Photos by Jeremie Reuiller
Video by Jean Espert


Orbea is launching not only one, but two new Occam trail bike models for 2024. Following feedback from the previous generation of their trail bike, Orbea realized that riders in the mid-travel full suspension market fall into two distinct camps based on their preference for pedaling efficiency or aggressive descending capability. They came to the conclusion that one bike couldn’t provide a solution to give the optimal performance for both camps, so developed the new Occam SL and LT. These rely on the same main frame, available in both alloy or carbon versions, but with different shock links, strokes and components. In this Dissected feature we’ll cover all the details of the new Occam and what sets the two models apart, and try to help you decide which model is the best for your needs.

DISSECTED DISCLAIMER | As with all of our Dissected Features, this is not intended to be a long term review or endorsement of a product but is instead a chance for our viewers and readers to get a deep dive look into some of the newest tech and products in the mountain bike space. We thank Orbea for the opportunity to create this feature and offer a more in-depth look into the production and changes of the latest generation Occam SL and LT.

The New Orbea Occam SL and Occam LT
The New Orbea Occam SL and Occam LT


The new Orbea Occam is designed to offer the best solution for whatever adventure looks like to you. Both the Occam SL and Occam LT are made with the same OMR Carbon or High Polish Alloy frames, but with different suspension travel, geometry and features to place the two in distinctly different camps for the more pedal-focused or descent-focused trail riders respectively.

Based around the same main frames, the Occam SL and LT have a lot in common on paper, but on the trail it’s a different story.

Choose your Material | The New Occam is available in both OMR Carbon Fiber or High Polish Alloy frame materials. The Carbon frame shaves weight with a slight price premium, but both options should offer similar ride feel and quality overall.

  • OMR Carbon sees a mixture of high modulus (stiffness) and high strength carbon fibers used in different areas of the frame, improving the stiffness-to-weight ratio and letting Orbea obtain the desired ride feel. Orbea has worked on their carbon construction methods to minimize the chance of wrinkling of the fibers, minimizing the excess material required to retain the strength necessary and cutting down weight overall.
  • High Polish Alloy refers to the post-processing of the welds to create a carbon-like appearance. This also improves the fatigue resistance to keep the frame running for longer. Tubes throughout the frame are double or triple butted to remove material where it isn’t needed but retain the strength where it is.

Asymmetric Frame Construction | The Occam continues to use the single-sided brace within the front triangle. This allows Orbea to optimize the frame strength to weight ratio, without removing the ability to fit a water bottle.

Headset Cable Routing Done Right – SIC | Orbea carries the SIC (Sealed Internal Cable) system over to the Occam, which sees the cables routed through the headset with two-piece spacers in place to make easy adjustments to the cockpit. This reduces bar clutter and cable rattle.

Steep and Deep | Orbea’s Seatpost concept ensures that all frames can fully insert a 230mm dropper post. This means that every rider can slam the saddle low and out of the way for the descents without compromising seated climbing position. It allows riders to select their ideal frame size based on the reach measurement rather than the lengths of their legs, optimizing comfort and control.

Storing the essentials | Regardless of frame material you get an updated storage system inside the downtube of the frame, called LOCKR. Orbea worked on the door design to make it easier to use and more secure. Inside the main pivot is Orbea’s FLP multi tool to offer quick-access to the most frequently used tools.

The Second Skin: Protect and Personalize | Orbea has introduced their Second Skin vinyl frame protection kits, which offer the possibility of adding unique style to the frame as well as protecting the paintwork from damage. Included as standard on the OMR Carbon frames, and can be added to High Polish Alloy frames for 99 euros.

The New Orbea Occam SL in Action
The New Orbea Occam SL in Action



The Occam SL is the version designed to offer the best pedaling efficiency, with agile trail manners that still retain some capability for the descents. A 140mm fork and rear end deliver balanced trail handling for up and down the hill.

The carbon fiber shock extender has a fixed geometry setting that’s designed to minimize overall weight, with builds possible from just 10.8kg. A bar-operated Squidlock lockout lever gives control of both ends of the suspension to quickly increase compression damping and improve efficiency when pedaling. The patented I-Line shock technology hides the remote lockout cable completely from sight at the shock end.

The New Orbea Occam SL Trail Mountain Bike
The New Orbea Occam SL Geometry

The Occam SL has proportions which Orbea is calling “Fast Trail Geometry”. The head tube angle is fairly neutral to offer a blend of stability and agility; seating position is quite upright and efficient, and the bb sits quite low to give a healthy amount of stability without sacrificing maneuverability.

The New Orbea Occam LT
The New Orbea Occam LT



The Occam LT is the shredder’s pick, designed to offer stability and confidence for the descents without sacrificing too much in the way of climbing efficiency and comfort. A 150mm travel rear end is paired with a 160mm fork to offer increased descending capabilities.

