With 120mm of travel at each end and a sub-13kg (29lb) weight, the Orbea Occam H30 is at the cross-country end of trail – it’s a much more polite bike than the aggro Norco Sight or stealth bomber Avanti Coppermine, for instance. Not everyone wants a slacked-out trail bruiser though, and there’s definitely a place for the Occam.
Ride & handling: Light and lively
We’re used to seeing thru-axle forks on almost everything, but the standard H30 makes do with a twangy and less secure quick-release on its Fox Evolution series fork. You can specify a thru-axle – and we recommend you do – but the cheapest QR15 option adds £280.
There’s ample chassis stiffness elsewhere, and you get a decent 710mm bar. It’s a little steeper than current thinking dictates – the head angle is a sharp and rapid-steering 68.5 degrees – so you need your wits about you at higher speeds, but the low weight and short chainstays make the Orbea fun to chuck around. It’s very effective in tight singletrack.
Okay, you don’t get that monster-truck roll, but the 27.5in (650b) and 29er competition are all at least a kilo heavier and/or don’t offer the same level of kit. For weight and value 26in hoops still win, then… Except the 29er Occam is only £30 more for essentially the same spec, which sounds like a good deal.
Frame & equipment: Custom opportunities
The H30 is the cheapest of four Occams, although the distinctions are blurred by Orbea’s spec-tweaking customisation options. Given our price range we didn’t go mad with this, but did swap the standard Hutchinson Cobra tyres for some knobblier, UK-friendly Cougars – a no-cost option.
At the back the Occam has a concentric chainstay/seatstay pivot that’s very similar to the Trek ABP (Active Braking Pivot) system. The main swingarm pivot housing and bottom bracket shell are one big forged piece, while the seat and down tubes are welded to it.
Under the top tube there’s a good quality Fox Float CTD shock (with the expected cheaper Evolution damping) and a neat forged linkage, but it doesn’t affect the leverage ratio – it’s just there to keep everything in line. It’s a pleasingly vice-free and effective setup, and out on the trails it feels predictable and controlled.
The latest trend is for 2x10 transmissions – which give a good range with increased ground clearance and reduced complexity – but we’re still seeing lots of bikes with triples. There’s something to be said for having a smaller jump between chainrings too for big days in big hills.
It’s all Deore kit with the welcome inclusion of an SLX Shadow Plus anti-clatter clutch rear mech. The Formula RX brakes offer decent modulation and power, but the long-sweep levers won’t suit everybody.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.