Orange came under new management from its manufacturing partner recently and that’s seen the introduction of smarter, lighter frames and whole new bikes by the hardcore brand, including this Four Factory.
Orange Four Factory spec overview
- Frame: 6061-T6 Alloy
- Fork: Fox 34 Factory
- Shock: Fox DPS EVOL Factory
- Wheel size: 650b
- Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle
- Brakes: SRAM Guide ULT
- Head angle: 67
- Seat angle: 72
- Reach: 458mm (L)
The re-engineered Four uses Orange’s trademark jigsaw of faceted, curved, folded and seam welded pieces but in a thinner gauge metal, with hollowed out keystone sections to shave significant weight off its chassis.
The single pivot suspension has been refined for over 20 years though and a slight shock and pivot reposition to add progression means you probably won’t need to touch the short stroke Fox Factory EVOL shock once you’ve set the basic sag pressure.
Turns out that you don’t need to worry about obvious flex in the lighter weight frame either, because there’s a vital, visceral connection between the floor, the Four and the rider that can’t be explained on paper.
As the back end is too twangy to influence it, wherever you put the tyre-fattening wide profile RaceFace front wheel using the massive 800mm RaceFace SixC carbon bar, that’s where it’s going to stay however aggressive you’re being.
The intuitive interaction between pedal pressure stiffening the suspension and steepening the angles and conversely relaxing your drive and the bike, gives it a deliciously dynamic and infectiously playful trail feel.
The 12.5kg overall weight is lighter than some carbon bikes, too, while you also get extra gear shifting from SRAM’s new Eagle X01 plus ultra durable Hope Pro 4 hubs.
So while the outward simplicity might be off putting to armchair theorists and multi linkage, carbon frame fans this latest evolution of Orange’s evergreen classic will prove them emphatically, addictively wrong where it really matters — on the rowdiest trails you dare ride
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.