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Long term bike review. 2020 Orange Phase 2020.

My Long term bike review that went live July 2021 EMTBforum 

Manufacturer: Orange
Model: Phase RS
Model Year: 2020
Price Paid: 9000
New/Used: Brand New
Score (out of 10): 10



Review: Long Term Bike Tests

This is a follow-up review built around my last year's bike. "2018 Specialized Turbo Levo Expert".
It created a perfect compassion test.
Like last year's long term test on the 2018 Specialized Turbo Levo Expert it isn't about the performance of the bike. Magazines and manufactures have professional riders / journalists for that.
This is about the everyday wear and tear of the bike.
We the riders should be uploading monthly, long term EMTB rider data.
How many chains, cassettes, front rings, pads, tyres, engines and bearings you went through in a year.
From that prospect newcomers cannot only see how much you need to spend in the beginning but what to expect in an average year.
Every test result would be totally different. That's the beauty of a long term test platform.
Mine will be totally different to yours. But you collect 10 long term rider tests and we see how well they are doing.

My Long term test for 2020 - 2021

I distribute Juice lubes bike care products in Germany and test multiple chain oils, greasers and cleaners in different terrains during various climatic conditions.
My bike maintenance is kept in house and I would say my bikes are all kept well lubricated. Bikes are washed after every ride in winter. No jet washing. Rain water barrel and brush. I do use a bike wash.
I strip and inspect my bikes regularly and try to avoid repairs and maintenance carried out by shops.
Covid this year reduced my usual overall Km's. Was a consistent year (Summer/Winter) but not massive. Couple of trips away to the Alps. It was a long hard winter. Heavy rain. Endless snow and durations of well below zero freezing temperatures. I did 3900km in 12 months.

A General Inspection on my bike includes:
Inspection List: Pivot Points, Bearings,Torques settings, Tire pressure, Suspension, Drive chain, Brakes. Cables, Pedals.
Majority of products used: Bike maintenance spray, Grease, Chain Oil. Brake Fluid, Brake cleaners. Basically If i feel it, hear it, i jump on it.

So this is how looked in 1 year:

Bike:
2020 Orange Phase RS. (Optional Up-grades) Bought June 2020
Duration: 12 months
Mileage: 3877km
Price paid: New 9000


Duration between 1 - 3 months. 1200km
Usage/Percentage: All Mountain 70% / Park 20% / Gravel 10%
Maintenance: General Inspection list. (As above)
Bike issues: Nothing! Last year's bike issues started here!
Parts: No need to change or repair anything.

Duration between 3 - 6 months. 2000km (Lock-down)
Usage/Percentage: Trail 50% / All mountain 25% / Enduro 25%
Maintenance: General Inspection List + Full Strip down after several Alps trips. (Not motor)
Bike issues: Nothing! Again check back to my turbo Levo long term test.
Parts: Hope E4 Brake pads rear (sintered) Chain. SRAM GX 12 speed. Schwalbe Big Betty. 2.6 2,75 Rear. Tubeless. Juice lubes tire juice. 1.5 bar.

Duration between 6- 9 months.2900km (Lock-down)
Usage/Percentage: Trail 100%
Maintenance: General Inspection list + Full Strip down mid Winter. (Not motor)
Bike issues: Cane Creek Headset Finished. Up-graded to Hope Tech.
Parts: Hope Tech Headset. Schwalbe Eddy Current. 2.6 2,90 Front. Tubeless. Juice lubes tire juice.1.2 bar. Renthal Kevlar Grips.

Duration between: 9-12 months. 3900km
Usage/Percentage: Trail 40% / Park 40% / Enduro 20%
Maintenance: General Inspection list. Orange dealer checked the motor. No issues.
Bike issues: Carried out a complete Hope brake bleed service, New shifter cable.

Summary:

Makes me laugh at what i've written above compared to last year.
I keep saying it but if you haven't yet, please go and read my last year's bike review as a compassion. Reliability wise there is no comparison. 2018 Specialized Turbo Levo Expert
When i got to this stage last year i really was deflated about positive news owning an E-mtb. I just couldn't see how you could spend big money on well name brands and they fall apart in 1 year.
This year you can see from the above its a totally different outcome.
Everything that let me down on last year's Turbo Levo Expert excelled in the Orange. It gave me faith again in the world of EMTB's
Look how short this paragraph is to last years.There'shing negative to write.

OK, I was a little worried about UK customer service over in Europe. Frank Kimmerle the Orange dealer in Germany is an absolute legend but better still.
How long did it take to get a reply from your E-bike manufacturer with a question? I asked Orange directly about a chainring upgrade. They replied in 2 days.
Other well known bike brands that i own, you'll be lucky to get a useful reply back within the month.
It might be small things but It all adds up to a total rider satisfaction.

We, The consumer, run over for hours, weeks even months "the spec list" before buying.
Quick example. Last year I wrote "4-6 months in, are you gonna replace that XX1 or get the same life out of a NX for 150+ notes cheaper?"
Orange did exactly what I questioned last year. Rear cassette 12 speed NX. It wasn't that Orange went cheap. They knew it wore quickly. They spec'd the bike perfectly.
The Phase RS is cleverly thought out. It's worth pointing out the up-grades I made in the beginning.

I found the SRAM code R's a pain on the turbo levo. Plenty of power but too much servicing through-out the year. I added Hope E4's to the original RS spec.
The specialized rear shock was a poor compromise for its build spec. I had the chance to do it right this time, I took the option of upgrading to what was standard on the Phase Factory build and run the Fox X2.
It is undoubtedly the best shock I've ever owned and compliments Orange's single pivot design I know and respect so well.
Tyre choice that came standard on the Phase was excellent. After their life expectancy was done I changed to Schwalbe Eddy Current only because of personal preference.
They are slower rolling but I love that grip and that width of the Eddy's.
Its a very confident inspiring set of rubber especially in the big play ground of somewhere like Chamonix, France.
I'm now experimenting with running a Schwalbe Eddy Current 2.75 front tire as a rear. A note at that point the 2020 Phase was the MX wheel size. 2021 Phase becomes the electric name across its range from the Phase (27.5) Phase 29 and the Phase MX.


Conclusion:

This year's conclusion looks very different.

After last year I really needed a reliable noble steed. The Orange gave me what I expected.
It is in a different league. Build quality. Reliability. Build specification choice.
That's all before I could go on about its geometry...on a MX platform!
Obviously just my personnel opinion after owning the two bikes to compare side by side.

I've grown up on Orange Bikes. 20 years in fact.
Am I biased towards Orange bikes? I guess I am biased towards anything that performs, that's well made and puts a grin on my face.
There's one thing that all Orange Bikes have. Dialled in Geometry and a superior build quality. But I've never given one a 10/10 before.
All bike companies can get it right. I had a 2015 Canyon Spectral EX 8.0, It was an upgrade to riding a 2014 Orange Five. A 2017 YT Jeffsy was an upgrade to the Canyon but was missing something.
The closest to a 10 I ever thought was the Canyon Spectral. I thought it was a 9. So no, I'm not biased. It's the first 10/10 I've given a bike.

So what about next year's EMTB test. Honestly. With a bike that's this complete I don't need to update it. I'm satisfied with what I've got.
It's gonna make me proud for a few years yet. And that's what riding should be about. Developing a bond with your choice over the years.

They are expensive machines. Do your homework. Don't get completely sucked into manufactures or magazines bla bla.
The Specialized cost me dearly in repair bills and parts. The Orange did more and cost me nothing in 1 year.