|The ST4 was completely unheard of when it entered Bikeactive so we didn't really have any ideas of what the bike was like or indeed it's real intended purpose or use.
The obvious difference from all other Oranges was the fact it wasn't a single pivot, a big and rather strange step for a company that has always sworn by single pivot design. After spotting the obvious differences I started looking at the geometry of the bike, it looked very low and fairly long with angles that were 'out of the norm' when thinking of 4 inch travel bikes.
The Orange ST4 is now my trail bike and I have ridden it a fair bit, including 3 loops of the Cwn Carn XC loop yesterday. When on board the ST4 the first thing you notice is how roomy the cockpit is, even though the bike appears small (16 inch) it actually doesn't feel it when riding allowing for plenty of body movement. The geometry also felt spot on, even though this is a 4 inch bike it definately feels like it is geared up to descend quickly and sure footedly with the suspension action inspiring confidence with its smooth and linear action.
It is all to easy to forget you are on a 4 inch bike but it will let you know if you start asking too much of it. It does require a certain riding finesse to get the most out of it but if you do have what it takes to get it you will be rewarded greatly, I have never had so much fun on a trail bike, period!
Apart from the low bottom bracket (which has been raised for 09) the bike climbs very well indeed, short rear end and light frame weight coupled with great suspension gives great traction. It is also a very easy bike to move around, low centre of gravity and low bb give it this characteristic which is a welcome one, the long wheel base gives it great stability on high speed descents, certainly speeds I wouldn't wish to do on most 4 inch bikes.
It's a real shame this bike hasn't had more coverage or magazine reviews as I strongly believe it is one of the best trail bikes money can buy. There is no unwanted travel giving it a 'wallowy' feel, it uses it's 4 inches very well, you are certainly never left wanting more. If you are after an extremely quick trail bike which will reward 'good' riding this is the one for you, whether you wish to blast forest trails or go on all day epics no other bike will give you a bigger grin.
Pictures will soon be added of my ST4, complete with spec list. Feel free to ask questions about it.