Orange say its new Four was born to fill the trail riding gap opened up by the increasingly aggressive focus of the Five. But in RS guise it’s capable of a lot more than just Sunday XC spins.
Orange Four RS: the frame
The Four has the traditional boxy Orange facade and single-pivot rear end but the frame’s about as refined as it can be and made from a lighter, thinner grade of alloy.
The short rear end and upright seat angle mean there’s no lack of grip or wandering on climbs.
Up front, Orange has hit the nail on the head with a top tube that’s long enough for a 40mm stem without making you stretch to reach it (650mm, XL). The 67-degree head angle may sound somewhat upright but it never feels it.
Orange Four RS: the kit
The RS is built around RockShox’s hard-hitting Pike fork, Monarch DebonAir shock and Reverb dropper post. It’s good to see a Renthal bar and stem, Hope hubs and Maxxis tyres – brands often spec cheap kit in these areas that’ll require pricey upgrading in future.
Some brands skimp on cockpit kit, but Orange provides a Renthal combo Andy McCandlish
SRAM’s Guide R brakes can fade off on long descents but generally offer decent modulation and power. Its GX 11-speed drivetrain may be entry-level but the chain snicks its way up and down the gears in a fuss-free fashion and the tiny 30t Race Face ring lets you climb up just about anything.
Top all this off with the suitably sticky tyres and there are few holes in the Four RS’s armour. Yes, you can get a better spec by buying from an online brand but your frame won’t be made in the UK and it’s unlikely you’ll get a much tougher build.
Orange Four RS: the ride
The Orange climbs well. It’s not the lightest bike in the world but, thanks to that steep seat angle and easy gearing, it spins its way uphill without ever feeling like a burden. The Monarch shock helps keep things bob-free to boot.
On smooth, fast trail centre descents, the Four RS instantly induces a grin. At first we were unsure how hard to push it, but that was soon forgotten and we got on with wringing its neck!
The Orange lives for squaring off berms and popping rollers while carrying a ridiculous turn of speed. Because you’re sat right in the middle of the frame, every input feels precise and intuitive, and this is helped further by the short back end.
This bike is capable of a lot more than just Sunday XC spins Andy McCandlish
The Monarch shock does ramp up quite a bit towards the end of its short stroke, so for rootier, choppier trails we ended up running a bit more sag than usual, but not enough for the Orange to ever feel in trouble.
With shorter travel comes a need to ride the Halifax flyer slightly differently – you can’t just thud through things. It’s fast work, though, and the Four rewards precision and finesse with pure unadulterated speed.
Time and time again we pushed onto ever steeper, ever faster trails and the Four RS just kept coming up with answers. It’s an intoxicating bike that’s a blast to ride.