Founded in 1988, Orange Bikes is an iconic British mountain bike brand, based in Halifax, Yorkshire. The brand has been at the forefront of mountain biking for many years and is renowned for making some of the best mountain bikes around. As a fan of the brand, there is little more pleasing than seeing a email drop into my inbox with that classic Orange logo in the header, knowing that the company is still thriving and that something good MTB-wise is coming.
Orange has announced the launch of the all-new Switch 6 which the brand says ushers in a new phase for Orange and its signature single pivot line-up. Orange has been busy in 2023 already, with the Orange Factory Racing team back for its third year, the team now including its first female rider – Becky Cook, and Orange just last week also announced the new Orange Stage 7 enduro bike.
The original Switch 6 appeared in 2019 and made Orange one of the first brands able to offer a production mullet wheeled mountain bike which boasted exceptional versatility and effortless delivery on all fronts making it a fun, dependable and a lightweight bike. The new version has big shoes to fill and we had a look at the details on what's new on the Orange Switch 6.
The juicy bits...
Like all Orange full-suspension bikes, the new Switch 6 is produced, manufactured and tested in the UK at Orange's own facility. The aluminum frames that Orange say weigh less than many carbon framed bikes in the category start life as flat sheets of aerospace-grade aluminum. The individually custom-fabricated tubes are then seam-welded with a final product that they say is strong, durable and, importantly, fully recyclable.
As with the previous model, the Switch 6 retains its mullet wheel setup and has 160mm travel front and rear. Orange says they have revised the upper and lower shock mounts, which use a 205x60mm trunnion mount, and that now allows for a bearing eyelet to be used. This has been done to achieve a lower breakaway force and provide extra sensitivity to the initial part of the shock's stroke, and also maintain the signature Orange feel.
The frame layout of the Switch 6 has some changes including a tapered head tube to increase stiffness and they have revised the sizing, so now a shortened seat tube length, between 15 and 18 inches depending on size, will accommodate longer dropper posts up to 170mm. The head angle is 64 degrees across the size range, with a seat angle of 76 degrees. Chainstay length is 450mm across all sizes too, while the reach varies between 448 and 504mm depending on chosen frame size.
The Orange S.A.F.E (Stores Accessories Food & Equipment) frame storage system is also new, allowing your chosen 'stuff' to be hidden inside the frame. Access is below the bottle mount (Orange say there's now room for a larger bottle), so it looks more like a space for carrying emergency tools rather than mid-ride snacks. Last but not least, a new chainstay protector helps to dampen chain slap.
Technology development continues with the Switch 6 receiving an asymmetrical swingarm, allowing Orange to increase the bike's vertical stiffness whilst tuning its lateral compliance, which gives the Switch 6 a direct feel under power, while still maintaining buckets of grip.
Updated kinematics also give a more progressive feel than the almost completely linear original Switch 6. The model has what they say is "a real working progression of 6.2 percent which is considerably higher than the original model at 0.7 percent." Anti-squat has also been reduced to enhance the direct feel and reduce the impact the drivetrain has on the suspension.
Pricing and availability
The Switch 6 LE is available now and comes in two color options, Gloss charcoal grey and Angel Delight priced at $6,700 / £5,700 / €6,500 for the complete bike or the Switch 6 frame at $3,500 / £2,900 / €3,200.
Orange bikes all come with a five year warranty and a lifetime crash replacement policy to the original owner, with all the information available at orangebikes.com.
Orange Switch 6 LE specification
- Frame: 6061-T6 Monocoque Custom Aluminium Tubing
- Fork: Fox Performance 36 Float 160mm 29
- Shock: Fox Float X Performance 205x65
- Crankset: SRAM GX Eagle 32t
- Cassette: SRAM XG 1275 10-52t Eagle
- Shifters: SRAM GX Eagle
- Seatpost: SDG Tellis 150/170mm
- Saddle: SDG Strange Bel Air III
- Brakes: Shimano SLX Trail 203/180
- Wheels: Stans Flow Mk4 29”/27”
- Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 29/ DHR II 2.4 EXO 27.5
- Sizes: S, M, L, XL
- Color: Gloss Angel Delight/Gloss Charcoal Grey
- Pricing: $6700 / £5700 / €6500