Long Termers: Chipps’ Orange Segment

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Having had an Orange Gyro for a year or so last year, I decided that it was time to move on and see what the fuss was about with this new Segment. Although it is also a 29er and has the same rear travel (110mm) and runs a 130mm fork, the Segment represents many of the changes in geometry (and fashion) that have taken place in the last couple of years since the Gyro was originally announced. The Segment has a pretty slack head angle (for a 29er) at 67.5° and the 23.6in/600mm longer top tube (than the Gyro) on the medium is intended for a short 35mm stem. So much, so contemporary. Orange started running fatter seat tubes a couple of years ago, allowing for dropper posts and the Segment has a port on the downtube for a Stealth routed post (although it’s a right faff to get the cable installed initially…

Again, in keeping with modern geometry, the single pivot swingarm comes in a 142mm width, which is a huge step up in convenience from my Gyro, which was a 135mm thru-axle that took much swearing to get a wheel in and out of. And what colour did I choose? The amazing ‘Nuclear Tomato’ colour option that I think sets off the bike perfectly.  

The size-medium Segment arrived as a frame-only and I set about building it up with some of the components of my old Gyro, like the (140mm) Marzocchi 44s and the clunky Pro Tharsis stem. Thanks to a backlog of 29er test products, the burly Segment found itself with some carbon Stan’s Valor wheels – all skinny spokes and lots of daylight, but they held (and continue to hold) up well under some careless trail riding. The initial build came in at 27.68lbs without pedals.

Apart from the X1 groupset, the bike has SRAM’s new Guide brakes and an X-Fusion Stealth dropper post. This took no end of faffing around to get the cable through the Orange’s frame, over the bottom bracket and up the seat tube – and then a further four gear cables had to die before I got the fiddly cable stop on the bottom of the post to work as suggested. Now, a couple of months later there have been a few changes: The Marzocchi has been replaced by a 29in RockShox Pike (in the name of product testing, not that there’s actually anything wrong with the Marzocchi – apart from being 20mm over the maximum recommended length fork. The Pike, at 130mm, is a mere 10mm too long. 🙂

How it looks today. The X1 groupset has so far been pretty faultless. All the benefits of SRAM’s 1×11 gearing, but at a more sensible price (and the new GX gear looks to reduce that price again). My only issue has been with the enthusiastic 32T single chainring, which I find hard work on the unrelentingly steep climbs around here.

  As is always the way, you spend ages picking components that match and then, in your rush to get out on that first ride, you discover – say – that you don’t have any frame protector sticky things left, so you end up running white electrical tape to stop the cables sawing through the fork crown. Aesthetes, don’t worry, I’ll be replacing it soon – with black electrical tape…

The X-Fusion Hi-Lo post is now fitted, with plenty of room for the lever to run under the left hand side of the bars for thumb actuation. Atop the Hi-Lo is a new SDG Bel-Air with a very grippy, embossed pattern seared into the cover, adding a good bit of grip when wet. Here it is before getting muddy.

I have a great admiration for the folks at Orange, who are still showing that something can be handmade in England for a comparatively competitive price. Their industrial-looking frame aren’t for everyone, but I like the purposeful lines and pretty bomber-strong construction. The frame offers 110mm rear travel and is built for a 120mm fork.

The humble, but clever SPD pedal is 25 years old this year, so I’ve just put these commemorative pedals on the bike to give a little more platform when flailing around trying to keep up with people. With the wheels, the Stan’s Valors are currently proving to be pretty robust for what is mostly a racing wheelset. I’ve got a Vredestein Bobcat on the front and a Maxxis Ardent on the rear. Both went up tubeless with no problem at all.

Running two different grips? How do you think grip grouptests get written? You can just see the tiny Renthal Apex stem that is of the recommended 35mm length. Orange has lengthened the top tube over the original Gyro to allow for a shorter stem.

So how have the first two or three months been with the bike? So far, it’s been great fun. The simplicity of the 1×11 gears adds to the machine aesthetic of the bike and I’ve not had a single mechanical issue with it yet. The ride of the bike is interesting – it’s sprightly enough to be an everyday trail bike, but point it downhill and it shows a hooligan side. The stiff, short, wide cockpit and the supple 130mm Pike combine with the steamroller effect of the bigger wheels and it really does flatten trail obstacles.

It does seem the the 110mm back end can get a little overfaced when you get carried away on the fastest and biggest of hits and I’m going to experiment with different rear pressures to keep the back end a little more upright. Unfortunately the Monarch shock doesn’t allow volume adjustment or I’d try to ramp up the spring curve a little more with some spacers, but for the moment, I’ll add a bit more air and keep on trucking. For everyday trails, though, it’s a one-man steamroller.

Review Info

From:Orange Bikes. orangebikes.co.uk
Price:£1500 frame-only
Tested:by Chipps for Three months

Comments (0)

    Would be interested to know if you think the climbing ability has suffered with the move to a more “modern” geometry when compared to the gyro.

    I don’t think so. The only negative is that it’s a touch wandery (but then I have a fork that’s half an inch longer than recommended). The short stem (speaking as a 70mm-guy) took about one ride to get used to – and much of the issue is visual ‘where’s my stem?’ rather than in trail feel.

    That red is rather nice. Perhaps this is a worthy replacement for my much loved ST4 – playful, a bit stronger and tougher than your usual shorter travel FS, but not so much travel it just rolls over everything…?

    Just shows how quick 29er trail bikes are evolving. In the short time this frame’s been out, it’s gone from trail/evo orientated to looking a bit too XC with 110mm travel, 67.5 head. Still suits certain sirs though, I’m sure.

    Have you considered a CCDBinline shock? It looks like a good match for the Segment.

    Also, could you give some comparisons with the Gyro?

    I shall give it a thought, Mr Roverpig. Gyro comparisons coming in the next instalment.

    I know the thread’s been asleep for a little while – but @chipps: any chance you’d elaborate on the comparison between the 44 and the Pike? Looking at picking up a brand new 2015 44 Marzocchi at half the price of the Pike, and wondering, if the Pike is worth the upcharge for stiffness and damping quality? Thanks!

    I’d say that it’s probably down to how you like your forks set. Do you want good support from the fork when it’s not working hard? Or do you like the ‘flutter’ of a fork that moves instantly over any bump. Both forks can do either, but the Marzocchi feels most at home being super active (which means you’ll need to reach for the lever if you’re a messy climber) whereas the Pike seems more well behaved at slower speeds. Both forks are great – and will get you into enough trouble to show up just how little travel you have at the back end, which then might have you considering a more clever rear shock too. I’d be happy to keep running the Pike, if that’s your question, though it is a good inch too long and will affect the handling noticeably. Whether that is a good thing or not is also up to you 😉

    Too burly for a xc/marathon bike with a light build? I love the simplicity of the deign.

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