For those who are shopping around for a new bike and are considering the Prophet, I thought I would add my experience so far. I just got back from my second real ride and I am still grinning!
Stats: I am 48 yrs old, 6'2" about 190lbs and have been riding for about 25 years. I ride in So Cal on the typical fireroad and rough double/singletrack we have here. This is my 4th full suspension bike and the last one was an Intense Tracer which finally broke. I was looking for a few things in my new bike choice: A bit more travel without paying too high a price in weight gain or pedaling ability. We have long fireroad climbs here. Better rough trail peformance. As I get older, I wanted a little less of the trail to get through to me. Disc brakes, etc. I also did not want to lose that feeling of 'tossability' and agility on the trail and I was looking for a different feel than the Tracer had. I was very interested in the single pivot design for it's simplicity and reliability. I don't 'huck'.
I test rode a Spec. Stumpjumper 120mm bike. Liked it a lot, but I was a bit wary of the FSR backend without a Brain shock and I could not afford the newer ones. Rode a Rocky Mountain with the adjustable travel rear end (can't remember the name..ETSX?) and although it felt nice, the standover clearance was poor. I was looking for a Santa Cruz Heckler when I saw the Cannondale Prophet. I ended up with a large 2005 Prophet 800 that was still on the showroom floor. I got a great price and it just looked right and felt pretty good in the all important parking lot test.
The large is about right for me. I need at least a 24" TT and the XL was just huge feeling. I hated the shifters from day one. The integrated Deore LX 585 stuff just did not fit my well ingrained habits. I went to separate Deore LX levers and Shimano compatible Gripshift so I could actually figure out how to get the gear I wanted and put the brake levers at my fingertips. I also put on the 180mm Deore XT hollowtech cranks and SPDs from my old Tracer and a new BB to match. Dumped the Rapid Rise XT rear der. for a XTR off the Tracer as well. Kept the IRC Trail Bears, fiddled with shock settings a bit, running about 150 lbs in the Manitou rear shock, and put my old saddle on.
Ended up 30.4 lbs.
I just completed a 1 hr loop that is pavement to a 40 minute climb on fireroad to a return of flowing singletrack to rocky, creekbed diving, technical trail. Really a good mix to try a bike on.
One word. Fun. Or maybe super-fun. Really fun....that is two words....sorry.
It climbs well wih no hints of mushyness. Even when transitioning to standing pedaling, it feels very solid. I can feel the extra 3 lbs I picked up over the Tracer. Some of that is bigger tires, but 3 lbs is three lbs. Solution: Pedal harder. I will get used to it, but lighter would be nice.
When the single track began, I was tentative but after about 100' of trail I was going very fast and was sooo in the groove. Surprised me since it was a new bike and all. Bottom line: It is a really well balanced bike for my type of riding. The fork is very impressive (TPC fork). I never even got close to finding the limits of the suspension and I doubt I ever will, but it just ate up the rough trail and was very accurate and agile in the smooth parts. I was a much better handling bike than the Tracer on this day, at least.
I have never been a Cannondale guy and I always figured the Lefty was a bit odd so I am not a 'fan' of the brand. But unless something happens to change my mind, this bike rails.
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