When @Trailabuse asked me to go out for a ride with him and @Monkeyboy_21 at @OPALlandegla trails, as much as I wanted to I thought I was going to have to sit this one out – ongoing issues with my own bike (Norco Charger 7.2 HT) meant no ride….
However, after careful thought (the thought being “I wanna ride, dammit!”) I took my first foray into hiring a bike. After a smooth transaction in the shop, I was presented with a 2017 Orange Crush S that I could call my own for the day (and for the measly sum of £35, I thought this was more than reasonable!)
First off, the visuals. Clean lines, simple colour scheme – bright and very simple. The bike I was handed had a deep blue frame, with a few black and orange flashes. What struck me here was that this bike would make a great blank canvas for those of us that like to customise our rides. It is ready for you to add your own touches to – either picking up on the existing scheme or just get the base colour you want and accessorise to make your own original theme with minimal effort.
Frame and Forks
Next, the frame and fork setup – slack head angle, and short chainstays make the intended purpose of the Orange Crush S very apparent – point down, go fast. Although not the lightest of bikes for the climbs, when you point this bike downhill it really comes to life. Feels properly firmly planted and solid on the trail. At no point on this ride was I thinking about a whole bunch of “what-ifs” in terms of losing control or parts of the bike failing me.
The Rockshox fork was more than capable of soaking up the ruts and rocks on the Llandegla trails – really smoothed out the rougher parts of the trail and helped to find that all important grip in the more technical sections.
Control of the bike is done through a Kore handlebar/stem combo with Strange lock-on grips. Finally, the components. Bike feels very well finished – SLX powered 1×11 drivetrain, with Raceface crank. Both are steady and reliable, giving effortless shifting and allowing all the power you put into the pedals to transmit out of the back wheel. This power is put onto the trail via the 27.5” Alexrims wheelset and the WTB rubber – a stocky Trail Boss up front and a faster rolling Vigilante on the rear.
A pair of Shimano M506 brakes do a more than adequate job of bringing the bike to a halt or stripping out speed when you need it.
Overall, the Orange Crush S feels simple, uncluttered and a true workhorse. Everything works as it should. Not only was this my first time on a hire bike, this was my first ride on a proper hardcore hardtail. The confidence and feeling this bike gave on the trails means I will certainly be considering this style of bike a lot more in the future…
For more information on hiring bikes at OPA Llandegla, click here.