We Go Behind the Scenes of the Orbea Occam R&D.

Take a look behind the scenes at how Orbea brought their two very different Occam trail offerings from concept to reality.

Orbea are known for doing things a little differently, and updating their Occam was no different. Pete sat down with Markel Uriarte, Orbea’s Trail Category Product Manager to find out more.

Photo by Pete Scullion.

What was the inspiration for updating the Occam?

The Occam is our trail bike, and the trail category is on that is evolving, especially in the last few years. With riders starting to use these bikes in the places that the Rallon would normally be found, we realised that we needed to evolve the bike.

We realised what the needs of these riders were and we saw that the previous Occam had room for improvement and looked to create the best platform for those users. On the flip side of that, there are riders looking for a trail bike that is more efficient so they are evolving the trail category in the other direction, so they need a fast, comfortable and confidence inspiring bike too. These are the goals that inspired us to develop the new Occam.

Once you have made that decision, what happens next?

The next step is to think of the real needs of the riders from the new platform. First we start working on the suspension kinematic, work on new solutions like the Steep and Deep dropper insertion and how to offer the best experience to the rider.

How many people are involved at developing a new bike at Orbea?

There are many people involved, starting with the engineers, they are the guys developing all the new solutions. Then there’s the development team who come up with all the designs that we will use to create the bike. You have the graphic design team working on the visuals of the bike, the quality control team, our testers… So yeah, it’s a really big team involved to develop a new product like the Occam.

Was there anything you wanted to keep from the outgoing Occam?

One thing we knew riders really liked on the old Occam was the pedalling efficiency so that was one of the features we tried to maintain with the Occam LT. On the Occam SL though, we wanted to improve this. With the various solutions we developed, a different kinematic and lock outs, we saw that there was room for improvement for efficiency here.

Was it an easy decision to stick with a full 29” platform?

During the development of the Occam, we spoke to a lot of riders, dealers, ambassadors and team riders, and on a trail bike we are looking for climbing efficiency, stability and rolling ability and to do this, we found the 29” wheel to offer the best performance.

SDG Tellis V2 Dropper Leaderboard

At what point did you know you needed to offer two distinct Occam models?

The trail category is very broad and the intended use of the bike can cover a wide range of trail types. Some riders want to have fun on the trails but on a very efficient platform, then others appreciate a good pedalling bike but are mostly focused on the descending ability of the bike. To offer the best bike possible on the same platform, we had to offer two different models.

How many prototypes did you use before settling on the production Occam?

For us there are different stages of the prototyping process, we work separately on the geometry, kinematic and the frame stiffness. On the geometry side we propose two different options, to see which one works the best. When it comes to the kinematic, we work really closely with the manufacturer on the setup to make sure the suspension and kinematic work well together. Once these two steps have been completed, we go ahead and open the mould. When we get our first prototypes, we start honing in on the right carbon layup to get the feel we want.

Was there a point at which you knew you’d got it right?

After a lot of testing, with team riders and ambassadors, we take all their feedback into account, so it’s not just one person’s opinion. This is usually based on a large amount of feedback from the development team as well as our team riders and ambassadors.

How important is it when Orbea develop a new bike to introduce new features?

We usually aim to offer the best experience possible, so in order to ride an Orbea without having to carry a back pack is an important part of the experience, being able to adapt the geometry to the terrain really quickly too is something that is important to the bike’s performance. Things like Steep and Deep are things that are getting more important to the riding experience.

Do you have a favourite moment from developing the new Occam models?

The best moment for me is when you receive the riding sample then you get to go for a ride on a bike that has been two years in the making.

Any disasters?

No disasters but in any project you will have some really nice ideas that simply don’t work.

You can read Pete’s review of the Orbea Occam M10 on our Bike Reviews page here.

You can check out the full Orbea Occam LT range over on their website here.