At A Glance
When I started racing, the Animal Orange Team was in full flow, with Greg Minnaar, Steve Geall, Tim Ponting and the Kitchin brothers. Despite racing at the top level, they also made regular appearances at races in the south of England, so their bikes were never far away. Often I would get to see strange prototypes, but the bike that always stood out for me was the MsIsle, particularly in team colours, it was a bike I had set my heart on getting, but I never had a chance to own.Buy Hard Tails on
Fast forward many years later and I am sat on board what I would arguably call a descendent of the MsIsle’s, a little more refined and sensible, but still with a hint of mad man in there! Coined by Orange as the Five’s tag team partner, it’s is their take on a big mountain hardtail.
The first thing you will notice about the Crush is its stunning paint job; the guys in Halifax sure know how to coat a frame!
With 27.5” wheels, 140mm of travel and a 67° head angle, the bike is clearly designed to attack the trails and aimed at someone who sees going uphill as a necessary evil, in order to enjoy the down! However the 2x10 Shimano SLX/Deore drive train, dropper post with internal routing and the lockout on the RockShox Revelation RL’s, should make those climbs far from unpleasant!
On The Trail
Before getting aboard the Crush I had envisaged the bike, if I dare use the word, as an enduro hardtail. It’s not a huck bike, or jump bike, but it looks like it can handle a little more than your average trail, so with that in mind I ventured forth to find rocks, drops, singletrack and climbs.
Starting the way I wish all trails would, down, the Crush had its descending skills put to the test first. Through the smooth lines the bike tracked and flowed well, and when things started to get rougher, there was no sign of the skittish back end that can often be found on aluminium hard tails. In general the Crush descended with pleasure, placing a smile on my face and a few bugs in my teeth by the time I reached the bottom.
Once the Crush had reached the valley bottom, it was time to test the inevitable climbing skills. Up went the RockShox Reverb Stealth and it was time to get spinning. On a bike that descends so well, the climbing can sometimes be compromised, with the geometry placing the rider to far over the back when climbing, thankfully the Orange wasn’t like this. Although climbing was a little on the sluggish side, this was more down to the build and tyre choice than anything else.
If you are the kind of rider that takes pleasure in the climbs then this may not be the bike for you, unless you want a second bike that you can really dish some abuse out to. This bike is for the person that tuts whenever they hear the word enduro, after all what you’ve always done. It’s for enjoying the technical flowy singletrack, hitting the jumps and generally having fun, the climbs are easily conquered, but only done so purely to get to the next thrill.
Seat tube: 482.6mm
Effective top tube: 590mm
Head tube: 130mm
Chain stay: 435mm
BB height: 443mm
Head angle: 67°
Seat angle: 73°
This review was in Issue 33 of IMB.For more information visit Orange Mountain Bikes