The Phase MX is Orange’s mixed size wheelset E.P.O model. With a 29” front wheel paired with a 27.5 rear wheel and 170 mm front and 165mm rear suspension travel, Orange think this makes the Phase MX a strong contender to be their most versatile E.P.O. model to date. The mixed 29/27.5 wheel set has settled in well with its combination of fast rolling, bump absorbing big front wheel combined with the agility of the 27.5 rear makes it a winning combination.
Featuring a brand new improved frame and the Shimano EP8 drive system with the 630Wh integrated battery, offering 25% more capacity for even longer rides.
The confident geometry, with its agility and stability is better than ever, and for the 2022 line up, they’ve upped the travel both front and rear, while keeping that low CofG they are famed for. With a power assisted bike long travel makes sense, climbing with extra watts in your legs or descending at speed, this bike needs to take the hits in its speedy stride.
The 2022 Phase MX geometry solidly ticks its performance orientated boxes with a 64° head angle, 76° seat angle, balanced reach (483mm Size: Large), With 165mm of travel from the 230×65 metric shock and a reduced offset 170mm travel fork.
THE FRAME BUILD
At Orange they never stand still. With every iteration of their models they hone their production processes to improve the frame’s performance and features where needed, and this one is no different. With state of the art aluminium craftsmen who hold years of experience, they think that the frames they produce today are among the finest they’ve ever made and indeed probably the finest in the world. They don’t know of anyone else that goes to the lengths they do to create a performance mountainbike frame.
The new 2022 Phase frames have had a raft of new features, tweaks and changes. The most obvious is the re-layout of the front end, which integrates the Shimano EP8 motor more elegantly into the downtube which houses the integral battery unit. The rear swing arm construction has seen some modifications as well as a couple of details such as relocating the Shimano EP8’s wheel speed sensor into the disc rotor.
The rear mech is attached using a Universal Derailleur Hanger. UDH for short and as the name implies universally available everywhere should you ever need to replace it, but has features that mean in the case of an impact it is designed to slip slightly and has the ability to “re-rail” the chain back onto the small cog, so more robust, less hanger replacing.Something that was painstakingly pored over was the suspension characteristic of the new Alpine 6, with everything they gained from that bike we wanted it to translate across into the Phase models.
Revisions have been made to the shock mounts to accommodate the new metric rear shock (230×65) and the increase in travel from 160 to 165mm, they have also focussed on increasing the amount of progression in the system which has seen a substantial increase, reduced the bike’s anti-squat value and decreased the amount of pedal kickback in the system.
The final piece of the puzzle is ensuring the battery is easily removable for easy charging. The battery is removable using just an 4mm allen key, so no more bolts to undo or keys to lose and it takes just a matter of seconds to drop out a battery. If you’ve gone through a 630Wh battery and you still want more, then “double battery days” are very much a reality and we have a system that means this is as easy as possible. Second batteries are available from Orange and will come with the protective cover as standard.
THE ‘ENGINE’ SHIMANO EP8 DRIVE UNIT
They have worked closely with Shimano since the introduction of the very first Electric Powered Orange model. The Shimano drive assist philosophy is very much like our own. Their system does what it needs to do, then stays out of the way when it’s done its job, letting you ride the way you want to.
The brand new Shimano EP8 unit is an improvement in every way to the previous model, making what they considered the best even better. The new drive unit is slimmer, sleeker and more compact than its predecessor, but don’t let its size deceive you. The EP8 packs a punch with enough power to get you to the top of any epic climb. The streamlined, integrated design not only looks the part, but it also allows for increased ground clearing for when the trail gets technical.
Everything about the EP8 is designed to allow you to focus on the ride. The new unit operates with little noise, letting you to focus on the natural sound of the trails without distraction. The newly refined Trail Mode utilises all 85Nm of the EP8’s power to effortlessly and intuitively assist you on your ride. Whether tackling loose sand or steep mountain ranges, the drive unit rapidly and seamlessly self-adjusts so that you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ll always have maximum traction and control. The harder you push, the more power will be delivered to assist you, meaning that no trail is off-limits.
The lightest full-power system, weighing in at just 2.6kg and with a 36% reduction in drag compared to the previous model, the EP8 will not hold you back. An improved clutch mechanism makes for a more responsive ride, with a smoother cut-off when pedalling above 25km/h. All of this puts you in complete control of the bike, with fluid pedalling and no surprises. The EP8 also offers an improved Walk Assist Mode, fully supporting you to push your bike with a one button control, allowing you to hop on and off with ease.
With the E-Tube Project App you can choose from 10 levels of assistance and set the maximum amount of torque best suited to your ride style across three modes, allowing for a fully customised ride before you’ve even put on your helmet. Preferences can be saved to different profiles so that you can quickly and easily switch between them for different terrains, or if swapping from the daily commute to weekend trails.
The EP8 also offers peace of mind. The smart, heat-conducting magnesium materials and a completely redesigned motor housing means that the unit handles rising temperatures on climbs easily, guaranteeing you maximum torque for longer. The new colour display is also fitted with an anti-theft mount and is optimised to be visible in bright sunlight, meaning that you can spend less time with your head down and more time enjoying what the bike has to offer.