December 22, 2016
Orange Bikes is well known for making its suspension bikes in Halifax UK and for assembling much of everything on site. There are often up to six mechanics working flat out to assemble bikes from the bare bones. Suspension frames come from Orange’s fabrication facility as bare main frames and separate rear triangles and everything is fitted up, from the shocks to the pivot bolts to the wheel building, in its assembly workshop. Even the powdercoating is done in house.
As you’d imagine, Orange employees all usually ride pretty up to date bikes with the latest gear on them. But when it comes to Vaughan Evans, the frame painter, he always likes to have something different to everyone else. And given that he paints the bikes, he has a certain amount of leeway there. (Vaughan is the guy that Guy Martin chats to in Orange Bikes’ video ‘It is what it is’
Vaughan is building himself a new Orange 324 for next year and to say that he’s a little obsessive about it is probably a bit of an understatement. It’s still being assembled with the finest bits and pieces he can get his hands on and Vaughn says that he’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t “weigh 30-point something pounds”. Every bolt (except for the important stem bolts) is titanium and every lightening trick in the book is being used to make this as light as possible while still retaining durability and ride quality.
The gold sparkly paint is a one-off that Orange doesn’t offer. And in fact there suspiciously only seems to have been enough of the sparkly stuff for just the one bike. How convenient…
It is worth mentioning, though, that Orange offers a Deluxe Respray option where you can return your frame to Orange, where it gets stripped of paint and checked, its bearings are replaced and it’s resprayed in one of ten colours, before getting new decals and a new head badge. This costs £250. Or £200 for Orange hardtails. So if you’ve tired of that ‘It seemed cool at the time’ fluro yellow with a brown swingarm paintjob, you might want to give them a call.
There were a few other choice bikes sitting around the factory too. Some we can show you, some we can’t (yet). But this little ripper caught our eye. It’s being built up for Chris Whitfield’s daughter. Chris has raced successfully in the past for Orange and was after a special bike for his daughter. So here’s what happens if you take an extra small, 26in Orange Diva and put a shorter shock on from a Segment, reduce the travel in the forks and fit 24in wheels. Forget your carbon enduro machines, we reckon this is one of the most badass bikes we’ve seen the year…
More interested in older Oranges? While the company doesn’t have one of every model its ever produced, it’s fair to say that there’s a pretty droolsome archive there. Reckon it needs its own feature?
And, finally, if you’ve not seen Stu Thomson’s great documentary about Orange bikes featuring a certain Guy Martin, it’s well worth a lunchbreak. We hear there are no plans for the desperately-needed ‘Subtitles’ version though. Sorry.