It’s been about 8 months since I last wrote about the Alpine and I wanted to share an update on how it worked out after about a year in use.
Quite a few things changed since the original build, so let’s get the list out of the way before I try to describe how it rides now.
- Frame: Orange Alpine 160 26″ 2014
- Shock: Fox Float Evolution Series CTD
- Fork: Rock Shox Lyric RC2DH Solo Air (2010)
- Headset: Hope
- Wheelset: Alexrims Supra 30 + Hope Pro 2 Hubs
- Front tyre: Maxxis Highroller II 1-ply 2.4
- Rear tyre: Maxxis Advantage 2.4
- Crankset: Shimano XT change: 20 tooth Mountain Goat chainring
- Bottom Bracket: Shimano XTR
- Pedals: Superstar Nano Tech Flats
Nukeproof War Head Low rise 800mmRace Face Atlas Stealth 785mm
- Stem: Raceface Respond 60mm
- Grips: NC17
- Brakes: Avid
Elixir R 2009Code R with 203/180 rotors
- Seatpost: Kindshock Lev 150mm
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM
X7X9 Medium Cage 10 speed
- Cassette: 12-36 + 40 tooth Hope T-Rex
- Front Derailleur: Shimano XT
- Shifters: SRAM X7 (front) change: SRAM X9 10 speed (rear)
- Saddle: Selle Italia
Flite Titanium (1997)NT 1
Some might say that 20/40 is a little too much when it comes to optimizing gear ratio, but with this setup, I manage to pedal some uphills that I could only walk before. A snail might be faster than me on the bike in that gear, but I’m actually fine with that. To me, getting to the top in the saddle makes for a very different feel and enjoyment compared to when I had to get off the bike and walk the rest of the uphill.
The – at least for me – perfectly working CTD shock that a lot of people seem to dislike, also helps me with this. When tackling singletrail climbs, I put the shock to the trail (middle) position and it does an excellent job in keeping traction at a high level.
Getting up the hill however, is not exactly what the Alpine was made for. While it does climb okay, and waaaay better than my previous Nox bike, the Alpine still shines brighter when gravity helps moving. For moderate trails, the shock goes into trail mode and it makes for a poppy and very responsive bike. Not too plush, not too snappy. Manualling the bike is possible but not exactly an easy task due to its length. Cornering is definitely something you have to get used to on a bike like this. Compared to my (also 26″) hardtail, the bike is almost 10 centimetres longer which makes riding a tight corner a whole different ballgame. On rougher descents, I (obviously) use the downhill setting on the shock, which transforms the beast into a plush and forgiving ride that nimbly bulldozes over most things thrown at it.
The bike has seen around 10k vertical metres downhill and about 450km in the last year. That’s not too much, I know, but it’s all the time I can afford to cut out my family life.