Believe that mullets are best when it gets really steep? Orange does too.


Gravity racers with a soft spot for a rugged aluminium frame aesthetic and high chainstay rear triangles, will love Orange’s new 279.

The brand’s latest downhill bike debuted in France at the first round of this year’s UCI DH World Cup, in Lourdes. And the bikes remain proudly imagined and made in Halifax, West Yorkshire.

Read more: the best mountain bikes you can buy 

The evolving Orange DH offering

Orange has been producing downhill bikes for three decades and the 279 is its biggest yet. Literally.

This new frame features a huge wheelbase, making it much longer than Orange’s other downhill bikes – such as the 327 and 329 series. It also mixes wheel sizes, appealing to those riders who believe in the blended 27.5/29” set-up.

The benefit of being a company that designs and fabricates independently means Orange isn’t beholden to external fabricators. And that allows for some very daring geometry numbers and shock mount options.

Orange believes in the mullet concept

Configured as an MX bike, instead of a pure 29er, the 279 aims to combine the best of Orange’s 327 and 329 series downhill bikes.

Rear travel rates at 198mm and with the recommended 200mm 29er fork up front, the 279 sits a 62-degree head angle – slacker than any previous Orange downhill bike.

The bike’s rear end is designed for optimal stability and features enormous 465mm chainstays, regardless of frame size. Reach numbers are generous too, with a size large 279 measuring 480mm.

The 279 is long – for a reason

A series of switchbacks hardly feature on any downhill course. Rock gardens and rooty chutes are more prevalent challenges to bike stability.

To enhance stability, Orange’s designers have wanted as much room between the 279’s wheels as possible – with the size extra-large version measuring 1348mm axle-to-axle.

Frame standards? The 279 runs a 250mm metric shock sizing, 30.9mm seatpost and 150x12mm rear axle spacing. Orange’s designers have shaped an asymmetric swingarm for the 279, enhancing longitudinal stiffness.

Orange offers the 279 as a frame option, with Fox’s Float X2 shock, at £3200.

A full factory spec build is £7300, featuring Fox factory suspension and Shimano Saint stoppers. Drivetrain is SRAM’s GX 1×7 and Stans Flow rims, laced to Hope Pro4 hubs, roll the 279 along.