The most “trail bike” of all the trail bikes. The Orbea Occam H20 goes up, down, left and right with some serious speed.
Like with the other bikes in our test, the Occam saw an update last summer. The newest iteration is a real contender. It has 140mm of travel both front and back, somewhat conservative geometry and trail bike intentions. Orbea didn’t try to make this bike something it’s not — an enduro bike. A lot of trail bikes these days are made to ride bigger than their number would suggest. The Occam actually rides more like a 120mm bike, only it has a little extra forgiveness built right in.
Orbea Occam H20 build, geometry and price.
The Occam H20 is built with an aluminum frame. Although, you wouldn’t know it unless you looked really close. Orbea smooths and polishes their welds to give this frame a top-notch finish. I mean, just look at it — It has to be on the list of “Best Looking Aluminum Frames to Ever Exist.” The paint color and quality also matches their attention to detail. Enough about how good this thing looks, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The H20 has some surprisingly good components for a bike that costs $2,999. The drivetrain is a mix between Shimano SLX and XT 12 speed — something normally reserved for bikes that cost significantly more than this one. The suspension isn’t top-tier, but its pretty dang close. The fork is Fox’s 34 Performance and the shock is a Float DPS. The cockpit is a mix of Orbea’s house brand products. And, for house brand components they don’t feel half bad. The jury is still out on the tires. Some of our testers felt they were appropriate while others, myself included, wanted something more substantial. More on that later.
The geometry is what really separates this bike from the others in our test. Orbea already has an enduro bike (Rallon) so they didn’t need to make the Occam slack and long. Instead, they were able to keep things rather conservative. The head tube angle is a steep-for-these-days 66 degrees. The seat tube angle is steep at 77 degrees. Once you factor in how high the Occam sits in its travel, that steep seat tube becomes very apparent. The fit is very upright. The reach is a healthy 500mm in XL with a wheelbase of 1259mm.
Orbea Occam H20ride impressions
The Occam is the best climber in our test. That’s some high praise considering none of the bikes climbed too poorly. Multiple factors contribute to how well the bike performs on the climbs. Let’s start with the overall weight. The Occam is the lightest bike in our test at 32.9 lb. Orbea didn’t go extreme with heavy duty components on this bike. For example, the fork uses a 34mm stanchion rather than the 35 or 36mm forks on our other bikes. Additionally, It uses two piston rather than four piston brakes. It has geometry thats better suited for climbing too. The steeper angles position your weight towards the front of the bike, rather than hanging off the back and really squatting into that suspension. The bike stays high in its travel too, keeping those angles steep while seated. Some of the other bikes sagged into the suspension a bit more, effectively making the seat tube slacker. The Occam stays nice and upright, making it easier to navigate tight corners and technical sections. The suspension platform is very efficient with little to no pedal bob at all. Combine all that with some lightweight, fast-rolling tires and you have yourself a climber.
There’s really nothing bad to say about how this bike climbs. It encourages you to get up and go. It rewards hard efforts and makes technical climbing rather fun. If those attributes make you drool, you’re going to really like the way the Occam rides.
The Occam still shines in the DH department — in its own way. It’s not as capable on rough trails as the other bikes, but in smoother terrain the bike comes alive — and man is it fast. It seems to generate speed on every roller and compression like its life depends on it. It rewards pumping and pedaling with eye-watering speeds. It all boils down to Orbea’s decision to make this bike “unapologetically trail.” The suspension design, travel amounts and components all add up to making the Occam efficient both up and down the mountain. Like I mentioned earlier, it rides quite a bit like a 120mm trail bike. It has that fast, firm and supportive suspension feel. There’s no wallowing or “mega plush couch bike” feel to the Occam. The extra travel compared to the 120mm bike is great for when things get a little rugged our you come into some rocks with too much speed. It erases a few more mistakes and is more forgiving. It won’t let you get away with murder, however. You’ll need actively pilot this bike and choose good lines. The Fox 34 won’t allow you to plow through big rocks with abandon and the tires won’t hook up as well in loose corners and steep chutes.
Speaking of tires, the jury is still out. Some of our testers loved the fast-rolling tires. Others, myself included, wanted something with a little more grip. The Maxxis High Roller (F) and Rekon (R) are light and quick, but they lack a little in the traction department, especially the Rekon. For a bike that goes as fast as the Occam, a little extra grip in the corners would help you keep things under control in loose terrain. That said, if you swapped to grippier tires, the bike might not be as fast anymore. And, part of the Occam’s magic is that it doesn’t try to be burlier than it is. Maybe Orbea knows best and I should just learn how to corner a bike.
The Occam is very agile and easy to get in the air. It makes for a fun and engaging ride as long as your terrain doesn’t look like a World Cup DH track. It’s very suited for smoother, rolling terrain. That’s not to say it can’t handle the tech, you just won’t be able to go as fast. The rear end of the bike tends to skip around a bit in the rough rather than stick to the ground giving you control.
Rear wheel can bounced around in rough terrain
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