Orange Segment RS review

A simple, short-travel singletrack shredder that delivers no-frills thrills

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
£4,000.00 RRP

Our review

The Segment is a whole bunch of contradictions, but if you can get over those it’s a big slice of fun.
Buy if, You want to simultaneously entertain and terrify yourself on a boundary busting bike
Pros: Manages to provides grins in terrain it has no right to thanks to confident handling
Cons: Rather expensive considering the components and it’s on the weighty side for a short travel bike
Skip to view product specifications

The punningly named Segment is Orange’s short travel 29er and it’s been around for a couple of years now, but there have been some subtle but important tweaks for 2017 to help turn it into an even more capable machine.

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With 120mm up front and 110mm at the rear, you might well expect the Orange Segment to be a bike completely focused on big days in the saddle with a light bit of cross-country racing thrown in. However, if you know anything about Orange, you’ll know that it doesn’t really do bikes that sit neatly in an easy to categorise box and that’s how it is with the Segment. 

The real giveaway is the chunky Maxxis rubber fitted to either end. Up front, there’s a fat 2.3” Minion DHF in a sticky 3C compound while out back there’s an equally chunky High Roller 2. Both get a tubeless ready and reinforced casing too, meaning the Segment sports some properly no-nonsense all-conditions aggressive rubber. 

Add in the sturdy chassis of a RockShox Pike RCT3 fork up front, some seriously powerful SRAM Guide R brakes and you should get the picture that this is a bike that’s not so much about riding XC trails but XXX rated ones.

SRAM Guide RS brakes offer decent power
SRAM Guide RS brakes offer decent power
Russell Burton

Make it better, do it faster

While the outline of the frame will be instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with the old bike – and indeed any Orange bike ever – the single pivot monocoque aluminium chassis has seen quite a lot of tweaking.

The old curved top tube is gone, replaced by a gently arced piece of folded section with a brace to help support the seat tube, but the real trickery has gone on by the pivot area, with a new design that’s 6mm wider to boost stiffness. 

A new frame design gets rid of the curved toptube for this braced design
A new frame design gets rid of the curved toptube for this braced design
Russell Burton

Devotees of the double ring will be disappointed as this is a single-ring only design, but for most of us the 10-42T range of the SRAM drivetrain will be more than enough, especially combined with a 30T ring up front. 

SRAM provide a GX 11spd drivetrain
SRAM provide a GX 11spd drivetrain
Russell Burton

Elsewhere, thinner aluminium sheet has been used, there are new machined bits and pieces and a Boost 148 spacing back end, all of which gives a frame that’s a claimed 400g lighter than the original but actually felt a bit stiffer when out on the trail. With a weight of 13.35kg / 29.43lbs for our size medium bike it’s not exactly a flyweight, but it is built to take a pasting.

A single ring specific design allows a wider pivot for extra stiffness from the Boost 148 rear end
A single ring specific design allows a wider pivot for extra stiffness from the Boost 148 rear end
Russell Burton

The frame geometry is broadly similar to the original, save for the head angle getting 0.5º steeper at 68º and the reach growing by 11mm to 435mm. While the effective seat angle is relatively steep at 74º, the actual seat angle is pretty slack at 71.5º, meaning that the higher you’re running your saddle, the rearwards your weight will be, especially on steep climbs. 

It’d be nice to have it a bit steeper to help maintain a nicely aggressive position when pedalling sat down, but the Segment is more about getting up and attacking the trail, which is when the usefully wide 780mm Renthal bar and 50mm stem come into their own, allowing you to muscle the bike where you want it, making the most of the ability of the big wheels to calm down ground chatter and keep you in contact with the trail. 

A short stem and wide bars let you know this bike means business on the downhills
A short stem and wide bars let you know this bike means business on the downhills
Russell Burton

Of course, the relatively limited travel on offer means that the Segment is a much more visceral ride over rough terrain than a longer travel machine, but that’s part of the appeal. You can rattle at warp speed into techy sections and as long as your nerve – and often luck – holds, you’ll be pinballed out of it just fine. 

With a dinky 36mm stroke, the Monarch RT3 shock has it’s work cut out to tame the relentless beating it inevitably ends up receiving and if you’re expecting a plush ride you’ve definitely come to the wrong party, but the nicely progressive nature means it never feels too out-of-control, even when you’re buckaroo-ing like mad down a rock section. We suspect the optional Fox DPS Factory shock might feel a little bit more supple and subtle for an extra £120, but Orange’s semi-custom setup allows you to make such tweaks.

The RockShox Monarch RT3 shock has a short stroke but keeps the 110mm of travel under control
The RockShox Monarch RT3 shock has a short stroke but keeps the 110mm of travel under control
Russell Burton

While you’re pondering the options sheet, getting shut of the rather workmanlike KS Lev Integra with the rather unpleasant-to-use on bar remote for a much more refined RockShox Reverb is probably a good idea. Unless you beat wheels to death very quickly and will be due replacements soon enough, then moving to the Factory wheelset with wider RaceFace Arc rims from the other rather than the stock Mavic XM624 items is also a good move. The 27mm internal width gives a good, squared off profile to the tyres and they’re also tubeless ready, allowing you to drop some rolling weight almost immediately.

The Segment encourages lairy riding behaviour when the trail turns steep and technical
The Segment encourages lairy riding behaviour when the trail turns steep and technical
Russell Burton
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Minor spec grumbles aside, the Segment packs in a lot of giggles into a short-travel machine. Yes, it doesn’t make much sense on paper and yes, direct sales rivals make this UK-made machine look rather poor value, but once you’re letting rip on a twisty techy trail, there aren’t many better ways to put a smile on your face. Add in the simplicity of the single pivot design consequent ease of maintenance and you’re looking at a bike that’s likely to be a bit of a cult classic.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Segment RS
Brand Orange

Available Sizes M L XL
Rear Tyre Maxxis High Roller II
Wheelbase (in) 45.95
Top Tube (in) 23.27
Standover Height (in) 28.82
Seat Tube (in) 23.27
Chainstays (in) 17.6
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 13.19
Wheelset Hope Pro 4 (Black) + Mavic XM624 29"
Weight (kg) 13.35
Stem Renthal Apex M35 50mm extension
Shifters SRAM GX1 11spd
Seatpost KS Lev Integra 125mm drop
Seat Angle 71.5
Saddle SDG Strange Bel Air 2.0
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch RT3 165 x 36mm
Bottom Bracket SRAM GXP
Rear Derailleur SRAM X0-1 Carbon 11spd
Headset Type Cane Creek 49mm
Head Angle 68
Handlebar Renthal Fatbar M35 20mm Rise 800mm
Grips/Tape Renthal Ultra Tacky Lock On
Front Tyre Maxxis Minion DHF
Front Derailleur Top Guide Chain Device
Frame Material 6061-T6 Monocoque UK Formed Custom Aluminium Tubing
Fork RockShox Pike 120 RCT3 Solo Air Boost
Cranks SRAM X1 Carbon 30t
Chain SRAM PCX1 11spd
Cassette SRAM PG1150 10-42 11spd
Brakes SRAM Guide R 200mm/180mm
Frame size tested M