Orange ST4 Pro – First ride review

Well sorted but unremarkable

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £2,919.99 RRP

Our review

It’s tough and neutrally balanced but this diluted, short-travel Orange is flat rather than fizzy
Skip to view product specifications

Orange’s short-travel ST4 has been overshadowed by their ‘so successful they can’t make it fast enough’ Five. It’s been revamped for 2011, but it’s still unlikely to steal the limelight.

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Ride & handling: Neutral pedaller that loves to climb

The immediate impression is of a well sorted but unremarkable trail bike. The steering is quick and keen enough to chase tight singletrack lines or feather front wheel traction on flat, fast tracks, and the frame is long enough for breathing space on climbs. It’s a lot more neutral in terms of pedal action than the simple swingarm Five too.

This means you rarely need to touch the ProPedal platform damping on the Fox shock, and traction is consistently good as far as the tyres allow. Less brake jack and travel mean it doesn’t pitch to and fro as much in stop/go moments, but it’ll still land a drop or suck up the odd big-hit fine.

There’s definitely less of an interactive, permanently playful feel than on other Oranges. Twist and reduced stability from the steeper, non-tapered head tube mean it’s less confident on really steep or fast descents too. At 28.5lb (12.9kg) minus pedals, weight and effort are high for price and travel.

Frame: ‘Detuned’ chassis would benefit from tapered head tube

The most surprising, potentially controversial thing about the new ST4 is that Orange told us it’s been detuned to stop riders ragging it too hard. That means there’s a conventional rather than tapered head tube and a 120mm-travel fork limit.

The head angle is a quite conservative 68 degrees, and it’s topped with a cross-country length stem and mid-width bars. There’s still a big gusset under the head tube though, and the linkage plates have been beefed up as well.

Chunky rectangular chainstays have also been added to combat rear end flex, though the seatstays are still skinny and braceless for maximum mud clearance. A machined horseshoe at the shock end and pivots above the big dropout sections complete the suspension circuit.

The overall effect is a 110mm-travel (4.3in) frame that weighs 200g less than the equivalent sized 140mm-travel (5.5in) Five. It also costs £90 more to cover the cost of the extra linkages and bearings.

Equipment: UK-proof toughness comes at a cost

Orange have matched this practical UK-made trail bike with similarly practical UK kit. Hope brakes and hubs are a highlight, with solid Mavic hoops removing any wheel worry. We’ve yet to find Maxxis Advantage tyres an actual bonus, though, besides their relatively low weight.

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The Fox open bath fork gets a screw-through 15mm axle to increase stiffness and nurture what traction there is.Transmission is an equally reliable Shimano SLX/XT mix, and the Race Face finishing kit is okay too. Considering Orange’s small volume production and the fact you’re getting a handmade UK frame, it’s not a bad price.

Orange ST4 Pro
Orange st4 pro: orange st4 pro
Russell Burton

Product Specifications

Product

Name ST4 Pro (11)
Brand Orange

Available Colours Electric Blue
Rear Hub Hope Pro 2
Brake Levers Hope Tech X2 183/162
Weight (lb) 28.5
Weight (kg) 12.9
Stem Orange Stalk +
Shifters Shimano SLX R Fire +
Seatpost Stick Up
Saddle SDG Bel Air
Rims Mavic XM317
Rear Tyre Maxxis Advantage 2.25
Rear Shock Fox Float RP23 XV
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT Shadow 10 sp
Available Sizes 16 18 20
Headset Type FSA TH857
Head Angle 68
Handlebar Supercross +
Front Tyre Maxxis Advantage 2.25
Front Derailleur Shimano SLX
Frame Material Moulded and Formed 6061-T6/Custom Butted Aluminium Tube QR Axle
Fork Fox 32 F-RL 120mm QR15
Cranks Race Face Evolve XC 10sp Turbine rings X Type
Cassette Shimano HG81-10
Brakes Hope Tech X2 183/161
Bottom Bracket Race Face X Type
Spoke Type DT Swiss Competition