Words & Photos: Sim Mainey
July 03 2018
It may be stating the obvious but all our mountain bikes are designed and built to be ridden in the mountains. No other environment is as punishing on a bike or rider so that’s where we go to test ourselves and our products. The mountains are our proving ground and our playground.
The mountains are also where our minds wander to when we stare out of the window and daydream. Brutal downhills on Welsh slate, endless singletrack in the Scottish Highlands, technical climbs to Lakeland summits - if you love riding bikes off-road it’s hard not to be drawn to, and obsess over, these high places.
Our corner of West Yorkshire has a great deal of incredible riding but not much in the way of mountains. Most of our riding is on moorland singletrack, wooded valley trails and the rocky bridleways on our doorstep - trails that reward a fast and light approach to riding and favour good line choice and skill over brute force.
We wanted to create a bike for these trails. A short travel singletrack specialist. One that could wring the most out of the riding we do the majority of the time but also feel at home on weekend trips to the mountains. Which is how the Four came about.
From the start we had an idea of the kind of feel we were after from the Four. This idea of feel dictated everything else - how the bike was designed, built and specced.
It was important that we were able to feel what the trail was doing rather than subdue it, to be able to pump, jump and carve every little roller, crest, bump and root. The Four was going to be our surfboard for the dirt.
Every input had to have an instant effect in creating forward momentum - a punchy immediacy that encouraged us to keep putting down the power until our legs gave out. We wanted handling that let us feel the limits of traction corner after corner and be able to push those limits.
Since its launch we’ve ridden the wheels off the Four (or at least tried to) and it, and us, keep coming back for more. There’s just something about the way it rides that’s got us hooked.
While the idea of a dirt surfboard idea might have started off as just a guide it’s proved to be pretty accurate. Drop your heels, bend your legs, work the edges of the trail - the Four has an uncanny ability to find speed everywhere while letting you know exactly what’s going on right under your tyre tread. Cowabunga, pal!
The Four cuts to the core of why we ride. The fly-eating grin it slaps on our face every time we hit singletrack. The way it makes a hastily grabbed hour long ride into an everyday adventure and when we want to take it slow and steady and soak up the views it’s happy to kick back and leave the rioting for another day. And come the weekend when we head for the mountains it’s more than held its own.
The Four might have been designed as a bike for making the most of our local trails but it turns out that its talents stretch much further afield - rave reviews and rider feedback from all over the world prove that a short travel bike with sorted geometry is most of the bike you need most of the time. No surprise then that the Four has become an established favourite in the Orange line-up, our all-round specialist.
Is less more? It’s hard to say, all we know is there’s definitely more to the Four.