What is our involvement with the Orbea Occam LT? It is a good question! basqueMTB have been working with Orbea for a long time. We started help them organise their press launches back in 2011 and now run the “on the trail” part of the launches. A press launch is no different from a biking holiday really; design an exciting experience, control the risks and make sure everyone has a great time.
We are also ride ambassadors for Orbea, that means that we ride their bikes and help out when needed. We don’t have any obligations to recommend bikes, write these articles, or sell bikes… quite the opposite. We help with photoshoots, guiding VIP’s when they visit (we were lucky enough to organise Martin Maes first rides on the Rallon), and lots of other guiding-style duties. We also get to ride prototype bikes. We aren’t racers and aren’t pushing bikes in the same way as rockstars like Damien Oton or Martin Maes Or Edgar Carballo, but we are racking up lots and lots of miles.
Taking all that into account we aren’t going to pretend to start writing a properly unbiassed review. This article is just a look at some of the features of the Occam and are some of our impressions on the bike and what we really like.
The new Occam family offers two bikes, the LT and the SL. LT, means Long Travel, and SL, means super light. Why did Orbea split the Occam into two? It is a good question. The idea is that the range in the type of riding people do with trail bikes is huge. From enduro-style outings to much more XC orientated. It makes sense to have an aggressive trail bike and a more XC option. The Occam has been leaning towards more aggressive each year, with the previous LT option which has more travel and a coil shock.
A good question is why not beef up an Oiz for the more XC side of trail? The answer is that starting from a trail bike offers advantages in terms of stiffness, robustness, and riding position.
The main feature for me is the geometry. With a 485mm reach on a L, 64º head angle and low 34mm BB height the bike is a mini Rallon. Add in 150/160mm travel and you have a really capable trail bike. The clever “Quick Flip” geometry adjustment uses an off-center bolt and, using the tool in the rear axle, you can change from 64-64,5º head angle, and change the BB height by 7mm, in under 10 seconds. Honestly!
Steep´n´deep. Full insertion for a 230mm dropper, means that at 179cm tall I can use that on my L frame. Really once you have tried a long travel dropper you don’t want to change back.
The weight is another key feature. My bike weighs 14 and a bit kg with pedals, aluminium OQUO wheels and DH casing tyres. It is really noticeable that the Occam LT pedals well, on long rides it is much more eager to climb fast than my Rallon, which is also a great climber.
Note On Weight
The final feature is the little integrations. The Lockr frame storage is better than ever with a more secure lock and bigger opening. The FLP tool in the pivot has all the allen keys you need right at hand. The factory applied vinyl frame protection, Second Skin, is a blessing for the use our bikes get. And finally the SIC cables.
Actually lets talk about the SIC cables a bit. People don’t like this trend, largely because of some large media outlets who willfully remain ignorant. It annoys me. SIC takes the cables through a spacer above the headset. It looks neater, (not an issue for me), but it really reduces noise from cables moving which I like. Is it more work when you need to work on the bike? The answer is yes and no.
There are lots of demos around so get a ride on one. In our team we absolutely love it. At flat-out speeds the Occam LT looses ground to the Rallon but at more normal speeds, i.e. not racing, it is really fast and stable. The increased stiffness over the prior Occam is really noticeable and it has a bombproof feel which encourages you to push it.
It is SILENT. Really noticeable how quiet the Occam LT is, even quieter than Rallon thanks to the SIC system and, possibly, less travel meaning less change in chain tensions.
The light weight and suspension kinematics make Occam LT really playful and easy to move around. The air shock maximises that feeling. For a touch more stability the coil works really well too. My choice on this bike is the air shock though.
Climbing is great. It feels responsive and fun to attack the climbs on. Rallon climbs brilliantly for a bigger bike but doesn’t encourage you to attack and sprint, it is happier plodding away.
I haven’t ridden the SL as much at all. It isn’t the bike for us and the style of riding we do most of the time. From my experience it is just plain fast. Descending is really confident and fun, especially on flowier trails, but obviously it isn’t the mini-Rallon that the LT version is. To be honest it feels just a bit more capable than the old Occam, just lighter and faster on the climbs and noticeable quieter and stiffer. The remote lock-out takes some getting used to if you are coming from bigger bikes, but once you start using it the efficiency is brilliant and the bike encourages you to attack every climb. This would be a great bike for big adventures, where you want a bike to carry you far but don’t want to have to limit the descents.
Long term you ask? But it was only launched a month ago! We have been Occam LT riding prototypes since January and then my bike (Doug) arrived in June to get ready for the press launch. I have racked up way over 150,000 vertical meters of rough and fast descending on it.
I really love the bike. I have ordered one to guide on next year. This is the first time I have chosen an Occam as my guiding bike. The Occam LT just offers an amazing balance of climbing, descending and having fun. This is just a bike for big adventures, which is what 90% of my riding is. It is also a lot of fun on the trail, really playful and easy to ride fast. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Rallon and for some of my rides I will really miss it.
There is absolutely no play or noise in the bearings which is amazing because we have been abusing the bikes quite a lot on our trips. It is a fun bike which encourages you to play, push and pop. For me it is a perfect bike for people who aren’t racing Enduro, who like to play on the descents and push the limits, and who want a bike which balances climbing with aggressive descending.
The 230mm dropper is amazing, as is the updated Lockr which is just really easy to use. The FLP tool in the pivot is something you really miss if you don’t have it, I know because my Wild doesn’t have it! And the Quick-Flip / Attitude Adjust is something I don’t use every ride but do use pretty often to steepen things up a bit on longer climbs.
Why not create your own? Orbea Occam LT – MyO Configurator