Freshly squeezed: The brand new Orange Four.

It’s probably fair to say that the Orange Four is a modern take on what the Orange Five set out to be 15 years ago. Since then we’ve got better suspension, wheels, drivetrain… you name it. The Five has become a bigger, harder hitting bike and has left behind space for a shorter travel alternative.

Over the coming months, our web guru Jim will be thrashing Orange’s newest stablemate to see if bigger wheels and slightly less travel leads to a different experience to his previous Orange test bikes.

Words: Jim Smith / Photos: Alexandra Aggelidis

Meet the Orange Four

  • 130mm front/120mm rear travel
  • 67 degree headangle
  • 27.5″ (650b) wheels

Orange Four RS

The figures.

The Orange Four is based around travel figures of 130mm front and 120mm rear. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but there are plenty of bikes on the market now pitching shorter travel whilst holding on to slacker, longer geometry to try and strike a balance between spending all day in the saddle and having fun on the descent.

The geometry figures are very similar to what we’ve seen from other manufacturers and indeed the Five itself, 67 degree head angle (66 on the Five), 330mm bottom bracket (10mm lower than the Five) and 473mm reach and 616mm stack for this 20″ XL frame.

The frame itself has been built in the same factory as the Five but with lighter gauge tubing in places, they’ve clearly cut some weight from the swingarm and as a result they’ve shaved around a pound off the weight of a Five frame.

The £3700 Four RS we’ve got to test here is probably the spec we’d splash our hard-earned on given the choice, a sensible mix of Pike’s, Monarch rear shock, SRAM GX1 drivetrain, Hope Pro 4 hubs, RaceFace cranks and Renthal bars and stem. It’s a good blend of performance and value for money and credit to Orange, there isn’t a thing on it I immediately want to change. Too often bikes come with odd part choices but none of that here.

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Sibling rivalry

Over the years I’ve managed to make my way through most of the Orange catalogue at one time or another, from a 222 to the Alpine 160, Five and now testing this Four for a few months. It’s difficult not to test this without comparing it to at least two of its bigger brothers.

The Alpine 160 is overkill for anything but the toughest, steepest terrain in the UK, Alpine is definitely the right name for it. The Five is so capable it’s often difficult to forget it’s a trail bike, bolt on a 150mm fork and a big volume shock and it’s happy in an enduro race. But the Five isn’t the most efficient ascender and unless your local trails are super gnarly, it feels a bit like you’re carrying a bit of extra bulk around. So really this is where the Four comes in – slightly less travel, a bit less weight. Will it make a better all rounder? Only time will tell..

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It’s easy to forget that you don’t just pedal on climbs, a bike that pedals well will also make a difference on the flatter bits between descents or even the descent itself so it’ll be interesting to compare to the Five and see what it brings up.

The next few months

I’m looking forward to taking this on for the next few months and seeing how it weighs up, I’m certainly not the smoothest rider around nor the lightest so the chance to put it through its paces and see how it handles anything from the local woods to bike park black runs. For more information check out the Orange Four RS on the Orange Bikes website.P1030890