The Orange Alpine Evo is the latest development in the Alpine range, offering big travel capabilities in a lively and efficient trail-friendly package.
The Orange Alpine Evo isn’t designed to be an all-out enduro race bike, though it is surely capable enough. Instead, this new Alpine brings big to travel with the benefit of agility and efficiency to make this an Alpine you can ride anywhere.
2022 Orange Alpine Evo
Those of you familiar with Orange Bikes will recognise the Alpine name as being at the bigger, burlier end of the Orange range. These are the bikes you take to the Alps or Whistler or for big days out at the bike park, they aren’t really the type of bike for a flow filled blue, or local XC route. This is where the Alpine Evo comes to play. It takes the long travel capabilities of the Alpine, combines it with the aggressive geo from the Evo models and ups the progression for a bike that’s EWS ready but never to the detriment of the fun factor. The Alpine Evo is an Alpine that you can ride anywhere and never feel over or under-biked.
So what exactly has Orange changed on the Alpine Evo to make it suitable for a wider variety of riding? Actually quite a lot, with most of the work being carried out on the rear end. We saw with the Five Evo last year that Orange had adopted the open swingarm design for all their bikes, as it offered better stiffness. The Alpine already had the open swingarm but the Alpine Evo boasts a new asymmetric design with a lower non-drive side chainstay. This update comes with changes to the bearing housing and revised tube thickness and has resulted in a 20% increase in longitudinal stiffness and a 15% increase in overall strength.
While working on the rear end the team at Orange also moved to a neutral pivot location which Orange says improves pedalling efficiency through choppy terrain while reducing the amount of drivetrain induced movement.
The suspension work doesn’t stop there though with the Alpine Evo claiming the most progression of any Alpine model to date. So while it still packs an Alps compatible 155mm of rear wheel movement, it has a more lively and spritely spirit on the trail.
Upfront this 27.5in wheeled Alpine Evo has a 160mm travel fork plugged into a 63-degree headtube, this slacker front end is perfect for steep downhill conditions, but with an effective seat tube angle of 76-degrees, the Alpine puts the rider into a comfortable position for climbing. Linking those to numbers are stretched out reach values across 4 sizes S-XL. Our size large test bike hits the geometry chart with a 495mm reach. The long front end is matched to a long rear with each Alpine Evo size receiving a 445mm chainstay length. In terms of our test bike, this leaves us with a long wheelbase of 1280mm which promises stable high-speed performance.
It’s easy to look at the Orange Alpine Evo and see it as just another single-pivot Orange, but reading through the list of updates, changes and enhancements it’s clear that nothing from previous bikes has been carried over, except for the family resemblance that is.
Like other new-school Orange full-suspension bikes the new Alpine Evo has bottle cage bolts under the downtube, but new for this model are top-tube located accessory mounting points, a feature our test bike lacked. Finally, the new bike rocks a SRAM UDH rear hanger system. This universal hanger should make locating spares a breeze, even if you are in the middle of an Alpine adventure.
2022 Orange Alpine Evo LE Specifications
To celebrate the launch of the Alpine Evo, Orange has put together this LE (Launch Edition) model. These bikes feature a lovely bottle green finish with new Alpine Evo graphics.
Specifications include a RockShox Lyrik Ultimate 160mm travel fork, RockShox Super Deluxe 230 x 65 rear shock and an SDG Tellis dropper post. The drivetrain is a mix of Shimano 1 X 12 XT with Hope chainset, there is also a Hope stem and Hope Pro 4 hubs laced onto E*13 rims. Shimano 4 piston XT brakes bring this playful enduro bike to a stop with a 203mm rotor on the front and 180mm on the rear.
Other details include Maxxis Minion EXO tyres, Renthal handlebars, SDG saddle and new Orange Strange Grappler grips. At launch, only this build of the Alpine Evo will be available and it will cost £5,900. More build options will be released in the coming months.
2022 Orange Alpine Evo Geometry
|Seat Tube Length||15″||17″||18″||19″|
|A. Head Angle||63°||63°||63°||63°|
|B. Seat Angle (Effective)||76°||76°||76°||76°|
|D. Top Tube (effective)||605||625||645||665|
|E. BB Height (from ground)||337||337||337||337|
|BB height (from axles||-17||-17||-17||-17|
|G. Head Tube||100||110||120||125|
|H. Wheel base||1236||1258||1280||1301|
|O. Fork Offset||37||37||37||37|
|T. Rear Travel||155||155||155||155|
Climbing the Orange Alpine Evo
Orange sent the new Alpine Evo to me a few weeks ahead of the launch so I’ve been riding it around my local trails while attempting to keep the bike under wraps. Having ridden and thoroughly enjoyed the Orange Four and Orange Five Evo, I was looking forward to swinging a leg over the Alpine Evo, but I was concerned about how this longer travel Orange platform might climb.
