The making of an Orange

A thing of beauty

Photos: Jones

Oasis on the stereo, TIGs sparking and a team of blokes bashing sheet metal into svelte forms. For anyone who doesn’t appreciate the beauty in an Orange coming together… you’re probably on the wrong website.

This is not the sterilised, high tech world Steve explored earlier in the year at Trek but a process that’s been consistently churning out great bikes for three decades. Welcome to Halifax.

There’s magic in the air on a small industrial estate on the edge of this Yorkshire town. Flat sheets of 6061 enter the factory and machines full of soul, character and speed leave it. To some, aluminium seems backwards but to Orange it’s just the way things should be – compliant, reliable and totally recyclable.

Behind each bike is a team of dedicated, artisan workers all pulling together to create some of Britian’s best and most popular bikes. Let’s meet them:

Nigel Anderson – Punch Operator

Where it all beings. Sheets of 6061 cut into Airfix style webs of various thicknesses by Nigel Anderson. Each part of the frame starts as a flat shape before being bent into shape ready for welding.

Francis O’Neill – Press Brake Officer

When Orange have all the necessary bits for a bike, Francis steps in on the Press Brake and turns the flat pieces into three dimensional shapes.

When all the parts for a full bike are formed, they are taken on a pallet down to the fabrication shop.

Alan Nichol, Nigel Hand, Andrew Toddy, Paul Payne, Joe May – welders

The reprobates.

This is where the magic happens and the frames come to life.

Nigel ‘Grandad’ Hand and his team are some of the best in the game and churn out gorgeous frames week in/week out. Nigel himself has notched up 25,000 in his time alone.

Ash ‘Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’ North and Mark Wilkinson – Alignment Technicians

Orange frames get aligned three times. Once as a pre-alignment before the shock mounts are welded on and then before and after they get heat treated.

The straight frames are then ready for a lick of paint.

A white or black base coat is applied
Then smoothed down by Frame Preparation Technician Matt Hartley
Before paint is applied

Dale Wilcoxson – painter

Among the potions and powders of the painting room is Dale Wilcoxson. With such a vast range of colours on offer for Orange, it’s a busy part of the factory.

Dan Greenwood – Workshop manager

After the frames are hung and dried, a last check performed by the man with the plan, Dan Greenwood before it’s sent to…

Scott Brodie and Chris Maltby – Workshop Technicians

The juicy finishing kits are applied. Everything from polishing seattubes to stickering rims is covered here to ensure your bike is ready to roll almost as soon as it lands at your door.

Vaughn Evans – Warehouse Technician

From the shop floor to your door, Warehouse Technician Vaughn Evans gets product boxed and out of the door.

Steve Hadley – Product design and development

Plenty of tricks in that brain. Whatever’s next to roll out of the Orange factory, it’s got this man’s stamp on it.

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