Code: WINTER20

Description

The Spanish invasion.

Orbea designates its line of 105mm-rear-wheel travel, 29ers with either an 'S' (silver carbon) or 'H' (hydroformed aluminum) followed by two digits representing its build level. The smaller the number, the higher-end the build. As a whole, the Occam 29er line contains seven mountain bikes, with the Occam 29 S40X filling a slot above the median S50.

This means that the S40X possesses Orbea's competition-ready carbon chassis with componentry that favors the lighter end of the spectrum -- all without beating up the wallet. Because of this, you'll find a smart balance of Shimano SLX and XT drivetrain bits combined with alloy cockpit pieces from Race Face, and suspension covered by Fox. By selecting an 'S' designated model, you're going to experience the same ride characteristics as the flagship S10's active suspension, lightness, and meticulous craftsmanship with significantly less commitment.

Like the 26-inch wheeled Occam Carbon, the 29 uses Orbea's Silver grade carbon fiber. Basically, this is where the front triangle is molded as one piece with no joints. This process keeps the weight low while concurrently increasing strength. Also similar to the 26-inch Occam, the seatstays are made of aluminum. And since the seatstays on any frame are subject to compressive forces, and carbon fiber is weakest in compression, this is an intelligent material substitution.

However, despite these design parallels, the Occam 29 Carbon is not simply tweaked regurgitation of the 26-inch Occam. Instead, it was developed as an all-new platform using Orbea's Advanced Dynamics technology. From the earliest stages of design, Orbea analyzed the Occam 29's performance in a computer simulation with virtual riders on board. Why is this so important? The variable and dynamic forces exerted onto a mountain bike by the rider are an integral part of how the bike accelerates, stops, and tracks over bumps. So, it makes sense that Orbea considered these forces in its design process from the get-go. Of course, when a prototype was ready, Orbea replaced virtual riders with real ones for exhaustive on-trail testing.

Orbea's results lead it to use a single-pivot suspension design with a Diamond Link to control shock rate. And while, in some mountain biking circles, the phrase 'single-pivot' is synonymous with 'unrefined' or even 'archaic,' the actuality is quite the opposite. Single-pivot suspension designs are still relevant and often preferred. When designed well, they're tough, lively, predictable, and, when mated with a good shock, easy to set up and tune. The Occam 29's main pivot is located on the seat tube, above the bottom bracket to strike a superb balance between pedaling efficiency for climbs and sprints, with plushness for freewheeling descents.

One oft-lamented characteristic of single-pivot full-suspension bikes is brake squat -- or better known as the suspension compression that occurs when you grab a handful of rear brake. This brake-induced compression is felt by the rider as stiffening of the rear suspension. So, to resist brake squat, the Occam suspension design incorporates a concentric pivot at the 142 x 12mm rear axle.

As a result, the brake caliper is not wholly beholden to follow the arching path of the chainstays, which form the main levers of the swingarm, as the suspension cycles. That freedom of movement results in more active suspension under braking, producing a ride quality similar to that of a complex four-bar suspension system, or a single-pivot bike with an aftermarket brake floater. End result? With the rear brake on, the bike will stutter less over bumps and have improved traction.

Controlling the Occam's suspension movement is a Fox CTD with the Climb, Trail, and Descend damper that makes adapting your tune to the terrain as easy as flicking a handlebar switch. This has been combined with a F29 FIT CTD fork with the same, intuitive dampening adjustments. The fork is equipped with a 15QR axle and has 120mm of travel. This travel gives the S40X a 69 degree head tube angle, which is ideal for endurance riding where slightly slowed steering reduces the need for constant corrections. Additionally, this also creates a more confident descending for a relaxed ride that doesn't lose much of the Occam's XC pureness. When looking at a 29er's geometry, another measurement we always examine closely is chainstay length -- we like what we see with the Occam 29. At 17.5 inches, the chainstays are sufficiently short to allow nimble handling and the confident traversing of switchbacks.

Orbea took the time to cleanly route the Occam's cables by running the rear brake and rear derailleur housing along the top of the down tube, while securing them with bolt-on guides. The front derailleur cable is also internally routed through the frame in order to shelter it from contaminating muck.

Those cables control an SLX front derailleur and an XT 10-speed rear derailleur. The rear cassette is a Shimano HG81 with an 11-36T spread that's teamed up with an XT 24/36T crankset for a simple 2x10 drivetrain that hits all of the right gears. The S40X rides on XT wheels wrapped in 2.15in Hutchinson Toro tires, and stopping it is a set of SLX hydraulic disc brakes. Finishing off the Occam 29 S40X build is an alloy Race Face Turbine handlebar, steam, and seatpost.

The Orbea Occam 29 S40X is available in the colors Carbon/red or Carbon/blue and in the sizes Small, Medium, and Large. Please note that all Orbea frames have a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defect.

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