Orange’s big wheeler is no lightweight racer but it’s a super fun, easy-speed all-day technical trail bike with all their trademark Halifax home toughness built in.
Ride & handling: 26er fun with 29er speed and security
At 30lb it’s no racer, but Orange have worked hard to make the Gyro as fun as their 26in bikes. For a start the front wheel comes up no problem, making manuals off drops and 30mph drainage ditch hops second nature. The stiffen-under-power, soften-under-pull-up single pivot suspension character is totally intuitive too.
The short stem and short front centre turn much sharper than the angles would suggest too. Its scarily twitchy if you get too far forward, but makes mid-corner corrections easy so we didn’t get hung up going the long way round if we got the entry wrong.
Once we were up to speed, the Gyro effect of the bigger wheels and the wide ﬂat bar removed any doubts about stability too, ploughing down random rock and root trails with unholy enthusiasm.
Swingarm ﬂex means there’s often some lively debate between frame and back wheel as to which line to take, but as long as we kept the bars and forks locked on target we rarely had to touch the brakes.
While the 165mm can look tiny, you only have to ﬂick the ProPedal damping on while hammering across a rocky, rooty section to realise how well the 110mm (4.3in) of travel keeps the back end connected.
Add smooth rolling, rock shrinking big wheels and the result is an absolute off-piste ripper and rough terrain speed sustainer that only feels its weight on long smooth climbs or when you need to heave it over a locked gate.
Frame & equipment: No-nonsense trail bruiser
The Gyro has the same single pivot swingarm format that Orange have been using for more than a decade. It’s been reshaped to ﬁt the bigger wheels in, but while the swingarm is longer, the 1,150mm wheelbase of our large (19in) sample is slap between the wheelbase of the 18in and 20in sizes of Orange’s Five trail bike. The mix of butted 6061-T6 Reynolds seat tube and top tube with Halifax built seam welded down tube and swingarm is also the same.
Ample mudroom, internally swingarm-routed brake and gear lines and easily replaceable bearings make it long-term-tough. It comes with a 135x12mm Maxle screw-through axle, but no bottle cage mounts.
The limited edition Gyro Black Gold model comes with top spec Fox fork and shock for maximum control and a workmanlike spec that suits Orange’s long-lived, zero-fuss reputation down to the muddy ground.
Soon-to-be available 2013 S and Pro models will come with the usual Hope upgrade menu though, and there’ll also be a frame-only option for £1,499.99.
Fox’s top-end air shock delivers 110mm (4.3in) of travel
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.