Orbea has completely redesigned its Occam trail bike, boosting travel, geometry figures and updating the suspension’s kinematics to better suit trail riders. Its MyO program also allows customers to have a completely unique paintjob for no extra cost, while componentry can also be swapped out to suit individual tastes. Take full advantage of the program and you can rest assured that you’ll have a completely unique bike. The bike that almost made Tom sell his van Evil The Following MB review The previous generation Occam had two versions: a 650b Occam AM with 150mm of travel and an Occam TR, a 130mm 29er. With the introduction of the 29in Rallon enduro bike, with 160/150mm of travel, and the Oiz XC bike, which had a more trail orientated build available with 120mm of travel up front, Orbea decided to consolidate the Occam into a pure trail bike, with 140mm of travel and 29in wheels. The Occam is Orbea’s new 140mm 29er trail bike Jérémie Reuiller This follows what Orbea felt was the general trend in mountain biking over the past couple of years. Cross-country is getting gnarlier (hence the Oiz TR), and the Rallon was more successful than it imagined it would be. The Occam could, therefore, focus on what a trail bike really needs to be: capable up the climbs and very capable back down, too. Early developments of the new bike included the ‘R-Occam’, which took the Occam’s front triangle and bolted in the Rallon’s rear, with an angle-set to fine-tune the shape. This alloy mule let Orbea test various set-ups. Future developments included the use of its own 3D printers and testing facilities to help get the new bike dialled as quickly as possible. The offset link gives easy access to the shock and allows the use of a water bottle Jérémie Reuiller Orbea Occam frameset details It’s 2019, so you shouldn’t be surprised that the new Occam has a relatively long, low and slack frame. The key figures for a size Large with 140mm forks are listed below. Speccing a 150mm bike slackens the bike’s head and seat tube angles by around 0.5 degrees and lifts the bottom bracket a touch. Reach: 474mm (S –425mm, M – 450mm, XL – 500mm) Seat tube: 457mm (S – 381mm, M – 419mm, XL – 508mm) Head angle: 66 degrees Seat angle: 77 degrees Stack: 627mm Wheelbase: 1,224mm Chainstay length: 440mm Head tube: 120mm Bottom bracket height: 336mm The changes give frames that are almost one size longer in reach, yet with a seat tube roughly one size smaller for a given frame. This is definitely in line with where the market is heading: longer bikes are better suited to more aggressive riders and shorter seat tubes allow for longer dropper posts — and rarely have much significant downside. Furthermore, Orbea says that the steeper seat tubes have been put in place to help with more technical climbing. Race Face provided the majority of the cockpit on the Occam M10 we rode Jérémie Reuiller As you’ll notice, Orbea has opted for an asymmetric frame design with a spar joining seat and down tubes. This is to ensure frame stiffness was where Orbea wanted it to be. It claims it’s not too stiff, nor too bendy, and that it benchmarked it against other competitor bikes. Without the asymmetric link, the seat tube would have had to have been more curved towards the centre of the frame to get the necessary support for the rocker’s main link. This would then have an impact on the effective seat tube angle, especially for taller riders. Adding the link meant it was able to maintain the geometry it was hoping for, while also adding a bit of stiffness, and only 100g to the overall weight. Having the link joining the down and seat tubes together (rather than top and seat tube) means easier access to the shock’s controls too, apparently. In order to fit a bottle, the cage bosses are offset by 10mm to the left. The rocker link itself has received a fair amount of engineering. The two sides are joined like a splined crank. Orbea will be offering both carbon and alloy options of the bike. The carbon version has a monocoque front triangle, along with one-piece seatstays and two-piece chainstays. By minimising the number of joints in the frame, Orbea claims to reduce the resin content and therefore weight, and improve the efficiency of its construction. The medium carbon frame has a claimed weight of 2.3kg (without a shock, but painted). Orbea is also offering a lifetime warranty on the frame, with no riding quibbles. Orbea has specced bikes with a 150mm 36 up front, an ‘upgrade’ over the stock 140mm 34. Customers can make the change on Orbea’s online shop Jérémie Reuiller The hydroformed alloy frame has a highly polished finish. This not only looks better but also reduces the number of stress-risers, so performs better in fatigue testing, according to Orbea. Finishing off the frame package is a rubberised chainstay protector, with waves along its length to reduce chain noise. There is also a