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2020 Orbea Occam M10

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Vital Rating: (Very Good)
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The XCer's Trail Bike? Orbea Occam Review

This intriguing 140mm travel 29er takes on central Colorado's challenging trails.

Rating: Vital Review

Orbea’s Occam has been in the Spanish company’s lineup for several years as their designated trail bike. Revamped for 2020, the latest rendition is an impressive upgrade to the Occam model in its own right, and Orbea also offers a couple of appreciative upgrades from the factory to fine-tune the bike to its intended use. Specifically, our review bike was equipped with a 150mm travel FOX Factory 36 and Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR tires, compared to a stock 140mm FOX 34 and lighter-duty Maxxis rubber.

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Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Good all-around trail bike
  • Clean, rattle-free internal cable routing
  • Nice component upgrade options from Orbea
  • Great spec on the M10 version
  • Included larger shock volume spacer is a nice touch
  • Asymmetrical design is aesthetically pleasing to most
  • Custom graphics and paint available via the MyO program
  • Doesn’t excel at any one thing
  • Not the most confident descender compared to other 140-150mm trail bikes
  • Could benefit from a size-specific shock tune
  • Poor saddle choice

Occam Highlights

  • Orbea Monocoque Race carbon frame
  • 29-inch wheels
  • 140mm (5.5-inches) rear wheel travel // 150mm (5.9-inches) front
  • 4-bar Advanced Dynamics suspension design with concentric axle pivot
  • Shorter 44mm offset fork
  • Internal cable routing
  • Water bottle compatible
  • Threaded bottom bracket
  • 180mm rear brake post mount
  • Proprietary chainguide mounted on main pivot
  • Boost 148mm rear spacing with 12mm through-axle
  • Weight: 29.6-pounds (13.4kg, verified, size XL with no pedals)
  • MSRP: $5,733 as tested ($5,499 M10 build + $49 Minion upgrade + $185 FOX 36 upgrade)

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Orbea’s asymmetrical frame design really makes the new Occam stand out on the trail. Fashionable and functional, its single-sided strut is said to stiffen up the frame while providing unrestricted access to shock adjustments. It also lends itself to water bottle compatibility, at least for those who can operate said fluid vessels with their left hand. On one end, left-sided access allows coverage of the rear brake for most North Americans, but it may not be as big of a hit in the UK, Australia, or other countries that run their brakes moto-style.

Less obvious to the naked eye, Orbea claims to have upped anti-squat by 7% for improved pedaling performance and has gone with a threaded bottom bracket.

Geometry

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Geometry has also been revamped to essentially be on par with today's standards. A 66-degree head tube angle is claimed on Orbea’s website, but without clarification on what travel fork this is based on. An angle finder showed 66.1-degrees on the review bike’s 150mm, 44mm offset fork. Out back, 440mm (17.3-inch) chainstays are neither long nor short for a 29er. Similarly, reach and effective top tube length appear to be right in the mix across all four sizes. The stated bottom bracket is 336mm (13.2-inches), but with the extra 10mm of travel up front it measured at 343mm (13.5-inches).

Setup

Out of the box, our review bike was set up with a small 0.2 cubic-inch volume spacer in the FOX DPX2 rear shock. After a couple of quick shakedown rides riddled with wallowing and bottom-outs, it was quickly swapped out with the provided 0.4 cubic-inch volume spacer, making for a drastically improved ride. Overall, the larger spacer offered enough support to a 205-pound (93.0kg) rider to seem correct. Up to a 0.95 cubic-inch volume spacer can be used. Orbea USA’s Marketing Coordinator, Parker DeGrey, runs a 0.6 cubic-inch volume spacer as his personal choice “based on an extremely aggressive riding style.” This non-stock update may be of interest to heavier and more aggressive riders.

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Orbea recommends 30% sag for best performance, so that’s where the review bike started. It eventually settled in at roughly 27% sag, equating to an air pressure setting of close to 1.35x rider weight, or 275psi. The reduction in sag seemed to help keep the Occam in its ideal pedal platform range without any noticeable decrease in bump compliance. Rebound damping ended up two clicks from closed. Less damping equated to more pedal-induced feedback than desired. While being almost entirely closed may sound less than ideal, the Occam still worked well through successive hits and general chunder.

