It comes as something of a shock to me to realise that come June this year I’ve had my Orange Five for 9 years. It’s time for a bit of succession planning!
I do truly love my Five. It’s been everywhere that I’ve been over the past 9 years and I’ve no plans to sell it. It’s not the same machine as I started out with, being a bit of a Trigger’s broom, but the frame, shock, seatpost and stem are still original fit items.
In that time, things have moved on. Slacker, longer, bigger wheels, wider bars and better components mean today’s Five is a different beast to my bike. It’s probably a bit heavier and it’s certainly stiffer, with better controlled suspension. I’ve thought for a long time about what I would replace my Five with and have always thought that it would be another Orange thanks in no small part to the bomb proof reliability of my current Five. That sort of thing counts for a lot when the bike is used year round.
I’ve often thought the new Five would be the obvious option; then again a Segment looks to offer the same kind of experience with bigger wheels but shorter travel. However, there’s a new option on the table – the new 2016 Orange Four, recently announced at the Core Bike Show. So now we have three things to consider.
The Four is essentially a short travel Five; less gnarr perhaps but actually very close to the very well thought of Segment in terms of dimensions. For example the Four offers a 67° head angle, an 1153mm wheelbase and an effective top tube of 610mm, running on 27.5 Boosted wheels. The Segment in comparison has a 67.5° head angle, a wheelbase of 1157mm with an effective top tube of 600mm and larger 29er wheels.
What’s interesting is the Segment can now also accept 27.5 Plus-sized rubber, making it even more versatile, while the Four has a weight advantage and longer travel.
That’s a really hard choice to make!
While all this is happening, the Five boasts more travel than the Four (but not much), a significantly longer wheelbase (1178mm) thanks to a 66° head angle and the same top tube size as the Four. So it should be more stable and just more hardcore in general; probably more hardcore than I need to be honest.
So in the spirit of succession planning I’m leaning toward the thought of a Four. It seems to offer what I currently have with improvements to performance across the board and if I accept it won’t take Plus sized rubber it looks pretty future-proof. The only trouble is a frame, fork and wheelset is likely to be quite an expensive purchase without allowing for other sundry build up costs.
First things first though. I fancy a demo of the Four vs the Segment, then I need some financial planning and in the meantime, my immediate future looks like it will be Pine Mountain shaped. Watch this space.