Sarah rides dirt jumps on a trail 29er, takes a lap at North Table mountain, and dabbles in abductive heuristics.
Ruby Hill Bike Park:
On a balmy November day, I took this bike to Ruby Hill in Denver and to North Table Mountain in Golden to see what kind of trail versatility Orbea’s $3000 spec offers. My first destination proved that, while it’s not a dirt jumper, the 29er wheels still get airborn just fine. I ran the shock and fork pressure slightly higher than suggested and the 140mm travel still let me enjoy an ample cushion upon landing. I did notice myself really pushing the bike in the air to successfully get the back end where it needed to be, but the suspension was helpful holding the bike in rutted out corners, especially on the pump track and slopestyle.
There is a longer climbing trail back to the top, but I impatiently climbed the hill directly next to the XL slopestyle line. If you know Ruby Hill, you know that this is a steep hill which isn't really climbable on a dirt jumper, but it wasn't too much for the 29" wheels, with help from the huge 12-speed cassette. This made me want to try out this medium-travel 29er on some long and technical singletrack climbs. So I did.
North Table Mountain:
When climbing up rock gardens, I gave up before the bike did. On smoother sections and in switchbacks running the shock and fork in “medium” kept the wheels stuck to the ground. A longer ascent snaking up the mesa gave me a good feel for the cockpit of the Occam. Between the 65° headtube angle and the slightly longer top tube for a small, it was comfortable to pedal in the saddle and easy to shift weight to the front end over uphill obstacles.
The downhills at North Table Mesa are a mix of larger rock gardens, dirt rollers, and open straightaways littered with loose, wheel-deflecting rocks. The Occam performed well over all of the above and plows through switchbacks leading into drops. However, if I were purchasing this bike, I would recommend upgrading brakes first. Obviously, they worked or else I wouldn’t be writing this, but there could have been more power and responsiveness behind them on longer descents over rocks.
Two other things I would change on the Occam H20: a High Roller in the rear instead of the Rekon for added traction and a different saddle for more support and comfort. Luckily, Orbea offers the former two as add-ons to any Occam build. One last thing to keep in mind, especially on the Small size, I found my knee occasionally brushing the wide section of the linkage, but this may not be a problem for you, and since we demo this bike, it’s easy to take a ride and find out if it’s a deal-breaker.
Occam’s Razor suggests that the probable solution to a problem has the fewest assumptions: If your problem is deciding on your next addition to your quiver the Occam H20 leaves little to guess about and lots of fun to be had.