FOX’s Factory 36 is a common sight in this wheelhouse and was set to 90psi. The Maxxis tires were converted to tubeless and run at 24psi rear and 23psi up front.

On The Trail

For how many times bikes have been dubbed “a downhiller’s cross-country bike,” the new Occam feels much more like what a cross-country rider would want in a trail bike. Just over 30-pounds with pedals is a reasonably light weight for a size XL bike equipped with a FOX 36 and 2.4-inch Maxxis EXO rubber on alloy rims, and, combined with a suspension design offering a good pedal platform, the Occam has a light and lively feel. Contrary to geometry numbers and concurred upon with a solid second opinion, the new Orbea feels a bit short and high in the XL size. Anecdotally, the bike's 5.5-inch (140mm) headtube was nearly 0.75-inches taller than a nearby size XL Trek Slash; while both bikes share an incredibly similar geometry chart, comparing their cockpit feel would strongly suggest otherwise.

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For an admittedly regular switch flipper, all concrete commutes to the trailhead warranted flipping the DPX2’s compression lever to the firmest of three positions. If trails were more of the pedal-and-pump variety, the switch stayed in mid-firm throughout those rides. With a wide open valve, the Occam pedaled well enough to stand through techy climbing cruxes or get a few angry pedal strokes between turns without noticing much power loss. Most climbs lasting more than a few minutes felt noticeably better in mid-firm.

Seated with the shock open, the 140mm of rear travel took the edge off while pedaling through rough, loose, rocky sections of trail. Its suspension manners are more akin to maintaining trail feel than a plush couch that mutes trail features, however. Generally, the Occam easily maintained proper ride height while climbing through single and successive hits alike. However, as trails got steep and required more torque, ride height noticeably dropped. This was the specific reason to decrease sag, which helped, and setting the shock to medium-firm regained correct ride height in these situations at the price of a slightly harsher, bouncier ride through the rough stuff.

As long as the ultimate goal isn’t to shred and schralp steep, berm-free trails all day, the Occam is a viable choice for those who’ve felt lower, longer, and slacker bikes hinder their climbing prowess.

Tight, technical, rock-laden climbs and flat sections were where the Occam was most comfortable. Its slightly tall bottom bracket and firm suspension platform reduced pedal strikes, and the headtube angle lent itself nicely to snaking through tight spots. The shorter cockpit feel turned into a bonus in these situations, as the Occam worked its way through technical climbs more like an XC bike than a long, slack, enduro weapon.

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Pointed downhill, unfortunately the Occam was less impressive. When riding steep, techy chutes or dropping off ledges, the front end rarely felt stable and planted. It never dictated avoiding certain trails or line options, but it definitely warranted checking speed on regularly ridden routes. The rear suspension worked nicely in a progressive and predictable kind of way, and wasn’t an issue at all. But the front end simply didn’t inspire confidence for some reason. It did inspire checking geometry angles and measurements, including running the fork’s serial number through FOX’s database to make sure it wasn’t accidentally a 51mm offset. That effort is about the best way to equate how the Occam felt on descents – it might feel fine to many, and it wasn’t horrible by any means, but it felt like something wasn’t quite right.

The best times descending were on trails with berms. If there was something to catch the front wheel, even just a little berm, speeds came back up to normal. Flow trails offered the Occam’s best descending performance as its progressive and tactile suspension platform worked well at pumping and squashing through them. Jumping the Occam was also pleasantly predictable – at least in the nanohuck realm – and its relatively light weight didn’t hurt either.

Build Kit

A complete Shimano XT drivetrain and four-piston brakes provided issue-free shifting and speed control throughout the 300-miles put on this Occam. The DT Swiss XM-1650 wheels held up without issue in central Colorado’s rocky trails, and the Maxxis DHF/DHR tires were an appreciated upgrade over the stock High Roller 2 and Rekon rubber.

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With the minor front end complaints, it seems like choosing the 150mm FOX 36 upgrade over a 140mm 34 is a no-brainer, but some climbing-biased riders may appreciate an even quicker-handling and slightly lighter front end.

