A raft of tweaks as subtle as the name change stack up to make this the juiciest Orange to date

Product Overview

Orange Alpine 6 Factory

Pros:

  • More accurate handling with the same old bravado

Cons:

  • British made bikes aren’t ever going to be cheap

Product:

Orange Alpine 6 Factory (2017) first ride

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£5,200.00
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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

>>> The 2017 Orange Five

Orange Alpine 6 Factory

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Rockshox-equipped models will also be available

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.

Boosted back end delivers rigidity and better tyre clearance

Boosted back end delivers rigidity and better tyre clearance

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

Front shock mount has been moved forward to improve progression

Front shock mount has been moved forward to improve progression

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.

>>> Radical head angle hardtails from Orange

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.

Still proud to be built in Britain: albeit at a price

Still proud to be built in Britain: albeit at a price

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.

Quality components and skilled assembly lend a solid feel

Quality components and skilled assembly lend a solid feel

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.

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Details

Frame:6061-T6 aluminium, 160mm travel
Shock:Fox Float X2 Factory with Open/Firm lever
Fork:Fox 36 Factory Kashima Boost HSC/LSC, 170mm travel
Wheels:Hope Pro 4 hubs, Race Face Arc 30 rims, Maxxis High Roller II 3C TR Exo, 27.5x2.4in tyres
Drivetrain:Truvativ Descendant Carbon 32t chainset, SRAM XO1 Eagle r-mech and shifter
Brakes:SRAM Ultimate, 200/180mm
Components:Race Face Atlas 35mm stem, Race Face SIXC 35 800mm bar, Rockshox Reverb Stealth 150mm, SDG Fly Mtn saddle
Sizes:S, M, L, XL
Weight:14.1kg (31.08lb)
Contact:orangebikes.com
Size ridden:XL
Rider height:6ft 1in
Head angle:64.5°
Seat angle:74°
BB height:342mm
Chainstay:430mm
Front centre:828mm
Wheelbase:1,253mm
Top tube:660mm
Reach:478mm