Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Orange Gyro 29er – a Five, more or less

Posted by Matt | April 2, 2012 | 5 comments so far

Orange Mountain Bikes have finally released their first 29er bike, a full sus trail bike called the Gyro. While clearly based on the Orange Five, it provides less travels with bigger wheels so depending how you want to call it you’re getting more for your money, or less.

How much travel are we talking about? 110mm at the rear and 120mm at the front of the Gyro, compared to 140mm on the rear of the Five and up to 160mm on the front. Close, but distinctly different.

The jury no longer seems to be out on 29ers. People really seem to have got the point, and with publications like Bikeradar raving about the new Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc it seems there really must be quantifiable benefits from running big wheels. I wouldn’t go so far as to say you go faster with less effort but based on my experiences with the Inbred 29er on rigid forks, there’s a distinct element of skill compensation going on with 29ers. Mind you, to go fast on any bike takes something, but you know what I mean.

Orange effectively say in their press release they didn’t produce a 29er sooner because they wanted to be sure of the benefits. Well, didn’t we all? The truth is the market now pretty much demands a 29er on the books of some form and it takes time for a small company to design, manufacture and test a new concept, so it’s not surprising Orange wanted to be sure they were going to get a return on their R&D.

But better late than never. We saw a prototype of the new Gyro at the Cycleworks Demo Day in early March and while the production frames are 0.5 a degree slacker on the headtube, Dave seemed to think it felt like a pretty capable machine. I don’t they will have any trouble shifting the first production run of bikes (which are all the black’n’gold JPS ‘colorway’) as reason would suggest that a 29er version of the Five should be both fast and fun. Or make that faster and more fun?

As a 2007 Five owner, I hope this new machine is a success. I do have three reservations about both the Five and this new Gyro. First off, I can’t help but think there might be significant benefits from producing a carbon version of these bikes, as Santa Cruz have done with their machines, although I’d guess there’s a fearsome cost involved in building skill in this area. But with the UK being the centre of F1 there’s a fair bit of composite expertise around.

Second, the current design of the frame limits the ability to run a true 2×10 setup as there’s a chance the pivot bearing fouls the chainline; added to which the pivot is optimised to work for 32T. According to Orange, running something like 39/26 moves the chain away from this optimal point to the detriment of suspension performance. As someone who normally rides either in the 32T or 44T I’m not sure I’d notice a significant problem but on paper the risk is there.

Finally, that name Gyro. I don’t like it at all. I can see it’s supposed to refer to the gyroscopic effect of large wheels but to me it sounds more like Giro, as in a pensioner collecting their bank giro. I’m not sure I want to sound like an mtb’ing pensioner! I’d have preferred something like an Orange Pealer I think but I wonder if anyone has any better ideas?

Filed under 2012, News in April 2012


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 5 comments on ‘Orange Gyro 29er – a Five, more or less’

We love to get comments from our readers - if you've spent a few moments to comment, thank-you.

If you haven't had a chance yet, jump to our comments form if you have something to say.

  1. tony says:

    Hi Matt
    It looks like an interesting bike (I like the colour scheme). Although I think that there seems to be still a good deal of companies attempting to get the best 29er geometry.

    I certainly need to test ride some of these beasts in the near future to see what all the fuss is about. I hear that a unnamed mole has a Niner Jet on order. That’s a bike I’d like to try!

    It would be hard to justify a third full susser in the garage though.

    • Matt says:

      I’ve only got the one full susser and have no need to change to anything else at this stage, but occasionally there’s a bit of bike boredom which makes me wonder…

      Really, I love my Five but it now needs some work on its worn out drivetrain, hence the wavering over a proper 2×10 plan – more on that later.

      There does seem to be something to 29ers but although you’ll notice an immediate difference I think you’d need 50-100 miles to start to bed things in. Switching back to a 26er after that makes everything feel very twitchy, which could easily be construed as a 26er being more nervous in feel. I’m not so sure that’s the case though.

      Having said all that, I have a couple of ‘ambition’ bikes and they’re both 29ers at the moment. Or I could become an XC riding God and buy an Epic! But someone may already be thinking about that.

      As for the Niner – I think I know who you mean…

  2. Dave says:

    Surely an Orange Peeler would be a marriage of an Orange and a Charge?

    I have the same problem as Tony really, justifying a 3rd full susser, especially as I’m already a 29er convert. As I said on Facebook I might wait until 650b set the world on fire and wait for the Orange Pyro!

  3. wobbem says:

    Watch this vid frame by frame after 55 sec just after the blue one lands a jump, shot from the rear. Note the twist in the rear swingarm? Made me think about single pivot rear travel bike with a whole new perpective.

    • Dave says:

      Hi Wob,
      I see what you mean but not sure I could say it was the swing arm and not the wheel flexing. Certainly my 4 bar Spider was flexy so if it is the swing arm it’s not the single pivot that is to blame. If it was there’d be a whole lot of Flexy Fives out there and it’s not a word you normally associate with Orange Fives. Be interesting to try and press one side by side with a Five and see how much more deflection there is on the Gyro.

Leave a comment…

Have your say – we'd love to hear what you think.

If you have something to add, just complete this comment form (we will not publish your email address).

*Required information.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.