Sorry Orange, that headline basically wrote itself. The British brand's bikes have long been the subject of plenty of good natured ribbing due to their distinctive looks, and the addition of a storage compartment in the downtube only makes things easier. It also makes it easier to store tools and food, a move I fully support. Orange's acronym for the compartment is SAFE, for Store Accessories, Food & Equipment.
Joking aside, the new bike has 160mm of travel front and rear, and a mixed wheel setup. The shock now uses a trunnion mount, which allows for a shorter overall shock length, a move that freed up some valuable water bottle space inside the front triangle – there's room for a full size bottle under the top tube.
The seat tube length has been shortened to provide room for long travel dropper posts, and the bike uses a universal derailleur hanger. As for the suspension design, it still uses Orange's signature single pivot configuration, but Orange says the kinematics have been altered to increase the amount of progression (although it will still be fairly linear compared to a linkage-driven design).
There will be four sizes, all with a 64-degree head angle, a 76-degree seat angle, and fairly long 450mm chainstays. The seat tube length has been shortened to provide more room for long-travel dropper posts.
Orange had another bike on display, a full 29” version of their Switch 7 with 165mm of rear travel and a 170mm fork. There's no storage compartment to be seen on this one, but there is an accessory / bottle cage mount on the underside of the top tube, and there's a depression in the top of the down tube for more bottle clearance.
Just like the mixed-wheel Switch 7, the new bike uses Orange's 'Strange Link' suspension layout to increase the level of progression.
There are three sizes, all with a slack 63-degree head angle, 76-degree seat angle, and very long 468mm chainstays.
We reviewed Orange's DH bike
last summer, but it's been far too long since we had one of their trail bikes in for review – we're working on getting one of the new models in sooner than later to see how all of this British 'uniqueness' works out on the trail. Personally, I'm most intrigued by the long chainstays on the Switch – the reach and chainstay numbers are nearly identical on the size medium, and I'd really like to see how that handles.
More info: orangebikes.com