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Though a bit subjective, we found the Fizik Taiga saddle to be an uncomfortable choice. The OC2 dropper it’s attached to also started to make some funny swishing noises on the last couple of rides. The combo may be the only weak link in an otherwise solid build.

Long Term Durability

The miles logged weren’t usually the friendliest days and the bike has a few scratches and dings, but there isn’t any damage that’s caused concern for its structural integrity. Bearing replacement kits, along with many other Occam-specific small parts, are available through Orbea’s website and seem reasonably priced. The company provides a limited lifetime warranty on their frames.

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What's The Bottom Line?

In the increasingly competitive trail bike market, Orbea’s revamped Occam is an interesting submission. By looks and the geometry chart alone, it’s one to be excited about. On trail performance is not bad by any means, but being less than absolutely perfect puts it at a disadvantage against the relentless competition. For some riders, the stylish Spanish take on the four-bar linkage could easily outweigh the slight shortcomings found by critical bike reviewer types. As long as the ultimate goal isn’t to shred and schralp steep, berm-free trails all day, the Occam is a viable choice for those who’ve felt lower, longer, and slacker bikes hinder their climbing prowess.

Visit www.orbea.com for more details, and Vital MTB's launch feature for an alternate take on the Occam.

Vital MTB Rating

  • Climbing: 4.0 stars
  • Descending: 3.0 stars
  • Fun Factor: 3.0 stars
  • Value: 4.0 stars
  • Overall Impression: 3.5 stars - Very Good

About The Reviewer

Zach White - Age: 46 // Years Riding: 31 // Height: 6’3” (1.91m) // Weight: 205-pounds (93.0kg)

Zach has been a fixture in cycling media since the mid-90’s and a race circuit regular since the 80's. With more interest in casual trends than big sends these days, his riding style still reflects the World Cup DH Pro he once was.

Photos by Zach White and Emma Dunn

Rate review:

14 comments newest first

Terrible review. My wife owns H30 with z2 140mm fork and loves it (altough she is not very aggressive rider). I havent' ridden it but rode jeffsy 29 2020 which has almost identical geometry in xl size and it rode pretty well on steep, technical alpine terrain with closed turns. Not sure how it rides on american flowtrails wink
About the geometry. I'm always sceptical when some amateur measures different dimensions than what is officialy specified. It really is bold to say that bunch of engineers with university degrees (who knows, maybe even PhD) made important measurement mistake. I went my usual way and personally measured head angle on said H30 medium size version with 140mm Z2 fork installed.
And guess what - it is precisely 66°! Since I don't posses 150mm 36 float fork, I can't measure it in your version. So I took some paper, pencil and sci calc and got theoretical 65,42 degrees for 561 ATC fork (specified in fox float 36 white papers).
So there are only two possibilities about your strange 66.1°measurement on 150mm fox 36 version - either your frame is defective (not high on probability list) or you just don't know how to measure angles properly (highly likely).
I can't comment on your measurement method since you haven't described it, but it is very easy to make error of 1-2 degree!
About the part where you cannot determine to which version (140/150mm fork) the geometry table belongs to - it is very nicely written as fork length. Geo table specifies it as 547mm ATC which belongs to 140mm fox 34 fork (go see fox shox white papers).
So the final word on your review.. if you do everything as poor as you do the measurements and read geo tables, then your reviews and riding is something not to brag about our share with the interwebs...

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Except the part where frame measures can be off (a lot of examples in the past; frames have tolerances an they can be off by a half of degree or even more - MBR has a few pointed out), most of the comment is spot on.
Just look at the release video from Vital (indeed, with different reviewer) on the Occam and almost everything is opposite. Someone did a bad job, and comparing to other reviews, this article is my pick. Or everything that could go wrong (frame tolerances, shock, fork etc) - went wrong in this case...

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Pretty surprised with this review, I have one and ride it hard, it's a little shredder, climb like crazy and pretty fast on the technical trails (I live in Austria, no easy trails made for bike, mostly rough natural hicking trails).
Coming from a Bronson 2, I found it better climber and downhiller (29er helps) and strava can testify ...

