Part 1 of 4: Rolling Chassis
Frame: Orange Clockwork
This frame has been knocking around retrobike for some time and had a few owners on the way. It’s in very nice condition, not mint, but very nice.
I loved the Orange Clockwork back in the day, they had real identity and charisma. Instantly recognisable in the original colour scheme of white and orange and were equally at home cruising the streets as they were competing on the race tracks. In fact I believe the Clockwork to be a bit of an early nineties icon, I never owned one back then but can still smell the thickly waxed paper that the 1993 brochure was printed on, I wanted one so much but the funds just weren’t forthcoming.
In the early 90’s Orange brought a new way of buying a mountain bike to the masses, they weren’t your build up out of a box bike, they were built at your bike shop to your requirements, hence you rarely saw two the same. Here’s an advertisement from MBUK (STIF, Leeds) in 1992, giving you an idea of what was on offer, prices and weights.
The Orange Clockwork wasn’t the cheapest bike on the planet but it offered a lot for the money, not least an entry weight of 25.25lbs for Suntour and 25.5lbs for Shimano groupset bikes. The Orange way of building bikes means that I can freely pick my parts for this project too.
Forks: Pace RC-30
If you were buying your Orange and wanted the finest rigid forks you choose these, Pace RC-30’s. For some reason Orange and Pace is one of those combinations that just work, maybe it’s the British brands thing, but they just do.
These beauties and in excellent order with the exception of the decals. They have an axle to crown measurement of 385mm, so should give some great old school handling. Naturally the steerer is 1” diameter to fit the frame and in this case a-head type.
With the introduction of a little autosol and fresh decals they are ready for fitting to the frame. I'll keep the backing sticker on until the project is completed, that way I won’t damage the lovely new decals.
Headset: M Part
As crucial as the headset is I’m not going to blow massive amounts of money on a headset on this occasion. The frame was supplied with a very fresh M Part 1” ahead headset, it seems a nonsense to go out and buy another just for the sake of it.
The fit of the headset is a little loose for my liking, both in the cups to head tube and the crown race to steerer. To solve this a little aluminium tape will be used to shim them into a snug fit.
Wheels: Shimano XTR M900 on Mavic 231/261 CD
The hubs are Shimano’s finest M900 XTR ones. The front is an immaculate 32 hole with buttery smooth bearings, the rear is a very good condition 36 hole with excellent bearings also. Both of the hubs are held in place by M900 skewers.
These are spoked to a Mavic 231CD at the front and a Mavic 261 CD on the rear, they may not be matching but make a good pair. The front rim is in excellent condition and the rear in good condition.
Tyres: Ritchey Z-Max 2.1”
I’ve used Ritchey Z-Max tyres before and found them to be very usable, some might not like them in heavy conditions due to their poor mud clearing, but I like them for being hard wearing, comfortable and having good cornering properties.
My pair are in very good condition, with plenty of life remaining. Skin wall must be the way forward for an Orange of this era in my humble opinion.
To be continued…