Halifax-based Orange Bikes is a brand rooted in mountain biking, tracing its history back to 1988 when it produced the iconic Clockwork hardtail, and going on to carve a reputation as trusted, reliable and successful, winning loads of top level mountain bike events.
The company has stayed true to its mountain bike roots but has dabbled in the dark side as mountain bikers like to refer to road cycling, with a titanium road bike in the 90s and more recently launching the RX9 road and cyclocross bike a few years ago. The late Steve Worland reviewed the first RX9 back in 2014.
And now there’s newly updated RX9 on the horizon. It’s not actually out until July but here’s a first look at the changes the company has made, we'll get a better look at the bike soon and hopefully get one in for review. It’s still using an aluminium frame, with double butted tubes to save weight, but it has decreased the length of the seat tube to provide more standover clearance.
There are thru-axles front and rear, 15mm on the carbon fork and 12x142mm at the back, and it's now using the flat mount disc brake standard. It’s also modified the chainstay disc mount so it’s easier to fit racks and panniers. Orange has also taken this opportunity to tidy up the cable routing. Tyre clearance is generous, with space for a 42mm tyre, and the frame is fully compatible with mudguards.
Two complete bikes will be offered, the top level RX9 PRO costing £1,700 and coming with SRAM Rival 1x11, Maxxis Rambler tyres and Easton finishing kit.
The RX9 S costs £1,250 and drops down to a Shimano Tiagra groupset with a compact chainset and TRP Spyre brakes, Vittoria Revolution 38mm tyres on Formula wheels and Orange branded finishing kit.
Orange is providing five frame sizes. More info at www.orangebikes.co.uk/bikes/rx9-pro
“Whether you’re razzing around or round-the-world bikepacking, the RX9 is right at home on the tarmac, towpath or tropical dirt roads. Thing is, it’s also built for the rough stuff and loves to prove it: a plucky little hero whose off-road talents are bigger than you think. A bike for adventures. An Orange through and through,” says Orange.
Another interesting new bike also coming soon from Orange, and again a bit of a departure from the brand's roots is the Speedwork.
Tapping into its mountain bike DNA, using its Clockwork frame as the starting point but wrapped with fast and chunky slick tyres and a stout rigid carbon fibre fork and stiff aluminium frame, the Speedwork is tasked for the everyday riding and commuting with a healthy dose of fun.
A 6061 custom butted aluminium frame with a carbon fibre fork, with a 15mm thru-axle, rolls on 29in wheels with space for up to 2.0in tyres. There are eyelets for mudguards but otherwise, it’s clean and simply, with external cable routeing and a 1x11 Shimano SLX mountain bike groupset.
It’ll cost £1,250 and will be available in July. More info at www.orangebikes.co.uk/bikes/speedwork-s
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.