And we check out the latest model too

Inspired by the new Orange Formula models, Orange founder Steve Wade looks back three decades to The Beginning.

>>> Best-of-the-best Formula models from Orange are stunning

In the early days the Formula model was the best of the best — not for sale, instead issued to team riders and a chosen few.

Thirty 30 years on, the Halifax firm has built a Five and Alpine 6 Orange featuring polished graphics on a sleek black anodised finish and a pretty remarkable spec choice including Cane Creek suspension, carbon Race Face rims on Hope hubs, and SRAM Eagle Gold drivetrain to set off the black frame colour. Read the link above for more Formula details.

Orange Alpine 6 here or Five available as Formula builds, for £6,900 and £6,800 respectively.

From small pips…

Orange founder Steve Wade looks back three decades to The Beginning.

“These bikes were built at a time when mountain biking and mountain bikes were new and very exciting. A few small companies started making custom fillet brazed frames, they had racing geometries that were more suited to the XC racing at the time. It was all so new that race events could be run on private land just about anywhere, races were run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, it was a good time to be into mountain bikes.

“I started making myself stems that lowered and lengthened the front of my bike, then started messing with frame tubing. I was a fabricator and had a fabrication company so the construction techniques were what I knew. Early frames were usually made from double butted road tubing, Columbus was the easiest to get hold of and my favourite was Columbus Max: the tube was oversized and ovalized at the ends vertically at the head tube and horizontally at the BB, was very light stiff and good to work with. Later, tubing manufactures started making montain bike tube sets but again most of these were over built so I used to mix the tube sets about.

>>> Which Orange mountain bike is right for you?

“At that time Orange only sold one model, the Clockwork, so making a few fillet brazed frames fitted in well and these bikes could be developed and tested by the XC race team we had at that time. The volumes were very small but these things were light for the times, stiff and fast. We had four Elite riders in the early days, Kevin Sabasten, Dan Cook, Tim Wilson and me, I learned a lot from the feedback of these guys and the bikes developed because of it.”