Fox Testing at Lee Quarry
April 13 2010
Eamonn and Diego came over from Fox Europe with their box of goodies to work through our trail bike range and look at our custom shock tunes. With a Five, ST4, Blood, or any other bike featuring an air shock there are several variables to look at, get them all right and you have the perfect suspension feel, custom tuned to work with the suspension design and allowing adjustments on the shock so people can ride how they want to ride. Get it wrong, and you end up with a squidgy or harsh mess that doesn't inspire confidence and far from working with the suspension design, creates a counter-influence that undermines everything we work for as designers. Pretty important then? So while it might seem like an easy catalogue choice for people sat in an office, at Orange we like to make sure we work with the people that count and get everything we can out of their experience and knowledge. Bike speccing is super important, and that's why the vans rolled into Lee Quarry to help us get the rear shocks totally dialled.
We were concentrating on 100-140mm travel bikes with the RP23 air shock receiving the brunt of the attention. We all ride at the factory and constantly test in our own time, but on occasions like this it's nice to get some proper riders along. Rowan Sorrell, Joe Barnes, Aimee Dix and Chris Hutchens are all familiar with the Five and know what they're looking for in terms of feel, these guys were ideal candidates to get on board. Trials and internet sensation Danny Macaskill will also be riding Orange trail and downhill bikes and rides pretty hard whether he's killing it on his Inspired trials bike or riding everyday trails with his own twist of flair. As the riders familiarised themselves with the bike, Stu got filming for an upcoming Mojo sponsored 'trail diaries' video.
With everyone happy on their bikes the riders went back to the van and worked their way through the different options. Joe got some serious miles in heading out again and again to get one of the Strange prototypes exactly how he wanted it, before playing on his own Five. Joe is an amazing rider to watch and flicks his bike around obstacles, finessing his way down the trails and boosting off every little lip. He also rides a lot of XC so knows exactly what to look for in setting up a bike to pedal. Can't take his curry though!!
One of the most interesting riders to watch was Danny Macaskill, he's known for his trials stupidity and while it's blatantly obvious he'll be able to ride any bike, we didn't realise just how natural he'd be on a trail bike like the Five. Danny rode a prototype Five with a tapered headtube, and he schooled everyone on the technical stuff and kept up with Rowan, Joe and Chris on the downs. The trials style was still evident though. Maybe Danny wasn't the best person to take shock tunes from, this guys hits stuff harder than any normal person.
Rowan Sorrell is always on hand as a long time Orange rider. He knows exactly how a bike should ride and with his suspension experience one of the most useful test riders there is. Rowan is also responsible for building the trails up at Lee Quarry with his trail building company Back-on-Track. He knew the lines, and it showed.
When all the hard work and note taking was done, an impromptu trials session kicked off, who knew Stu Thomson was such a legend in the hoppity hop department. Styling...
So that's it, we got what we needed and we had a good day riding on some top trails. Big thanks to all the riders involved, Stu from MTBcut, Eamonn and Diego from Fox, Aimee from Mojo, Tony Lund for giving us free access to the quarry, and the John/Ben Chennells duo for some awesome photos. All that's left to be said is why did Stu have a hotel with a mirrored ceiling and grab rails, who knows...