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Size-specific shock tunes are not entirely uncommon, as 140-pound size small riders have different demands than bigger guys on XLs. These tuning choices are typically reflected in the compression and rebound tunes.

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I highly doubt that! I can't name a single brand who is doing that. Womenspecific bikes have different tunes. Shock tunes are matched to work with kinematic systems not with rider weight. Same for volume spacers, they need to match kinematic and riding style but not weight.

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From your initial ride review when Orbea released this bike, to this long term review, a lot has changed in your scoring/rating, I must say. Not sure, but the overall rating puts this bike to the pile of worst bikes ever tested on Vital. Climbing and value for money scores are like, way off to other bikes reviewed on your site...

Well, at least you measure the true weight and the angles of the bike. Would like this to continue for all the bikes, since one site also measures it and a lot of bikes are off from geometry tables...

Didn't think I'd get this "upset" from a review of a bike since you gave the Spec Stumpjumper 5 stars few years ago :D

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Ouch, pretty savage to rag on the front end that hard without addressing fork tune or cockpit setup in any detail. I mean maybe 66 degrees and 44mm offset is some magically awful combo, but I kinda doubt it. With the note about head tube length, seems like adjusting bar height or fork sag would at least be a starting point for discussion and analysis, whatever the result.

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The FOX 36 is a popular fork and one this reviewer has ridden plenty of. It was set up with 90psi, 16 clicks out on high-speed compression damping, 3 clicks out on low-speed compression damping, 5 clicks out on high-speed rebound, and 10 clicks out on low-speed rebound.

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I hope he burped the air from the lowers as well. I live at altitude, like the reviewer, and I always find that 36's have excess air in the lowers from being assembled at a much lower elevation. Also, I find the larger volume spacer in the rear shock a bit strange for a large rider. Higher rider weight does not mean more volume spacers are required, especially on bikes with a decent amount of progression in the linkage like the Occam ( roughly 18%). I'm 25lb heavier than the reviewer and the same height. I always end up removing all volume spacers from my shocks and adding psi to preference. This is the only way to get enough mid-stroke support as a big rider. This makes the air spring as close to a coil as you can get. Adding spacers reduces support in that mid travel range, requiring you run MUCH higher pressure.

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The reviewer experienced bottom outs and wallowing at the stock settings with a 0.2 cubic-inch spacer and 30% sag.

Moving to the included 0.4 cubic-inch spacer at the same 30% sag percentage addressed this. More pressure was then added to get some added climbing support, decreasing sag to 27%.

Had he stuck with the original spacer (or taken it out entirely), the sag percentage required to not bottom out often would have likely been in the range of 25% or less. Increasing pressure to this extent can make a bike pedal and pump like a champ, but can also make it overly harsh in some scenarios.

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You run a coil on your personal bike, which has a very similar leverage curve to the Occam. Does it seem difficult to get the spring rate/sag set correctly? Increasing volume in an air shock is exactly the same concept as choosing to run a coil spring, but you have higher adjustment resolution. Sag is most often set incorrectly and is really a secondary indicator of correct spring rate. Dynamic ride height/feel and pedaling characteristics are more important. Darren from Push Industries mentioned exactly that in your podcast last year. If the tester would have taken the time to try higher volume and different pressures, he would have found a setting that would have essentially given him the feel of a correctly-sprung coil shock on the Occam. It would give him much better support in the middle segment of travel with sufficient mechanical ramp-up towards the end of the stroke. Just like on the Switchblade and many other bikes that can function well with a coil spring.

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I thought at a given pressure, adding a positive air spacer increased midstroke support in addition to end stroke?

