Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mtbr Visits Orbea and Test Rides the New Occam 29

Mtbr Visits Orbea and Test Rides the New Occam 29
After 3 years of development, Orbea unveiled their Occam 29 full suspension bike. Orbea is located in Spain, in the heart of Basque country. We were privileged to be invited to their launch venue and enjoy the full Basque hospitality. It was quite evident that the Spaniards were highly engaged in this project. It was designed for XC endurance racing and trail riding.
Orbea has been in the business of building bikes since the 1930’s. Primarily a road bike company early on with the Euskaltel-Euskadi team. But in the last 5-10 years their mtb athletes have been winning World Cups. Julian Absalon has been their poster boy. The Luna Chicks have also been representing at World cups with dominance. This new bike isn’t necessarily designed for the world cup competition, but more for longer endurance style races or general XC trail riding.
They didn’t just take the success of their 26 spec’s and make them fit the 29er wheels, they developed this as a separate platform. Targeted for the endurance/trail crowd they really took time to address the common 29er issues. They wanted a bike that didn’t give up agility and stiffness.(mas stiffer) After much design efforts they developed his bike with shorter chain stays to keep it quick and nimble on the trail (445 mm).They had a prototype last year, but wanted to perfect it. They really worked on keeping it stiffer. So it may not fit their current world cup athlete’s needs, I think this bike is going to compete nicely with the other 29er fs bikes on the market in the US.
After following the TdF for so many years I’ve always loved when the race got down into the Pyrenees and into Basque country. It always seemed like something exciting in the race would happen. The mountains were steeper than the Alps. The Basque people showed up in their orange colors and reeked some craziness into the race. My perception was soon changed as I met the guys behind the new Occam 29er project. These guys were hard core mt bikers. They truly were passionate about the sport. Their presentation was methodical in their approach to a new platform. They’ve had great results from the elite mtb team on the World cup circuit on the 26 platform, but they designed this 29er Occam platform from ground up. Don’t look for Julian Absalon to ride this at the Olympics. The Olympic course isn’t going to be conducive for a 29er. It’s a full on 26 hardtail type of course. But look for the Occam to show up at races like the Cape Epic and other marathon events next year.
As soon as I threw my leg over the S10 Occam I could feel how solid the bike felt. The Mas Stiffer effect of Orbea’s goal was evident. I’ve ridden most of the brands in the US in this category and the Occam meets the expectations of what you want in a 29er XC rig.

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