11 December 2009

Orange Five long term review

Orange Five
No need for a detailed review, just Google for reviews and you'll find plenty to say how it rides & handles. This is more about how it stands up to long term use. This is the '08 model - not so much has changed for '10

...a slightly lighter/stronger top tube by Reynolds & the head angle is a bit slacker. I wouldn't have said it needed it, but it'll make the bike slightly more stable at speed & help prevent over the bars incidents on the really steep bits if you're not so confident

...back to the bike - it's lived up to expectations. No major problem's so far since it was bought in Dec 2007. It's a basic 'S' model with factory upgrades where it seemed worth it. Forks were upgraded to Fox TALAS RLC, hubs, brakes & headset to Hope items & a Gravitydropper seatpost added by me. Reasoning was that drivetrain stuff will wear out anyway, so why pay extra at the start? Just upgrade if necessary when stuff wears out

The forks went to MOJO after a year to have the TALAS system sorted, it almost stopped working due to an unsealed system on the '08 forks that lets in dirt. They fitted the '09 assembly which has been great - instant travel adjust instead of almost instant, and it's now sealed. It's the only system I know of that's so easy to use you can adjust it on the move

Pivot bearings are still smooth, so well done Orange for quality bearings & a design that obviously doesn't put much stress on them. Had to change the shock bushings & went for TF Tuned stainless ones which have been good so far, and they sell the tool for DIY purposes. Although it's nothing to do with Orange, the shock has done well. No issues & it's easy to change seals on the air can & add some float fuid every so often just to be on the safe side. Mojo reckon if you do this you won't need a factory service for a good while

Most upgrades have been due to wear & tear or personal choice rather than breakages. One exception was a front rim - bent the original WTB item on not too heavy a landing. Replaced it with my rim of choice, a Mavic EN321 (used to be XM321); cheap, reasonably light & I've never bent one yet. Replaced the rear recently with one that became spare from another bike. It's handy that EN321's & WTB SpeedDisc AM rims take the same length spokes, so can be swapped without replacing the spokes if they're in good order. The other major replacement was a set of Middleburn RS7 cranks, due to the Truvativs being required for another bike. Nothing wrong with the Truvativ set, the external bearings don't last ages, but I got a lot longer from them than from Shimanos I've used. The RS7's are an awesome bit of kit & there'll be a detailled review sometime

That's it really, does everything I need & does it well

6 December 2009

Paramo Velez Adventure Light W/proof Smock - pt2

OK, a short re-visit to the Paramo. In short, great. As I mentioned before, I'd have the arms slightly longer, but there's not much in it & with the wrist tabs done up everything's comfortable & stays put

The big question; 'has it stayed waterproof?' - yes. And Paramo are one of the very few that always reproof properly when they need it. Good on & off the bike & seems much more resistant to dirt than most fabrics. Got splattered with Dalby mud the other day, the sort you'd think might not even come out in the washing machine, and it just didn't soak in

If you really don't get on with smock designs, unfortunately they don't have much else that works for biking. I wasn't 100% convinced that it would be as good all round as the eVent it replaced, I went for it because I wanted long life (from the Paramo, it doesn't make you live longer..) Now I've used it for a few months it all makes good sense

Another plus for the '10 version is the choice of a few more colours

31 August 2009

Paramo Velez Adventure Light W/proof Smock - pt1

Paramo Velez Adventure LightNew Paramo waterproof, 1st one that's not too hot for biking. So far it's all good - best worn with just a base layer. With all the vents closed it's warm, open the vents and it cools down enough not to have to remove it except in warmer weather

Best of all with Paramo stuff, the waterproofing never wears out, as there's no membrane. The layering system does the waterproofing, and you just reproof it with Nikwax every so often. Because there's no membrane, you can reproof it indefinitely, so they work out reasonable value. Also, they're among the most breathable outdoor waterproofs available

Downsides? Sleeve length whilst OK could be a bit longer for me, and it replaced an Endura eVent jacket that was lost at Dalby...