First Look: Orange's Phase Evo eMTB Is Respectably Light

Oct 27, 2023 at 6:51
by Seb Stott  
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When Orange launched their full-power Patriot ebike a few weeks ago, they got a fair bit of grief in the comments for its 'industrial fridge' aesthetic. But their new offering looks great to my eye, not just aesthetically but in terms of how its geometry and specs compare to what's already on the market.

The Phase EVO is Orange's first attempt at a "light(er)" eMTB - a genre that's exemplified by bikes like the Orbea Rise and Specialized Levo SL. It uses a Bosch Performance Line SX motor, which weighs just 2 kg and offers 55 Nm of torque, alongside a 400 Wh internal battery. This can be boosted up to 650 Wh with an external range extender.
Phase EVO Details

• 160 mm travel front & rear
• Mullet wheels
• Bosch Performance Line SX motor
• 400 Wh battery (250 Wh range extender available)
• Sizes: S-XL
• 19.5 kg (43 lb) claimed weight (L frame)
• Price: £7,900 | €8,900 | $8,700 USD
www.orangebikes.com

Unlike the Rise and Levo SL, it uses mullet wheels teamed with 160 mm of travel at each end. Despite having a bigger battery than some of its sveltest rivals, sensible parts and an aluminium frame (of course), Orange claims a respectable headline weight of 19.5 kg (43 lb) in size large.




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Frame Details

Unlike some of Orange's other recent bikes, it sticks with the brand's iconic single-pivot suspension, in this case delivering 160 mm of squish with a Fox X2 air shock. That means there won't be much progression from the frame, so you may need plenty of volume spacers to resist bottom-out. Interestingly, the shock is mounted with bearings at both ends to boost sensitivity.

Orange didn't provide any suspension kinematic information, but the main pivot is placed just above the top of the chainring, so there should be plenty of anti-squat to support you when pedalling without so much as to be excessively firm under power.

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Bosses under the top tube can mount tools, a bottle or the range extender battery. Plus there's a little door to access the space in the downtube above the battery for extra storage. Orange call this the SAFE (Stores Accessories Food & Equipment). The door also allows access to the battery power button in case you need to reset it.

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Geometry

The geometry is on the stable side, with a slack 63-degree head angle and relatively long 448 mm chainstays. The BB height is moderate at 448 mm, although the motor hangs down slightly below the chainring, which looks like it might catch on certain trail features.



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Price and parts

The first model available will be the Phase Evo LE, priced at £7900 GBP | €8900 EUR | $8700 USD.

For that, you get a Fox Factory 36 fork and Float X2 shock, Fox Factory Transfer seatpost and Stans Flow Mk4 rims on Hope Pro 5 hubs. The SLX brakes and shifting may look stingy for the price, but they work well; besides, eMTBs eat drivetrains for breakfast, so anything higher-end would just be for show. By contrast, the Fox Factory seatpost looks flashy but only offers 150 mm or 175 mm of travel, depending on the frame size. I'd rather see less Kashima and more drop.

The tires are Maxxis Minion DHF on the front (2.5" 3C EXO+ 29") with a DHR II out back (2.4" 3C EXO+ 27.5"). It would be nice to see a DoubleDown casing on the rear, but the new EXO+ is more reliable than the original at least.

The cranks are nice and short at 165 mm. Orange spec a SRAM NX chain alongside the Shimano SLX derailleur and cassette. When I asked why this was, Orange told me it was down to a supply issue. "We’ll normally spec Shimano or KMC on this kind of spec bike", my contact at Orange explained. "We’ve not had any issues using the Sram chain and the wear has been really good."

