First Blood!

In our demo fleet there are a number of top end mountain bikes from manufacturers such as Orange, Whyte and On One to name a few. I haven’t personally owned a full suspension bike for a number of years trying to keep with the Unreal Cycles ‘Hardcore Hardtails’ roots. When asked I would have responded something to the effect of “who needs suspension?” or “We ride hard tails ‘cos we’re hard!” Given last nights’ shredding session on the trails of Mount Ashland I retract allllllll my previous statements!

I got a call from local legend, rider, trail builder, ride organizer and all around top bloke Fish. Fish told me they were going shuttling up the mountain and I needed to come out. I have been itching to throw my leg over the Orange Alpine 160, but alas it’s out on demo right now, so instead I selected the Orange Blood.

This bike has a really nice build around it featuring Domain 302 fork, XO drive train with a Hammerschmidt crank. If you haven’t ridden this system yet you need to! I thought the Alpine was going to be the perfect bike for this mountain but after getting up there on the Blood I may have to retract that feeling also.

The trails we were descending consisted of some tight single track with almost slalom style switchbacks, followed by some wide open super fast fire road style terrain with some nasty water bars to keep you on your toes. Now the Blood is named the Orange ‘slope style’ bike, I’d call it slalom / 4X, but that’s just me. Anyway, the point is, even with 17” chain stays this bike is a manual machine! Coming into the first set of nasty waterbars, lent back slightly and picked up the front end to sail over the obstacle followed by the 5” of rear travel soaking up the impact on the rear wheel. Did I just hit a water bar or was I dreaming?

During the slightly more technical switch backs the bike was planted, steered just as expected, soaked up the braking bumps while sailing through the exit of the turns once I got off the brakes.

All in all, I was VERY impressed with the way this bike presented its’ self, and the way we managed to get down the trail together, not too far behind the guys we were riding with and with only one crash.

Next time out I’ll try and get some actions shots!

Side note… look how WIDE those bars are!!!!! It some of the tighter sections of trail I clipped a few trees here and there! CRAZY! What’s with the need for bars that wide?! I just measured them, 32″, 810mm!!! INSANE!

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