Breathing new life.....(2003 Orange Sub 5)

-=Slacker=- Posts: 24
edited March 2017 in Your mountain bikes
So, a couple of months ago I decided I wanted to buy a mountain bike to complement my 'roadie' (yes, I know and I fully expect the cries of 'heretic' and 'burn him at the stake!' :lol: ) I had no idea if this hair-brained scheme was just going to be a passing fad and I didn't want to spend a load of money on a bike that might not really see the light of day over the next 12 months. So instead I hatched a plan to buy a second hand MTB and maybe do it up and see how things went. So back in February I picked this up off eBay.....


It was a 2003 Orange Sub 5 in chrome and black and even though it needed a bit of work I thought it would be a good chance to get something cheap that I could thrash around and then look to get something better next year. I'd only ever heard great things about 'bombproof' Orange bikes and so this seemed like a great idea.

At this point my sole intention was to simply get the bike serviced and replace any parts that were in dire need of attention so I took it my local LBS, who also happen to be an Orange dealer, for them to give it the once over. The problem was that whilst I was in there I started thinking about how cool it would be to restore the bike to its former glory. The previous owner said that they had never had it serviced and suddenly in my head I'd gone from having something to thrash around on to being the ultimate king of retro cool!! (I know it's laughable isn't it!)

So by the end of the conversation in the LBS the bike was being left with them to be stripped and the frame sent to Orange for a respray as well as the forks and rear shock being sent away to be serviced. The rest of the bike was pretty straight (apart from the rear wheel having a kink in it) and so it was up to me if i wanted to spend any more on it. (bad idea.....)

Over the coming weeks I scoured eBay for some bargains and managed to pick up set of Mavic Crossride Disc wheels with Schwalbe Nobbly Nic tyres as well as some finishing kit. Then came the news that the rear shock was dead and so it was back to eBay to find a new one. Unbelievably I was able to pick up a perfect, unmarked second hand Fox Float RP32 for £130 which sorted that and so I was ready to go. In the meantime the frame was still at Orange and I was making regular trips to my LBS to drop off parts for the build. Then on Monday, after 6 weeks, I got a call to say the bike was done and I finally got to pick it up today.....So here it is!!


Essentially the only original parts on the bike are the original Manitou Black forks and the Deore group set and brakes. It thought about changing over to a more modern SLX group, but I think in it's current state it will see me over the trails of North Wales and Saddleworth with no problems. My LBS have serviced and cleaned it and so now I have to say it looks brand new, (apart from the mud on the second hand tyres :oops: ) in fact a customer had asked 'Who does the new Orange Five belong to?'

Front End

Rear End


Charge 'Spoon' saddle, Thomson 'Elite Inline' seat post and Thomson seat collar


Easton EA70 'Monkey' bar, Bontrager 'Rhythm' lock-on grips and Thomson 'Elite X4' oversized Stem


Fox Float RP32 rear shock

The finish on the paint job is something else and I know I could have got a powdercoater to do it, but I thought if I'm going to do this I'm going to do it properly.

The only think missing are the swing arm decals, but Orange didn't have any 2003 ones left and so I've contacted a vinyl sticker company to see if they can mock me up some so that I can add them at a later date.

All in all I'm really pleased with how it's turned out and I know that perhaps it's a really weird way of going about getting an MTB, but one thing is for sure I can't wait to finally get out on it!! The other bonus is that if I do decide to change the bike all I need to do is buy a frame and transfer the kit over, therefore I must resist the urge to look at the new Orange Five's in the shop!! :wink:

Thanks for reading