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
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.