Video: Orange Five Factory VS Robot R160

by
April 27, 2017

It’s no secret to the wider world that the UK is home to a thriving mountain bike scene. With over forty years of history in the sport*, we’ve been doing it for a very long time, and even longer if you factor in the touring scene where people took road bikes to unsuitable places. Aside from producing more than our fair share of world class riders, the UK is also home to a strong commercial scene, with a load of small, medium and large sized companies based out of the British Isles.

*Want some background on the history of mountain biking in the UK? Check out the MTB Movie; ‘Mountain Biking – The Untold British Story‘. 

robot r160 orange five british made pecketwell wil rob chipps
The Orange Five and Robot R160 are stunning examples of the British mountain bike industry.

There’s a load of British brands we can think of off the top of our heads. Some brands have been around for donkeys years, with names such as Saracen, Hope, Renthal, Nukeproof & Orange being well known to Singletrack readers. Then there’s the newer companies that have joined in on the action. Brands such as Cotic, Stanton, Swarf, Olsen, Starling, BTR, Shand, Airdrop, Bird and Sonder have popped up in more recent years to present their own cutting-edge designs and boundary-pushing geometry that’s helping develop and progress the local (and global) mountain bike industry.

Here at Singletrack Towers, we’re very big fans of the UK mountain bike brands. As a small independent British-owned company ourselves, it’s heartening to see other small and local companies giving it a crack and succeeding in what is a highly competitive and globalised industry.

robot r160 orange five british made pecketwell wil rob chipps
Would you choose the Orange Five?

Recently, we took stock of two mountain bikes from two separate British mountain bike companies. One was an Orange Five, which is quite possibly the most well-known full suspension bike to ever come out of the UK. With its classic single pivot suspension design and British-made monocoque alloy frame, the Five encapsulates everything that is British practicality, with masses of mud clearance and only two bearings used for the whole suspension design.

robot r160 orange five british made pecketwell wil rob chipps
Or the Robot R160?

The other bike was a Robot R160 – a much newer bike with a far more contemporary design made up of carbon fibre tubes and titanium lugs. While Orange has been around for nearly 30 years, Robot Bike Company is much newer, and has thus far only launched with the single model; the R160. Featuring 160mm of travel and a complex DW6 suspension design, each R160 frame is custom built in Somerset, with geometry that is tailored to the customer’s preferences and dimensions.

robot r160 orange five british made pecketwell wil rob chipps
The Orange Five Factory build.

Orange Five Features

  • Full suspension 27.5in trail bike
  • Made in Britain
  • 6061-T6 aluminum monocoque frame
  • 140mm rear travel
  • Single pivot suspension design
  • Designed for 150mm travel forks
  • 66° head angle
  • 73mm English threaded bottom bracket
  • ISCG 05 chainguide tabs
  • Boost 148x12mm rear hub spacing
  • 426mm chainstay length
  • Internal routing for brake, gear and dropper post cabling
  • Available sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • Frame RRP: From £1650
  • Complete bike RRP: £2800 – £5400 (as tested)
robot r160 orange five british made pecketwell wil rob chipps
The fully-custom Robot R160.

Robot R160 Features

  • Full suspension long travel trail bike
  • Made in Britain
  • Carbon fibre tubing with Titanium lugs
  • 27.5in wheels
  • 160mm rear travel
  • DW6 suspension design
  • Designed for 160mm travel forks
  • 65.5° head angle (though that’s customisable)
  • 73mm English threaded bottom bracket
  • ISCG 05 chainguide tabs
  • 142x12mm rear hub spacing
  • 430mm chainstay length
  • Internal routing for brake, gear and dropper post cabling
  • Available sizes: Fully custom
  • Frame RRP from £4395
robot r160 orange five british made pecketwell wil rob chipps
Tête á Tête.

Both the Orange and Robot models are built with 27.5in wheels and feature suspension travel that’s within just 20mm of each other. They’re both designed to be tough and versatile long-travel trail bikes that can dabble in some enduro racing too. But despite targeting the same type of riding and despite both bikes having been designed, tested and manufactured in the UK, these two machines could not be any further from each other.

With that in mind, we decided to take a closer look at each bike to see what separates them in terms of construction and on-trail performance.

Want to know what they ride like? You’re in luck, because both reviews are available to read in full online right now. You can check out our test results of the Orange Five Factory here, and read the review of the Robot R160 here.

Following the test period aboard both bikes, Chipps and Wil decided to sit down in our local pub to have a yarn about each bike and what we liked about each one. You can watch the full video below, and please don’t be shy if you’ve got any questions about either of the two bikes – pop those into the comment section here and we’ll do our best to answer them for you.

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