Orbea Occam M10 LT

Orbea Occam M10 LT review

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The Orbea Occam M10 LT – an Occam, but even more so. It’s a long-legged trail bike with a focus that will chime with what many people are looking for.

  • Brand: Orbea
  • Product: Occam M10 LT
  • Price: £5,999
  • From: Orbea
  • Review by: Barney for 6 weeks
Orbea Occam M10 LT

Orbea is an ooooold company. It started in 1840 – nearly 30 years before ‘bicycle’ was even a word, and when preposterously rich, well-dressed men (it was usually men) were tottering about simpering at each other on hobby-horses. At this point, though, Orbea was concerned with the manufacture of rifles and small-arms.

Even after the technologically driven explosion in bicycle use towards the latter half of the 19th century, Orbea resolutely stuck to its guns (see what I did there?) until the 1930s, when WW1 derived gun-production curtailment meant a lot of steel tubing expertise was going to waste. Hence, bicycles! Hurrah!

Lots more exciting things happened in between then and 1969, the culmination of which was a management buyout, which means that, even today, the Basque-located company is a co-operative, and is the largest bike manufacturer in Spain, to boot! Hurrah again!

Occam’s Appraiser

The Occam has been knocking around in Orbea’s lineup for a good few years now, and frequently crops up in two guises; a shorter travel trail bike, and, er, a longer travel trail bike. A sort of Dr Jekyll and slightly angrier Dr Jekyll situation, if you will. The regular Occam is a trail bike with 140mm of travel; the LT bumps this up to 150mm at both ends, but keeps the frame and linkages the same. You could even swap between them if you felt the need.

Orbea makes much of its ‘OMR’ carbon (Orbea Monocoque Race) carbon frames, which apparently include high-modulus and high-strength fibres added to a standard frame layup. The usual marketing schpiel on the website tells us that the frame is strong and light – it certainly looks rather pretty, and Orbea stand by the frame with a lifetime warranty. If you’re averse to either carbon itself, or All Of The Spends that carbon tends to necessitate, there’s an aluminium version available too. This, however, is the the M10 LT – one down from the flagship model, and with all of the carbon present and correct.

Geometry

This Orbea Occam M10 LT is an XL. It’s a tall-looking bike, even considering its extra-large size: the jumps in seat tube length across the different sizes (S, M, L and XL) are quite pronounced, and this one tops out at a way more-than-enough 508mm, although the dropped top tube design allows for plenty of standover. This long seat tube does mean that shorter riders looking for a little more reach will have to compromise with less seat post drop, however. And even taller riders could arguably put up with a 20mm or so less seat-tube, all the better to run some of the more modern long-distance (200mm+) dropper posts, so such seat-tube hugeness seems like an interesting choice.

Angles and overall geometry are fairly conventional for a bike like this – a 65.5 deg head angle coupled to a 76.5 deg seat angle is firmly in MOR territory when stirred in with the 500mm reach figure of this XL. Chainstays are neither-short-nor-long at 440mm across the size range. Orbea’s asymmetric frame design punts the rear shock eversoslightly off to the left so the designers can build a brace between the down tube and the seat tube, which apparently helps with maximum seat post insertion depth as well as frame strength, and allows for a left-sided water bottle mount, which is perfect if you’re left handed, or right-handed and willing to get used to things not being totally designed around you for once (I’m a lefty – can you tell?)

Suspension

The rear suspension, as well as that offset shock, has a couple of other interesting features. The seat and chan stays pivot around the rear axle, a system that Orbea calls it’s ‘Concentric Boost’ system, in a design which it’s claimed offers the best compromise between anti-squat (reducing compression under acceleration) and anti-rise (reducing extension under braking).

The leverage curve is relatively steep at 22% which Orbea claims lets it work perfectly well with both coil and air shocks. Handy, that, for a bike sold with both (air shocks tend to have something of a rising spring rate as they go through their travel; coils tend to be more linear).