threaded bottom bracket, Enduro Max bearings and internal cable routing designed to minimise noise and wear. Orbea Occam suspension We tested the Occam on some pretty rowdy trails near Ainsa, Spain Jérémie Reuiller The 140mm of suspension is built around what Orbea calls its Concentric Boost platform. This is a four-bar system with the rearmost pivot placed around the rear axle. What’s neat is that the rear wheel’s axle effectively holds the rear triangle together. Remove it and the seat and chainstays can part, giving easy access to bearing swaps, as well as tool-free rear hanger replacement (the rear hanger has a finger-operated lock-ring, and keeps the seat and chainstays together when the axle is removed). Looking at its range as a whole, Orbea decided that the Occam now has a narrower customer profile and this has allowed it to give a more ‘specialised’ suspension feel. A Rekon is fitted to the rear for fast rolling in dryer conditions Jérémie Reuiller The suspension is now much more progressive through its stroke to give the supple early, supportive mid and ‘safe’ end of stroke that’s so often asked for in a trail bike. With higher leverage ratios on the shock through the linkage, the Occam runs on lower shock pressures, which Orbea says reduces friction and therefore improves feel. The Fox DPX2 and DPS shocks come with a 0.2cc volume spacer fitted as standard, but the bike arrives with a 0.4cc spacer for more aggressive riders, and Orbea says the bike will also perform nicely without any spacers if you’re into the more ‘XC’ aspect of trail riding. Finally, Orbea has increased the anti-squat figures on this single-ring only bike to give a more stable pedalling platform and reduced the anti-rise figures, meaning the bike remains more active under braking — which is helped by placing the brake caliper on the seatstays. Orbea MyO program Orbea’s MyO program gives a multitude of customisation options for higher level models in its lineup. Orbea has long offered the opportunity to alter the spec on your bike; for example, the bikes we rode had a 150mm Fox 36 plugged in up front, rather than the stock 140mm 34 fork. It’s also possible to change things such as stem length and bar width, alter the tyre choice, brakes and shock too. These have an at-cost upcharge and the bikes are effectively built to order at Orbea’s own facilities. Orbea has specced the Shimano i-Spec dropper lever to actuate its own branded dropper post Jérémie Reuiller The more ‘exciting’ aspect of MyO is the ability to change the colour of the frame, with no additional cost. On its site, there’s a ‘builder’ function that gives you various colour options for a range of the frame’s design. These include the main frame colour, the secondary frame colour, the Orbea logo and Occam logo, and a couple of other small touches. On top of this, you can also have your name (or any other phrase) put on the seatstays. While the Occam page wasn’t live while we wrote this, we did some quick maths with the Rallon’s MyO builder and reckon on colours alone there are just over 34 million options. Orbea Occam 2020 model specs and pricing Orbea is offering eight models of the Occam: four carbon, four alloy, all eligible for the MyO program. A Shimano 12 speed shifter — the first we had a chance to ride Jérémie Reuiller Orbea Occam M-LTD £6,599 / €7,599 / $7,999 This top-end model comes with the carbon frame, Fox Factory 150mm 36 fork and DPX2 shock, a Shimano XTR groupset with RaceFace Next R chainset and XTR brakes. DT Swiss’ XMC 1200 Spline carbon wheels are shod in 2.5in Maxxis High Roller II tyres. Orbea Occam M10 £4,399 / €4,999 / $5,499 This bike comes with a 140mm Fox 34 and DPX2 shock, both Factory level. There’s a Shimano XT groupset and brakes, with a RaceFace finishing kit. The wheels are a set of DT Swiss XM 1650, which are custom made for Orbea — effectively the rim from the XM 1501 wheelset with a slightly cheaper hub. DT Swiss made some wheels especially for Orbea — the XM 1650 Jérémie Reuiller Orbea Occam M30-Eagle £3,299 / €3,799 / $3,999 Factory is replaced by Performance level suspension on this version, and it’s a DPS shock rather than DPX2, while there’s a SRAM NX Eagle groupset combined with Shimano BR520 brakes. DT Swiss M1900 Spline wheels support the same High Roller II tyres as above. Orbea Occam M30 £3,299 / €3,799 / $3,999 The build of this model is nigh-on identical to the M30-Eagle, but you get a Shimano XT/SLX drivetrain instead. Orbea Occam H10 £2,899 / €3,299 / $3,499 The H10 is the top-level alloy Occam for 2020. It comes with Performance level Fox 34 and DPS suspension, DT Swiss M1900 Spline wheels and High Roller II tyres, and an XT/SLX mix 12-speed drivetrain. Shimano’s 12-speed shifting was impressive Jérémie Reuiller Orbea Occam H20 £2,499 / €2,799 / $2,999 Price savings largely come from the finishing kit and Mach1 Maxx 25c wheels here because you still get a 12-speed Shimano SLX drivetrain. Orbea Occam H20-Eagle £2,499 / €2,799 / $2,999 As you’d expect, this is the same spec as the H20 above, but with a SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain rather than the Shimano kit. Orbea Occam H30 £1,999 / €2,299 / $ N/A The entry-level Occam hits the £2,000 marker but isn’t available in the US. Marzocchi’s Bomber Z2 keeps the price down, as does the shift to a SunRace 11-51t 12-speed cassette, joining Shimano SLX shifting gear. You also get a lower specced Shimano brake, but many of the components are the same as much higher-level bikes — this looks like great value for money.
