We gave you a sneak peak at Orange’s new 322 DH steed in our Fort William coverage, but it has now officially been released…
Of course we’ve seen this design around for well over a year now under the likes of Rowan Sorrel and the MTBcut guys, but now it’s finally going to be available to everyone else. Why such a long wait? Well I suppose that’s just proper testing and development for you, Orange were never going to release this bike until they were truly happy with it, and now they are.
The most obvious difference to previous 22X models is the way the shock is now dropped through the downtube, and this has been done to produce a more progressive spring rate, which in turn gives supple performance at the start of the stroke alongside decent levels of progression at the end of the stroke to cope with the biggest impacts. The pivot has also been lowered slightly to further increase the active feel of the suspension.
We can’t wait to test one out as we’ve got a feeling it could well be one of those ‘classic’ Orange’s. In the meantime though here’s the press release and pricing from Orange…
322 leads the charge – Orange Bikes 2013 model roll out.
With 2013 builds hitting the workstands, here’s the first in a long line of fine-looking bikes queuing up behind the 322, ready to be released on an unsuspecting mountain near you.
The constant honing of the 22X series led to a string of World and National titles through the 2000s, and the 322 is the next step in our evolution of the long travel, single pivot design. Dropping the top shock mount through the downtube and using a low pivot position allowed us to achieve the shock curve we desired leading to a more progressive spring rate compared to previous efforts. The resulting effect is a bike that can handle the smaller bumps and chatter with limited feedback to the rider, while being progressive enough later in the stroked to take the big hits without a hard bottom out. A confidence-inspiring suspension system that means you can concentrate on going fast.
Several years of real world testing in the hands of some of the fastest UK talent (Team MTBcut and Rowan Sorrell) attested to the success of the original prototype. Angles and suspension design lend themselves perfectly for the demands of World Cup racing, the 322 is ready to race out of the box at every level of competition. The beating heart of the frame is still the tried and tested stuff, but lightweight, mainframe mated with our amously reliable and slop-free oversized single-pivot assembly.
At the beating heart of the frame is an oversize single pivot based on 32mm sealed cartridge bearings. The privateer racer has always featured very highly in who Orange make bikes for, and a pivot based around 2 bearings ensures infamous reliability and ease of maintenance at little cost. All this is of paramount importance when a you are the mechanic, the pits and the rider. The monocoque aluminium mainframe that characterises the Orange full suspension range ensures a light, strong and stiff ride that inherently lends itself to an even greater longevity of the pivot and its bearings.
The result of all this is a stiff, light and nimble downhill bike capable of shatteringly fast runs out in the Alps, at a local downhill race or at the cutting edge of World Cup competition where every tenth counts.
For 2013 we’ve kept it simple, one spec that’s ready to race out of the box with the very best from Fox Racing Shox, Shimano, Hope, Thomson and Renthal. Upgrades are available to fit bigger stoppers from Hope as are Cane Creek Double Barrel Coil shocks. Let off the brakes and this bike will fly; rock, root and dirt are all the 322s best friends. The only thing holding this bike back is the fleshy bit up top. You.
Highlight features at a glance:
- 6061-T6 custom butted monocoque aluminium frame
- Lower pivot position/drop-through shock mount gives a more active suspension feel with 8 inchs of travel
- 135 x 12mm rear wheel spacing
- Progressive rear shock curve
- ISCG 03 (Old) chain guide tabs
- Race-winning geometry
- 15″ Seat Tube with Short or Long Toptube Option
The Orange 322 will be available as follows:
Frame only at £2,399.99 RRP (Including Fox DHX Factory RC4, CCDB + £100) from July 9 2012
Complete bike in full 2013 spec at £4,999.99 RRP from July 23 2012