Look at the graphs here: https://www.vitalmtb.com/photos/features/How-To-Get-The-Most-Out-Of-Your-RockShox-Suspension,9020/Slideshow,0/bturman,109

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For a given pressure that is roughly correct, but the primary benefit of an air shock is spring rate tuneability via pressure changes. That is why I mentioned adding a few psi to my shocks when I remove volume spacers. I'm shifting the force curve upward along the force axis. These graphs can be misleading because you certainly don't have to run your shock at only one pressure. When you add volume spacers, you're ultimately changing the shape of the force curve to exhibit more radical force changes (ramp up) over a given distance. If you want more midstroke (middle 1/3 of your travel) support and more predictable ramp up, you have to straighten out the force curve (a coil spring has a force curve with a straight, constant slope). MAXIMIZING volume in an air shock does just that. This is also why coil springs are popular. However, by straightening that curve, you will lose some of the end-of-stroke ramp up (which has been the key limitation of traditional coil shocks). Most leverage curves designed into modern bikes like the Occam help with this by adding sufficient mechanical leverage progression through the travel. This allows riders to choose to run a coil shock, or a high-volume air shock. Volume spacers were more effectively utilized on older bike designs with more linear leverage curves. With the latest wave of added progression from almost every manufacturer, fewer volume spacers will need to be used.

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Specifications
Product 2020 Orbea Occam M10
Model Year 2020
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size S M L XL
Top Tube Length 565 592 619 649
Head Tube Angle 66° 66° 66° 66°
Head Tube Length 95 105 120 140
Seat Tube Angle 77º 77º 77º 77º
Seat Tube Length 381 419 457 508
Bottom Bracket Height 336 336 336 336
Chainstay Length 440 440 440 440
Wheelbase 1165 1194 1224 1259
Standover N/A N/A N/A N/A
Reach 425 450 474 500
Stack 604 613 627 646
* Additional Info All dimensions given in mm unless specified otherwise. Geometry based on 547mm fork.
Wheel Size 29"
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Orbea Monocoque Race carbon with high modulus and high strength fibers, internal cable routing, asymmetrical front triangle, integrated frame protection
Rear Travel 140mm
Rear Shock FOX DPX2 Factory 3-Position Adjust EVOL Kashima custom tune, 210x50mm
Fork FOX 34 FLOAT Factory FIT4 3-Position Adjust QR15x110 Kashima
Option: FOX 36 FLOAT Factory GRIP2 RC2 with QR axle (+$185)
Kabolt bolt-on front axle available for either fork (+$60)
Fork Travel 140mm
Option: 150mm (with 36 upgrade)
Head Tube Diameter Tapered 1.125-1.5" integrated
Headset Acros Alloy 1-1/8 - 1-1/2" Integrated
Handlebar Race Face Next R 35mm clamp, 20mm rise, 780mm wide
Stem Race Face Aeffect R 35mm clamp, 45mm reach
Grips
Brakes Shimano XT M8120
Option: Shimano XTR Trail M9120 (+$369)
Brake Levers Shimano XT M8120
Option: Shimano XTR Trail M9120 (+$369)
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters Shimano XT M8100 12-speed
Front Derailleur None
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT M8100 SGS 12-speed
ISCG Tabs ISCG-05
Chainguide OneUp Components upper guide
Cranks Shimano XT M8100 12-speed
Chainrings Shimano 32 tooth 12-speed
Bottom Bracket Shimano BSA
Pedals N/A
Chain Shimano M7100 12-speed
Cassette Shimano XT M8100 12-speed 10-51 tooth
Rims DT Swiss XM-1650 Spline 30mm TLR
Option: DT Swiss XMC 1200 Spline (+$1239 as complete wheelset)
Hubs DT Swiss Ratchet driver, Boost
Option: DT Swiss 240 Center Lock Straight Pull (+$1239 as complete wheelset)
Spokes DT Swiss butted
Tires Maxxis Rekon 2.4" FB 60TPI Dual EXO TR
Option: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5" front and Minion DHR 2.4" rear (+$49)
Saddle fi'zi:k Taiga, Kium rails
Option: Selle Italia X-LR Ti Flow (+$60)
Seatpost OC2 dropper (125, 150, or 170mm travel)
Option: Crankbrothers Highline 125/150/170mm dropper (+$199)
Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp Bolt-on
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions Boost 148x12mm
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Anthracite glitter/black, blue/orange
Custom paint and graphics available via MyO program
Warranty Lifetime with registration
Weight 29 lb 8.7 oz (13,400 g)
Miscellaneous - Custom graphics and paint available via MyO
- Optional 150mm fork slackens head angle 0.5º
Price $5,499
More Info

​​​www.orbea.com

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