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Author Info:
seb-stott avatar

Member since Dec 29, 2014
289 articles

107 Comments
  • 164 13
 Round of applause for our brothers over the moors. All aluminium, no carbon in sight, UK made, great weight, performance and spec, proper riders geometry, classic Orange lines. Bravo. I hope they sell loads.
  • 57 4
 They would sell loads, if it wasn't 8k.
  • 10 0
 @toad321: I'm sure cheaper lower spec models will be coming, it is silly money but when top spec mainstream brand ebikes are hitting 10k it doesn't seem so bad, even if personally i can't fathom the prices these days.
  • 23 1
 Agreed, I’ll definitely look at orange next time. Top quality, two bearings, no biding and you know the moneys going to people earning a decent wage instead of buying some cheap tat from China that costs pennies to produce but still weirdly costs as much as UK manufactured Orange.
  • 4 21
flag chrismac70 (Oct 31, 2023 at 5:49) (Below Threshold)
 Is it’s a great big weight. 20 kg is massively heavy for an £8k lightweight ebike
  • 7 6
 Orange bikes always looked great to me. The surcharge one has to pay for pedal assistance isn't worth it for me but obviously Orange has more than enough unassisted bikes available.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: even if there’s 4 bearings?
  • 4 0
 @maglor: Hopefully Vitus sticks around. The high end build on the E-Sommet was around 6K U.S with Hayes brakes, Rockshox Ultimate suspension and Nukeproof components. Rides really light and easy to move around once your at a decent speed and stays planted when you want it to for being 55lbs. I have no problem throwing it around and it manuals a lot easier than my Druid
  • 2 0
 @towner131: I bet Vitus have a lightweight eeb in the pipeline too.
  • 7 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Not sure what it is like across the board, but the Asian-made frames that did seem interesting to me are Taiwanese made, not Chinese. And obviously everyone in China knows Taiwan isn't China.
  • 6 0
 Sub 20kg and no Carbon is actually pretty impressive. But to be fair Orange aesthetics do lend themselves to throwing a battery in the downtube without any modifications
  • 4 1
 to be fair it's "great weight" comes from having a very small battery...the Rise and Spec both come in 5-7 lbs less.

I hope they sell loads too - it's a cool bike!
  • 1 1
 @RadBartTaylor: "A very small bettery" but it's bigger than the Specialized or Orbea come with (400wh vs 320 and 360) Orbea can be upgraded to 540wh but this can be extended to 650, if Orbea are to be believed then the lightweight motors range is equivelent to a full fat emtb with 1.5x bigger battery so should be good for fairly big rides.
  • 2 4
 @toad321: To be fair it all looks 8k ish apart from the frame. That looks like a 300 quid bike from Halfords.
  • 1 0
 @toad321: I Wouldn't buy one if they were $6k
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: Well.... CRC has gone down so unless someone buys Vitus and continues making then there may not be one in the making.
  • 1 8
flag MasterSlater (Nov 1, 2023 at 21:36) (Below Threshold)
 I know this is by no means an original observation… but holy christ on a pogo stick they make THEE ugliest bikes.

I’m sure they’re truly great bikes… cuz with bikes this hideous, there’s no way they’d still be in business if they didn’t have some special quality.

It’s like someone at Orange wanted to make the Steve Buscemi of bikes. And boy howdy, did they succeed!

If the Volkswagen Thing and a carnival ride had a child, this is what it would look like.

Dear God, make it stop.
  • 4 0
 I think it looks good. Something about the geometric patterns. Sod carbon perfection.
  • 60 1
 How to confuse the colour blind, label it orange but paint it green.
  • 4 4
 At least that donwtube isn't bigger than on all previous Oranges ever or makes it look like a pregnant seahorse. You could almost sneak onto an acoustic ride without anyone suspecting you're on a eeb with that.
  • 10 0
 Was there ever a time when Orange bikes were strictly orange? I'm not colour blind but I'm kind of shape-deaf. Still waiting for the day Cube actually releases a cube-shaped bike. April first could be an appropriate date for that. Polygon has got things dialed so far.
  • 1 0
 And constantly feeling chided, while boosting up the climbs, when others say “nice green bike”
  • 1 1
 Not sure if you're being sarcastic @bigtim, but Orange comes from the pronunciation (or lack thereof!) of All Range - not the colour.
  • 1 0
 @handynzl: Oh thanks, I for one didn't know that. Only knew that the Strange model is the experimental brand name, kind of what Blackbox is for SRAM.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: the early clockworks had a orange and white fade paint job.
  • 3 1
 Thats the UK way I had an Orange Whyte and a White Orange once in the garage I was so confused
  • 1 0
 @docs90: That's nothing. Wait for the new flatland BMX from Guerilla Gravity.
  • 52 1
 I'm glad that if my farming career ever goes south, I can always get a job as a welder for Orange.

