News, Review -

First Ride Review: Orange Alpine 6 – a classic reborn

Orange Bikes have kept the same silhouette and production method since their birth, and constant testing and development let them refine their products to coax out every last drop of performance. The new Alpine 6 has undergone some evolutionary changes, but the burning question is – How will they translate on the trail?

Orange Alpine 6 RS Price £4950

With their new Alpine 6, Orange promise to have delivered the best performing long travel beast ever to leave their factory in Halifax. With redesigned sizing, kinematics and geometry, as well as the switch to a metric sized shock and an increase to 165 mm of rear travel their claims seem justifiable. We flew to Punta Ala, Italy, to find out.

The Alpine 6 is Orange’s big hitting 650B enduro bike. For 2019 it has undergone some evolutionary changes.

What’s new with the Orange Alpine 6?

Although the classic Orange silhouette remains unchanged, there’s more to the new Alpine 6 than what meets the eye at first glance. Superficially, the shape of the frame has been altered slightly. The top tube curves a bit more, and the tubing looks sleek yet muscular at the same time. The decals are covered by a layer of lacquer, which should make them more resistant to scratches, as well as looking drop-dead gorgeous. It is safe to say the new Orange Alpine 6 definitely looks the part.

Orange are late adopters of metric shock sizing, but the new Alpine 6 is bang up to date

However, it is not just the aesthetics of the Alpine 6 that have changed. The frame itself has undergone some thoughtful revisions. One of the most notable being the switch to a metric shock. Admittedly, this is a relatively late adoption by Orange but it is good to see the Halifax brand bring their shock sizes up to date on their big hitter. Orange have revamped their sizing too, choosing to lose the XS frame size and adding an XXL. The seat tubes on the size Small and XL have also lost 25 mm, meaning riders who were previously on an XS frame can now ride the new size Small, and riders who were stuck in a limbo between Large and XL can size up for reach, without worrying about the seat tube getting in the way.

The pivot on the Orange Alpine 6 has been widened to increase stiffness and tire clearance
It has also undergone a sizing revamp, the seat tube on the Small and XL sizes have been shortened

Orange have widened the pivot on the new Alpine 6, claimed to add stiffness at the front portion of the rear swingarm and increasing tire clearance. Changes have also been made to the swingarm to lighten it up. The new Alpine 6 also features a redesigned shock mount and pivot point, increasing the progressivity of its suspension curve. The travel has also been increased to 165mm (up from 160 mm). Bottle bosses have been added to the underside of the downtube. This is not an ideal location for a water bottle as it is left at the mercy of spray from the front tire, however, it is a step in the right direction for Orange, and can also be used to mount tools if needed.

This is the first Alpine to have mounts for a bottle cage- albeit on the underside of the downtube
The swingarm has undergone some work to save weight
The new Orange Alpine 6 has a redesigned shock mount that helps to give it a more progressive suspension curve

Geometry of the Orange Alpine 6

Orange have given their new Alpine the “longer, lower, slacker” treatment to keep it on trend with the newest enduro sleds. The already slack 64.5° head angle on the previous model has been raked out to 64° for 2019. The reach has also been increased by 10 mm on all sizes. The wheelbase has been lengthened, the bottom bracket lowered by 5 mm and the chainstays stretched by 11 mm on all sizes. The only thing that has not changed from the previous model is the slack seat angle. This is disappointing as we really feel that a steeper seat angle would have improved its climbing performance.

Seat tube 381 mm 432 mm 457 mm 483 mm 508 mm
Top tube 582 mm 601 mm 619 mm 641 mm 658 mm
Head tube 100 mm 120 mm 120 mm 125 mm 130 mm
Head angle 64° 64° 64° 64° 64°
Seat angle 74° 74° 74° 74° 74°
Chainstay 441 mm 441 mm 441 mm 441 mm 441 mm
BB Height 337 mm 337 mm 337 mm 337 mm 337 mm
Wheelbase 1,208 mm 1,231 mm 1,251 mm 1,272 mm 1,293 mm
Reach 432 mm 447 mm 467 mm 486 mm 505 mm
Stack 602 mm 620 mm 620 mm 624 mm 629 mm
Orange have raked out the already slack head angle to 64° on the new Alpine 6
However, the slack seat angle lets it down on the climbs
The chainstays have been lengthened by 11 mm on all frame sizes