Having made the decision to part with my four year old Orange C16R and
get a new bike, I was forced to consider which slot I fitted into the increasingly
over-hyped world and specialised MTB market.
Before settling on the Evo O2 I test rode similar models from Marin (Quake 7 and
Indian Fire trail) Specialised and Trek – basically looking for a good robust hardtail
that would be fun on tracks and long rides and not fall apart during general messing
The Quake was too heavy and over engineered and the trendy stuff like radial spoked
wheels put me off the others so I kept faith with Orange and so far have not regretted
Although I bought larger 19" frame the Evo felt pretty familiar with very similar
geometry to my previous 17" bike, with Manitou SX LT forks swapped for the standard
SX the front end is a bit more up right and slacker angled but the handling is not
at all sluggish and is great for nipping through the trees. The short stem and wide
bars make downhills and technical bits more controllable but for long climbs and
more xc orientated riding or racing a longer stem would be worth fitting. I love
the beefy frame, the head tube area is reassuringly meaty and the fat stays give
a solid feel without it feeling too stiff.
Component wise, the LX 9 spd transmission with XT rear mech has been fine despite
mud, chalk and grass intrusion but I have doubts over the long term reliability –
time will tell. The hubs were upgraded to Hope sport to enable future fitting of
disc brakes, the current Avid v brakes are basic but they work. I was a bit disappointed
with the spoke tension on the wheels being a bit sloppy in places but the shop have
promised to sort this out. The only other lowlights are the cheapo pedals- swapped
for spds, the saddle, fine looking but a bit painful and the poor IRC Mythos XC tyres
which are too narrow and lacking in tread depth for serious use.
Overall? – fun.