Just In: Orange RX9

A very orange Orange designed as a sturdy on/off-road all-rounder, with room for big tyres and potential as a fully loaded touring

by Steve Worland   January 8, 2014  


West Yorkshire based Orange Bikes, established in 1988, have been keeping mountain bikers happy for almost as long as there have been mountain bikes. They've made a few road bikes along the way too, so a bike like the £1,100 RX9 was bound to surface sooner or later. It's based around a butted aluminium frame and fork, the geometry is more relaxed than a race-bred cyclocross bike and the emphasis is on all-round utilitarian adaptability rather than outright speed.

With the expansive range of 700c wheels and tyres now available for both on and off-road applications, plus the creeping popularity of disc brakes on road and cyclocross bikes, have-a-go-at-anything bikes like the RS9 are effectively creating an identity bridge for riders who have previously seen themselves as either pure mountain bikers or pure road riders. This looks set to be one of the fastest growing sectors of the market in the near future.

With the frameset emphasis on go-anywhere durability rather than low weight we weren't surprised to find that the RX9 tipped our scales at just over 23lb (10.5kg), a little heavier than a few other cross-bred road offerings we've tried at around this price.

Sturdy Mavic A119 rimmed wheels are shod with tough file treaded 35mm Continental Cyclocross tyres, also emphasising abuse-resistance, with Avid's well established cable pull disc brakes performing stopping duties at the same time as leaving masses of room for mud, full mudguards or fatter tyres. There are two sets of bottle bosses and you get bolted rack mounts on the seatstays, but you'd need to use a spacer on the left hand dropout eyelet to enable rack or mudguard stays to clear the disc calliper.

Orange says the RX9 is built “to ride just about any terrain this side of rocks and boulders” with “a firm tick in the box next to Fun”. The 6061 T6 aluminium tubes are double butted and intended to create a frame that is “stiff enough to put your power to the black stuff, while being comfy enough to take the edge off and road chatter.”

Orange's promotional video is well worth a watch in that is really captures the essence of this sort of bike. It's a lovely vid that's well worth five minutes of your time. Well, 4:42mins, to be precise.

The Thing from Orange Mountain Bikes on Vimeo.

Geometry varies slightly depending on sizing (52, 54, 56, 58 and 60cm sizes are available). Our 56cm sample bike has a 71° head angle and a 73° seat angle, with a horizontal tube tube reach exactly the same as the 56cm seat tube length. Smaller sizes are slacker at the head and larger sizes are steeper.

The drivetrain parts mix Shimano Tiagra (shifters, compact 50/34-tooth chainset, front gear mech) and next-level-up 105 (rear gear mech), Deore mountain bike hubs and a cassette from 12 to 28 teeth.

The stem, the compact drop handlebar and the seat post are decent quality Easton EA50 offerings and the saddle is a tough racy model from SDG.

The Avid BB5R brake callipers are easy to set up and offer easy pad tweaking on the inner side via a hand turned adjustment wheel.

We'll be hitting the lanes and trails on the RX9 over the next few weeks.

From: www.orangebikes.co.uk

8 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Shameless copy of the Salsa Vaya from a few years back - even the colour!

posted by dicktate [11 posts]
8th January 2014 - 12:23

like this
Like (11)

dicktate wrote:
Shameless copy of the Salsa Vaya from a few years back - even the colour!

Apart from the Vaya being a touring bike, built of steel and with chanstay mounted disc caliper. If you'd said copy of Salsa Warbird you might have been closer apart from the fact the RX9 was new in Jan.. 2013 (why Road.cc are reviewing it now?) which was same release time as the 'bird'.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [411 posts]
8th January 2014 - 13:22

like this
Like (9)

Is this the most depressing bike ever to feature on road cc? How is a bike so orange so beige?? Yawn

posted by geargrinderbeard [34 posts]
8th January 2014 - 14:49

like this
Like (7)

Nice to see the quality of the welding finish hasn't changed!

posted by Arthur Scrimshaw [46 posts]
8th January 2014 - 19:50

like this
Like (7)

Or look on eBay for a mid nineties rigid steel Kona & fit drop bars to it....

Currently going slower than I'd like...

posted by stealth [184 posts]
10th January 2014 - 20:52

like this
Like (5)


The glass is 50% capacity.

posted by mrfree [33 posts]
10th January 2014 - 21:16

like this
Like (8)

It's clearly a beefed up cross bike aimed at mountain bikers tastes, less so for roadie sensibilities. I have a soft spot for Orange, having had 3 of their frames and would probably consider this if there was a frame only option at a good price.

The video is fun, definitely one of those that makes you want to go and ride.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [790 posts]
11th January 2014 - 11:59

like this
Like (9)

Love the video. It comes a close second to the 'Late for work' Cotic X video for me.

If I didn't already have a Cotic X, I'd get one of these...

posted by cmyk [30 posts]
11th January 2014 - 12:21

like this
Like (6)