What's the difference between a welder and a farmer? A welder doesn't think he can farm.
  • 9 29
flag thenotoriousmic (Oct 31, 2023 at 6:50) (Below Threshold)
 You’ll be eating your words if you saw one in person. I could give you a blank sheet of aluminium and hydraulic press and you’re never going to make a frame of this standard.
  • 69 17
 Looks like the boys were a few pints in when they welded this pig up.
  • 9 1
 On that note and genuine question….how many individual tubes / sheets / pieces of aluminum goes into this model? Welds everywhere. And yes, some do look like a hot mess…
  • 4 1
 Just paint over them.
  • 7 3
 Was welded on a Friday afternoon.
  • 8 2
 Damn those are some janky welds. Is this pre-production?
I’ve seen better welds on a Toyota
  • 20 0
 As a person that has no experience welding, I can tell you with certainty that this bike has welds on it.
  • 2 0
 no one bought a mountain bike that was too nice looking
  • 24 1
 Sump guard is a weird way to spell skid plate.
  • 3 6
 Thats what they call then on a motorcycle
  • 28 0
 @Corkster9: yes... Because a motorbike has a sump.....
  • 2 3
 @Corkster9: Fitting for this bike isn't it?
  • 1 0
 There might be some sump going on in the drive system.
  • 23 2
 But does it still sounds like a skeleton wanking in a biscuit tin??
  • 1 0
 I love these comments!!! Big Grin
  • 24 4
 It's not only light. It's also ugly af
  • 3 0
 Best of both worlds
  • 7 0
 What’s the end game with owning an expensive ebike? Is it like owning a BMW where after a few years it becomes too expensive to maintain and repair so it’s sold to a naïve teenager for a faction o f its original cost?
  • 1 1
 Then 20+ years later when it's "vintage" it increases to double of it's original MSRP
  • 13 4
 Honestly, compared to some E bikes, it doesn't look half bad
  • 20 4
 The counterpoint is that compared to most, it does.
  • 3 1
 Agree, arguably the Orange design is made for e-bikes with the big downtube. I like Orange bikes, I don't have the same 'garden gate - filing cabinet - look at du weldddzzzz! tired viewpoint.
  • 8 1
 Immediate fail with the stupid great display bolted to the handlebar. Come on, Specialized nailed this 6 years ago.
  • 10 3
 I'm no welder but those weld sure do look ugly for an 8k bike
  • 5 1
 The claimed weights brands are pushing on the SL e bikes are very misleading. My orbea rise comes in at 20kg and that’s with carbon frame, rims + bars
  • 1 0
 The wife’s M series medium rise is 17.6kg and that’s with alu rims, only carbon extras are the bars.
  • 5 0
 It is misleading especially when one doesn't consider battery size. I like this bike, don't get me wrong, but when weight is suggested as "very reasonable" one has to consider battery size. This bike weighs sim to the "full size" battery bikes with a half size battery....my Heckler is sim weight and has a 720 battery.
  • 1 0
 @Danmcdan: I did get mine down to closer to 18.5.. but that was with XTR drivetrain and EXO tyres. I have a few heavier parts on my build but it doesn’t add up to what they claim
  • 6 1
 I personally don't get the obsession with lightweight ebikes. These things are absolutely horrible for any soft of jibbing, even at 40lb weight limits. Instead of trying to make them lightweight, give me a bigger battery, more powerful motor, dual crown forks, coil shocks, e.t.c.
  • 3 0
 @KickFlipABike: I'm in the same space - I'll take heavy with big battery.
  • 1 0
 @KickFlipABike: depends on what you’re doing. Horses for courses. I’ve had both and for me the SLs suit my riding more
  • 3 0
 I would love to see all future owners of this bike scratching a tiny letter "O" on the left side of the Bosch display. Or even better, Orange should have all their Bosch ebikes delivered like that.
  • 3 0
 get orange to make a tiny "O"range logo and stick it there for a more professional touch!
  • 8 3
 Now they are just trolling the haters. That's even the same color as a filing cabinet!
  • 2 0
 Other than price the main thing that put me off orange ebikes was the shimano motors.
They’re surely the only non linkage single pivot ebikes available so glad to see them switching to bosch.
I really hate the whole dogs dinner of linkages and bearings that make up the rear end of most emtbs (mine included)
Give me a proper single pivot ebike any day!
  • 2 0
 I love Orange’s bikes but these e-bikes are pushing the aesthetic to the edge. Okay for a alu bike it’s pretty impressive but my first thought was…. Burly…. But not in a good way. In the way that you spot an old rugby legend that has been has been owning the bar and the chippy for a few year!
  • 4 0
 If the claimed weight, provoves to be true, that is impressive. I doubt it though.
  • 4 1
 I like that they put on a good skid plate from new. Not enough ebike brands do this, i hope you see more in the future.
  • 5 1
 Seb can we get a british steel full sus round up?
  • 3 1
 Need to have an in depth test of a Coal 84!
  • 1 0
 @Ghaytnd: would love that! Its a proper looking bike
  • 2 0
 Couldn't care les about the welds, or all the angular bits of Aluminium.. it's the horrible gold Fox parts, especially on a green bike looks like a perfect ebike for me
  • 6 3
 464mm of reach for a Medium sized bike i is getting a bit out of hand IMO.
  • 5 0
 Perfect IMO
  • 7 0
 at 178cm it's the perfect reach for me imoSmile I'm tired of getting stuck between a 450-455mm reach M and a 475-480 L
  • 2 0
 @jokullthor: yup. 178 here and same problem
  • 1 2
 Reach isn’t that meaningful without saddle offset at saddle height on a ‘bicycle’ with a telescoping seatpost. But seeing ST offset from BB, I say lumbar beware
  • 1 0
 I just bought a medium-sized Enduro bike with 470mm reach... I say it's not enough!
  • 2 0
 Editors-The BB height is listed as 343mm in the chart not 448mm in the Geometry text.
  • 5 2
 Is it a bird or is it a plane? Nope, it's a fridge
  • 2 1
 I'll tell you what doesn't weigh a shit load - my E bike that doesn't have a battery or a motor. Powered by my energy, hence the E.
  • 7 5
 cracking bikes them oranges
  • 1 1
 That's weird I could have sworn that my Spec SL Gen 2 had a mullet set-up and 160mm travel at both ends........but apparently not............
  • 1 0
 I think it looks pretty sweet… the chunky down tube fits well with the chubby rear end.
  • 1 0
 Thicc
  • 2 0
 No super pretty, but waaaayyyy better looking than a Honda eMtb…
  • 3 1
 Hot garbage ....look at the welds ...lol
  • 2 3
 I've demo'd orange bikes a couple times and I always thought two things:
1. Rear suspension rides like trash
2. Ugly

