Today, I’m going to review the Orange Four, a single pivot aluminum trail bike with 120mm of travel.
The Orange Four RS
First, a side note. From this point on bikes that I’m borrowing will get a review. Bikes that are mine will get a bike check. As for this Orange Four, it was lent to me by Aventuron, the distributor for Orange Bikes in the Americas.
the model they sent was the Four RS. I’m not going to get into the components much because they’re not what makes the Four unique. If you want to geek out over the details just check the link below.
Like all full suspension bikes in the Orange lineup, the Four interfaces directly with the rear shock on a single pivot point. The only single pivot bikes I’ve tried were either antiques, or lower end. Not the Four. It’s an all new design, handbuilt, and not cheap. Orange claims that modern high end shocks don’t need complex linkage to perform well, and in fact, fans of these bikes say it makes them more playful and fun to ride. Critics say it’s inefficient, and that linkage can have a huge effect on pedal bob and climbing performance.
Before I form an opinion I need to finish setting this bike up and get to the trails. To get to the singletrack I’ve got 5 miles of climbing to do on a paved greenway, which isn’t the best way to get to know a mountain bike. Still I can tell that the Four has a little more reach than I’m used to, as the seat tube is pitched back over the rear wheel.
I was pleasantly surprised about the low standover height. Paired with a 150mm dropper post, I should be able to get real low on turns and hucks.
Right now I have the luxury of locking out the suspension, but on the ridgeline I won’t have a chance to do that. There, we’ll get to see how this linkage performs when smashing on the pedals. I’m also excited to get up some speed, and see how the Four feels when things get steep.
The four feels firm like an XC bike, but slack and spacious like a trail bike. This is what Orange intended. One thing’s for sure, it doesn’t climb like an XC bike.
With the suspension unlocked the Four does have some pretty noticeable pedal bob, but then again it can only bob so much with 120 millimeters of travel. Not bad, not great.
On descents, the Four feels stiff and mechanically sound. It’s playful, responsive, and agile. It gives you lots of—feedback. On the Four, it’s easy to get your weight over the back wheel and keep from going over the handlebars. At speed, it’s a blast. Just preload, flick your wrists, and it flies off any roller or lip you point it at. There’s something to be said for a 120 mill trail bike, but it comes at a cost.
Mechanically, the Four has no problem handling chunky terrain, but your arms and hands might be another story. I had to dial back my speed more than usual on the really rocky stuff. Descending on the Four is a wild ride; It should be done with loose arms and legs, and with careful line selection.
As for the linkage, I think the Orange die hards have some good points about it. It’s simple, and as a result there’s no slop. It’s springy and likes to pop off the ground. I’d actually like to take it on a ride with no backpack or gear weighing me down.
All in all, I had a blast on the Four. It was really fun to ride, and if you get a chance to visit an Orange demo I highly recommend taking one for a spin.
Still, on an all day epic with lots of different terrain I prefer a little more travel. The Four shines on flowy terrain with lots of high speed jumps. Hardtails also shine in this area, but if you prefer full suspension then the Four could be the bike for you. Like I said, get on one if you get the opportunity.
What do you guys think? Not only about the Four, but short travel trail bikes. Is this a category that you’re interested in? Do you think the Four would be a good match for your trails? Let me know! Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll see you next time.