Crudely built out of date single pivot or a lightning fast race machine with ahead of the game geometry?
Words: Ieuan Williams
Images: Callum Phillpott. Ben Winder
It depends on your perspective. On the one hand the Orange 324 and its predecessor is a tray load of aluminium sheet sweeped onto a jig by a brawny northerner barely visible through a smouldering Benson and Hedges, beaten into shape by an oily pair of hands before handing to his mate to carry out the finishing – a long bar inserted into frame and tugged to get the shape straight. That’s before the product manager notices the clearance is tight on the swingarm so hails the apprentice down in the basement to get off the porn and fashion a pair of beautiful dimples in said swingarm to pass the bike fit for purpose.
On the other hand, it’s a rough diamond, just like the Alpine its stablemate. A tough nugget that can cut it at the highest level. A bike with strong heritage, finely tuned to the ways of racing, a bike offering a superb balance between flex and stiffness, with great parity between suspension and damper tune. Silent, deadly with a fully contemporary geometry set that puts many pretty bikes to shame. Of the big name brands only Specialized and Giant can offer a bigger frame size. And fast…just so f…… fast.