orange five

Orange Bikes 2017

by 6

Chipps had the chance to ride the new 2017 Orange bikes at Bike Park Wales. Here’s what he thought:

Sometime last month we were summoned to a secretive gathering in plain sight down at BikePark Wales. There, in front of the cafe was the Orange van and a range of ‘Strange’ branded bikes for the assembled motley crew of journalists to test ride on whatever tracks they fancied. On offer was the very capable Orange Segment (reviewed in the current issue of Singletrack Magazine, fact fans) and the Orange Four. But there, lurking in between them was the future – in the form of the new Orange Five and the new Orange Alpine 160, now to be re-christened the Alpine Six.

Orange Four

Let’s start in number order and go up, eh? First on test for a couple of runs was the new Orange Four. We got a peek of the new Four back in February, (and you can see our first thoughts here) and thought it was great on a quick blast on our own trails. With a 130mm fork and 120mm of rear travel, it’s hardly a short travel bike, but it’s the shortest in Orange’s 27.5in range.

Orange Bikes 2017 07
Test bikes were either warship grey or eye-popping orange.
Orange Bikes 2017 08
Straighter tubes than on the previous Five and a lighter looking swingarm

On a couple of reasonably merciless runs, the Orange Four performed well: the Five’s DNA runs in its veins and there’s a good feeling of it being a dependable trail bike for all trails, regardless of travel. There were a few moments where the sheer lack of beef was evident when compared to the Five, but it made up for it with a light trail-skipping feel on anything that involved finesse and speedy direction change. It’s a bike you can steer with your hips, but still trust when you hit that first drop on BonneyVille (named for Orange’s famous former employee and general hero, Michael Bonney)

Orange Bikes 2017 09
Four – but not four inches. This has five inches travel. Confused?
Orange Bikes 2017 10
The four features Boost rear spacing from the off
Orange Bikes 2017 11
Orange finds more and more complicated ways to bend ally sheet

Orange Bikes 2017 12

Orange Five

The Five has been in Orange’s range for over 15 years and has slowly evolved over that time. ‘Didn’t it just get a revamp a year ago?’ Why yes, and it has again. That’s progress. The new version of the Five now features provision for a 150mm fork with its 140mm of single pivot rear suspension. The rear end is Boost 148mm and the whole frame shows signs of extensive manipulation in the name of stiffness and weight saving – an apparent 400g has been saved on the frame weights. The angles have been slackened/steepened to 66°/74° and the bike has also seen a longer top tube – 10mm longer – to 610mm/24in on the medium and 25.6in on the XL.

You’ll notice, too that the top tube has a subtle downward curve to it, and a lowered standover height to fit people and dropper posts in. There are several different builds available though Orange, and I somehow managed to get the top specced one with a hopped up rear shock and fork. The extra upgrade to the Fox Float X2 was well worth it, as was the sneaky 36. A 34 is standard on some models, with a Pike, 34 or Yari on others. My model was the top of the shop Factory model at around £5,100 (with SRAM X01 Eagle 12 speed…) but they’ll start, exchange rates willing, at £2700 for the ‘S’ model.

Orange Bikes 2017 13
A couple of sneaky upgrades made it on to this one.
Orange Bikes 2017 15
At rest in the forest. For the moment.

And so how did the new Orange Five ride?
It’s a really, really nice bike. The slightly longer, slightly slacker frame makes you feel right at home and stops any thoughts of having to size-up a frame to get the ‘modern’ reach. Orange has done this already on the Segment and that has made the Segment into a great, modern trail 29er. But we’re here to talk about the Five. Still with 27.5in wheels, only now with a Boost back end and that longer/slacker feel. It finally feels like it’s come of age. That slightly ‘tall’ feeling that some riders felt seems to have gone away with a touch more reach and the bike just wants to gobble up everything.

Admittedly with the help of the piggyback-reservoir shock, the new Five felt buttery smooth and very confidence inspiring. That curving top tube might put off a few riders who objected to the top tube curving the other way on earlier models, but it’s subtle and forgotten when riding. In fact, looking down you see a surprisingly narrow profiled top tube.

The Five was definitely my favourite bike for the day. It might even lure some Alpine 160 riders to it.

Orange Bikes 2017 16
Boost back end and Orange will have the latest groupsets this summer.
Orange Bikes 2017 17
Very neat internal routing replaces the o-rings of old.
Orange Bikes 2017 18
Battleship grey? What do you reckon?

Orange Bikes 2017 19

Orange Bikes 2017 20
34s up front. 140 or a 150mm fork works.
Orange Bikes 2017 21
Production bikes should be appearing end of July.
Orange Bikes 2017 22
Fox EVOL air shock helps with the buttery feel.
Orange Bikes 2017 24
We say ‘yes!’

Orange Five Geo

Orange Alpine Six

The Alpine Six is the new version of the Alpine 160 – Orange’s big mountain bike. It’s now the Six as it comes specced with a 170mm fork up front and 160mm at the rear, so it’s more than just a 160, right?

This was the last bike of the day I got to try and by the time I’d got hold of it, the uplifts had stopped, so I had the fun of the long old singletrack climb up to the top of BPW. The Alpine Six actually took it in its stride and winched me up there at a decent pace.

Orange Bikes 2017 29
The new Orange Alpine Six

Alpine Six

The Six, as we’ll call it is visually a much beefier beast than the Five. Boost back end and no provision whatsoever of fitting a front mech. It’s a bike for the big stuff. There’s that hugely complex rear swingarm to keep the back end stiff – it’s Boost, but the bearings have also been moved further apart to increase stiffness.

Orange Bikes 2017 25
The ‘Strange’ livery is Orange’s stealth brand for protos and one-offs
Orange Bikes 2017 26
Piggyback shock for extra plushness

The complex tube forming applies to every tube on the bike – the combined ‘seat stays’ and ‘chain stays’ if you can call them that, of the swingarm are themselves notched and shaped for stiffness and the top and downtubes are a marvel of 3D design.

How did it ride? It was great, though I’ll admit that I didn’t even tickle its limits. Nothing seemed to nudge it off line and it just asked for more and bigger bumps, lumps and drops. In the right hands, this’ll be a monster. If you’re not going to charge around at full gas all the time, though, I still think the Five is more likely to suit many previous Alpine 160 shoppers…

Orange Bikes 2017 27
A 64.5° head angle? Prepare to get your gnar on…

Orange Bikes 2017 28

Alpine Six geo

Orange Zest

And finally here’s a quick aside. Orange had a new 26in bike on show… It’s a new hardtail called the Orange Zest (boom-tish!) and it’s designed for smaller/shorter riders. And it looks great!

Orange Bikes 2017 03
Don’t let the 26in wheels confuse you. This is a kick-arse teeny bike
Orange Bikes 2017 04
Alloy frame and dropper post provision
Orange Bikes 2017 05
That’s something like a 13in frame
Orange Bikes 2017 06
Remember the name…

We’ll have more of this soon as we reveal the new hardtails in Orange’s range, but we thought you’d like this one…

Thanks for popping by - why not stay a while?IT'S FREE

Sign up as a Singletrack Member and you can leave comments on stories, use the classified ads, and post in our forums, do quizzes and more.

Join us, join in, it’s free, and fun.

Comments (6)

Leave Reply