“The new A to B!” – It’s with this slogan that Orbea launched their new urban ebike, the Diem. We took the Diem for leisurely rides on the boulevards in Paris, raced it up to Montmartre hill, and rode it from A to B to C to… Z. Read on to find out how the urban bike performs in the hustle and bustle of Paris and beyond.

Orbea Diem 20 | 630 Wh | 25.5 kg in size L | € 4,599 | Manufacturer’s Website

Orbea offer an extensive portfolio of bikes, from eMTB to road and city commuters. With the Diem, they’re expanding their urban range with a second e-assist model alongside the Orbea Vibe. Depending on the model, the latest addition to the family relies on a Shimano EP600 or EP801 motor, powered by either a 540 or 630 Wh battery. You can further adapt the bike to suit your personal preferences via Orbea’s online configurator. The model on test is priced at € 4,866, putting the Orbea Diem 20 in the premium segment. It tips the scales at 25.5 kg. Carpe diem? The Latin word “diem” means “day” or “daylight”, so we found out whether the Orbea Diem really lets you take full advantage of the day.

The specs of the Orbea Diem 20 – What sets it apart?

The most striking difference of the Diem is its design. The seat tube stops short of the bottom bracket and rests on the dropped seat stays instead, which results in a look unlike that of any other Orbea model. Orbea call the concept Diamond Glide, which is claimed to allow the rear end to flex vertically and thereby absorb small bumps and vibrations. The incredibly high-quality aluminium frame features organic lines, and the rigid carbon fork underlines the bike’s premium look. In fact, you could be fooled into thinking the frame is made of carbon at first glance, especially that there are just three visible weld seams on the rear end. The remaining welds are sanded down to match the flowing design. Our test bike boasts the subtle Spaceship Green finish, though you can also choose from two alternative colours called Ivory White and Glitter Anthracite. Regardless of whether its frame size S, M, L or XL, the Orbea Diem is exclusively available with a dropped top tube. With 3 model variants and a total of 5 sizes, the Orbea Diem should accommodate riders from 153 cm to 204 cm tall.

Orbea do without suspension on the Diem, relying on their Diamond-Glide rear end instead, which should provide a certain degree of vertical flex.

Orbea place their bets on Shimano for the motor, speccing the Diem 20 with the 85 Nm EP600 unit. This, in turn, is powered by a 630 Wh battery, which is permanently integrated into the down tube. For an increased range, you can opt for the 252 Wh Orbea Custom Range Extender in the configurator, which attaches to the down tube in place of a water bottle and will set you back by an additional € 499. The motor power is transferred to the rear wheel via a GATES CDX belt and 5-speed Shimano NEXUS Inter-5 hub, which offers a gear range of 263%. This is significantly less than the flagship Enviolo AUTOMATIQ hub with its 380% range, though it should be sufficient as long as you’re not planning to ride the Orbea Diem 20 in a place like San Francisco. The Diem 20 rolls on 29″ aluminium wheels, shod with 50 mm Vittoria e-Randonneur tires. To keep your speed in check, the 2-piston Shimano MT201 brakes are paired with a 180 mm rotor up front and a 160 mm version at the rear. In addition to an SP Connect mount on the headset, a USB-C port in the lowest headset spacer, and an integrated AirTag mount on the bike, you can also choose from a 54 mm riser or flat handlebar in the configurator. The Orbea Diem 20 comes with a rigid seat post as standard, though you can upgrade to a 100 or 125 mm dropper post for an additional € 108.

To carry your briefcase or groceries, the standard rear luggage rack makes use of the MIK quick mounting system and is cleared for a maximum payload of 20 kg. To tackle larger transport tasks with the Orbea Diem or if you want to make use of the MIK system for a child seat, you should opt for the heavy duty rack in the configurator (€ 30), capable of carrying up to 30 kg. If you prefer using a trailer to haul your kids or four-legged friend from A to B, Orbea even offer an optional adapter that allows you to hitch a trailer. You can also get a front rack like the one featured on our test bike for € 89, capable of carrying up to 10 kg. You can secure your belongings on the carrier with the included net.

The USB-C socket in the lowest headset spacer lets you charge your smartphone on the go – cool!

When the daylight fades, the Diem is equipped to keep going despite its name. The integrated daytime running light in the head tube doesn’t just look stylish, but also increases rider safety on the road. The small light bar turns on the moment the Diem is activated. Should you choose the front rack in the configurator, the Supernova Starstream Pure headlight will be moved from the handlebar to the rack. For an additional € 70, you can also get the Supernova Starstream headlight with a remotely operated high beam function. The taillight is beautifully recessed in the rear mudguard and has a brake light function.