Bits and pieces

As mentioned, this Orbea Occam M10 LT isn’t quite Orbea’s tippity top Occam – that honour falls to the XTR festooned M-LTD, but the M10 LT has a rather lovely chocolate box spec. list nevertheless. At the front there’s a smooth and silky Fox 36 Float Factory 150 fork; in the middle there’s a flavoursome Fox DHX Factory damper with a custom tune wrapped in a bright orange 550lb spring. They both yield, as mentioned, 150mm of travel. There’s a luxurious, decadent full XT groupset, including the 10-51t 12sp cassette, an XT chainset with anti-scuff helicopter tape, and XT’s lovely 4-pot brakes with 200mm Galfer rotor at the front and 180mm at the back. Cable routing is internal apart from a couple of strange liquorice tubes which connect the front triangle to the rear. These look somewhat unusual, but serve their purpose well enough. Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 and Dissector 2.4 tyres lavishly enrobe RaceFace Turbine R 30 wheels, front and rear respectively. There’s an OC mountain control seat post (Orbea’s own brand) with 170mm of drop (the smaller sizes all get less drop, though – down to 120mm for the size ’S’), and an emphatic sprinkling of yet more RaceFace to sweeten the deal – Next R carbon bar? Aeffect stem? Oooh, yes please. And as for contact points, a pair of RaceFace grips gives you something to hold on to while the Fizik saddle lightly spanks your arse. And as the icing on the – er – componentry chocolate (am I labouring this a little too much?) the bike is also blessed with a few thoughtful touches, such as the teeny hex key tool kit concealed with magnets inside the shock linkage, for example, or the helicopter tape that prevents the cranks on our test bike from scuffing.

It’s worth bearing in mind that most (if not all) of the components, and the colours, can be tweaked thanks to Orbea’s comprehensive online customiser – so if you really don’t get on with the tyres, or the drivetrain, or the colour, or whatever, you can swap them out before the bike has even hit the shop. The completed bike arrives at the dealer, specced as per your fickle whims, ready to go.

The Ride

The Orbea Occam M10 LT falls squarely into the bracket of ‘long legged trail bike’. It’s not an enduro slayer; it’s not an XC snake (and this tester left those days behind many, many years ago); it’s a bike for riding pretty much everything, with a little extra in the tank for when things get a little spicy. And this is a niche it fits very well.

Coil shocks have a reputation of being substantially more plush and ‘small bump sensitive’ than their air sprung equivalents, and so it proved here. There’s not huge gobs of pedal bob, but it’s there (especially if you stand up out of the saddle) when you’re climbing, although the lockout puts paid to that if it concerns you. I didn’t end up using it all that much – only on particularly draggy road or gravel climbs. The geometry (seat tube angle, reach, etc) made for a comfortable, if compact-feeling seated position. It felt good over long distances, but I definitely felt more ‘on top’ of the bike than nestled within it, at points. Strange, as the bottom bracket isn’t unduly high. No matter – the front wheel remained commendably on course when pointed upwards, and technical climbs were – well, I hesitate to use the words’ scampered’, mostly as I really don’t scamper any more (If I ever did) – but ridden up with surprising ease. I didn’t experience much pedal smashing – a definite risk in the test area – which is all to the good.

It’s when things get a little more choppy, though, that bikes like this test their mettle. The Occam LT is a nimble ride; much more a dancer than a charger. The suspension setup and relatively short back end encourages more playful line choices – it’s clearly more of a longer travel trail bike than a long and stable plough-through-the-rubble machine. Coil spring plushness is always welcome when pedalling hard in chunder-y terrain, and even more so when descending. As I have mentioned, this is definitely not a plough. At high speeds, through superchonk, I found that the shock had a tendency to bury itself somewhat until I left off the beans and slowed down a tad – but that’s OK – if high speed eye-watering trail shrieking is more your thing, Orbea has you covered with the Rallon. The Occam LT prefers corners; it likes snickering its way through narrow sections and hopping up and over rather than just screaming through. So there will inevitably be situations where it’s at a slight disadvantage compared to longer, slacker, less manoeuvrable bikes with similar travel – particularly at higher speeds on more open descents – but there will be just as many situations, I think, where it gains the upper hand – rapid direction changes; switchbacks, tortuously twisty stuff. The fun bits, to many people.

All of the components worked as well as you’d expect. The Orbea dropper in particular deserved praise for working flawlessly despite some less than clement weather, and my initial skepticism evaporated rather quickly. The saddle on top of it was hideously uncomfortable (I really don’t get on with those Fiziks) – happily, were this bike mine I’d have been able to swap it out before it even arrived), but everything else worked perfectly. I still don’t think that 12 speed drivetrains have quite the same lovely feel as 11 speed ones (but then, I felt the same about 10 speed vs 11 speed) but functionally it’s been superb.

