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.