The new 2014 Orange Bikes range launches later this month. We had a sneak preview at the dealer day at Gisburn Forest, where our bikes category manager Alex put the new 2014 Orange Five 27.5 / 650b through its paces.
- Alex putting the Orange Five through its paces at Gisburn Forest
It's only July but talk of what's going to be new for 2014 is rife. As far as mountain bikes are concerned, it's either frame material or wheel size that get people talking. One manufacturer that isn't getting caught up in the carbon race is Orange, who are sticking to their guns and producing top-quality alloy frames right here on these shores. Whilst visually Orange are continuing with the familiar single pivot design for the full suspension models and a traditional double diamond for the unsprung models, it's what's hanging off them that is causing the biggest stir.
To take a closer look we headed up to the 2014 Orange Bikes launch at Gisburn Forest. One of the hardest things when going to ride in other areas of the country is getting out of the van after an espresso-filled long drive and then jumping onto a bike and heading out into what is usually a big climb. Having the choice of shiny new bikes decked out with all the latest kit certainly helps get your enthusiasm up and forget about any quad-bursting climbs that may present themselves.
The first of the shiny new bikes we tried was the all new Five model. The Orange Five is as familiar a site at British trail centres as any bike and any changes to this British institution are going to be met with much scrutiny. For this year Orange are swapping out the 26� wheels in favour of the new 27.5 wheel. More grip, increased rollover and more manoeuvrable than a 29er, these are some of the reasons why we are being told that a 27.5 or 650b wheel should be finding its way into our sheds this year.
- The new 2014 Orange Five, with 27.5" / 650b wheels, Hope and Mavic wheelset, clutch-assisted shifting and 34mm stanchion fork.
First thoughts on the trail - well, it certainly didn't feel like a massive change. In fact, it felt pretty much like an Orange Five should feel. The first part of the test route that Orange had mapped out for us was a tight, twisty wooded bit of singletrack with tightly-spaced hairpins. The sort of area where traditionally a wagon wheeler should start to come unstuck. The Five, however, just took it all in its stride with only the on-trend wide bars causing concern on some of the tighter sections where the trees flanked the trail quite tightly. As the speed started to pick up, it was the levels of grip that started to impress. Where normally you would be looking to scrub speed off before heading into a turn, the Five encouraged you to push on and keeping testing its limits. A Hope and Mavic wheelset twinned with a 34mm stanchion fork helped keep things pointing in the right direction whilst clutch assisted shifting meant the noise associated with Oranges of old was a distant memory.
Any negatives? Well - it felt like this bike enjoyed going downhill more than uphill, so as long as you are more interested in having fun when things starting pointing downwards and are less concerned with getting back to the top in the most efficient manner, the Five could end up being the only bike you'll ever need.
DEMO A NEW 2014 ORANGE FIVE
Needless to say you can come and make up your own mind over at any of our Rutland Cycling centres. The first batch of bikes are due towards the end of this month, so give our Sales Team a call on 01780 460 705 (option 3) to reserve your place.