Orbea Diem 20

€ 4,599

Specifications

Motor Shimano EP600 85 Nm
Battery Orbea Internal 630 Wh
Display Shimano Steps SW-EN600-L Remote
Fork Carbon rigid fork
Seatpost OC Mountain Control MC21 100 mm
Brakes Shimano MT201 180/160 mm
Drivetrain Shimano Nexus Inter-5 263%
Stem Aluminium
Handlebar Aluminium
Wheelset Aluminium 29"
Tires Vittoria e-Randonneuer 50 mm

Technical Data

Size S, M, L, XL
Weight 25.5 kg
Perm. total weight 170 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 144 kg
Trailer approval Yes
Kickstand mount Yes

Specific Features

Supernova Starstream Pure front spotlight

Other variants of the Orbea Diem

There are two other Diem models to choose from, each of which can be further customised via the online configurator. The stock build of the Diem 30 is the most affordable variant at € 3,799. That includes a 9-speed CUES derailleur and an EP600 motor, both of which are supplied by Shimano. However, you’ll have to make do with the smaller 540 Wh battery, which weighs less but also has a smaller range.

The flagship model is the Diem 10, priced at € 5,999 for the stock build. The Diem 10 comes equipped with an Enviolo AUTOMATIQ drivetrain offering a gear range of 310–380%, and a GATES CDX belt. For the top end model, Orbea rely on the Shimano EP801 motor, which is capable of churning out 600 W, i.e. 100 W more than the EP600 used on the lower models. Like the Diem 20, the motor is powered by a permanently integrated 630 Wh battery. The Diem 10 is the only model that comes with a dropper post as standard.

The Orbea Diem 10.
The Orbea Diem 30.

Speed, agility and style – Riding the Orbea Diem 20

The Orbea Diem places you in a compact riding position. When you start pedalling, the Shimano EP600 motor kicks in smoothly, and the slick Vittoria e-Randonneur tires roll easily over the asphalt, offering minimal resistance. If you select Turbo mode via the Shimano STEPS SW-EN600-L remote, you will almost always be hovering around the 25 km/h limit on level terrain. The Orbea Diem doesn’t have a display. However, you can always clip your smartphone to the SP Connect mount to navigate the city or view the exact battery status via the Shimano E-TUBE app. The Diem’s agile handling is emphasised by the slightly front-heavy riding position. This position weights the front wheel, allowing you to veer sharply to the sides, which proves to be particularly helpful in crowded Parisian markets. However, we recommend going for the riser handlebar like the bike on test because the optional flat bar will shift your weight even further forward and place more weight on your hands, which is likely to get uncomfortable on long rides.

In terms of compliance, the Orbea Diem is rather stiff. Although the rear end flexes minimally, it’s unable to absorb bigger bumps and passes them on to the rider unmitigated. The Diamond Glide concept doesn’t quite live up to its promise, letting us get shaken up on the cobblestone road to Montmartre hill. However, the Shimano NEXUS Inter-5 hub and EP600 motor made the climb easier. That said, the geared hub has a limited range and the gearing ratios are better suited to high speeds than steep climbs. Instead of the usual twist grip shifter, it relies on a thumb trigger, though you must push it hard to shift. The motor has enough torque to deal with steep climbs, allowing us to stay seated as we winched our way uphill.

On the descents, the Orbea Diem feels impressively composed and stable. The bike rolls along unperturbed: no speed wobbling, no chain slapping, and no mudguard rattling. It instils you with the confidence to blast down scenic passes at 60 km/h. However, you should get used to the brakes first because they’re not the most powerful and you must pull them relatively hard to come to a stop. Novice riders won’t go over the bars, though we would prefer slightly more powerful brakes, especially on a bike that’s capable of such high speeds. In general, the Orbea Diem is a lot of fun to ride, quickly putting a big grin on your face. It’s just the controls on the cockpit that can be a bit demanding. Because of the effort required to actuate the shifter and pull the brakes, and how hard you must hold on to the handlebar due to the stiff frame, riding the Orbea Diem feels more like being on the racetrack than cruising through the city.

Who is and isn’t the Orbea Diem 20 for?

The Orbea Diem is aimed at sporty riders who value stable yet agile handling, and who are willing to accept compromises in terms of comfort. Thanks to the optional luggage racks, the Orbea Diem can also be used for smaller transport tasks, taking you and your belongings from A to H for Home.

Our conclusion on the Orbea Diem 20

The Orbea Diem is an incredibly chic and high-quality urban ebike that impressed us with its handling, offering plenty of agility in city traffic. Yet it’s stable at high speeds, which you can certainly achieve aboard this bike and is almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face. To round it off, the Diem boasts a premium look and excellent workmanship on the frame. If only it weren’t for the lack of compliance and the effort needed to pull the brakes or shift gears.

Tops

  • intuitive handling
  • very agile
  • stylish design & high-quality workmanship on the frame

Flops

  • lack of compliance
  • expensive

For more information, visit orbea.com.

Words: Benedikt Schmidt Photos: Antonia Feder, Robin Schmitt