by Wil Barrett
February 23, 2017
Almost exactly twelve months ago, you may recall that we had the opportunity to have a world first ride review aboard the then brand new Orange Four. Designed as a lighter, tighter and shorter travel version of the venerable Orange Five, the Four arrived into the world with a number of key ingredients that pointed towards it being a very capable, and very fun short travel trail bike. Those ingredients being 27.5in wheels, 120mm of rear wheel travel, and modern geometry that’s based around short chain stays and a long front centre.
A year on, and the engineers and fabricators at Orange Bikes have been very busy. For the 2017 model year, Orange introduced a revamped version of the Five, which arguably stole all of the limelight from the new Four. There was also the longer travel Orange Alpine Six, and then just a few weeks ago, we got another exclusive first look at the new Stage 5 and Stage 6 long-travel 29ers. Oh, and then there was that incredible prototype e-MTB that’s been building some incredible attention for Orange.
Needless to say, Orange Bikes has been on a pretty serious roll over the past year.
With all of the hubbub following the release of the new Five, Alpine Six and Stage 5/6 models, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Orange Four has gone a little under the radar. While we were at the 2017 London Bike Show, we had the opportunity to sit down with the fellas at the Orange Bikes booth, and chat about what they’ve got going on through 2017 and beyond. While we were there, we took a closer look at the Orange Four, and interviewed one of Orange’s key trail ninjas, Kelvin. Check out the video interview below.
“Less is more – the short travel trail bike we’ve all been waiting for. The Four has been coming for a while now. Not on our future model list, not as part of the grand Orange plan, but from deep within our hearts. It started with one of those ‘what if…” conversations where we all found ourselves on the same page. Has the 15 year evolution of the Five left a bike sized gap behind it? Maybe. We swept clean the drawing board and sharpened a pencil.” – Orange Bikes
Orange Four Specifications
- Handbuilt in the UK
- 6061-T6 Monocoque UK Formed Custom Aluminium Tubing
- Rear travel: 120mm
- Fork travel: 130mm
- 27.5in wheels
- Longer top tube lengths for added front centre stability
- Designed for use with short stems and wide bars
- 67° head angle
- 424mm chain stay length
- Boost 148x12mm rear hub spacing
- Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
- Colours: Black or Fizzy Orange. Eight other colours available at a £100 up-charge
- 5-year frame warranty
- Frame RRP: £1650 (frame with RockShox Monarch RT shock)
- Complete RRP: From £3400
Like the Orange Five and Alpine Six, the Four features the classic single pivot suspension design. Tried and true, the single pivot arrangement offers simplicity and durability in a clean package that is optimised for 1x drivetrains. On that note, the Four won’t take a front derailleur, though thanks to the advances of wide-range cassette options, we don’t think many British mountain bikers will miss it…
Compared to the longer travel Orange Five, the Four features a shorter 424mm rear end along with a lighter swingarm design. This split-tube affair not only looks lighter than the traditional one-piece swingarm, it is lighter too. Orange has also employed a slightly lighter gauge of alloy for the Four to help keep overall weight down. Another change has been to a slightly more progressive spring curve, which gives the Four a little more ‘pop’ and playfulness on the trail. Overall, it’s a trail bike that delivers a more enthusiastic and sprightly feel compared to the longer travel Five.
Out back is a Boost 148x12mm thru-axle, with a tidy but sturdy dropout and a replaceable derailleur hanger. The open swingarm design offers masses of mud clearance, and plenty of clearance for 27.5×2.5in tyres.
A 44mm head tube up front relies on an external headset cup for the bottom, and a zero-stack headset cup for the top when paired with a conventional tapered fork steerer tube. Classic Orange headtube badge is indicative of the frame quality – no painted (or worse, stickered!) logos here.
Like all Orange models, the Four is available in two standard colour options (in the case of the Four, that’s Jet Black or Fizzy Orange), with another eight options being available at a £100 surcharge.
If you want to learn a little more about the development behind the Four, then checkout our video from the London Bike Show below. There’s also our First Ride Review of the Orange Four, and for further information on spec, geometry and frame details, head to the Orange Bikes website.