Recently I was able to purchase an amazing condition Pre-Production Prime and built it up the way I've been dreaming about.
The build looks like this.
Large Prime Frame / RP23
50mm Thomson Stem
Hayes Prime Pro Brakes
Thomson Elite Post
Sun Ringle Charger Pro Wheelset
Maxxis DHR 2.5 Front / Ardent 2.4 Rear
SRAM X9 Type 2 / X9 Shifters
Shimano XT w/ Race Face Thick / Thin 30T Chainring
Rock Shox Pike 150mm w/ 51mm offset
So it's not a light build at 32lbs, but man it does everything well that I've been able to throw at it.
I've owned the bike now for two months, have taken it to Tahoe XC, Northstar DH, and ridden around Norcal trails for tons of miles. Here are some of my experiences for those who want them.
1. Park Riding:
Disclaimer: I am a sucky DH rider at heart but I have fun!
I have a Commencal Supreme DH for a fulltime DH rig and I was a bit skeptical about the big wheels in the park but wanted to try them. The Prime has gone through every trail (including Boondocks, Sticks and Stones and of course Livewire) and has hit every feature (including "The Face" on Boondocks) From super steep rollers, to rutted / washed out / deep dusty trails I was blown away by the capabilities of the Prime. So much so that I haven't taken the Supreme back to N* and considering selling it off.
The only potential negative is the bigger wheels on the super poppy jumps, the bike seemed a little bit "sluggish" off of these type of jumps. The trade off to that was amazing stability in the air which for me was a very good trade off.
2. Technical XC / Back Country:
Previous Bike: Ibis Mojo HD
Now this type of riding is my JAM! Roots, rocks, drops, setup's, berms, and endless climbs I was impressed how well the Prime really handled this. When the speed picked up the Prime shouted for joy, super stable, extremely confident, and super fun. The Prime is a surprisingly willing climber, I wouldn't call it a sprinter by any means but I never found a hill that wasn't climbable.
I put a little over 150 miles on the Prime in this type of riding and I honestly can't say that I found any negatives. I would like a lighter build but realistically I'm willing to trade the weight for the do it all ability of the build.
Previous Bike: Ibis Mojo HD
So this is the high speed, pedal fest, crank turning that we all know and love. The Prime did quite well here, the bike pedals like a champ and loves high speed.
Again the Prime in the build that I have it is not a 22lb XC racer and never will be, for all of that it's an excellent stand in! The Prime shows no bob, I never felt any power loss, nor did I feel that the Prime was inefficient by any means.
I was looking for a bike that would allow me to sell my HD and my DH rig and replace them with something that would handle both. The Prime may not be a XC racer nor a DH sled but it really blends the lines between all of the "genre's" of styles out there.
The Prime is an impressive bike, it handles everything that i was looking for. It climbs well, it descends like its on rails, it is a willing jumper, and is so stable that it pushes for you to push your limits.
As far as downsides to the Prime, I would be hard pressed to name any that would be a game changer for me. The prime may not be the best jumper, may not be the fastest climber, and may not be the lightest ride out there. For me; the strengths just dwarf the minor flaws that I've managed to find.
Hope that helps anyway!
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