The 29lb Orange Five

Well now, when I first got my hands on the Orange Five it weighed 32.1lb with a Reverb fitted. It rode very much like a 32lb bike would; a bit dead. The ride was flat and slightly uninspiring but one could see that there was a feisty bike wanting to get out and play. Today a month later I had a chance to ride the borrowed Five again, this after doing something like 120 miles on my PACE RC303 this week. It was sunny then OK?

Anyway the Five turned up and seemed lighter. Put it on the scales and it came in at 29lb with the Reverb still fitted. That's not bad is it? Looking at the bike the following has been done to it:
  • Tubeless conversion using Schwalbe Nobby Nic EVO tyres.
  • Superstar wheels using Stan's tubeless rims.
  • Carbon Ritchey handlebar.
  • Bontrager lock on grips.
  • Nuke Proof 50mm stem.
  • Rather odd Tioga Spyder saddle.
  • It seems to be missing the 42t outer ring.

That's quite a change, and probably near a £500 spend. That's £500 to remove 3lb of dead weight, or 1,350g in new metric. That's quite clever spending as normally each gram saved costs a £1. One suspects that any additional mass savings from now on would be far more expensive, and involve switching out bits of the transmission, or even even lighter wheels as the Superstar ones come in at around 2kg for a pair, no matter what their website claims. Possibly not worth it as the bike rides fine now. It has a lively feel that was missing from the original. The bike is a full kilo heavier than my own PACE but rides so much better - this even though I stuffed the suspension settings up badly, and had way too much pressure in them all day.

I quite like the Five. Whether it is worth the money that has been splashed on this particular example is a difficult question to answer. Personally I'd not spend that kind of cash on a bike, but then it is now a fine machine. Looking through various classified adverts I'm guessing a similar spec bike could be had for half the outlay, but then you may well get a bike that needs a £350 service, not to mention the risk that the transmission may well be shot. Nice to have ridden it but I'm not sure when I'll get it again, especially if the weather turns nicer - I only get it on wet days and have no idea what it rides like in the dry. One thing I do know; cleaning somebody elses bike is a bore**.

Oh, the Reverb, what do I think of it. Dunno really. I used it on some downhill bits and never really noticed it, which may be a good thing. But what I did really like was that afterwards the saddle went back to precisely the correct height for XC riding. That for me was cool.

Forgot; the Tioga Spyder saddle. OK it comes in at 140g, which is silly light and was put on the bike to off-set the additional mass of the Reverb*. It's not uncomfortable, but then again you'd not want to use one for more than a few hours a week. Indeed the three hours that I used it for were OK but it's hard to sit down now. A saddle to avoid I'd say.

*Dear Reader did you know that a Reverb plus a racing saddle is only 70g heavier than the stock seatpost and saddle that came fitted originally? Apparently that is why the outer ring was removed from the transmission; fitting the Reverb became a no weight gain option then. Personally a bit more padding on the saddle would be worth a trivial 50g. Indeed any padding would be nice as the Spyder is effectively a cut down bare shell. The Ass Fender is mine. It's useless. As I've no outer ring on my own bike I disn't miss this feature.

**I've also established that cyle specific cleaners, whilst nice to have, are expensive and probably bettered by cheaper car shampoos. I've noticed that using a few capfulls of car shampoo, plus hot water, produces much better results than the bike spray type cleaners you can get. I've cleaned both the Orange and my PACE this way this week. So my top bike cleaning tip is this: avoid bike cleaners. Indeed I'm much happier using a bucket of soapy suds and some hot water than spraying the bike rather pointlessly with some pink goo. The only negative being that you have to clean the bike before the mud has a chance to dry, and the chain oil seep into everywhere. On a fine day cleaning the bike post ride is fine, but cold days are pure hell.