Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Orange Five 14″ review – One for the ladies

Posted by Tony | September 2, 2009 | 7 comments so far

Orange Five small (14 inch) frame
The search for something with full bounce has been continuing for Debbie—my better half—for a while (see ‘Orange Five Diva review – one (not?) for the ladies‘). Many bikes have been tested (Orange, Specialized, Trek, Kona) and although she knew she wanted a full susser she didn’t want to spend a huge amount on a new machine, so the trawl through eBay began.

I checked every week for ‘small suspension’, ‘womens suspension’, ’14” suspension frame’ and every other permutation you could think of until the proverbial hens teeth finally appeared.

What was it that we finally unearthed? It was a 2006(?) 14″ Orange Five. This was the only one that I’d ever seen for sale and although it had an ‘interesting’ spec, the 14″ geometry is the same as the ‘long’ ladies 14″ Orange Diva. The advert said hardly used.

With fingers crossed, in went a bid and a week later I was opening a bike box with a certain amount of trepidation. I needn’t of worried. The description was spot on and Debbie said that it looked like one of my bikes after about 2 weeks use.

As you may have seen, just a week after getting the Orange Five I broke my collarbone. Debbie took this news with good grace ‘great you can look after Alex (our son) and I can get in loads of biking’. Hence the race was on to get the bike just to her liking ASAP.

So what of the ‘interesting’ spec? Well as you may have read about our earlier disappointments with demo’ing an Orange Five Diva, this was another great bike fighting to overcome a strange spec. Much of the ‘new’ bike was spot on, XT gears/brakes, Thomson seatpost/stem, FSA carbon risers (not too wide this time), Manitou front/rear shocks, Hope finishing accessories all colour co-ordinated in blue.

Orange Five small (14 inch) frame

What was odd? Well again (Orange Five Diva!) this was a very small frame with 175mm cranks – why do people do this!? These were soon replaced with Deore Hollowtech 170mm cranks. Plus it came with a 90mm stem, again absolutely too long for a bike of this size. This has been replaced with a fetching blue 60mm Hope stem (another eBay bargain).

Also the wheels/tyres (Deore hubs, Weinmann rims, Continental Gravity 2.3 DH tyres with wire bead) although fine in terms of performance are seriously heavy on a bike for mainly XC duties, especially in this small size. These were swapped for the LX/Mavic 717 wheels from Debbie’s HT. The geometry was now spot on, exactly matching her Trek HT, plus the bike was ~2lb lighter!

After all this fine tuning, the great quality bike fighting to get out of the strange spec is finally there and the well known qualities of the Orange Five (see how many Moles have one!) are finally apparent.

Debbie is now raring to go with the Femoles. So if you are out in the Surrey Hills on Saturday mornings don’t be surprised if you get passed downhill by a lady on a silver 14″ Orange Five. Just ask Dave about Debbie’s speed downhill – and that was on her HT.

Finally just to say that I seem to be one of the few Moles without an Orange Five. I’ve always wanted one and now we have one. It’s just not the way that I expected it to happen!

Filed under Bikes, Reviews in September 2009


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  1. rebecca says:

    Hi i am selling my orange 5 diva full suss bike where would you recomend i do this is ebay worth it ? Only used a few times as brought then got pregnant now lost confidence no longer want to ride!!

  2. tony says:

    Hi Rebecca

    It’s probably worth 60-80% of the purchase price.

    Why don’t you go for some Astounding Adventures or Dirt Diva’s training to overcome your lack of confidence? It seems a shame to buy such a nice bike and not ride it.

  3. stevend says:

    If you are selling because you need the money or space, then I would just try looking around for similar specs or as previously stated try 80% of the buy price. Add in a link to the review here as it highlights how good the bike is. Maybe consider looking for female MTB group to advertise on ?

    While I think it is a shame for a good bike to not get used, it would also be a shame to sell it and regret later.

    My wife (still has) confidence issues with riding bikes, but when your little one(s) get to say 5yo they will want Mummy to go on little bike rides with them. Although the bike is a tad over spec’ed for that, you may feel differently afterwards.

    It is a difficult one. I say have one more go via some coaching because I have had some wonderful times taking my daughter on bike rides in local nature reserves and on holidays.


  4. pij says:


    you’ve made the decision to move on your life, so if you keep the bike it’ll just sit there reminding you of what you may consider to be a failing in your life? Bit deep, but if you’re looking at the bike as a negative now, it’ll not suddenly become a positive in 6 months time… by which point it would have degraded in value even more.

    eBay starting at 99p, but with some excellent photographs and a stunning description. Bike needs to be sparkling. eBay seems to be ‘hot’ at the moment, so you may do well, but then again the weather has turned!

    Personally I always applaud people that are able to move on, and do so fairly quickly. You tried it, it didn’t work, so isn’t that a positive experience? Don’t turn it into a negative by keeping the bike forever.

  5. pij says:

    …if you do go down the eBay route, may I suggest you refrain from saying something like: “Bought bike on a whim, didn’t like it, gave me no confidence, want space now, quick sale required…”

    More: “excellent bike out on the trails – really responsive and quick; way beyond my abilities so a bike that will stretch you as your confidence grows; little use simply as I got pregnant! Gets lots of admiring glances and jealous looks from the men. Seems a shame to have such a fine machine sitting in my garage when somebody else could be out having as much fun as I did with it. My partner and informal cycle club members really don’t want me to sell it. Please see a review of this fine bike here…”

    A little artistic licence doesn’t hurt so long as it is truthful and creates a positive image, hence a little extra cash at the end.

  6. rebecca says:

    Cheers for your comments guys its not that I dont want a bike at all, just not one so high spec’d really feel a bit daft on dirt tracks on my Orange ha ha!!

    Will try E Bay but if you know any one who wants to buy one do let me know as they really are a gorgeous looking bike and respond v well.

    As for confidence just keep falling off fell at Kielder and it took 6 weeks for my leg to heal so leaving it as a bad job, husband gutted but what can you do with 2 kids cannot have an invalid Mummy !!


  7. pij says:

    Ha ha! I tried to get my wife interested in mountain biking, but she really couldn’t see the point of it. Still can’t either, even after 20 years of my doing it.

    I could imagine not being too keen either if an injury took 6 weeks to mend. Good on you for trying it though.

    Good luck with the sale. eBay would be the quickest mode, but adverts here or on other MTB sites such as Singletrack world or Diary of a Mountain Biker may well get you a better price, but you’d have to potentially wait a bit longer. It doesn’t sound as though you are in a rush, so why not try a forum? Look on eBay to see what price they fetch there at open auction [completed listings], then add in another 10% or 20% of that value to get a fair forum price. Or just go for 75% of purchase value, less the cost of any repairs that may need doing following that awful crash.

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