As faithful supporters of single-pivot suspension we don’t see a wide variation of designs from Orange, and their entire line of full-suspension bikes from DH to XC bear a similar utilitarian appearance. And they aren’t going back to the drawing board in the name of aesthetics to update their DH and AM bikes, preferring instead to fine-tune their intentionally simple suspension design for bigger wheels.
For 2015 they’ve jumped on the 27.5” bandwagon and refitted the new 324RS DH bike and Alpine 160 all-mountain model with 650B’s. Click below the break to find out what other revisions they’ve adopted into these redesigned models…
The new 324RS’ 6061 aluminum frame keeps the shock right where it used to be in the down tube, which Orange says allows them to place the pivot in precise relation to the drivetrain for ultra-plush small bump sensitivity and a smoothly ramping shock curve. The company says this design makes suspension set up simpler than multi-pivot designs, which is ideal for privateer racers who don’t have professional mechanics fine-tuning their bikes at each event. The rear travel has dropped to 190mm from the 322’s 200mm.
The biggest news is the step up to 27.5” wheels, and the fact that the re-design required to fit those larger wheels resulted in the BB sitting lower than the axle path at rest. Orange claims this keeps the bike feeling stable in high speed sections, and gives it a more ‘dug in’ feel while pushing through corners.
|Monocoque/6061-T6 Custom Butted Aluminum Tube|
|A. Head Angle||63°||63°||63°|
|B. Seat Angle (Effective)||74°||74°||74°|
|B. Seat Angle (Actual)||71.5°||71.5°||71.5°|
|C. Top Tube||572||591||600|
|D. Effective TT||600||620||634|
|E. BB Height (From axle)||-10||-10||-10|
|E. BB Height (From ground)||344||344||344|
|G. Head Tube||120||130||130|
|T. Rear Travel||190||190||190|
|Seat Tube Ø||30.9||30.9||30.9|
The 324RS’ new split-rear triangle swingarm design (also found on the Alpine 160) reduces the swingarm’s weight, and increases stiffness. Orange has also beefed up to a wider 83mm BB shell and utilized 150mm rear spacing to minimize torsional twisting and keep you pointed straight through rough sections of trail. Despite these changes, the new frame is roughly 200g lighter size for size versus the 322 model.
The 324RS is available as a frame only, or in customizable builds. Common components include Kore handlebars, stem, seat and seatpost, SRAM Guide RS brakes with 200/180mm rotors, a Halo Chaos wheelset with Schwalbe Magic Mary tires, Truvativ Descendant cranks, Shimano Zee rear derailleur, SLX shifter, and a Gamut P30s chain guide.
Options include your choice of Rockshox or Fox suspension front and rear, and eight different frame colors (only black and orange come at no extra cost). The 324RS is priced from $6625 USD, and goes up from there based on color and component options. No prices are listed for the frame alone.
The All-Mountain Alpine 160 has also stepped up to 27.5” wheels, and the entire frame was looked over top-to-bottom with a few elements added or redesigned for this year. The suspension remains largely unchanged, with 160mm of travel on tap and the bike’s single pivot point strategically positioned to ensure good rear wheel traction during uphill attacks. True to the balance sought by all-mountain bikes, the Alpine 160 is also such a capable descender that Orange had World Cup DH riders on the bike during prototype testing.
The 6061 aluminum Alpine 160 now has a longer front end, resulting in a bigger wheelbase. This not only helps increase high-speed stability but also allows the rider to get more forward and achieve an aggressive climbing position. The best part is the bike actually comes stock with a short 35mm stem to ensure the handling remains responsive, and 800mm bars that should be wide enough for anyone by current standards.
The new frame also gets updated with internal dropper post routing, and the complete bike includes a Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper post. Other common parts include a Rock Shox Pike RCT3 Solo Air 160mm fork, Shimano XT shifters, Zee rear derailleur, and 1×10 gearing with an MRP chain guide up front. Aside from those parts Orange offers a number of build options for the Alpine 160 with different rear shocks, wheelsets, drivetrains, cockpits, headsets and BB’s available.
ALPINE 160 GEOMETRY
|Monocoque/6061-T6 Reynolds Custom Butted Aluminium tubing|
|Seat Tube Length||16″||17″||18″||20″|
|A. Head Angle||65°||65°||65°||65°|
|B. Seat Angle (Actual)||72.5°||72.5°||72.5°||72.5°|
|B. Seat Angle (Effective)||74°||74°||74°||74°|
|C. Top Tube||580||592||610||628|
|D. Top Tube (effective)||600||620||640||660|
|E. BB Height (from ground)||348||348||348||348|
|BB height (from axles||-7||-7||-7||-7|
|G. Head Tube||120||120||125||130|
|H. Wheel base||1194||1212||1236||1257|
|T. Rear Travel||160||160||160||160|
Depending on your options, the Alpine 160’s price starts at $5995, with 13 colors to choose from (red, white and black at no extra charge).