Shame, because they are otherwise a cool company with humble beginnings
  • 2 0
 really, nobody gunna mention how they just copied the Oso ugly Ibis?
  • 1 0
 their design team must be in their 90's. I am sure the tech is good but it looks like a 1998 DH bike.
  • 2 1
 Best looking orange ever?
  • 2 0
 Derailleur. Pass.
  • 2 0
 Where Steve Peat?
  • 3 6
 1.- Buy a second hand Orange
2.- Buy a 500w bafang motor (less than 500e, more than 85nm, reliable and cheaper parts, easy to repaire yourself)
3.- Buy a good 15 ah battery (UPP in Europe are trusty for less than 300e) and spiral cables
Now you have an Orange e-bike that can last âges for fair money
After having worked in a bike shop with brosse/Yamaha motos, i wouldn't Buy anything else..
  • 1 0
 is is that dificult to innovate with a pulley?
  • 3 1
 #buttugly
  • 1 0
 too bad its a single pivot.
  • 1 0
 Those welds LOL. I wish them the best.
  • 1 0
 "The BB height is moderate at 448 mm" - fairly moderate indeed Smile
  • 1 1
 The worst looking bikes ever. Does anyone in North America buy these things?
  • 1 0
 As an Orange fan, GOD that thing is ugly
  • 3 2
 Absolute boat anchor.
  • 1 1
 Looks like a blind man did the welds
  • 2 3
 So, this one is just a mini fridge?
  • 1 1
 f ebikes
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