First Look Review : Pete’s Orange Switch 6 Pro.

Pete swings a leg over the Orange Switch 6, the Halifax-based brand’s 160mm travel, Mullet-wheeled do-it-all machine.

The last Orange Pete rode was his own. A 14″ Orange Five way back in 2012. Many things have changed since then and the Orange Switch 6 is the end result. Bigger wheels, more travel and likely geometry that doesn’t require swinging off the rear axle.

Photos by Pete Scullion.

Key features:

  • Fox 36 Float Performance 160mm fork
  • Fox Float X Performance shock
  • Shimano SLX 12-speed drive
  • SRAM Guide RE brakes
  • E13 LG1 30mm rims on Strange Pro hubs
  • SDG Tellis dropper
  • £4,900.00 RRP
  • OrangeBikes.com

The Orange Switch 6 was originally launched in 2019 and saw plenty of action underneath the Orange Factory Racing. The 160mm travel Mullet wheel setup remains. The bike got a refresh in June this year, with a lighter 6061-T6 frame now sporting the S.A.F.E. downtube storage. The trunnion shock also has room for a bearing mount at both ends to improve breakaway forces compared to a traditional bush.

Increased front triangle room around the shock also allows a larger water bottle to be fitted. A new tapered head tube aimed to increase strength and stiffness, whilst the seat tubes would be clipped to improve standover whilst dropper insertion also increased. An asymmetric rear end drives the shock to a much more progressive feel compared to the previous model, a jump to 6.2% progression compared to 0.7%. Anti-squat has also been reduced to reduce chain forces.

The Orange Switch 6 Pro is the base model in the range at £4,900.00, the Switch 6 LE gets drivetrain, wheel and brake upgrades for £5,700.00 with the Switch 6 Factory going all in at £6,800.00.

The bike seen here comes with Fox Performance dampers, a 36 out front and a Float X respectively. Shimano’s venerable SLX 12-speed drivetrain handles the forward motion. SRAM’s Guide RE brakes keep things in check. Wheels are E13 LG1 rims on Orange’s own Strange Pro hubs with Maxxis Minion EXO casing tyres. A Burgtec cockpit, WTB saddle and SDG Tellis dropper rounds this out.

Geometry

The Orange Switch 6 comes in S, M, L and XL sizes.

Reach on the M is 468mm with a seat tube length of 16″ (406mm). Head angle is 64 degrees with an effective seat tube angle of 76 degrees. Chainstays are 450mm across the sizes with the wheelbase on the M of 1255mm.

Fox Boa Leaderboard 2024

Opening moves

With the Fox Performance dampers having air pressure and rebound adjusters, setup was fairly straightforward. Lever throw tweaked on the very wide Burgtec bars and away we went. The Switch 6 feels light for an alloy bike with 160mm travel so off we shot up the first climb.

With a fairly active suspension, I’d make the most of the ‘Firm’ switch on the Float X shock, helping the forward momentum on the ups and the Minion DHR IIs doing sterling work at covering the ground too. The sensibly steep seat angle kept the weight forward when the climbs kicked, helping the winching indeed.

That ‘Firm’ switch on the ups definitely needs turned off for the downs, and when it is, the Float X does a cracking job of keeping the back wheel tracking the deck. The forks seemed far superior to the last set of Performance 36s I had a chance to run and they kept the front wheel pointing in the right direction whilst smoothing out the chatter too.

The bars will definitely need clipped. They’re a touch too wide right now which, in combination with the fairly long chainstays for this size of bike, make getting the front wheel up slightly more complicated. That’s an easy enough fix, certainly when it comes to clipping the bars.

Whilst the Maxxis rubber does roll fast, it might not be the best rubber for high traction and the EXO casings do need to be run reasonably firm to shrug off the square edges I am bound to find along the way.

The Guide REs do a solid job of bringing everything back into shape when things get wild and I feel like the Switch 6 is just starting to spool the turbos. It’ll be interesting to see how it holds up as the speed begins to rise.

As it stands, the Orange Switch 6 has plenty of pop and fizz to it, so I’m looking forward to getting a bit more time on it over the coming weeks and months. Keep your eyes peeled for a full review which hopefully involved more of the same.

You can check out the Orange Switch 6 on their website here.


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