What would I change? Well, I’ve already mentioned the saddle (a very personal choice). I’d be tempted by Maxxis Minions front and rear, although the Aggressor ran just fine. I’d run a shorter stem, perhaps, although that would make the seated cockpit feel even more compact. A smidge more reach wouldn’t go amiss, and a less seat tube would open up the sizing a load more – I suspect plenty of people around the 180cm mark would love an Occam with 500mm reach – but they’d surely be put off by only being able to run a 150mm dropper or smaller. It’d improve the aesthetics too, in my opinion.

But mostly these are niggles. The Orbea Occam M10 LT is just dandy as it is. It’s a long-legged trail bike – unapologetically so – a focus that chimes with what many people are looking for. Of course, it’ll handle the occasional enduro of you’re so inclined, but that’s not where its strength really lies. The Occam M10 LT will do pretty much anything you ask of it quite happily – but if you’re looking for a bike to tackle huge, all-day expect-the-unexpected extravaganzas, or woodsy fun days filled with whimper-inducing switchbacks and slow speed tech, this is well worth a look.

Long-legged trail riding

Specification

  • Frame //Orbea Occam OMR
  • Shock // Fox DHX Factory 210×55
  • Fork // Fox 36 Float Factory 150 Grip2
  • Wheels // RaceFace Turbine R 30
  • Front Tyre // Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 TR
  • Rear Tyre // Maxxis Dissector 2.4 TLR
  • Chainset // Shimano XT M8100
  • Shifter // Shimano XT M8100
  • Rear Mech // Shimano XT M8100
  • Cassette // Shimano XT M8100
  • Brakes // Shimano XT M8120 200(f) 180(r)
  • Stem // RaceFace Aeffect R 50mm
  • Bars // RaceFace Next R 35 780mm
  • Grips // RaceFace Lock-On
  • Seatpost // OC Mountain Control MC20 170mm
  • BB // Shimano
  • Size Tested // XL
  • Sizes Available // S, M, L, XL
  • Weight // TBC

Geometry of our size XL test bike

  • Head angle // 66.5deg
  • Effective seat angle // 76.5deg
  • Seat tube length // 508mm
  • Head tube length // 140mm
  • Chainstay // 440mm
  • Wheelbase // 1259mm
  • Effective top tube // 649mm
  • BB height // 336mm (32mm drop)
  • Reach // 500mm

Members check out the full geometry and equipment spec tables for this model below

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Review Info

Brand: Orbea
Product: Occam M10 LT
From: Orbea
Price: £5,999
Tested: by Barney Marsh for 6 weeks
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Barney Marsh takes the word ‘career’ literally, veering wildly across the road of his life, as thoroughly in control as a goldfish on the dashboard of a motorhome. He’s been, with varying degrees of success, a scientist, teacher, shop assistant, binman and, for one memorable day, a hospital laundry worker. These days, he’s a dad, husband, guitarist, and writer, also with varying degrees of success. He sometimes takes photographs. Some of them are acceptable. Occasionally he rides bikes to cast the rest of his life into sharp relief. Or just to ride through puddles. Sometimes he writes about them. Bikes, not puddles. He is a writer of rongs, a stealer of souls and a polisher of turds. He isn’t nearly as clever or as funny as he thinks he is.

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  • This topic has 3 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by jona.
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  • Orbea Occam M10 LT review
  • fahzure
    Full Member

    Good review, Barney. I bet that a longer dropper would have gotten you more “in” the bike, but it does seem like a narrow dropper/insertion window. At 6’3″ I feel “stood up” by 170mm droppers.

    bikesandboots
    Full Member

    Worth noting that Occams don’t have ISCG tabs, just an integrated chain guide that attaches to the pivot IIRC. So you can’t use a bash guard.

    Also:

    although the Aggressor ran just fine

    Rear Tyre // Maxxis Dissector 2.4 TLR

    jona
    Free Member

    Hi, I treated myself to a new Occam M10 LT just before Xmas and I love it. What’s your thoughts on the Minion DHF front tyre though? First ride out was dry conditions and I couldn’t believe how well the bike cornered. My last two rides in wet conditions however are a different story. I liken the experience to trying to ride a weasel that had smeared itself in Vaseline. The front wheel washed out as soon as I even thought about turning a corner. Another £65 shelled out and Magic Mary is in the post.

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