It seems an eternity ago when Orange announced its latest Stage 4 model. Granted, it has been pretty much exactly six months since last year’s Eurobike, but after all that waiting, the Halifax-based manufacturer has finally got Stage 4 frames off the production line and rolling into stores around the UK, and over to distributors dotted all around the globe.
Lucky for us, one of those first frames has been built up into a complete bike and delivered to us for testing. You may have already read Chipps’ exclusive first ride report of the Orange Stage 4, where he had the opportunity to ride a prototype frame at last year’s Mountain Mayhem event when he partook in the 4-person RideForMichael team. However, this is our first opportunity for a full teardown and review on home trails, so you can expect to see it in an group test feature in the magazine.
Want to know what sets the Stage 4 apart from the rest of the Orange full suspension line? Then read on for a closer look at our latest test whip!
“Rolling into the 29er Stage family we welcome the new Stage 4. If you know our Segment model, this is its replacement. Short travel and big wheeled, this 120/110mm travel 29er can ride way beyond its travel figure, carefully reworked geometry and frame construction brings our compact rear to the new model with the same plus points we get through the range; more active and improved effect on small bumps. Confidence inspiring, low-slung and featuring the kind of angles more often found on longer travel bikes, this is the short travel 29er that rides beyond the short travel checkboxes with flare.” – From Orange Bikes.
Orange Stage Four Features
- Full suspension 29er XC trail bike
- UK manufactured 6061-T6 aluminum monocoque frame
- Single pivot suspension design w/110mm rear travel
- Metric 190x40mm rear shock
- Designed for 120mm travel forks
- 67.5° head angle
- 74.5° seat tube angle
- 73mm English threaded bottom bracket
- ISCG 05 chainguide tabs
- Boost 148x12mm rear hub spacing
- 435mm chainstay length
- Internal routing for brake, gear and dropper post cabling
- Available sizes: Medium, Large, X-Large
- Frame RRP: £1700 (including Fox Float DPS Performance rear shock)
- Complete bike RRP: £3600 – £5600
If you’re familiar with the Orange full suspension line, you’ll know that there are currently two 29er full suspension bikes; the Stage 5 and the Stage 6, and three 27.5in full suspension bikes; the Four, Five and Alpine 6.
The Stage 4 features 29in wheels and slots into the lineup as a shorter travel version of the Stage 5 (a bike that recently won an Editors’ Choice Award), where it completes the range, and in doing so, replaces the outgoing Segment.
So why isn’t this just called the new generation Segment? Well part of the reason is that Orange simply wanted to carry on the naming theme with its current 29er line to keep things coherent, but it also believes there have been enough significant changes to warrant the new name.
“Changes??”, I hear you ask your smartphone screen. Yes, there are changes aplenty – let’s start with the suspension.
Like the Segment, the Stage 4 features 110mm of rear wheel travel. How it achieves that travel is still via a single pivot suspension design, but there have been some subtle tweaks that Orange states have brought improved sensitivity and control.
Notably, the Stage 4 is the first Orange to feature Metric rear shock spacing. Aside from just being a slightly different size shock, the concept of the Metric rear shock is to make better use of the shock’s overall dimensions for improved bushing overlap that purportedly delivers a stiffer structure. In terms of physical dimensions, the old Segment used a diminutive 165x38mm rear shock (2.89:1 average leverage ratio) that worked fine but proved highly sensitive to setup. In comparison, the Stage 4 uses a much bigger 190x40mm shock (2.75:1 average leverage ratio) that is likely to be a little less fussy. Note in the above photo the dimple in the down tube on the new Stage 4, which has allowed the use of the longer shock.
The most obvious visual difference on the Stage 4 is the use of the split-stay swingarm, which replaces the Segment’s big monocoque swingarm. It’s supposedly a bit lighter and stiffer, and it just gives the bike a leaner overall look. Cable routing runs through the lower tube.
Righto; there’s a bit of a detailed first look of the latest test bike to roll into Singletrack Towers, and we’ll keep you posted on our impressions of this new short travel 29er in the weeks and months to come.
If you desperately need more information, say on pricing, frame geometry and spec options, head to the Orange Bikes website for all that and other stuff too.
2018 Orange Stage 4 RS Specifications
- Frame // 6061-T6 Monocoque, 110mm Travel
- Fork // RockShox Pike RCT3, 120mm Travel
- Shock // RockShox Deluxe RT3 DebonAir
- Hubs // Hope Pro 4, 110x15mm Front & 148x12mm Rear
- Rims // Race Face ARC 27, 27mm Internal Width, 32h, Tubeless Compatible
- Hubs // Hope Pro 4, 110x15mm Front & 148x12mm Rear
- Tyres // Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 3C MaxxTerra 2.3in Front & High Roller II EXO 2.3in Rear
- Chainset // SRAM X1 Carbon, 32t X-Sync 2 Chainring
- Rear Mech // SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-Speed
- Shifters // SRAM GX Eagle, 12-Speed
- Cassette // SRAM XG-1275, 10-50t, 12-Speed
- Brakes // SRAM Guide R, 180mm Front & Rear
- Stem // Renthal Apex 35, 50mm Long
- Bars // Renthal Fatbar 35, 800mm Wide, 20mm Rise
- Grips // Strange 130 Single Lock-On Black
- Seatpost // RockShox Reverb Stealth, 30.9mm, 150mm Travel, 1x Remote
- Saddle // SDG Fly MTN Steel Rails
- Size Tested // Medium
- Sizes available // Medium, Large, X-Large