...in the UK at least. And there's even internal frame storage, too
Orange’s new Phase Evo E.P.O. is a mid-powered e-bike equipped with the latest Bosch Performance Line SX motor, which makes it the first production bike we’ve seen hit the market in the UK with the new power unit. Way to go Orange.
How it fares against the best lightweight electric mountain bikes out there remains to be seen, but with 55Nm of torque, 600 watts of peak power, and a sub-20kg weight it’s going to be in the mix with the mid-power lightweight set.
Orange Phase Evo E.P.O. need to know
- New bike uses the Performance Line SX motor with 55Nm torque and 600 watts peak power
- Claimed weight of 19.5kg in size Large, comparable to Specialized Kenevo SL
- Phase Evo LE model costs £7,900
- Motor weighs 2kg and uses a CompactTube 400 battery with 400Wh capacity (there’s also a 250Wh range extender)
- 160mm travel front and rear, and MX mullet wheels
- Phase Evo uses a monocoque frame, asymmetrical swingarm, new tapered head tube
- Revised sizing on the Phase Evo, with shorter seat tube lengths for longer dropper post
- Internal frame storage – something we’ve not seen before on an e-bike
Just how did a small brand like Orange make it there first to the coolest new motor on the market though? After all, there are plenty of bike companies queuing up to run SX on their bikes. Bosch’s website lists just seven other models with the new lightweight power unit, three from KTM and four from German brand M1-Sporttechnik, but for UK-based riders, there’s nothing on offer yet (Whyte has a new platform coming that uses the SX motor).
“Access to the new motor hasn’t been that easy, but the Patriot just pushed the relationship,” explains Kelvin Lawton from Orange. The Patriot EPO is the brand’s full power, Bosch-powered e-bike. “It also helped that we knew right from the start we wanted to go with this motor, as Bosch seems to have this rock solid reputation for reliability and service.”
“right from the start we wanted to go with this motor”
Orange is also in the enviable position of having a very short development process, meaning the Halifax brand can design and build a new product in a matter of weeks if necessary, with all the processes taking place in the UK. Waiting for the Bosch SX motor to arrive from the factory in Hungary would almost certainly have been the last piece of the bike to arrive.
There’s one more first from Orange too, the new Phase Evo is also the only e-bike on the market with internal frame storage, hidden right at the top of the down tube. The images seem to show a simple spring-loaded push button catch, but we’ll know more later in November when we test the bike.
Add up the internal frame storage and the early SX motor adoption and Orange seems to have reinvented itself as a brand on the cutting edge of bike design. Not a sentence we’ve had cause to use much recently, excepting perhaps the Orange Switch 7 linkage bike we loved.
“There’s a bulkhead above the battery compartment, and because of the small size of the SX motor that left space for our SAFE compartment,” Kelvin explains. SAFE is an acronym of Stores Accessories Food & Equipment. “We’ll put a little bag in there too so things don’t get lost or rattle around in there.”
Internal frame storage requires a relatively empty down tube, something most e-bikes don’t have. The Phase Evo uses a big down tube and relatively small battery meaning the SAFE storage fits in above the battery compartment. It’s the ideal position, keeping the storage far away from the muddiest part of the bike, and the weighty motor and battery as low as possible. It’s also possible to access the battery’s on/off switch via the SAFE compartment, presumably to get round the Purion bar-mounted controller should it be damaged.
Orange Phase Evo E.P.O details and spec
- Frame: 6061-T6 Monocoque UK Formed Custom Aluminium Tubing.
- Rear Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory 205×65
- Fork: Fox Factory 36 Float 160mm 29 (black)
- Drivetrain: Race Face Aeffect R E-MTB 32t crankset, Strange Pivot chainguide, Shimano SLX 12spd rear mech, Shimano SLX shifter and SLX 10-51t cassette, SRAM NX Eagle chain.
- Wheels: Stans Flow Mk4 + Hope Pro 5 wheelset, Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR II 2.5/2.4in 3c EXO+ tyres
- Brakes: Shimano SLX Trail, with 203mm rotors
- Components: Fox Factory Transfer 150/175mm seatpost, Burgtec Enduro Black 42.5mm stem, Burgtec RideWide Enduro 800mm bar. SDG Strange Bel Air III saddle
- Motor: Bosch Purion 200 controller, and display, Bosch Compact Tube 400Wh battery, Bosch Performance Line SX motor
- Availability: mid-November