Dave borrows an Orange Segment over the Easter weekend to put through its paces in the Surrey Hills.
Let’s start but giving a bit of a background to this review. The Orange Segment is classed as a “Trail” bike by Orange, the same as a Five. From a distance it looks like a Five as well, lets face it most Oranges with a bouncy rear end look like a Five!
In order to write this review I borrowed the demo bike from Cycleworks in Leatherhead over the Easter weekend and rode it around Holmbury St Mary, Peaslake and Winterfold Woods.
Collectively this area is known as the Surrey Hills and provides pretty much all sorts of riding apart from long downhill “a la Wales”. Sections (segments?) can be anything from 30 seconds (that’s about 26 seconds on Strava if the GPS error is in your favour) to 3 minutes long if you’re lucky. Segments can be windy singletrack to berm built, high speed adrenaline sections with drops-offs and gap jumps. Now I don’t do jumps but I guess most of you would want more than the 110mm rear suspension that the Segment offers. Obviously for “Flytipper” you need a fully carbon 8” monster as we all know. (note to readers, watch the video and before commenting, it’s a local thing).
The trails were drying on the Saturday ride but by the time Monday came along there was more dry line than wet and roots were no longer likely to throw you off-line. Marvellous!
The Segment I borrowed was the “S” model in a rather bright orange. Even on the base model everything was purposeful and the only thing I would have changed – the tyres – already had been.
This bike was rolling on a Specialized Butcher on the front and a Control on the back which is what I’ve got on my own bikes anyway. Interestingly even though the wheels were quite a basic Mavic I still found plenty of grip on what these days is considered by many to be a narrow rim (with, horror of horrors, something called a tube inside!!).
The Deore brakes performed faultlessly and allowed plenty of control and feel to the braking. The Revelation forks seemed a bit stiff at the recommended pressure for a **Kg rider ( mind your own business!) but dropping it 20 PSI seemed to give me full travel and a front that gripped in most conditions.
The rear Monarch also performed faultlessly set at 25% sag. I only engaged the lock-outs for long steady climbs, the rest of the time I left the shocks fully open. Drive train, although uninspiring, worked faultlessly as most should these days, I’m just used to having 1×11-42 rather than the 2x set up. This did make the controls a little crowded on the left as the Reverb Stealth remote was fitted there as well (another extra from the standard spec.). Anyway, I managed and I don’t drop the saddle every few minutes anyway.
So, that’s the bike, what did it handle like? Well, I’ve had 2 Orange Fives and now an Orange Gyro. The first Five, a 2007 vintage I think, was probably one of the best all purpose bikes you could get at the time. It handled everything well and also looked after you. In general I’d say Oranges are never going to win going up hill but you’ll be middle of the pack quite happily.
By the time I got my second Five they’d got quite slack and lost a little of the general purpose feel that I liked. This did worry me going into this review as the Gyro is a damn fast general purpose bike but the Segment is 2 degrees slacker, a tad heavier and 7mm longer. Was it going to feel like my last Five?
I’m happy to say that the Segment is a fine bike for the Surrey Hills and I dare say most of Wales and most trail centres as well! I’ve no idea how well it jumps but I’m sure it would be OK (Fly Tipper excluded, natch). One area I noticed the Segment come alive was a long, steppy, rocky descent that I tend to pick at even on the Gyro.
The Segment I just let go and it ate it all up and asked for more. Tight twisty singletrack was also dispatched without so much as a belch. One trail that stands out for me on the Monday is chasing Jessica Weston, a coach from Singletrackschool, down “Charlie Bronson”. Now, Jess is a coach and a racer, I’m neither but I do consider myself a competent rider and the Segment allowed me to stay with her for most of the descent bar the last 10 percent where she disappeared. There was a noticeable wait until the 3rd place rider appeared!
So, superb downhill, great at the fast and twisty stuff, how about the climbs. To be honest I’m no where near my fittest having has a virus filled Winter but I have to say that my worries about the Segment becoming hard work with the slacker head angle proved to be unfounded. Only pure exhaustion put paid to me after the refuel stop, nothing to do with the bike. Barrie Knows Best is a trail that can show this up and even though I was pretty much dead by the time we hit it I was able to keep my speed through the middle section which is quite pedally. Something like the 140mm Five29 (now named the Alpine Five – 140mm travel 29er Five) felt quite hard work along there.
So in summary the Orange Segment is a great bike. Yes, it may be more expensive than the new Mondeo of the Surrey Hills, the YT Industries Capra, but you’ll stand out and be riding a British made frame, capable of riding through mud with clearance to spare and only 2 bearings to worry about. You can also chose from a selection of bright colours!
Time for a Brew!
I’d like to thank Cycleworks for providing this bike to review.