Back in 2015 we started to get a lot of requests for hire bikes in Morzine and this got the cogs ticking. Which bikes would stand up to the test? With our company originating out of England and our resorts across Europe offering some of the most rugged and aggressive terrain in the world, there was only one company to partner with. Enter Orange Bikes, with strong welds, a simplistic design and offering the most supple feel on the trails all whilst maintaining a modest and competitive weight.
Orange bikes began with a keen wind surfer (Roger Tushingham) and his friend (Lester Noble). They spotted an opportunuty in the emerging cycling market in early 1986. Muddy fox who at this point were focussing more on urban production were seen by noble and Tushingham to be ‘missing a trick’.
The pair set out to market a fully rigid off-road bike that was imported from Taiwan and then constructed in Halifax. This turned into a great success, however the name of the bike ‘ Tushingham B-52’ wasn't. Following some rejigging and joking around the all round range or O-range was born. This later became the Orange B-52 the first bike the brand produced.
Orange Bikes began production of their Full Suspension frames in 1998. Although the bikes were built in Halifax it wasn't until this point Orange started producing in house frames in the north of England. Orange have taken a very different approach to most other mountain bike companies, keeping the design simple and making fine adjustments. This meant Orange were able to quickly adapt to new trends and the requirements that their customers came to demand.
Taking six months in training before being allowed to work on any production frames has ensured that when it comes to Orange, quality is assured. In 2017 you can still see the high quality care that goes into each frame. The welds remain as clean as ever and you can see all the years of development through the new designs.
With Morzine pushing bikes and riders to their limits we needed a bike that was reliable. Having seen so many carbon manufactured bikes crack or break in the 2016 season, we didn't want guests to have this as a concern. The other problem we found was that the new designs of bikes are so focussed on pedal efficiency instead of shock absorption. When you are in Morzine pedalling is not required and so having a bike that takes the big hits over and over again becomes the number one priority. The single pivot design of the Orange means there is very little impact required to activate the shock movement, creating a uniquely supple feel to the bike. This combines with the Fox DHX 2 and Fox 40 suspension made this year's rental bikes nothing short of a show stopper.
When looking at enduro bikes, we had a tougher decision, we needed a bike that could handle the high speeds of Morzine whilst also remaining light and nimble enough to handle the tight loose turns in Finale. The Alpine 6 was the perfect fit, with a short rear end the bike got through the corners quickly whilst the slack head angle at the front kept the bike stable at higher speeds. The Alpine 6 also climbed incredibly well for a 170mm bike. This meant that when you spent time and effort pedaling up on a climb you could really enjoy and make the most out of each descent.
We hope to continue a long standing partnership with this inspirational and truly British brand. For the 2018 season we will have both their flagship Downhill and Enduro bikes available to rent and test out. Trust us when we say, you wont be dissapointed.
Stay Clipped in!
The MTB Beds Team