Orange RX9 Pro First Look at this gravel bike

by Mark Alker 3

From the moment I pulled the RX9 Pro out of the home delivered box you could tell it was a gravel bike that was built by a mountain bike brand. I mean, I did actually know that, what with the massive “Orange” branding all over it, but my point is everything about this bike hints at its manufacturer’s MTB heritage.

This isn’t a road bike made burly enough to take in trails miles away from tarmac – it’s a mountain bike made efficient, stiff and so very fast to take in roads and mild trails. You get what I mean I’m sure.

The signs are there. Big, super stiff double butted tubes, even a 30.9 seatpost. And hydraulic discs of course. The aluminium frame down’t extend to the forks though, which are really quite burly and industrial looking for carbon. There’s no spindly road-like tubing going on here – this bike is clearly designed to take some punishment if not comfort.

Initial thoughts

The tyre clearance is impressive. The bike comes with WTB Riddler 37 tyres with plenty of room to spare for upgrades. There are the usual number of rack and bottle bosses that means you can load this bike up for expeditions too.

Geometry is interesting. The 70degree head angle perhaps hints at the MTB heritage behind it as once upon a time even mountain bikes came with head angles steeper than that. The seat angle is 73 degrees.

The bars are Orange’s own Strange F-Bomb bars, which are wide, shallow dropped and very flared. The integral brake/shifting on the SRAM Apex 1x groupset means all gearing is controlled by the single paddle on the right. A big push to go up the block and a light push to go down. It’s effective but it does take a bit of practice if you are new to the system and you can expect quite a lot of initial miss-shifts as you reach for panic gears.

Orange RX9 Pro Sizing

Also worth noting is the size of this model. It’s the smallest in the RX9 lineup at 52cm and that gives us a reach 368mm. This bike was picked to be principally ridden and tested by a female 5’5″ rider but the Orange’s sizing suggests it’s suitable for riders between 5’5″ and 5’7″, which means it’s apparently perfect for my 5’6″ vertically challenged body too. However, when it arrived we pulled out at simply enormous 400mm seatpost that even when dropped all the way down to connect with the bottle bosses in the seat tube meant it was an inch too tall for for our smallest tester. Luckily, I had a 380mm Thompson post in the shed in 30.9 which means at its lowest drop it’s just perfect. That does leave a good foot of insert in the seat tube and with a shorter post still, there’s a good few more inches of drop available. Why there’s so much post spec’d on a small frame is a little puzzling to me right now.

Anyway, it currently fits perfectly.

Here’s a first look live video & chat I broadcast just after the bike arrived.

I hope I’ve given you an initial flavour of this bike. Now all that is left to do is ride it and report back with a full review in a few weeks.

Orange RX9 Pro Spec

Price | £1900

FRAME AND FORK

  • Frame // 6061-T6 Custom Butted OS Aluminium Tube.
  • Headset // FPD 44mm / 56mm zerostack
  • Fork // RX9 Full Carbon 100 x 15mm Flat Mount Disc

DRIVETRAIN

  • Shifters // SRAM Apex
  • Cassettes // SRAM PG1130 11-42 11spd
  • Bottom Bracket // SRAM GXP
  • Chainset // SRAM Apex 1 40t
  • Rear Mech // SRAM Apex
  • Chains // SRAM PC1110

WHEEL AND TYRES

  • Wheelset // WTB ST i21 on Strange 700
  • Tyres // WTB Riddler 700×37 TCS Tan

BRAKING

  • Brakes // SRAM Apex Hydraulic

FINISHING KIT

  • Seatpost // Strange Post 400 30.9
  • Seat Clamp // Strange Bolted
  • Stem // Strange Stalk
  • Saddle // Prologo Dimension
  • Handlebar // Strange F-Bomb
  • Grip // Strange EAV Gel Bar Tape Black

RX9 GEOMETRY

Geometry Table
FrameSMLXL
Frame Size (cm)50525456
A. Head Angle70°70°70°70°
B. Seat Angle73°73°73°73°
C. Top Tube520536551556
D. Effective TT540555570585
E. Bottom Bracket Height-70-70-70-70
F. Chainstay435435435435
G. Head Tube135150170190
H. Wheelbase1024104010561072
I. Front & Centre599615621647
J. Reach368380390400
K. Stack558574593612
Standover745760780802
Seat Tube Ø30.930.930.930.9

Other models in the range

  • Orange RX9 – £1600
  • Orange RX9-Pro – £1900
  • Orange RX9 Pro Plus – £1900
  • Orange RX9 RS – £2200
  • Frame & Fork – £700

Comments (3)

    The long post ? Simples… same one size for everyone – less stock to carry in a factory.

    Chuffed to see this bike featured. I’ve got one and love it, slower than a road bike and not as capable as a mountain bike, but incredibly versatile, fun and the best just ride and explore bike I’ve ever owned. I’ve even used mine for sure-footed winter commuting. Tough as old boots, a proper Orange and probably my favourite bike ever.

    Orange want a piece of the gravel pie!
    I bet this is gonna sell better than their enduro bikes. Although pricing could be more competitive. I guess they’re playing the “road bike for hardcore MTBer” card here.

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