Orange Four – First Ride

“Want to try the new Orange Four?” they said….

I’ve been wanting to try out this little fella since I saw it back at The Bike Place show in February. It promised so much, a small, lightweight trail bike that could stand up next to the big boys. Could this little, 4 inch travel bike be all that? We all know the Orange Five, it’s been around for years, I’ve had two myself. A very capable bike, along with it’s bigger brother, the Alpine 160. But what were these tried and tested bikes missing?

“It started with one of those ‘what if…” conversations where we all found ourselves on the same page.” – Orange

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With it being a shorter travel bike, they wanted it to be a good climber and reduce the weight of the frame. With less stress going though it than a big hitting, all-mountain bike, they looked at reducing the gauge of alloy used. This and also reducing material around the drop-outs and shock mounts, the Four frame comes in 435g lighter than that of the Five.

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Options –

Using the Orange site you can build up the bike just how you like it, at a price that’s right for you. Off the shelf though you have four basic options –

  • Four Pro – Fox/Shimano SLX/Race Face – £2800
  • Four RS –  RockShox/SRAM GX1/Hope/Renthal – £3700
  • Four Factory – Fox/SRAM XO1/Hope/Race face – £4600
  • Frame Only – £1600

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Features –

  • Lightweight Frame Handbuilt in Britain
  • Short travel, fast and agile trail bike with progressive geometry
  • Longer toptube and wheelbase for high-speed stability
  • Compact swingarm with 12x148mm Boost rear hub spacing for precise handling
  • Tuned pivot position for optimal suspension performance with 184x44mm rear shock
  • Optimised for suspension travel: 130mm front & 120mm rear
  • 5 year frame warranty

 

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Geometry –

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Sizes range from S – XL, similar to the Five. Also similar between the two bikes are reach and top tube. The Four has a 67 degree head angle over the Five’s 66 degrees. Chain stay lengths differ too, 424mm for the Four, 430mm for the Five, helping make the Four climb better. With a short chain stay and small shock, they could move the pivot point rearwards, creating a more compact swing-arm. Couple this with Boost hubs and you have a really stiff feeling set up.

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Ride –

I’ll start by saying, don’t under estimate this bike because it is only packing four inches. It’s not all about size (Not something we have to worry about obviously). How it uses those four inches is stunning. I can say with confidence that it is the best handling and most fun, shorter travel bike I’ve ridden. It was one of those bikes I just immediately felt at home on. Usually I’m a bit fussy about riding a different bike until I’ve got used to it. Ok, so I only had a few hours on it, in one evening, how much can you really tell from that? That’s why I took it to a place I’ve been riding a lot recently so I could come to a few decisions quite quickly. And obviously there’s the Strava test too, not a hugely accurate test I admit but it’s worth a comparison at the very least. On a bike I’d never ridden before, on trials I ride every week, I got a whole bunch of PBs. Not just on the climbs either, on some of the descents too. And these aren’t trail centre trails, steep and loose, twisty trails with a few jumps thrown in. If I was in the market for a new bike, I’d seriously be considering one of these.

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If you’re looking for a new trail bike and you’re not riding aggressive DH trails, seriously consider the Orange Four. Why not try one for yourself, get on their website and find your nearest Demo Centre

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www.orangebikes.co.uk

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