It’s been a few decades since Orange moved out of a shed in Halifax and the Orange Crush may not seems as niche as the other bikes on test but we just couldn’t ignore the heritage of one of the original hardcore hardtails.

This bike is part of a group test: The best hardcore hardtail you can buy – 7 bikes in review

The frame is built from 6061-T6 aluminium, the tubes are custom butted with a gusset under the headtube to save weight and add strength. The high stack height and low standover result in a straight line to the seat stays, which looks great despite the required brace that connects the extended seat tube to the top tube. The new Crush goes even slacker than it’s steel brother, the P7 and settles at 65˚ which feels bang on the money for a 29er.

The frame features ISCG 05 mounts for a chain guide and internally routed dropper and gear routing with, sensibly, an external brake cable: annoyingly, the new frame plug material for the

Geometry of the Orange Crush 29

Size M L XL
Seat tube 17″ 18″ 20″
Top tube 620 mm 640 mm 660 mm
Head tube 110 mm 120 mm 130 mm
Head angle 65° 65° 65°
Seat angle 73.5° 73.5° 73.5°
Chainstay 445 mm 445 mm 445 mm
BB Drop 60 mm 60 mm 60 mm
Wheelbase 1195 mm 1221 mm 1242 mm
Reach 428 mm 445 mm 462 mm
Stack 648 mm 657 mm 666 mm

Riding the Orange Crush 29

The Orange Crush is one of only two aluminium frames on test and, having all riden alloy hardtails before, we were expecting destroyed ankles and knees by the end of each ride; thankfully, although still a unforgiving ride when plowing through the rocks, the curved, skinny stays felt less brutal than other aluminium frames we’ve ridden. Of course, the 29er wheels and fantastic Maxxis 29 x 2.5 tyres absorbed some of the trail chatter and kept the ride manageable too. The boxy boost chainstays offer masses of mud clearance, even with wide rubber which is perfect for Winter riding.

The handling of the Orange Crush instantly inspired confidence: the tall stack and low standover puts the rider in a powerful position to tackle steep, technical terrain and our size large, with it’s 445 mm reach and chainstays placed the rider bang central which made the long and slack bike feel nimble and playful while remaining stable at speed. The light frame, long and stiff rear end and 29er wheels means that the Crush is a powerful climber too.

Conclusion

Aluminium may have fallen out of favour for hardcore hardtails but the Orange Crush breathes life back into the material. The ride may be stiffer than the equivalent steel frame but with the excellent geometry, the Crush surges along the trail making you want to accelerate into every little lip and manual over everything and out of every corner. The Pro build we tested also represents excellent value for money with fantastic forks, brakes, tyres and drive train so you can shred the trails straight out of the box.

Price: £500 frame only (£2100 for the pro-build as tested)

Strengths
  • Jack of all trades
  • Easy to ride with a balanced riding position
  • Playful handling
Weaknesses
  • Harsh rear end lacks the compliance of steel

For more info head to: orangebikes.co.uk


All bikes in test

Airdrop BITMAP | Pipedream Moxie | Pole Taival | Orange Crush 29 | Sick Headbanger | Stanton Switch9er | Stif Morf

Words: Thomas Corfield Photos: Trevor Worsey

About the author

Thomas Corfield

After nearly 30 years of riding and coming from a career in cycle sales, UK Editor Tom is still passionate about everything mountain biking. Based in the Scottish Borders, he enjoys riding everything from solo adventures in the mountains to big social night rides.