The Orange Phase AD3 is an adaptive mountain bike with an electric motor that promises to let disabled riders take on exactly the same terrain as everyone else
The new Orange Phase isn’t one most of us are ever likely to ride, but it’s one we all need to sit up and take notice of. At a time when we’re all pushing harder than ever for diversity and inclusion, Orange has taken what they’ve learned from designing some of the best electric electric mountain bikes and built something that can really change things for the better for disabled riders.
Orange Phase need to know
- The rider’s (Lorraine Truong) bucket seat is handmade in his garage by designer Alex Desmond made in his garage from glass fibre, but the production bike will outsource this component.
- The Phase AD3 will cost around £15,000, although Orange hasn’t confirmed the exact price yet. Riders interested can get in contact with the brand and have a bike tailored to their needs.
- The bike is powered by a 2Kw Paradox Kinetics motor with 150Nm torque and a custom 504Wh battery. There’s a choice of grip-mounted throttle pedal assist bike.
- Linkages are built by Orange, while Rideworks supplisthe bearing assembly. The Phase AD3 uses Hope brakes and wheels, and Fox Factory level suspension in the Float 38 and X2 shock.
Orange says all of the materials are made from recycled sources and can be fully recycled themselves, and the frame is alloy not carbon for its reduced environmental impact.
The brainchild of Orange engineer Alex Desmond, the Phase AD3 is like no other mountain bike in the world. You’ve probably noticed already that it has two front wheels, and two Fox Factory 38 forks. It’s not the reverse tricycle look that makes it so special though, it’s the cantilever linkage arms linking the two headtubes together that really make a difference – the two wheels can then rise and fall independently of one another and both can contact the ground at the same time while the bike is lent over. Bring on the extra grip and stability.
You can also balance the thing without using your legs, something that’s impossible for plenty of this bike’s intended users. Instead, at slow speeds you manipulate a second set of bars and alter the balance point between the two front wheels.
Imagine the freedom that comes from riding without the need of a support crew to lift you in and out. Couple that with the narrow 350mm track width – no wider than the pedals – and a Phase AD3 rider could ride any trail, with anybody.
The Phase AD3 concept was to produce a proper bike, one that could ride gnarly terrain, over jumps, drops, and down the tightest singletrack – and not limited to wide, purpose built trails like four wheeled adaptive bikes are.
It’s been designed for Lorraine Truong, a former EWS racer who suffered a brain injury in a crash in 2015. She now suffers from paresis, or partial paralysis and has been off the bike ever since. How does it feel to be on a bike again?
“It just feels like riding,” she says. “On the downs it just feels like a downhill bike, it eats everything. It’s hard to describe: I guess the only way is to really miss something for six years and then be able to do it again.”
The Phase AD3 is based on the standard Phase e-bike chassis, with the same geometry and the travel maxed out to 175mm and a 170mm fork. It’s more capable in some regards though – with two sprung wheels on the front there’s considerably more grip to be had, and much less demand placed on each fork. Useful, on a bike where you can’t move your weight around.
Orange also says the bike doesn’t wash out, as other two-wheeled adaptive mountain bikes do, instead the cantilever design generates more grip. Push beyond the grip and it will oversteer rather than dumping you on the trail.