British mountain bike brand, Orange Bikes, have today released not one but two new short-travel trail bikes. The Orange Five EVO and the Orange Stage EVO are the all-new Halifax models (because that’s where they’re made).
Orange have been working on the EVO geometry of the Halifax models for a year or two now. They’ve developed shock tunes with their suspension suppliers and slowly fine tuned the EVO platform to the point where they’re absolutely smitten with it. Here’s an introduction to the new 130 mm travel 27.5″ and the new 120 mm travel 29er from Orange.
Orange EVO Halifax Models
As ever, Orange have stuck with the single-pivot suspension layout they’ve become famous (or infamous) for. The Orange Five EVO (27.5) and Stage EVO (29) are aggressive geometry bikes running 130 mm and 120 mm of rear wheel travel, respectively. With such short-travel, these bikes are bridging the gap between full suspension XC race bikes and mini-enduro trail bikes.
“Despite having the least travel of the Orange bikes I’ve ridden, the Five EVO maintained the illusion of never bottoming out, which is a first for me. I was using all travel but never once banged or had a harsh bottom out, so the tune is bang on.” – Rowan Sorrell, Orange Bikes Tester.
Orange say that precision adjustments to their suspension platform’s contact points has given rise to a frame with a bottomless ride-feel, a decisive turning ability and a lightness of step that makes climbing a joy.
Personally, I think Orange have done a very good job with their short-travel full suspension bikes in the past. I rode the Orange Stage 4 earlier this year at a Winter Bike Connection event in Italy – of the five bikes I rode that week, the Stage 4 was by far the most capable and fun bike to ride. It will be interesting to see how the EVO models with their radically different geometry ride. Anyway, I digress…
EVO frame details
Orange created new tooling and jigs especially for the new Halifax EVO models. Both frames have boost rear-end spacing and are fabricated from 6061-T6 Aluminium by the frame builders at Orange’s Halifax Frame Works. They have the very distinct Orange Bikes look about them, but there are a few details unique to the EVO models.
The Orange EVO models feature an offset asymmetric pivot that will allow riders to run various sizes of chainring or chain lines. Geometry is built around shorter offset forks; 37 mm for the Five EVO and 42 mm for the Stage EVO. A shorter fork offset lengthens a bike’s trail figure making for more stable and predictable steering.
Orange reckon that reduced fork offset has allowed them to lengthen the cockpit for riders that prefer a roomier setup. This is said to keep the rider’s weight balanced in the “sweet spot while making the most of the front wheel’s grip in turns.
Insufficient space in the front triangle means bottle bosses are placed on the underside of the downtube. That said, the frames do provide ample space for piggyback shocks. Cable routing is internal.
Orange Five EVO LE
The 27.5″ Orange Five EVO LE gets 130 mm rear wheel travel paired with a 140 mm travel fork up front. Pictured is the limited edition (hence, LE) early-release 2021 model with RS Pike Ultimate fork and Super Deluxe Ultimate air shock with dimensions 190 mm x 45 mm.
The slacker of the two Halifax models, the Five EVO, has a head angle of 64° and a seat tube angle of 74.5° (76 degrees, effective). The BB drops 35 mm from the axles to a height of 320 mm.
The Five EVO is available in sizes S-XL with seat tube lengths of 15″ to 19″. Reach is relatively long starting at 447 mm in small, creeping up to 464 mm in medium, 485 mm in large and 500 mm in XL. Chainstay length is consistent across the size range at 435 mm.
It gets a Shimano XT 12s drivetrain, HopeTech 4-pot brakes and an E13 wheelset on Hope Pro 4 hubs. The cockpit gets a Burgtec RideWide bar and a 42.5 mm reach Burgtec MK3 stem.
Orange Stage EVO LE
The Orange Stage EVO is a 29er trail bike with 120 mm rear-wheel travel paired with a 130 mm fork. The head angle sits at 65°. The seat tube angle is an effective 76 degrees, likely to afford a relatively upright pedaling position.
Reach figures span 440 mm in small stretching to 496 mm in XL. Chainstays are consistent across the frame sizes at 443 mm. Seat tubes are short at 15″ (380 mm) in small, stacking up to 19″ (480 mm) in XL. The BB drops 50 mm from the axles to a a height of 320 mm.
Pricing & Availability
These are early-release 2021 models. Both will be available from Orange Dealers from June 26th with five year frame warranty with limited lifetime crash replacement. Both the Orange Five EVO LE and Stage EVO LE will set you back £5,300.