A raft of tweaks as subtle as the name change stack up to make this the juiciest Orange to date
Need to know
- 160mm travel single pivot with 170mm fork
- Revised shock location increases progression
- Creased and Boosted back end stiffens things up
- 300g lighter than the previous Orange Alpine 160
Orange Alpine 6 Factory
Despite all the hype about head angles and reach, the most important stuff on the new Orange Alpine 6 is at the back. So let’s start with the rear tyre and head forward from there.
The Alpine 6 can swallow up huge back tyres. We’re not talking Plus tyres here, but we are talking room-to-spare with 2.5in chunkers. We expect the new crop of ‘diet Plus’ 2.6in rubber aren’t going to be a problem either.
The instigator of such roominess is the Alpine 6’s adoption of Boost hubs. The wider hubs have been a godsend here. Going to 148mm has upped the tyre clearance and — more importantly — shortened and stiffened the swingarm. The chainstays are now a mere 430mm.
The other feature that has stiffened up the back end is the longitudinal creasing along the stays. It’s a small but ingenious move that de-waggles the back end quite a bit. The main pivot on the front triangle has also been made a few millimetres wider due to the aforementioned Boosting. Win, win, win for Orange.
The main pivot has also been brought a little bit closer to the bottom bracket. The BB itself is now 5mm closer to the ground (342mm) than the Alpine 160. This has all been possible as there’s no provision for a front mech on the Alpine 6. It’s 1x all the way, baby.
Revised shock location
At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much different about the shock placement on the Alpine 6. It looks like an Alpine 160. But it isn’t. Basically the forward mount of the shock — where it attaches to the front triangle — has been lowered into the down tube a few millimetres.
This makes the suspension more progressive in the latter stages of its travel. It may have only changed a gnat’s dinkle, but the effect it’s had on the suspension curve is quite significant.
Why has Orange done this? To better mate up with modern, more linear air shocks. And it’ll make the coil shock fanatics out there happy, too, as they will be less easy to bottom.
Moving into the middle of the bike, the seat angle is nicely poised at 74°, which places your weight forward on the climbs. The top tube has been reworked to offer even more standover, and this has the added benefit of more sizes being able to run 150mm dropper posts.
After all that, the front of the bike just looks pretty much like the Alpine 160. No bad thing really. The head angle’s been slackened a bit to 64.5,° but nothing drastic has changed with the reach measurement.
The XL size I rode had a whopping wheelbase of 1,253mm, and due to the increased standover, would still be a viable option for sub-6ft riders looking of a bit of extra length.
How does it ride? In a word, unfazed. Solid on the way up — with a surprising zip to it, actually. Supremely capable on the way down.
It feels a little bit more taut and pin-point than the pile-driving Alpine 160 of old. A little bit less crash, bang, wallop and a bit more slice and dice.
As such, the new Alpine 6 felt much more like an exacting enduro race bike than the all-mountain assault of the Alpine 160.