Orange Segment RS

by
November 6, 2014

Orange's gnarly, nimble 29er ridden and rated

Brand: Orange
Product: Segment RS
From: Orange Bikes, orangebikes.co.uk
Price: £4,000.00 as tested (£3,900.00 plus an extra £100 for the shiny powder coat).
Tested: by Barney for

Segment riding landscape copy
The Segment was recently released, with much fanfare, as an evolution or synthesis of the Orange Gyro and the Alpine 29er.

The frame retains similar visual cues to many of the other bikes in the Orange range: a one-piece welded swingarm with 12x142mm dropouts and 110mm of travel is bolted, via a single sturdy pivot, to the main frame. This in turn is made of a cunningly manipulated down tube, a seat tube with internal routing for a dropper post, and a machined 1.5in head tube and bottom bracket complete with ISCG tabs. The bike sports a modern, ‘progressive’ geometry, which basically means it’s designed to be long, low and slack. Our large test bike’s numbers had a definitely relaxed feel: a long 24.4in effective top tube, a low-ish bottom bracket at 13in, 17.7in chainstays, a 67.5//DEG// head angle and a 71.5//DEG// seat angle which lead to (according to the Orange website) a “29er which can ride way beyond its travel figures”.

To our test bike’s frame is bolted a swathe of kit from SRAM and RockShox: a new 120mm Pike RCT3 fork, a Monarch RL rear shock, a Reverb Stealth dropper-post and a X1 1×11 drivetrain. The only Shimano-flavoured side dish in this SRAM smorgasbord is the set of XT brakes with commendably huge 203mm and 180mm rotors front and rear. Wheel-wise, Hope hubs and Mavic 319 rims are shod with Continental Trail King 2.2in tyres. Our contact points were a lung-openingly wide 800mm Kore Torsion flat bar bolted onto a Kore Repute 50mm stem, and the saddle was an Orange SDG ridged-for-sir’s-comfort number. The overall weight is a hefty-seeming 32.5lbs without pedals.

Trail notes

Swinging a leg over the Segment immediately gives you an idea of its character. The front end is low, the stem is short and the bars are wide. But there’s plenty of room; that long top tube makes sure of that. This bike means business. Stepping on the pedals, it accelerates beautifully, with surprisingly little bob coming from the rear end, even without the shock locked out. A flick of the lever, however, pretty much locks the rear end out, and means that long draggy grinds are a doddle. Technical climbs are also dispatched without too much fuss – the low front end and longer chainstays (compared to the Kona) keep things nicely stable. Saddle height adjusted, the bike was perfectly capable uphill – good, even. Granted, it’s not going to win any hill climbing awards, but it was far from an onerous experience, especially with the lockout activated.

There are those who would say that there is a given weight (usually around 30lbs) beyond which a bike starts to feel disproportionately heavy. In my opinion, the Orange belies that. The comparatively high weight of this bike is actually worn extremely lightly. Off the bike, the back end feels hefty, but those chainstays are short enough to let the bike feel balanced when you’re properly motoring. The whole thing rides like a machine a good three pounds lighter than it is. Accelerating hard, the bike is stiff enough so that the weight isn’t really perceptible, and on the descents, the back wheel seems easy to lift and plant.

And it’s clearly the descents where the Segment comes alive. A word of warning: this machine needs to be worked around corners, but it’s thoroughly rewarding when you do. The single pivot perhaps doesn’t take the edge off square hits as smoothly as some, but the bike has loads of what is oddly called ‘pop’; that ability to accelerate and feel//ITS// like it’s accelerating with the lightest prod of the pedals. Stay off the back and cautiously creep around obstacles and you’ll not get much from the chassis, but if you push the front end a little you’ll find an extremely direct bike which fires from drop to hop at about Mach 9.

At warp speeds the wheels could feel a little flexy, and the tyres weren’t to every reviewer’s taste when things became a little moist. The Mavic XM319 rims remained perfectly true for the duration of the test, although some of our testers detected some roll from the tyre carcass under hard cornering, despite the rims being designed for larger volume tyres. I was grateful for those large rotors when I needed to stop in a hurry, though.

For a low maintenance, hardcore trail/enduro bike the Segment is right up there. Like many long, low bikes with relaxed geometry, it mirrors your riding – it feels a little lifeless if you twiddle about, but when you show it some enthusiasm it reflects it back in spades, with a truly rewarding ride.

  • Frame // 6061-T6 monocoque/Reynolds custom butted aluminium
  • Fork // RockShox Pike 29 120 RCT3 Solo Air
  • Shock // RockShox Monarch RL
  • Hubs // Hope Pro II Evo
  • Rims // Mavic XM319 29in
  • Tyres // Continental Trail King 2.2 29in
  • Chainset // SRAM X1 1000 30T
  • Front Mech // MRP 1X Guide
  • Rear Mech // SRAM X1 11spd
  • Shifters // SRAM X1 11spd
  • Brakes // Shimano XT
  • Stem // KORE Repute Zero Degree 50mm
  • Bars // KORE Torsion Flat 800mm Wide
  • Grips // Orange Strange Lock-On
  • Seatpost // RockShox Reverb Stealth
  • Saddle // Orange SDG Falcon 2015 Chromo
  • Size tested // L
  • Sizes available // M, L, XL
  • Weight // 32.5lbs without pedals

Review Info

Brand: Orange
Product: Segment RS
From: Orange Bikes, orangebikes.co.uk
Price: £4,000.00 as tested (£3,900.00 plus an extra £100 for the shiny powder coat).
Tested: by Barney for

Premier Partners

Categorised as:

Bikes review