First Look: Orbea Diem urban commuter e-bike

Simon Richardson takes Orbea’s newest electric bicycle for a ride to see whether it makes cycling in the city easier

Clock16:57, Thursday 7th March 2024

Orbea is a brand best known for its performance road and mountain bikes however, it has recently put all of its know-how into a commuter-ready e-bike called the Diem.

City riding is a hard niche to define as it can mean so many different things to different people. For this reason, the category of city bike can encompass a whole range of bikes. The Diem has been designed to be versatile and meet the needs that city riding presents, whatever that means to you.

What exactly is the Orbea Diem?

The Diem is an electric bike that uses Shimano’s EP8 motor system to provide the rider with assistance. Powering the system is a 630Wh battery that has been integrated into the downtube of the frame.

The battery and motor are not the only features that have been neatly integrated on the Diem. The bike is packed with smart integrated features that aim to make the riding experience better for the rider. As standard, the Diem comes equipped with integrated lights both front and rear, as well as mudguards, a rear carrying rack and a phone mount and charging station.

Love them or hate them, integrated cables do improve the aesthetic of a bike. One of the key criteria Orbea based the Diem around was ‘smart design’ and by fully integrating the bike's cabling it leaves a very clean silhouette.

The frame

The Diem uses Orbea’s patented ‘diamond glide’ construction that aims to increase comfort without the need to add complicated and expensive suspension units. Instead ‘diamond glide’ allows the frame to vertically flex to dampen out the harshness of the road.

Orbea also wanted the Diem to be a bike that inspired confidence. By mounting the battery low down in the down tube the centre of gravity is dropped, making the bike more stable and easier to handle. The low-slung design of the frame also allows for easy mounting and dismounting with a dropper post making things even easier.

The build kit

Orbea analysed the demands of city riding and what a rider is looking for from a city bike. With this in mind the Diem’s build is focused around simplicity and low maintenance. For this reason both the Diem 20 and 10 come with a belt drive and internal hub gears. All models come with wide puncture-resistant tyres and integrated lights so that you are never caught without them.

All the models use Shimano’s EP motor platform with the Diem 30 and 20 using the EP600 motor, whereas the top-spec Diem 10 uses Shimano’s flagship EP8 motor. This can provide up to 85Nm of torque, ideal for getting up to speed on steep gradients even with a fully loaded bike.

Orbea offers the Diem with two batteries, the 20 and 10 models come equipped with a 630Wh battery whilst the 30 comes with a 540Wh battery. Available to all models is an additional 252Wh range extender that can be fitted inside the bike’s bottle cage.

To keep things simple Orbea has opted to do away with an e-bike display on the top tube or bars. Instead, an easy-to-use thumb selector controls the support of the motor with a small LED indicator showing both your mode and the battery level using a colour-coded system.

In the middle of the bars is a small twist lock mount that can allow phones with a compatible case to be easily mounted on the bars. This is useful as a navigation tool but Orbea also identified that a lot of modern phones are so big that they can make it uncomfortable to pedal with them in your pocket. Located just underneath the mount is a USB-C charging port that can charge your phone from the e-bike's battery.

Belt drive and hub gears

Both the Diem 20 and 10 use a belt instead of a chain to transfer your pedal power to the rear wheel. The great thing about a belt drive is that it is practically maintenance-free with no need to lubricate and no metallic surfaces to go rusty. Using a belt drive means that there is no risk of getting oil all over your trouser leg or having to deal with drivetrain maintenance.

Pairing the belt drive with an internal hub gear provides maintenance-free shifting for thousands of kilometres with the top-spec Diem 10 using an auto-shifting hub gear that always keeps you pedalling at your preferred speed.

Load carry capabilities

The Diem comes as standard with a rear rack that can carry 20kg with a front rack also able to carry 10kg. If you want to carry more or want to be able to tow a children's trailer both the Diem 20 and 10 can make use of an optional adaptor making them compatible with Thule, Burley, Croozer and Hamax trailers whilst the Diem 30 works with conventional thru-axle adapters.

For all the latest news from the cycling tech world make sure to check out the tech news section of the website.

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