Orange has always been about evolution rather than revolution. They've stuck with their true single-pivot suspension design and monocoque alloy frame construction for decades, yet they've been tweaking the recipe that whole time. The Alpine is Orange's 27.5" trail/all-mountain/enduro bike, and for 2022 they're launching the Alpine EVO.
Compared to the existing Alpine 6, which continues to be offered alongside the EVO, it gets a slacker head angle, longer reach and a longer chainstay to boost stability. But at the same time, the EVO has 10mm less travel at either end than the Alpine 6, with 155mm at the rear and 160mm at the front. The combination of shorter travel and longer geometry should make it well-suited to typical UK riding, with steep, but not especially rough, terrain.
Orange Alpine EVO Details
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Travel: 160mm (f)/155mm (r)
• New longer, slacker geometry
• New stronger and stiffer asymmetric swingarm
• New offset pivot for chainring clearance
• Lower main pivot for smoother pedaling
• New UDH gear hanger
• New top tube accessory mounts plus bottle mount under the downtube
• 5-year frame warranty with limited lifetime crash replacement
• Launch edition RRP: £5,900
The suspension kinematics have been tweaked too. The EVO is slightly more progressive to improve bottom-out resistance, but it's still quite close to linear (the leverage ratio offers 4.7% progression from start to finish). Perhaps the biggest difference is that the main pivot has been brought a bit lower to reduce the anti-squat levels and pedal-kickback. This should make the new bike smoother to pedal over rough terrain.
The lower pivot is made possible by an asymmetrical pivot, which offsets the bearings away from the drive side. That frees up space between the pivot and the chainring so Orange could move the pivot down into the same real-estate as the chainring while still being able to run a chain guide.
The pivot now sits roughly aligned with the upper chain line, which provides more modest anti-squat values compared to the Alpine 6, which has very high levels of anti-squat. This means the new bike won't rise up as much in its travel when pedaling and should be smoother over bumps under power too, but may feel less snappy when sprinting out the saddle. There's less chain growth too, so the suspension won't be as affected by the derailleur/clutch and you might feel less pedal-kickback if you huck to flat at low speed. Anti-squat values are still fairly high (115% at sag in the 50-tooth and higher in the smaller sprockets), so it shouldn't pedal like a sofa with this lower pivot position.
Orange has also re-worked and further refined the swingarm. The new version is asymmetrical; the non-drive side strut is lower down than the drive side as it doesn't need to clear the chain, and this creates a higher stiffness to weight ratio. Orange says the new design offers a 20% increase in longitudinal stiffness and a 15% increase in overall strength compared to the existing Alpine 6, without increasing weight.
The EVO has considerably more reach per size than its predecessor, with numbers that are pretty on the money for a modern trail bike. The head angle is super slack at 63-degrees and the effective seat angle is steeper, if not the steepest, at 76-degrees. The chainstay has grown a few millimetres, and now sits at a middle-of-the-road 445mm. Orange Alpine EVO LE - Launch Edition
For now, the EVO is available with one build, which costs £5,900. The specs include:
• Fork: RockShox Lyrik Ultimate 160mm
• Rear Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate 230x65
• Drivetrain: Shimano XT 1x12spd drivetrain with Hope Crankset
• Brakes: Shimano XT 203mm/180mm braking
• Dropper: SDG 150mm dropper post
• Finishing kit: Renthal/Hope/SDG
• Tires: Maxxis Minion DHR2/DHF, EXO
• Wheels: E13 rims /Hope Pro 4 hubs