Bird showed us its latest model, the Aeris AM 160, at this year’s Sea Otter Europe, and as the name suggests, this is the 160mm version of its popular 27.5-inch Aeris line-up of full suspension bikes. Bird Aeris AM 9 review Best mountain bikes – how to choose the right one for you There aren’t many 160mm travel bikes out there that are particularly pocket-friendly, especially ones with bang-up-to-date geometry, decent suspension kinematics and all the regular trappings of a high-end mountain bike with a full 12-speed groupset, wide rims and stiff, 35mm stanchioned forks. Bird has achieved all this thanks to the use of SRAM’s new SX Eagle groupset and RockShox’s 35 fork, alongside its already competitive direct-buy business model. RockShox’s budget 35 fork Tom Marvin The full bike, as detailed below, is priced at £2,200, but with a bit of judicious speccing via its website, if you really wanted/needed to, you can get the price down to a touch over £1,950. As far as we can tell, Bird is the first brand actually selling these pocket-friendly products from SRAM/RockShox, and is able to ship bikes now. The SX Eagle rear mech has all the usual Eagle features Tom Marvin Bird Aeris AM 160 SX Eagle frame The Aeris AM 160 started life as the Aeris AM 145, with a slightly altered linkage to give extra travel. However, for 2020, Bird has altered a few bits here and there, and created a full 160mm machine (which isn’t backwards compatible to 145mm, in case you’re asking). The main difference, other than the linkage, is at the rear, where the triangle has been updated. This gives it slightly improved rear mech cable routing under the chainstay, improved tyre clearance, and a slightly different rear non-driveside dropout. While none of these changes are major, it does demark the Aeris AM 160 as a new bike. Bird has designed a slightly different rear dropout Tom Marvin In keeping with Bird’s design philosophy, the Aeris AM 160 has pretty forward-thinking geometry. Bird offers the bike in five sizes: Small, Medium, Medium Long, Large, Extra Large. Bird Aeris AM 160 geometry (size Large, 160mm fork) Reach: 506mm Head angle: 64.6 degrees Seat angle: 75.1 degrees Stack: 599mm Wheelbase: 1,255mm Chainstay length: 435mm Head tube: 120mm Bottom bracket height: 338mm Bird Aeris AM 160 build The build we saw at Sea Otter Europe came in at £2,200, and had a few componentry upgrades over the bare-bones build that might be possible. It included the 160mm RockShox 35 fork and SRAM SX Eagle groupset, along with DT Swiss M1900 Spline wheels, triple compound 2.5in Wide Trail Maxxis Minon tyres front and rear, Shimano Deore brakes, an MRP chainguide, Bird branded dropper and colour-matched RaceFace Turbine R bars. Bird has colour-matched the Turbine R bars on this build Tom Marvin Just to see how wallet-friendly a build could be, we went on to Bird’s bike-builder and selected the cheapest build we’d be keen to ride (for example, retaining a dropper post, speccing ‘decent’ brakes, and keeping a more aggressive front tyre), while maintaining that 160mm fork and 12-speed groupset. We ended up down at £2,104.50 for a truly ride-able enduro bike, but we could have got it as low as £1,950, had we gone with a rigid post and a set of brakes we’d probably avoid out of choice. Check out the rest of our pictures of the Bird Aeris AM 160 below. Maxxis’ Minion DHF is one of our favourite tyres DT Swiss’ wheels are highly regarded, no matter how pricey the bike Tom Marvin The SX Eagle shifter nestles below the Deore brake lever Tom Marvin The shifter has a much more plastic build than high-end shifters, but the price is correspondingly low SRAM’s Eagle technology allows for a 50t sprocket on the cassette Tom Marvin Chainrings are mounted directly on to the cranks Tom Marvin The RockShox Deluxe shock offers a compression switch and rebound adjustment Tom Marvin SRAM’s SX Eagle cranks Tom Marvin RockShox’s cheaper Motion Control damper controls the fork Tom Marvin Deore brakes furnish this bike Tom Marvin Mud clearance is improved with the new rear-end Tom Marvin Effective cable routing around the main pivot Bird allows you to adjust specs to suit your needs — this bike gets a sticky Maxxis Minion DHR tyre out back Tom Marvin