Orange Stage 6 Factory first ride review£5,700.00

Characterful wagon-wheeled speed machine

Orange’s signature single-pivot layout is as iconic as the brand itself and gives its bikes an unmistakeable ride feel. The 29in-wheeled Stage 6 has plenty of character and this top-end Factory model gets many of the bells and whistles you’d expect from a bike costing only a little under £6k / $7k.

Orange Stage 6 Factory spec overview

  • Frame: 6061-T6 aluminium alloy, 150mm (5.9in) travel
  • Fork: Fox 36 Float Factory, 160mm (6.3in) travel
  • Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle with GX Eagle shifter
  • Cranks: Truvativ Descendant Carbon (1x12)
  • Wheelset: Stan’s NoTubes Flow MK2 rims on Hope Pro 4 hubs
  • Tyres: Maxxis Minion DHF 3C EXO TR 29x2.5in (front) and Minion DHR II EXO TR 29x2.4in (rear)
  • Brakes: Hope Tech 3 E4, 203/180mm rotors
  • Bar: Burgtec Ride Wide Carbon, 800mm
  • Stem: Burgtec Enduro MK2, 32mm
  • Seatpost: Fox Transfer Factory dropper
  • Saddle: SDG Radar
  • Weight: 13.8kg (30.42lb), medium size without pedals

Orange Stage 6 Factory frame

No hydroforming here, the swingarm is made of manipulated alloy sheet
No hydroforming here, the swingarm is made of manipulated alloy sheet

The Halifax-based brand uses its tried-and-tested aluminium monocoque build process on the Stage 6, with the front and rear triangles made from seam-welded, manipulated alloy sheet.

The low standover height is a boost when negotiating terrain where you might have to dab a foot, but comes at the expense of a bottle cage mount. With only a single pivot and shock holding the two ends together, it’s not a super-stiff chassis, but that has its advantages too, and it’s that simplicity that makes this bike ride as it does.

Despite it being an enduro-focused machine, Orange hasn’t gone wild with the Stage 6’s geometry. A reach of 444mm on the medium size is nicely balanced by a 450mm rear end, giving a wheelbase of 1,223mm — not short, but not stretched either.

The head angle is a fairly slack 65.5 degrees and the seat angle a moderate 74.5 degrees, while the bottom bracket is slung low, at 335mm.

Orange Stage 6 Factory kit

This Factory model gets a matching Factory series Fox 36 Float fork and Float X2 shock. The latter came fitted with two volume spacers, leaving space for two more.

It rolls on Stan’s Flow rims, Hope Pro 4 hubs and mid-width Maxxis Minion tyres, with Hope also providing the Tech 3 E4 brakes.

The drivetrain is mostly SRAM X01 Eagle, but with a downgraded GX shifter and upgraded Truvativ Descendant carbon cranks. Finishing kit is a mash-up of Burgtec cockpit components, a Fox Transfer dropper, SDG saddle and Orange’s own grips.

Stay off the brakes, pump the bike and hop it over the harshest of hits and the Stage 6 seems to generate speed
Stay off the brakes, pump the bike and hop it over the harshest of hits and the Stage 6 seems to generate speed

Orange Stage 6 Factory ride impressions

Without doing multiple, comparable, repeatable runs against the clock, it’s impossible to quantify just how quick the Stage 6 is, but it certainly feels that way when you ride it.

Orange’s single-pivot system doesn’t give a hugely refined ride feel. The rear suspension stiffens slightly under braking, encouraging the rear wheel to lose traction earlier than on other designs, and there’s some kickback through the cranks when you hit a root, rock or drop. But it does give you a lot of ‘feel’ through the pedals, which helps deliver that impression of speed.

It’s a communicative bike that doesn’t entirely insulate you from the ground, but doesn’t do much to hold you back from pushing harder either.

Stay off the brakes, pump the bike and hop it over the harshest of hits and the Stage 6 seems to generate speed, while at the same time being a whole heap of fun.

The geometry doesn’t necessarily scream flat-out enduro racing, but the well-centred riding position makes it an easy bike to haul round corners, as long as you’ve got the grippy Minion DHF front tyre well weighted.

Oranges are rarely the best climbers, so the shock’s two-position (open/firm) low-speed compression damping lever is a handy addition. I’d also add two more volume spacers, because, out of the box, I felt I needed a little more progression.

Orange Stage 6 Factory early verdict

It’s not a bump-smoothing ride, but the Stage 6 is a fast, fun and rewarding bike.
Tom Marvin

Technical Editor, Tech Hub, UK
Tom's been riding for 15 years, and has always chopped and changed bikes as soon as his budget allowed. He's most at home in the big mountains, having spent nigh on 30 weeks riding the Alps, as well as having lived a stone's throw from the Scottish Highlands for four years. Tom also enjoys racing events like the Strathpuffer and the Trans Nepal.
  • Age: 29
  • Height: 182cm / 5'11"
  • Weight: 82kg / 180lb
  • Waist: 81cm / 32in
  • Chest: 97cm / 38in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep and super tech or fast and flowy
  • Current Bikes: Canyon Spectral, Pivot Mach 429SL, Mondraker Vantage R +
  • Dream Bike: Transition Scout
  • Beer of Choice: Gin & tonic
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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