I get to test a lot of bikes through the year and there are times now that I just know a bike is going to climb pretty well. Setting off to my local ride which starts with quite an enjoyable climb I instantly noticed that the new Orange Alpine Evo sits higher in its travel, and while there is a little bob still present, the suspension does a very good job isolating the drivetrain from the rear shock.
As the climbs steepen and become rockier the Orange retains a spritely and nimble nature. Again, there is a little movement in the rear end, something which you can eliminate via the climb switch on the rear shock if you wish, but I never felt the need so left it open throughout my test time.
The new ‘neutral’ pivot placement and changes to the suspension do ensure a better climbing experience. The rear end hooks up well to generate traction with only the very dry, dusty and super loose climbs giving the Evo any trouble. The rear end flutters nicely over the trail. You never feel completely isolated from the ground, and actually, I prefer this feeling of what the backend is doing while skipping uphill over sharp rocks and dusty mounds.
I wouldn’t call the Orange Alpine Evo an uphill rocketship, but it’s not slow, and you’ll be surprised at how efficient this single-pivot bike actually is. On the day I set out to shoot the above video I initially thought to simply ride a lap or two, but the Orange is such a comfortable and capable climber and doubled my ride to enjoy more of the long downhills I have locally.
Descending the Orange Alpine Evo
With 160mm of front wheel travel, 155mm rear, and aggressive angles, it will surprise nobody that the Orange Alpine Evo is excellent when pointed downhill. The additional anti-squat which helps on the climbs helps to spring the Evo up to speed, with suspension to spare to keep up with whatever the terrain is doing. The long rear end and overall wheelbase combine to create a great sense of stability, but the light and lively nature of the Alpine Evo is there at a moment’s notice.
The Evo will go from full-throttle rock garden smasher to lively hop, skip, jump mode in a blink of an eye. I was actually caught a few times earlier on in testing as I would try to bunny hop the Orange like I would any longer-travel enduro bike, but with this much effort the Evo leaps into the air with so much ease I had to tone it down a little so not to overcook things.
I’m a firm 29er convert but I never once missed the larger wheels of my own bikes, and actually enjoyed how much easier they are to move around. You don’t tend to notice the gyroscopic effect of larger wheels until you ride a 27.5in wheeled bike again, and your mind is blown by how easy it is to change direction both on the ground and in the air. I’ve ridden bikes with a similar geometry but 29in wheels and they never felt as lively and involved as the Orange Alpine Evo.
Take the Evo to flow trails with smoother terrain and more jumps and you’ll be surprised that you can actually chuck this Alpine around as readily as a shorter travel bike. Again, those improvements to the rear suspension and the increase in progression help to throw this 160mm travel bike around with ease. Sure, on these tame trails a shorter travel bike would be equally as good, but the Alpine Evo is fun here and it’s fun in the mountains too. If you’re after just one bike to do it all, then the Orange Alpine Evo could be the ticket.
Things we would like to see
- A bottle mount that doesn’t put it in the firing line of mud and bagged dog eggs.
- Our test bike didn’t have the accessory mount so we couldn’t test it out.
Things we loved
- Lively and agile on the trail, but still with enough suspension to keep you out of trouble.
- Rear suspension sits higher and feels more efficient for climbing.
- Aggressive geometry makes this a fast bike for seasoned riders and a confidence-inspiring bike for the less experienced.
When I began working for Singletrack one of the first bikes I tested was the Orange Four and I loved it. Then last year the Orange Five Evo, loved that too. The Orange Alpine Evo gets the same amount of love, and a little bit of envy. I’ve just built a new bike, I shouldn’t be looking at another, but the downhill performance and all-around trail bike nature of the Alpine Evo have me thinking. The team at Orange has succeeded in what they set out to do: they’ve made a big travel bike that you can ride anywhere, and when something with 160mm travel rides this well why would you want less?
|Tested:||by Andi Sykes for 3 weeks|