Five of Our Favorite Things About The Orbea Occam H20 - Review
The latest generation of the Orbea Occam mountain has received high praise since its release last summer. We appreciate the bike’s attention to detail, myriad build options, and focus as a fun trail bike. Few people need anything more, and truthfully, even fewer people would want any more for the trails around here. Of course, your needs may vary, but the Occam is more than capable for the vast majority of riders. Fortunately, these same characteristics go for the top-spec Occam M-LTD as they do for the Occam H20 we have here. Here are five of our favorite things in our Orbea Occam H20 review. WELDS!
As a teen, I lusted after mid 90’s-era Cannondales. My teenage years were nearly twenty years after their original release, but their aluminum construction, beefy tubes, and purposeful lines had legitimate staying power. Perhaps my favorite part of all of it was the smoothed-out welds. Many aluminum bikes since then have attempted seamless transitions between each tube, but it's not until I saw the new Orbea Occam mountain bike that I felt the same feeling of lust.
What’s the key to the smooth welds Orbea employs? According to Orbea, it is “a special manufacturing process using an electric weld with a slight overfill and then a post sanding process done by hand. No Bondo is ever used, and their work minimizes stress at tube junctions.” A side effect of the expensive high-polished treatment is a claimed better fatigue life, ensuring you'll be able to admire your Occam's smooth transitions as long as you want to. The additional lifetime frame warranty further backs that up.
The Frame Has the Goods
The aluminum Orbea Occam shares most of its design details with the carbon Orbea Occam OMR frame. It features the Occam's characteristic asymmetric structure with an additional stay between the shock link and downtube, which Orbea claims is there to strengthen a high-stress area and neutralize suspension forces to the frame. Remarkably, there's still plenty of room for a water bottle, but it has allowed Orbea to imbue the Occam with responsive pedaling characteristics and a supportive feel on the trail. Geometry is fit for Goldilocks, with a low 736 mm standover height in size medium, as well as a roomy 450 mm of reach and 440 mm chainstays
The aluminum Occam bikes are particular standouts not only for their build quality but for their value for money. The $2999 for this Orbea Occam H20 bike nets you a dependable Fox 34 Performance fork and Fox DPS shock, Maxxis tires, and your choice of dropper seatpost length. The Shimano SLX/Shimano XT 1x12 drivetrain shifts reliably no matter how much load you might put into it, and its new 10-51t cassette provides plenty of range regardless of where you might ride. It equates to performance we never would’ve thought to see from a $2999 mountain bike, much less one made as nicely as this. Details, Details, Details
The frame and its suspension kinematics show off a brand that really cares about how their mountain bike feels whether you're riding hard or not. That same attention to detail pervades the rest of the bike. The included chain guide is a nice touch, as is the downtube bash guard. But the chainstay protector is well designed, with a ridged profile that keeps the drivetrain quiet. It accompanies a threaded bottom bracket, smart internal cable routing, durable Enduro MAX bearings, and Orbea’s lifetime frame warranty.
What surprises us at this $2999 price point is the beautiful paint scheme. This bike might just look like a flat black, but the pearlescent gloss logos and matching gloss black around the bottom bracket area sparkle in the sun and make you feel like your bike is special. Every bike is special to be clear, but the attention to detail here makes it feel particularly unique. It certainly drew some oohs and ahhs here at the shop. MyO Lite
Want to upgrade the suspension? We at Contender Bicycles want to make sure your next bike is dialed out of the box, and so we offer customization of just about any bike for the cost of swapping parts. That said, it is nice to see the manufacturer offer changes or upgrades from the factory. Swapping for a Fox 36 Factory fork with 150 travel and a Grip2 damper is $500, while swapping for a Fox Factory DPX2 is $250. Options like this give you a high-quality bike with top-spec suspension for $3750. Other things like dropper length, wheel choice, etc can be chosen. If you are looking for a high-quality aluminum trail bike with quality suspension or components, look no further than the Occam. All said and done, this Occam in a size small weighs in at 32.5 lbs, with tubes, and without pedals. Plenty of weight can be saved at the wheels and crankset.
It might be a flat black, but this Orbea Occam H20 impresses me in the same way those older aluminum bikes did. Between the parts spec, just right handling characteristics, and beautiful build quality, there are few bikes that are as well-rounded as the Occam, and even fewer you can claim have hand-polished welds. All said and done, it's the all-arounder trail bike that might be the perfect fit for those looking for more downhill capability than an XC bike. It isn’t a straight line plower, but that’s not what we look for in a trail bike. We want fun, and at under $3000 the Occam H20 delivers.
Have any questions about this aluminum Orbea Occam H20 mountain bike review? Give us a call during business hours or send us an email any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words by Alvin Holbrook. Photos by Cody Wignall.