Orbea Occam 29er Press Launch 18-19th July Spain - Pedal Progression


29 July 2012

Orbea Occam 29er Press Launch 18-19th July Spain

Writing for a magazine has some rad benefits! Two weeks ago I was invited to Spain for the launch of Orbea’s new Occam 29er. Obviously I accepted and was commissioned to write a review for BikeRadar. Here’s a little write up on what happened.[left]

Orbea are based in Mallabia, close to Bilbao. I was late arriving after missing my connecting flight in Paris airport! The place is massive and I simply didn’t have enough time to get through it before the plane took off… This cost me a tour of the Orbea factory which was slightly annoying. However I arrived just in time for a 2 hour lecture on the bike and all it’s techy features! Perhaps not ideal after 12 hours of traveling, but interesting none the less.

After the lecture I was presented with a bag of Orbea clothing for the all important test ride which would take place the following morning. A helmet, jersey, under shorts, baggy shorts, gloves and socks were included with a casual tee thrown in too! This was impressive and I was beginning to realise I’d be spoiled over the next few days.

Dinner that night was spent in a beautiful sea food restaurant, high in the hills. We were served all sorts of food and cider throughout what ended up being a long old night. At 1am the Orbea crew decided enough was enough and we headed back to our hotel for the night before the day we had all traveled for.

I slept soundly and woke up to see the sun blazing in the sky. As i checked the English weather on my iphone I smiled a very smug smile! A continental breakfast got me energised and stoked before I was taken to the edge of the Pyrenees and dropped in a small cafe car park. Here the Orbea team truck was parked, complete with awning, team mechanics and a huge fleet of very expensive bikes! The scenery was incredible and I couldn’t wait to get riding.

The bikes had been set up that morning for each of us individually, with correct shock pressures to our weight, and our names printed on the seatstays. I was the only journalist to ask for flat pedals and the mechanics clearly weren’t prepared for this, fitting my bike with those horrible plastic plates that clip into spd pedals! This was uncool!

“The Spanish couldn’t seem to work out why the British love flats, and to be honest I was beginning to think I’d made a bad choice, looking around at the size of the mountains!”

Luckily for me, our guide had just turned up and had a spare set of flats. His name was Doug, a Scottish guy who runs a guiding business out there called Basque MTB. I’d later find out that he too is a shredder and great fun to ride with. The Spanish couldn’t seem to work out why the British love flats, and to be honest I was beginning to think I’d made a bad choice, looking around at the size of the mountains!

My bike felt good, which was odd cause I’ve never been a fan of 29ers. I won’t chat about it too much, but if you’re keen to know more, my review is on BikeRadar here

Basque country had some of the best singletrack I’d ever ridden. Huge steep, technical and soul destroying climbs, matched with fast, loose, descents with big rocks thrown in for fun! The sun was hot in the sky and my new Orbea gloves were soaked with sweat, but I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. My big wheeled bike was helping me shred the hills at some speed and the loose ground made two wheeled drifts possible at every other corner! Amazing!

I was so surprised by Orbea as a company, and the product they had created. I wasn’t expecting the bike to ride anywhere near as well as it did as I somewhat doubted their commitment to mountain bike product development. This was a huge oversight. In fact, Orbea are trying hard to switch the focus away from their road bikes and on to the mountain bike range. They no longer have a works road bike team, but their XC team is winning World Cups! Anyways…

After the ride, I kicked back in the pool at the hotel and enjoyed a stroll along San Sebastians stunning beach before retiring to my bed. Sometimes I love going to work! 🙂

As well as being posted on Bike Radar, the full review is being published in issue 139 of What Mountain Bike magazine, and will be in the shops to buy on 28th August!






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