The Occam LT has an alloy shock extender, which features a unique QuickFlip Chip that lets users quickly adjust the geometry between two positions with just a half-turn of the allen key bolt. This is an innovative and simple eccentric system that lets you “Attitude Adjust” in a matter of seconds, tailoring the bike to the trail ahead without adding clutter to the bar or incurring a big weight penalty. Between the “Low” and “Lower” settings, there is an 8mm bottom bracket height and 0.5-degree head tube angle difference.

The New Orbea Occam LT
The New Orbea Occam LT

The Occam LT features what Orbea is calling “Progressive Trail Geometry”, and is adjustable between two positions to tweak the preference of stability and agility to the trail ahead. Head tube angles are fairly slack for stability and the climbing position remains quite centered for efficient climbing. The bottom bracket is slammed in the “Lower” position, but can be raised a touch with the Attitude Adjusting QuickFlip Chip to offer improved ground clearance and agility for technical climbing.


As with most Orbea bikes now, the Occam SL and LT build kits, colors and fit can be tailored to the rider preferences using the MyO program. This allows every rider to get their ultimate selection of components to suit their preferences and budget, and add their own flair to their bike. Occam SL builds start from $3,200, whereas the Occam LT begins at $3,600 for alloy-framed models.

The New Orbea Occam SL and Occam LT
The New Orbea Occam SL and Occam LT

We had the opportunity to sit down with Orbea’s Trail Product Manager, Markel Uriarte, to learn a little more about what went into the development of the new Occam and help to identify which is the right choice for you reading this.

The Loam Wolf (TLW): What are the biggest differences people will feel between the SL and LT?

Markel Uriarte (MU): The Occam SL is a bike which is designed to have fun and to flow on the trails, but at the same time is designed to pedal well. It’s efficient, it’s light, so it’s a bike that’s reactive and fast when pedaling. So especially for the rides we are doing with long distances or for those looking to push the bike on the climbs, that’s the ideal bike.

On the Occam LT we are looking for another kind of rider. A rider who is more aggressive who is looking for a capable trail bike. Let’s say this bike keeps a good efficiency when pedaling but is much more capable downhill.

TLW: How would you recommend riders choose their perfect Occam?

MU: Basically, riders who really appreciate how the bike pedals, almost with a XC bike efficiency when pedaling but is fun and capable when going downhill, I’d suggest going for the Occam SL.

For riders who are more aggressive and looking to ride on rough and technical terrain, who want to push on the descent, the best option will be the Occam LT.

TLW: You’ve got two Occam platforms with quite different feelings now; do you think that riders can have a “best of both worlds” setup somewhere in the middle?

MU: Yes, it’s possible to do something in between (with MyO). Starting from the Occam SL, it’s possible to change the tire specification and have a long travel dropper post, even the wheels and brakes. So, it’s possible to make the Occam SL more capable for the riders who are looking for the bike that pedals really well but is really capable going downhill.

And the opposite, for riders who are looking for a capable bike but still keep a good pedaling efficiency, it’s possible starting with the Occam LT to have a lighter tire spec or lighter wheelset.

TLW: The LT version feels like it’s approaching Rallon level of capability and comfort, are there still distinct differences that would make riders benefit from the Occam LT?

MU: The Occam LT is more versatile, more agile and more playful than the Rallo, so riders looking to have better versatility, or a lighter and more efficient bike will choose the Occam LT. And for riders looking for a stiffer bike with more travel and adjustability for the ultimate performance on the descents, you have the Rallon.

TLW: For aggressive cross country or “downcountry” riders, what benefits will they get from the Occam SL instead of making an Oiz more aggressive?

MU: Basically, cross country riders who are going to race in cross country events, the best choice is a cross country bike so the Oiz in the Orbea range. But for riders who are looking to keep that efficiency, a bike which is light with remote lockout and agile for the uphills, but still want to have more versatility and have more control, fun and stability on the descent will go directly to the Occam SL.

TLW: The eccentric flip chip idea is quite genius! Do you foresee riders on the LT using the new quick flip chip often?

MU: The market was asking us to have adjustability in the Occam, but when we asked riders how often they were using standard flip chips, almost nobody was using it because it was annoying on the mountain. The idea behind our QuickFlip Chip was to have something really accessible and easy to adjust, so this was when you’re going to a really long uphill you can keep the bb in high position to have a better geometry for the uphills and to avoid touching the pedal with the ground.

When you’re at the top of the mountain it’s really easy (to change position). With the 6mm Allen key you have on the rear axle lever; you can change the position in 20-25 seconds. So, you can get a benefit from the trails that are fast when you need the stability and traction. It’s easy to use. For riders who are changing the kind of terrain you are riding within a ride, it thinks they will appreciate it a lot.

