Product news: Less is supposedly more - The Orange Phase Evo is said to be a paradox, say the Brits from Orange Bikes from Halifax. “If you've been skeptical about electric bikes for a while, we understand. But here’s an electric bike that we think will change your mind.” The promise is full-bodied. So let’s take a closer look at the bike.
Orange Phase EVO – The Phase 2.0
“Welcome to the electric bike that can do it all – Imagine the feeling of being at your best on every climb and every descent. The lightweight Phase Evo EPO is here to give you just that – strong legs on the climb and perfect handling on the descent.” Well, the facts at least partially support this claim. With the current Bosch Performance Line SX drive system, built into a very slim chassis by Orange standards, there should be a good combination of performance, efficiency and peace of mind. With a weight starting at 19,5 kg (frame size L), the Phase Evo is still robust, as you would expect from an Orange mountain bike with 160 mm travel.
The Phase Evo is said to feel more like an “analog” mountain bike than any other EPO model in the Orange range. Orange says the Phase Evo feels agile, is quick in the corners and handles like the bikes we all know and love. We'll supposedly forget it even has a motor until we point the front wheel back uphill and tackle the climb like a superhero. Well, I'm excited, we ordered a bike for a test!
The Orange Phase EVO – in the video
The evolution of the Orange Phase EVO frame: It's more than just a phase
The Phase Evo is a mountain bike with Mullet wheels and EPO drive. The bike builders from Halifax call their e-bikes EPO, which stands for “Electric Powered Orange”. It comes with 160mm of travel front and rear. 'Evo' means that the geometry is tuned aggressively and gives the feeling of a bike with a lot of travel in a compact chassis, which should make the bike fast and smooth. To make the ride super-smooth, Orange uses a 205×65 Trunnion shock with a redesigned lower shock mount. A bearing is now used here. This was done to achieve a lower release force to provide very high sensitivity in the initial part of the damper stroke, while maintaining the performance and poppy feel of the familiar single-pivot suspension. All the features fans would expect from the latest Orange frames are present: iconic monocoque frame construction, optimized pivot position and asymmetrical swingarm to increase the bike's vertical rigidity and tune lateral compliance, giving a direct feel under load, but still offers a lot of grip.
Always looking for improvements in terms of reliability, a new tapered head tube was used to increase stiffness and increase strength. The geometry has also been revised to allow for shorter seat tube lengths and the use of longer telescopic posts. In the Phase Evo there is even space for a small SAFE compartment (for accessories, bars & equipment), so you don't have to attach so much to the outside of the bike. This way, little things are hidden but easily accessible. It also provides convenient access to the additional power button on the integrated battery on the down tube should it be needed.
Phase Evo – Handcrafted in the UK
The Phase Evo's frame construction is based on the iconic aircraft aluminum folding monocoque construction that Orange is proud of. With aluminum craftsmen with many years of experience under their belt, Orange believe the frames they make today are the best they have ever made and, by their own admission, probably the best in the world. Well, I'm really into the bikes, but I also think it's "broad". Manufactured from flat sheets of aerospace aluminum, custom tubes are created which are then seam welded for each specific application and fused to CNC machined components from aluminum blocks, all carefully modeled and analyzed. Everything is produced, manufactured and tested in our own facility in the UK. “This means we have a product that is strong, durable and fully recyclable at the end of its life cycle,” says Orange. Well recycling is an issue today and in this respect they are clearly ahead of carbon. And when it comes to vertical integration, hardly anyone can beat Orange.
The first model available will be the Phase Evo LE and will cost 8.900 euros. It has 160mm of travel front and rear. It relies on a Mullet wheel with a large 29er front wheel and a compact 27,5er rear wheel. There will be four sizes (S, M, L, XL). The color is limited to shiny wasabi green for starters.
Orange Phase EVO Limited Edition – the equipment
Frame: 6061-T6 Monocoque UK-formed custom aluminum tubes. Wheel size: MX – 29/27,5. Rear suspension travel: 160. Swingarm: Single-pivot (Boost 12 x 148mm hub)
Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory 205×65
Headset: FPD 49mm / 56mm Zerostack
Fork: Fox Factory 36 Float 160mm 29 (black)
Chain Guide: Strange Pivot Guide
Crankset: Race Face Aeffect R E-MTB 32t
Rear derailleur: Shimano SLX 12-speed
Chain: SRAM NX Eagle
Shifter: Shimano SLX 12-speed
Cassette: Shimano SLX 10-51T 12-speed
Wheelset: Stans Flow Mk4 + Hope Pro 5 (Black) 29 + 27
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 3c EXO+ 29 / DHR II 2.4 3c EXO+ 27,5
Brakes Brakes: Shimano SLX Trail 203/203
Seatpost: Fox Factory Transfer 150/175mm
Stem: Burgtec Enduro Black 42,5mm
Saddle: SDG Strange Bel Air III
Handlebar: Burgtec RideWide Enduro 800mm
Grips: Strange Grappler Lock-On
Control lever: Bosch Purion 200
Display: Bosch Purion 200
Battery: Bosch Compact Tube 400Wh
Drive unit: Bosch Performance Line SX
Orange Phase EVO – the geometry
The Bosch Performance Line SX in phase – light and powerful
The lightweight Bosch Performance Line SX drive unit differs significantly from the motors of the other EPO models. Although the SX engine delivers 'only' 55 Nm on paper, it can almost keep up with the full-sized CX engine in terms of performance. The higher your cadence, the more support the rider receives - up to 600 watts. Some physical activity is definitely necessary, but the drive rewards it with a surprising amount of power - actually the perfect combination for a sporty e-MTB.
The Bosch Performance Line SX motor weighs a slim 2 kg, but delivers plenty of power with its performance. It is quieter, offers minimal pedaling resistance and, in conjunction with the CompactTube 400 integrated battery, ensures a lightweight bike that feels and rides almost like an analog trail bike, but gives the rider additional “super power”. On technical climbs, the dynamic eMTB system detects the input power and cadence to perfectly adapt the support to the route. Launching on steep climbs is easy, even on loose terrain, while extended support gives that extra boost when you need it most to get over roots, steps and rocky sections. From the hardware to the software, the Bosch system emphasizes its claim as a market leader.
The drive is controlled via the new compact Purion 200 control unit. Despite its compact dimensions, it has a bright color display on which all relevant information can be read. The new Flow eMTB app is an integral part of the system, offering an amazing number of features as well as constant updates and improvements. Like its big CX brother, the Performance Line SX has four riding modes – Eco, Tour, eMTB and Turbo. These are all customizable via the Flow app. The app also offers functions such as the ebike lock, a navigation system, a ride screen and many other functions.
The Orange Phase Evo also offers the option to mount the new Bosch PowerMore 250 range extender. With an additional 250 Wh capacity, it significantly increases the range. In the rare event that there is a problem with the Performance Line SX system, Bosch customer service is excellent. Customers will soon be rolling back onto the route. This largely corresponds to Orange's own philosophy.