Orange P7 series 8 mountain bike

MTB Aesthetics

I’m an aesthete (more so than an athlete). I like to ride bikes and sometimes wonder whether I would consider myself ‘a cyclist’. You won’t see me in lycra, I’m not interested in racing, club riding or competing in any way other than challenging and pushing myself. Generally, I ride alone. That’s just me.

I have a few lovely bikes; none of them are the highest tech; none of them are of the lowest weight but they all do what I want them to do and, as equally importantly for me, look good.

The latest refit is my beloved Orange P7. I got this bike in 2010 and rode it into oblivion. I stripped the bike back to the frame and have had it hanging in Campbell Bike Workshop since 2017, picking up parts as I went along, salvaging bits from other bikes and ultimately supplementing with new components where required.

Mountain bikes can be brash, often garish. The MTB industry seems to follow the ‘extreme sports’ palette of graphics and colours. There are exemptions, clearly, but I find it hard to engage with aggressive styling and spiky graphics. Rather than buying a new bike, I wanted to refit my P7 frame. Looking into it further, it would seem that the P7 series 8 was a 1995 model, beautiful lines, lovely tubing. Well worth investing time, some money and some emotion into.

I wanted to create something classic looking with a stylish edge with this beautiful (now arguably vintage) frame. I also wanted to make it a modern gearing set up with a 1×11 set up. I added the first ever Brooks saddle I’ve owned, saved from a previous bike refurb, complemented by new Brooks plump leather grips. The drivetrain is Shimano XT 8000 with a Wolftooth front chainring.

It is lovely to breathe new life into something that many would have ditched years ago. A bike made up of a sum of its parts, and some of their individual stories.

Fill your boots. Share away!