The new Alpine is a poppier bike than previous versions
New version of the Orange Alpine 6, complete with improved cable routing and, wait for it, bottle cage bosses under the down tube.
Keen internet spotters will have been pleased to see Joe Barnes back on Orange this year, racing and larking about for the famous Halifax brand. Well, they should be just a pleased to see this bike.
Sure, your bottle will be fired with crud when it’s wet but it’s great to have the option for fine dry days and those of us clever enough to use bottles with caps. Of course those aren’t the most significant changes to the Alpine 6 for model year 2020. This enduro-ready 27.5in bike has sprouted 5mm more travel taking it to a healthy 165mm, just 5mm shy of the 170mm fork up front.
Orange has adopted the metric shock standard for the new bike, squeezing in a Fox Float X2 shock on the Factory level specced bike. They’ve made room for this 230mm eye-to-eye length shock by lengthening the bike and manipulating where it sits on the down tube and seat tube.
The new Alpine is also a poppier bike than the previous versions. It’s easier to get off the ground, more playful and more fun thanks to its more progressive suspension that ramps up more in the midstroke. Those Halifax welders have moved the shock lower on the down tube to achieve the extra progression, and it’s the best improvement to the bike.
It doesn’t stop there though, the Alpine has had a sizing shake up that’s seen the old XS size disappear and an XXL size crop up that’s over and above the size XL.
Orange has raked out the head angle half a degree to a slack 64° and the bottom bracket height has come down by 5mm too — add this onto the extra travel the bike is now running and you’ve got a serious BB drop going on. Then there are the chainstays that are longer, while the reach has increased 6mm.
The lovely Alpine silhouette is largely unchanged but there are some subtle tweaks that do the bike a world of good. The alloy tubes are all subtly different but somehow lend the bike a more modern feel in the flesh, while the cable routing looks neater and tidier.
The Orange Alpine 6 range
We rode the top end Factory version of the Alpine, which comes with the excellent Fox Factory 36 Float fork and X2 shock. There are two other bikes in the range, the RS just below the Factory, and an entry level Pro with cheaper Fox suspension and a mix of NX and GX drivetrain. Finally there’s a frame-only version of the bike with DPX2 shock or X2 shock for £400 extra. As ever with Orange you can customise the bike, adding a posher fork for example, different brakes or even adding Hope pedals. The bike comes in a choice of 10 colours, and three different deal options, which this year are set below the lacquer coat for a cleaner and longer lasting finish.
The Orange Alpine 6 ride
The Alpine lives for steep, loose trails, using pocket berms or anything going to catch you and the bike and send you into the next corner. It’s here the flex of the alloy frame really works to your advantage, controlling the bike rather than pinging you off into the bushes.
Add in the little bit more travel and the geometry changes that all add up to some sizeable improvements and the Alpine is a fun and capable bike to ride. The extra progression is a real boon too, pushing the bike into the trail is instantly gratifying as the bike lets you pump and pop it for speed.
The greater suspension aplomb is backed up by some good geometry changes, dropping the BB makes the bike feel more stable but most importantly there’s now decent length in the chainstays to lend you confidence on the descents. The suspension is smooth and capable, the simple single pivot design is decent enough tackling big square edge hits and the more progressive feel means it flows well on swoopy, mellow trails. It’s not without its faults though, there is some pedal kickback when things get really rough and fast, something I reckon they could solve with a higher pivot and chain idler. The Alpine is a hoot to ride though, mostly comfortable, ever so capable and confidence inspiring.
Orange Alpine 6 pricing
- Orange Alpine 6 Pro, £4,000
- Orange Alpine 6 RS, £4,950
- Orange Alpine 6 Factory, £5,800
- Orange Alpine 6 XTR, £6,500.