Orange Segment S review

Small travel 29er that promises a huge slice of fun

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £2,500.00 RRP | AUD $4,499.00

Our review

An honest, durable and engagingly entertaining, fast flowing hooligan that gets better the harder you ride
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Orange has been producing seriously functional yet fun bikes using UK-built semi-monocoque frames featuring a simple swingarm layout for nearly 20 years. Cut and welded frame sections, durable bearings and super thick paint are big parts of the Orange DNA – and the brand’s well-deserved customer loyalty.

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Frame and equipment: a tough customer worthy of a rolling stock upgrade

However, it’s the geometry that turns base metal into engaging entertainment on the trail. While 110mm 29ers from most brands would be uptight XC race machines, Orange’s Segment is a slack steering, super long wheelbase sled with a clear downhill dynamic.

Structurally it’s an unashamedly tough and correspondingly hefty aggro machine with the RockShox Revelation fork held in an oversized 1.5in head tube, chain device tabs on the conventional bottom bracket and a 142mm screw-thru axle at the end of the long chainstays. Rear derailleur cable and disc hose disappear into the slab-sided monocoque swingarm and it’s ready to take an internally routed dropper post, which is available on the optional upgrade/custom paint list.

RockShox’ revelation fork is a great performer, but in its 29er guise on big terrain, the 32mm stanchions can start to feel a bit spindly:
Russell Burton

RockShox’ Revelation fork is a great performer, but in its 29er guise on big terrain, the 32mm stanchions can start to feel a bit spindly

The option we’d definitely tick is the Maxxis tyre upgrade. While the stock hard compound Continentals roll very quickly despite a decent looking tread, their lack of wet surface traction is treacherous. With the seat angle and long top tube nudging rider weight back, the front wheel is a long way off and the low-slung frame twists under load. This made the tighter, twistier sections we encountered nerve-wracking, but as soon as we’d got home and stuck on stickier rubber we felt massively more confident.

Ride and handling: a twang-tastic experience

Twist and twang of the mainframe and rear swingarm are still very apparent compared with more rigid rides, and the soft feeling underfoot when you’re trying to stomp power down can be depressing on smoother climbs. The way the Segment naturally distorts and conforms to the trail rather than chattering across it adds micro traction that matches the most sensitively tuned shocks. When you do finally lose traction it does so with a spectacular catapult effect, but all the testers were surprised just how much load you can force through the treads before it will let go.

The twangy frame can make the prospect of a climb a little depressing:

The twangy frame can make the prospect of a climb a little depressing

It’s unsurprising given the long wheelbase, low bottom bracket and trouble smoothing, speed sustaining 29er wheels, but the Orange really comes into its own as the trail opens up and you can let the suspension flow rather than fight against it through the pedals. If you like to feel a key part of the ride rather than a passenger, well, the way the suspension stiffens under power or braking lets you really ride this bike intuitively. Even the ability to twist and twang the long rear end can be a bonus when you’re trying to flick through tight sections, where it would struggle to fit otherwise.

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While the UK-built cost means basic spec and a high weight, we’ve no complaint about the function of the Shimano stop and go kit or Race Face cockpit and cranks. What seems like low value now will reveal its worth as a durable investment when you’re still hammering it around years from now.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Segment S (15)
Brand Orange

Available Sizes M L XL
Seat Angle 74
Wheelbase (in) 46.34
Top Tube (in) 24.41
Seat Tube (in) 19.02
Chainstays (in) 17.72
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.99
Weight (lb) 32.1
Year 2015
Wheelset Formula 15mm hub (F), 142x12mm hub (R)
Weight (kg) 14.56
Stem Race Face Ride
Shifters Shimano SLX 10spd
Seatpost Race Face Ride
Saddle SDG Falcon/Orange
Brakes Shimano Deore, 180mm rotors
Rims Mavic XM319
Rear Tyre Continental Trail King, 29x2.2in
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch RL, 110mm
Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX+ mech
Head Angle 67.5
Handlebar Race Face Ride 740mm
Grips/Tape Strange lock-on
Front Tyre Continental Trail King, 29x2.2in
Front Derailleur Shimano Deore
Frame Material 6061 monocoque, Reynolds custom butted tubes
Fork RockShox Revelation RL29, 120mm
Cranks Race Face Ride Bash, 34/24T
Frame size tested L