Big wheels keep on rolling… faster! The Orange Stage 7 takes its cues from the Switch 7, adds 29er wheels, and heads to the races.
British mountain bike brand Orange has just unleashed its newest race machine, the Orange Stage 7. Based around the winning Switch 7, it adds bigger wheels to its exquisitely engineered aluminium frame. With 170mm front travel and 165mm at the rear, suspension leverage curves tweaked to handle big hits without sacrificing small bump sensitivity, and a whole lot more, we can’t wait to see what this bike manages over the rest of the race season.
Need to know:
- Full aluminium 29er
- 170mm front travel, 165mm rear travel
- Designed for enduro racing
- Sizes M, L and XL (no S or XS)
- Can run air or coil shock
According to Orange, “the aim of the Stage 7 was to create a race bike with an outright focus on speed. Its sibling, the Switch 7 has been received exceptionally well and is truly a perfect weapon for racing at world class enduro events where tracks are tight and twisty. But like anything that’s good at everything, there are times when you need a bit more. It’s hard to argue with the flat out speed that a full 29″ wheeled bike can offer, so with the blueprint of the Switch 7 in hand and feedback from the World Cup team a new warp speed machine was born.”
Like all Orange bikes, the Stage 7 was dreamt up, researched, designed, refined and manufactured in the UK at Orange HQ. Orange combined aerospace-grade materials, and detailed engineering with 3D modelling and FEA analysis or Finite Element Analysis, which is a virtual modelling process which allows designers to analyse the real-world effect of gravity, torsional forces, vibration etc on the both the materials and the design. The result is a durable, strong, high-performance bike that, Orange says, weighs in lighter than some other carbon-framed bikes in the same category.
The Orange Stage 7 has a full aluminium frame, constructed by in-house manufacturing experts from aerospace-grade aluminium sheets, custom-fabricated tubes with seam welding and CNC’d aluminium components. As well as being reported light, using aluminium means that the bike frame is fully recyclable at end-of-life.
It features a 48/56 ZS headtube which increases front-end stiffness and strength, and has also meant that Orange were able to drop the downtube a little lower, meaning that there’s now room for a water bottle to fit within the frame.
The swing arm is asymmetric, offering increased vertical stiffness and optimal compliance, which translates to a direct feel on the bike with plenty of traction. At the back, the Stage 7 complies to SRAM’s new industry standards with a UDH gear hanger.
Up front a Fox Factory 38 Float fork controls 170mm of travel, while at the back a Fox Float X2 Factory shock controls 165mm of rear-wheel travel. The shock is a 205×60 link-driven trunnion shock, mounted low in the frame for a lower centre of gravity for better stability at speed. The advantage of using the trunnion system is that it uses bearings rather than bushings which have less inherent friction in the system, which means lower breakaway force required to initiate the shock and therefore increased sensitivity.
The STRANGE Power Link (STRANGE stands for Special Technology RANGE) offers a more progressive shock curve than previous Orange models, with that promised bottomless feeling, and can run with either a high-volume air shock or a coil shock.
Through the suspension travel, the the leverage ratio moves from 3.04 to 2.32, which equates to a real-world progression of 23.7% in shock force. The low pivot position also minimises pedal kickback and drivetrain-induced interference, and anti squat sits at around 123% at dynamic sag for maximum pedalling efficiency.
To reach the best possible durability of the system and to minimise external forces which could add friction to the mix, the shock is loaded in a linear fashion.
Orange Stage 7 build spec
The full build in a stunning purple colour boasts Fox suspension and SRAM XT and NX drivetrain and brakes.
There is a five year bearing warranty for the original owner, and heavily subsidised purchase of parts beyond that period.
- Frame: 6061-T6 Monocoque UK Formed Custom Aluminium Tubing
- Sizes: M, L, XL
- Colour: Purple Reign with Silver decals
- Wheel size: 29er front and rear
- Rear wheel travel: 165mm
- Headset: FPD 49mm / 56mm zerostack
- Fork: Fox Factory 38 Float 170mm 29
- Swingarm: Bolt Type Allen Key Head (Boost 12 x 148mm Hub)
- Rear shock: Fox Float X2 Factory 205×60
- Bottom bracket: SRAM DUB
- Crankset: SRAM GX Eagle 32t
- Rear mech: Shimano XT 12spd
- Chain: SRAM NX Eagle
- Shifters: Shimano XT 12spd
- Cassette: Shimano XT 10-51T 12spd
- Wheelset: Stans Flow Mk4 + Hope Pro 4 (Black) 29
- Tyres: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 3c EXO+ / DHR II 2.4 3c EXO+ 29
- Brakes: Shimano XT Trail 203/203
- Seatpost, clamp and saddle: Fox Factory Transfer 150/175mm Drop, Strange Bolted clamp, SDG Strange Bel Air III saddle
- Stem and handlebars: Renthal FatBar M35 800mm with Hope M35 x 35mm Black stem, Strange Grappler Lock-On grips
Looking for the best enduro mountain bike you can find to get maximum speed at the races this year? Or how about body protection or a brilliant mountain bike helmet or full-face helmet to keep that brain protected?