11th July, 2016 | by Phil Williamson
Designed to be a rapid all-rounder the Orange Segment seeks to redefine the short travel trail bike by combining a stiff chassis with progressive geometry and 29” wheels. For this review we put the new entry level Segment S through its paces on a rainy day up at Bike Park Wales to see if it really lived up to its claim of being the fastest all-rounder in Oranges line up.
Model: Orange Segment S
Rider: Trail Rider
Highlights: Fast and playful
Tredz Rating: 910
With its 29” wheels and progressive trail geometry the Segment is both fast and playful. It carries speed very well, as you would expect with 29” wheels, but it is the playful nature of the Segment that really makes it stand out from the crowd. Combine this with its rugged reliability and it really does push the Five for the ideal British trail bike crown.
The frame tubes feature creases which add stiffness and have allowed Orange to use thinner aluminium sheets to reduce weight. The frame is stiff and combined with the Boost hub spacing front and rear the Segment felt precise through the turns and it showed no sign of the vagueness sometimes associated with larger 29” hoops. The swing arm pivot maintains the extra width of last year’s model which also contributes to the lateral stiffness.
The second generation frame improvements – lighter and stiffer – have been carried over into 2017. The overall frame design and geometry remains the same although the fork travel has been increased by 10mm to add capability over rough terrain.
Fast and fun to ride, the Orange Segment S is much better suited to most UK trail centres than many longer travel trail bikes.
Building on the success of the segment Orange have increased the range from three to four models, for 2017, in line with the Five, Four and Alpine6. The new S is the entry level model but the performance is by no means diminished. The spec is very well thought out and while lacking the finesse of the top spec models, the suspension and groupset both delivered capable performances. The lack of a dropper post is the only omission but, being an Orange, you can easily upgrade the seatpost – along with many other components – when you purchase.
Up front the Yari fork offers 130mm of suspension travel that is both stiff and composed, while the rear suspension offers 110mm of travel through the capable RockShox Monarch R. Despite hving a 20mm difference in travel the Segment always felt balanced and front and rear.
The Shimano SLX ,11 speed, drivetrain features a 11-42t cassette with a 32 tooth chainring, which some may find a little large for the very steepest of climbs. A chain device is not required and the drivetrain performed flawlessly, even over the roughest sections. The Deore brakes take care of stopping duties adequately enough, although they do lack the refined bite of Shimano’s higher end offerings. Again you can spec different brakes as an Orange factory upgrade.
Riding the Segment S on the flowy trails at BPW, I was left with the overall impression of capability and enthusiasm. The bike actually felt like it wanted to keep going, fast and hard, even when my body was hinting that I really should stop and catch my breath. Needless to say the desire to keep going won over and I ended up riding all the trails top to bottom in one hit. The Segment is by no means hard to get up to speed and once there it encourages you to keep going.
The segment climbs efficiently and will eat up the more technical challenges you find at some trail centres. The rear doesn’t move around much under power, as some single pivot bikes do, even without flicking the compression damping switch on the shock. This is thanks to the pivot point location which is very close to the chain line.