This weekend, I managed to ride an Orange Mr XC back to back with the Marin FRS that I usually ride, as I’m thinking of buying an Orange Sub 5.
Well a good start was that both bikes were running the same front forks (Manitou SX ti) so that any difference in feel would be attributable to the frame. The Orange is a lot plusher – this maybe due to the air shock – I’ve not ridden an air shocked bike before. But the suspension works equally as well as the Marins uphill. Where I could feel the small bumps on the Marin smoothed out considerably on the Orange the same type of bumps were almost imperceptible. Big bump action was also better on the Orange – probably due to the extra inch of travel. The steering seemed quicker and the Orange was lighter and smaller so much more easily chucked around .In spite of the frame sizes being 1.5″ different – Orange 18″, Marin 19.5″ I found the Orange was plenty long enough, bars were a little low (risers would sort this out) but I did have the seatpost about 3/4″ out beyond the Min Insertion point so I’d need a longer one for any purchase.
Given a choice I’d have taken the Orange rather than my own Marin, – 2000 double butted Marins are much lighter than my 1998 non-butted FRS frame but the important thing (for me) was to make sure the bike rode in a similar manner to the Marin and wasn’t going to have any suspension feedback I didn’t like.
I wouldn’t want to go as far as to say the Orange was better than a new Marin but to my mind it’s clearly up there as a true alternative in terms of performance and VFM. I’ll be ordering one later this week.