ORANGE STAGE 6 (CUSTOM BUILD) - DIRTY DOZEN - Dirt

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Trail and Enduro Bikes

ORANGE STAGE 6 (CUSTOM BUILD) – DIRTY DOZEN

SINGLE PIVOT HALIFAX MADE 29ER

In recent time the guys at Orange have really been honing in on the 29” market With the short travel Segment being the brand’s previous stepping stone.

The release of the Stage range has brought a huge insurgence into what is on offer – the old Segment was changed for the Stage 4 and there’s also the Stage 5 that we loved here at Dirt with 130mm of travel at the rear. The bike in question here is the longer travelled stablemate of these pair – the Orange Stage 6. This 150mm travel 29” bike is Orange’s enduro category entry.

This range has been designed to make the most of the downhills but be no slouch on the climbs either, with the strong aluminium frame construction as you would expect from Orange yet lighter than previous models.

Three build kits are available ranging from the Stage 6 Pro at £3,900 to the Stage 6 Factory coming in at £5,800. The option chosen for this test though was the frame only. We had the opportunity to get some parts on to keep the price on the right line but also get some of our favourite parts on there.

SPECIFICATION

Frame: Orange Stage 6 2018 Frame 29er (Including rear shock) Fox Float X2  (£2300)

Fork:  Factory Series 36 FLOAT 29 160 FIT4 3-Position Lever w/Open Mode Adjust   (£1049)

Wheelset:  2018 Zelvy wheelset   (£954.48)

Groupset: SRAM GX Eagle Groupset GXP – 12 Speed    (£300)

Crank:  Rotor Hawk crank arms  (£250)

Cockpit:  P-DENT CARBON BAR AND STEM SET 15MM RISE   (£250)

Brakes:   Magura MT5 2-Finger For Left Or Right   (£160)

Grips:   Deity Knuckleduster grips   (£20)

Seat:  Ergon SMD2 Saddle Seat   (£40)

Seatpost:   Brand-X Ascend Dropper Seatpost  (£100)

Headset:  Hope H/Set Black – 49mm for Tapered Steere   (£85)

Tyres:   Maxxis Shorty/Minion SS 2.5    (£80)

TOTAL BUILD COST £5,588.48

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.

Where a very low factor of fatigue was expected on a fast rough rocky track there was some feeling of forearm ache but when the trail was smoother or had more rounded edge hits like roots on this feeling was drastically reduced. This is not what we expected from an aluminium bike and we think it could be because the Fox 36 Factory that was used was not the usual HSC/LSC damper but the Open Mode Adjust unit.

When it came to climbing the Stage 6, there was little difference to the lower travel and very muchly loved Stage 5. It just shows that longer travel does not hinder the climbs. This was also helped out by the componentry chosen for this build. The Zelvy wheel with the clutched driver was pin sharp and gave instant engagement of drive when you needed it. The wheels’ lightweight carbon construction meant the bike could be picked up though the technical sections

This bike is a very good, very little that can be faulted, although it doesn’t quite feel as special as the smaller stablemate. The faff of getting the shock tune nailed in here is the biggest flaw but the Orange Stage 6 is most definitely in the top end of the scale when looking at the bikes in this test. It just missed out on being my favourite.

orangebikes.co.uk

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