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EB18: Prototype Orange STRANGE 329 DH rig and X9 gravel adventure bike

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As Orange launch their new 2019 327 DH rig at Eurobike – evolving their old 324 – we also get a sneak preview of some STRANGE (Special Technology Range) protos. The prototypes go one step further downhill with the 329 (29er version) and onto the gravel with the X9 adventure bike, featuring a Fox 32 Step-Cast AX fork.

Orange 327 DH alloy downhill race bike

New Orange 327 Downhill race bike launched at Eurobike

As with almost all Orange bikes, the 327 is designed and built in Britain, up North in Halifax. An evolution of Orange’s 324 DH bike, the new 327 has seen some extensive re-working with the frame undergoing considerably more forming to improve ride characteristics. An arc has been built into the rear end, and as a result, the frame is both lighter and stiffer than the 324. Another racer-driven upgrade is the addition of a metric shock – the FOX Float X2 Factory in 250x75mm. With it, this brings a more progressive spring curve.

An arc is built into the rear end to provide greater stiffness

The 27.5 Stans Flow Mk3 wheelset sits on a 150mm-spaced rear axle for precise handling. The compact split rear swingarm gives 200mm of rear travel and is both light in weight and delivers high rigidity.

The 327 gets a metric shock, the Fox FLOAT DHX2 providing 200mm rear end travel

You may have seen this DH rig before now, modeled by the Ride I.O. Team at the 2018 World Cup Downhill. The bike gets a 1 year racing warranty and is available in 10 custom colors.

Prototype 29er Orange STRANGE 329 DH bike

Orange tease us with a preview of the STRANGE prototype 329 Downhill Bike

Get a load of the soon-to-be-released 6061-T6 Custom Butted Aluminum 329. Much the same as the 327 in many ways, the 329 has also seen extensive forming work on the frame with the curve built into the stays in the rear end. It features a low bottom bracket height of 335mm to provide a low center of gravity, with the BB sat in a strong 83mm shell with ISCG05 tabs.

The medium frame has a standover height of 732mm, a reach of 424mm, and a wheelbase sitting at 1246mm. The 329, it seems will only be available in sizes M, L & XL. The 329 will be come with Fox Factory spec at around $7500, or you’ll be able to pick up the RockShok spec 329 for around $5100. Release date yet to be confirmed.

Prototype gravel Orange STRANGE X9 Adventure Bike

New Adventure Cross Bike from Orange, the X9 with 40 mm travel step-cast fork

A second prototype from Orange’s Special Technology range (STRange) on show at Eurobike was the X9.

The X9 features WTB 700×40 tan wall tyres mounted on an Easton EA70 wheelset

An evolution of the RX9, developed for people looking to go further on rougher terrain in more remote locations, the upcoming X9 features a 1×11 SRAM Apex drivetrain setup.

The 1×11 drivetrain has allowed Orange to connect the dropper seat post to a SRAM shifter

That allows Orange to connect a LH SRAM shifter to the 100mm dropper post. While Orange are by far not the first to do this, it is a neat feature nevertheless, and will be one of few out of the box bikes to feature the mod stock.

The X9 features the Fox 32 Step-Cast 40mm fork from Fox’s Open Project range

An exciting addition to the X9 is the 40mm travel 32 Step-Cast Adventure Cross (AX) fork. The short travel specific FLOAT EVOL air spring is designed to provide comfort to the rider on those longer gravel rides, taking out the chatter of the road.

The Fox 32 Step-Cast AX fork can be locked out for smoother fire road and tarmac sections

These forks will lock out for your smooth tarmac and fire road sections while the short travel should provide predictable cornering and descending when the route gets rough.

40mm front end travel takes out the chatter on those longer gravel adventures

The Custom butted 6061-T6 aluminum frame will come with a 5 year warranty and will be available as the full build as displayed here. That includes a SRAM hydraulic disc brake setup, an Easton EA70 wheelset, and WTB 700x40mm TCS tan wall tyres. Sorry folks, no release date set for this one either, as of yet.


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