Opinion: Ieuan Williams
Orange have been a company set on the Single pivot aluminium construction of their bikes from before I can remember. There are also a huge amount of people that judge them for this. Words such as ‘stone age technology’ have been used to describe the Halifax built bike brand.
But where companies seem to feel the need to reinvent the wheel every few years, Orange have simply honed the design, making small changes through the years to make this bike better and better.
The Dirty Dozen test is made up of completely stock build bikes and so far the Orange Stage 6 is the first of a few custom build bikes. The Stage 6 has been built up how I feel this bike should be.
With the XL frame locked in it was time for the choice of parts. There is a wide array of Dirt 100 product on show here from the Pacenti PDent cockpit allowing for super short stem on a bigger chassis; Magura MT5 stoppers that may not be the top of the pile but give plenty of power with modulation to go with it and gearing from SRAM with a GX Eagle setup, allowing me to save money on the group set and spend where it is needed. The crank would be one of these areas. The Rotor Crank with its aluminium construction seems robust and up to the job. A major part of any build is the wheelset, Zelvy carbon wheels on Onyx hubs seemed to do the trick. Silent and stiff enough to compliment the Orange Stage 6 chassis.
At first, the rear damper unit was swapped out for an EXT Storia but with an incorrect tune for the bike we really did cock up. The damper didn’t allow the bike to sit far enough into the travel and pushed all weight over the front wheel. We refitted the Fox X2 damper and the bike was significantly better but still required some serious setup – namely filling it to the brim with spacers. It was a faff, but a fruitful one with the damper tune transforming the feel of a bike. To fast track this process I ended up using damper settings borrowed off a friend’s bike. I ended up with plush feel and more than enough hold to keep the bikes shape when things get out of hand.
Orange are pretty bang on with the numbers with the bottom bracket coming in at 336mm, the same as the Orbea, and a head angle of 65.5°. It is no wonder this bike is a flying machine. It is tellingly close in numbers to the other aluminium bike here the Nukeproof Mega 290.