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Price: £4,300.00 (as tested)

From: Orange Bikes,

Of our three 29ers on test, the Orange Stage 5 is the youngest and shiniest of the lot. Released to the public in early 2017, the Stage 5 slots into the Orange 29er line-up between the short-travel Segment, and the Stage 6 enduro race bike. With 135mm of rear travel and a 140mm travel fork, the Stage 5 is billed by Orange as a capable technical trail muncher.

If you’re thinking you’ve seen something like this from Orange before, then you’re not wrong. In essence, the Stage 5 is the natural successor to the original Five 29 – a trail bike that has achieved somewhat of an underground cult status. But while Orange was already building a capable 140mm travel 29er back in 2013, the wider market wasn’t quite ready for such a beast and the Five 29 sadly faded away. The Five 29 was well-loved by those riders who were willing to get on board, but back then many riders were still sceptical of big wheels.

Four years on, and the global rise in popularity of 29in wheels has helped to pave the way for the new Stage 5, which possesses several key improvements over the original Five 29. For a start, the Stage 5 has gone to Boost hub spacing and is now 1x specific. Each size has also gotten longer in the top tube for increased stability and the cockpit sits lower, thanks to a shorter headtube length. Along with an all-new alloy construction that draws heavily on the recently lightened Five frame, it’s a well-refined machine.

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About Singletrack

Chipps suggests that you wake up and smell the broad beans. International Adventure - Costa Rica. This tiny Central American country has a hidden network of beautiful singletrack. Holger Meyer teams up with one of the country’s best riders to get to the good stuff. Room 101. Charlie the Bikemonger dons wig and prepares to hand out justice. In the dock this issue are secret trail snitches and over-biked canal riders. Trailhunter - Gettin’ Grizzly. Tom Fenton goes off the beaten trail centre at Grizedale forest to find out what exactly makes a ‘must-do’ trail. Singletrack Recommended. Only the products that we fully endorse, make it into Singletrack Recommended. This issue we have forks, wheels and a shock pump. Column - Jason Miles. Being a winning endurance racer is fully achievable, reckons Jason. Being a tidy one is a completely different thing. Bike Test - Twentyninegnars. 29in wheeled bikes have come a long, long way in the last decade. We check out three mid-travel trail monsters from Evil, Orange and Pivot. Interview - Intense Cycles’ Jeff Steber. The charismatic founder of Intense talks product development, company expansion, carbon evolution and why he’ll always be at home with his TIG welder. Classic Ride - Northumberland. This most empty of English counties gives up some singletrack treats for those willing to make the journey. Kit Bag - Bothy Bags. Tom Hill unpacks his overnight bothy bag to show what he takes out on a mountain night in the hills. Grouptest - Flat Pedals. Flat pedals are not created equal. David Hayward’s been testing 16 and has whittled those down to his favourite four flat pedals. International Adventure - Menorca. Antony takes an off-season winter jaunt around the singletrack of this Mediterranean island best known for its summer beaches. Column - Dom Perry. How come, at the end of a riding week, it starts to feel like work?