Bicycles

Orange Phase AD3 adaptive eMTB packs three wheels and a bucket seat

Orange Phase AD3 adaptive eMTB...
Plans call for the Orange Phase AD3 to initially be built in small batches, with each bike custom-made for its rider
Plans call for the Orange Phase AD3 to initially be built in small batches, with each bike custom-made for its rider
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Lorraine Truong puts the Orange Phase AD3 to the test
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Lorraine Truong puts the Orange Phase AD3 to the test
Plans call for the Orange Phase AD3 to initially be built in small batches, with each bike custom-made for its rider
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Plans call for the Orange Phase AD3 to initially be built in small batches, with each bike custom-made for its rider
A close look at the Orange Phase AD3's cantilever linkage
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A close look at the Orange Phase AD3's cantilever linkage
The current Orange Phase AD3 weighs about 30 kg (66 lb), although Desmond says that lighter builds are possible
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The current Orange Phase AD3 weighs about 30 kg (66 lb), although Desmond says that lighter builds are possible
A rear view of the Orange Phase AD3
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A rear view of the Orange Phase AD3
Alex Desmond with the Orange Phase AD3
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Alex Desmond with the Orange Phase AD3
View gallery - 6 images

After suffering a brain injury in 2015, pro mountain biker Lorraine Truong was left partially paralyzed – this meant she could no longer ride a conventional bicycle. She's now back in the "saddle" again, though, thanks to the cleverly designed Orange Phase AD3 eMTB.

Truong, who is also a mountain bike development engineer, began searching for an adaptive mountain bike after her injury occurred. Word of her quest reached British engineer Alex Desmond, who founded his own engineering and design company (DezmotoRacing Ltd) after having previously worked for firms such as Norton Motorcycles and Jaguar Land Rover.

Desmond had built multiple adaptive mountain bike prototypes over the past several years, one of which he brought to Truong to try out on her home trails in Switzerland. After seeing how well she took to the bike, staff from Orange Bikes Switzerland contacted their head office in the UK, which had already been hoping to support her return to cycling. Orange UK agreed to help bring that prototype to production, under the condition that Desmond come work for the company … which he readily agreed to.

Alex Desmond with the Orange Phase AD3
Alex Desmond with the Orange Phase AD3

Superficially reminiscent of the Rungu Juggernaut, the resulting Phase AD3 is based on Orange's existing Phase electric mountain bike. For increased stability and traction, though, it features two independently suspended front wheels which are steered together thanks to a special linkage designed by Desmond. That cantilever linkage also allows those wheels to independently lean into corners – without the outside wheel lifting off the ground – thus keeping the AD3 from tipping over when turning.

Truong sits in a bucket seat that boosts her core stability, so she can use her upper body to maintain balance both when stopped and while "throwing the bike around." Because of the limited functionality of her legs, she uses the AD3 purely in throttle mode, although it can also work as a pedal-assist bike.

"We are going to build these in small batches," Desmond tells us. "We are currently trying to understand the demand, so we know how many to make in the first batch […] We haven't yet signed off a single specification. The design is modular, which means we can offer personalization depending on requirements."

A close look at the Orange Phase AD3's cantilever linkage
A close look at the Orange Phase AD3's cantilever linkage

In the case of Truong's aluminum-framed bike, features include 27.5-inch wheels; a Box One 9-speed drivetrain; a Paradox Kinetics bottom bracket motor that produces about 150 Nm (111 ft lb) of torque; Hope Tech 3 V4 hydraulic disc brakes; plus Fox 38 suspension forks and a Fox Float X2 rear shock. The whole thing weighs about 30 kg (66 lb), although Desmond says that lighter builds are possible.

One charge of the down-tube-integrated 504-Wh lithium battery is claimed to be good for about 700 m (2,297 ft) of technical climbing, or around 25 km (16 miles) of trail riding – again, that's just in throttle mode. And importantly, the AD3's 350-mm (14-in) track width means that it can be ridden on most existing mountain bike trails.

Lorraine Truong puts the Orange Phase AD3 to the test
Lorraine Truong puts the Orange Phase AD3 to the test

Desmond says that the materials cost of the bike was approximately £17,000 (about US$23,295), but adds that this first AD3 was particularly highly specced, and that pricing has yet to be established for subsequent builds. In any case, Truong is very happy with what she got.

"I didn't want to ride an adaptive bike just to say I was riding, I wanted a bike that could give me the thrill of riding technical and challenging tracks, and could handle both natural single tracks and bike parks," she tells us. "The AD3 really is all I could hope for [...] The feeling I get when I ride is just like a normal bike and thanks to the bucket seat, my brain can cope with it all. I feel so lucky, it is hard to describe."

You can see her riding the bike, and hear more about how it came to be, in the video below.

Introducing The Orange Phase AD3

Source: Orange Bikes via Pinkbike

View gallery - 6 images
7 comments
7 comments
Hopeful
Nicely done.
Spud Murphy
Not taking anything away from the design, but what isn't mentioned here is that Lorraine Truong received her brain injury in a mountain bike crash. Why in hell would any sane person go back to doing the same thing again? Isn't life short enough and hard enough already? Seems not, for some people.
Bernie Glynn
What an inspiring story. Also that bucket seat concept could really take off! Thank you for this article, and your great magazine.
PTB
Spud Murphy, Lorraine specifically mentions that in the video. ;)
anthony88
Hey Spud, sometimes, you have to get back on the bike, so-to-speak.
Spud Murphy
Sorry, don't agree, common sense dictates that when a pastime puts you in hospital with permanent injuries, it's time to change course and do something else. She didn't suffer brain injuries just once either, it was twice, if you don't learn from that, there's something wrong with you.

I've lost track of the number of stories I've read of thrill seekers killing themselves for a cheap shot of adrenalin, I even knew a guy once who died hang gliding because he made one little mistake. Life is short, but for these sorts of people, it's much shorter than it needs to be. Adrenalin junkies are destined to kill themselves, which is fine, it's their life, but they shouldn't encourage others to do the same.
Gadget
Ben imagine this if it had a Cranklock fitted. With even minimal leg pressure it would have increased downforce on the fronts wheels plus full control of the torque spin angular momentum. It would be even more stable, the thing would fly around corners at much higher cornering speeds and of course need less power to get back up to speed. In a word it would be terrifying! LOL Yes! Make it happen #orangebikes