and agility through tighter, more technical trails.

The bike has a nice poise about it, with the top-end suspension, progressive shape and grippy tyres combining to give a very real sense of security. It is, however, still very much a trail bike.

There’s a touch of feedback through the pedals on bigger hits, but this is counteracted by a peppy feel through the pedals. It’s not a sofa-like smooth ride, and fortunately not a wallowy one either.

Climbing on Orbea Occam
The Occam isn’t afraid of heading up-hill Jérémie Reuiller

The increased anti-squat figures over the previous generation add to this peppy feel, beneficial both on flatter, more pedally tracks, where it feels like your pedal strokes really do make the bike faster, but also on climbs. Here, the steep-ish seat angle and stable suspension combine to give a very competent climbing performance.

On longer drags I did flick the compression switch on the DPX2 shock, but on more technical trails I was happy to leave it fully open to eke as much grip as possible out of the Rekon rear tyre.

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