TLW: Now that you’ve introduced the SIC on other models and have had it out on the market, how do you feel that the public perception has changed? Are you still getting some push back?

MU: We started using this solution in our mountain bike range almost a year ago. One of the main concerns with the market using this solution is changing the upper bearing. We knew that from the beginning, so knew we had to invest on the bearings we are using and protect from water up there. We fitted silicone plugs and also use a really high quality enduro bearing, made from stainless steel.

So, for the moment we have had this system on the market for a year but have been testing this system for almost three years. And we can say that on the bikes we have in the field, we have never changed that bearing. So we are quite happy, but have to invest more money on that bearing.

Still there are some people who prefer the traditional routing, and it’s true that with an internal system it can be annoying if you start getting some troubles. It’s still something relatively new, and not everybody will be the preferred choice to go in that direction, but they understand that is the direction we are going.

The New Orbea Occam SL and Occam LT
The New Orbea Occam SL and Occam LT


As with all of our Dissected features, this is not intended to be a long-term review but only a first look at some new and exciting product, and so my opinions aren’t final. That said, thanks to the Basque MTB crew guiding and some efficient shuttles in between the pedaling and hike-a-biking, we managed to log a lot of vert and mileage over the three-day testing period, ensuring I developed some good initial impressions of the new Orbea Occam range.

My biggest take away from the time spent producing this feature is how incredible the difference a few components and a shock extender can make to the feeling of the bike on the trail. Given that the Occam SL and LT models share the same mainframe, the characters of each of them are surprisingly different, and both of them really deliver the respective feelings that Orbea intended.

Starting with the Orbea Occam SL, it’s a really energetic feeling bike with agile handling and great pedaling manners. When you’ve got both ends of the suspension open, there’s still a good platform for pedaling, but crucially enough grip to help you keep the tire stuck to the trail through rougher terrain. The Squid Lock then lets you quickly change it into a very firm and efficient mode at the click of a lever, where you notice an immediate improvement in efficiency for smoother terrain – it does reduce comfort and traction considerably for rougher climbs, though, so you have to use it carefully.

Descending the Occam SL, you get quite a tight and racy feeling, but still with enough stability in both the chassis feel and geometry to let you get involved in some relatively gnarly terrain without it becoming too dangerous. That said, there’s an obvious capability limit in more technical terrain, where the LT begins to come into play. Using that MyO program you could turn the SL into a more capable bike if that was your preference, with simple tire and component swaps and some tweaking of the suspension setup letting you unlock some improved descending performance at the expense of pedaling efficiency.

The New Orbea Occam LT

Moving onto the Occam LT, and the contrast is really quite incredible. With very similar kinematics to the SL, it’ll come as no surprise that the pedaling platform is still very good – by no means is the LT a slouch to pedal. However, the slower rolling tires; burlier build spec; more stable, descent-focused geometry; and lack of the Squid Lock system, the uphill manners of the long travel variant are more comfortable but certainly not as efficient, even if you make use of the climb switch on the rear shock.

On the way down though, it’s very hard to believe the two bikes come from the same family. The Occam LT is an impressive descender, regardless of the choice of rear shock and wheels or the geometry setting. By changing the shock, wheels and geometry position, you can take it from a sharp and more “trail” feeling machine; through to a very comfortable machine with great traction, or anywhere in between. I found the Alloy OQUO MC32 Team wheels to be comfortable, but for my weight they limited the capability slightly when pushing hard. Switching these out for the Carbon OQUO MC32 LTD wheels – as you could on the MyO configurator – made an instant improvement to the precision and confidence when pushing hard on some of the best enduro descents in the Pyrenees, with only minor drawbacks to overall comfort.

Going back-to-back from coil to air rear shocks, there wasn’t a notable difference in terms of maximum capability, but they certainly provide a difference in feeling that’ll suit each rider differently based on their preferences. The coil delivers a slightly more calm feeling to the handling, whereas the air offers some more pop and pep, but both the Fox Float X and DHX coil shocks proved to be a great pairing with the Occam LT’s rear end. Riding some relatively gnarly terrain blind, I preferred the settled feeling of the coil shock combined with the stiffer carbon wheels, letting me charge hard with confidence.

It’s safe to say that in the couple of long days on board each of the new Occam trail bikes in the Orbea range, my excitement to welcome one into the fleet of test bikes for its long-term review is high. Stay tuned for that review in the coming months, but if you’re tempted to pull the trigger soon, then I’d imagine you’re going to be adequately stoked with either of these new machines, so long as you pick the one that’ll suit your riding the best.

The New Orbea Occam LT