a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: February 8, 2009
Strengths: In FR setting: when the trail heads toward the core of the Earth you can really tuck behind the front wheel and let that slack head angle and stable steering tuck you into deep barrel roles amongst tall berms, and disappear off the backside of ominous crests into the depths of a freefall beyond (with obvious height limits for this kind of bike).
In XC setting: In XC mode the bike feels far more capable. The steeper steering and seat angle pushes your weight forward making it more direct and engaging. It becomes very nimble and capable on technical climbs and twisty switchbacks, and importantly that trail chatter disappears into the shock where it belongs. Some people have mentioned a little frame flex but I have felt little that distracts from its urgent acceleration or direct direction change. Its descending abilities aren’t far behind it’s freeride alias because of the way the suspension works the terrain and the steering feels in technical situations.
Weaknesses: In FR: The single pivot hangs up on baby heads and the rear suss becomes quickly overwhelmed on rubble; transmitting trail chatter into the soles of your feet. It almost feels as if the pivot needs to be either higher, or further forward to lessen the forward arc halfway through it’s travel. The lowered BB means multiple pedal strikes when hacking through the woods. Momentum is severely impeded over rough terrain and FR is best suited to smooth surface berms, jumps and drop-offs.
Most all mountain bikes are all mountain because they have adjustable components – but you can’t make a frame that genuinely battles on both fronts with equal success unless you plump for multi-pivot design (in my experience). The prophet however offers an adjustable frame that is an accomplished multi-tool for blasting through the woods, and for descending like a test pilot back to the car park. It will not be the smoothest ride you have ever ridden, but if this is your kind of riding (two distinct genre of terrain in the same ride) then this is one very tempting beast, unless you can afford VPP (think Intense Tracer VP – VPP AND adjustable frame…). Its ideal route might be, say riding through the switchbacks of a dense mountain forest where efficiency is needed, then take the rider-built-sled course back down in FR mode.
Go for a sturdy 29-30lb build when doing trail centres, and have a second set of tough forks and wheels that you can interchange if your ride is going to be a jump n drop zone. This is a very capable trail bike in XC mode with some rough terrain shortcomings, which the ‘uninitiated’ probably won’t notice. Only mildly convincing as a ‘freeride’ bike where the suspension design really holds back the potential of the rest of the frame and angles inherent in the obsolete design. The pivot location definatly favours the XC mode.
And to the reviewers that say they never ride out of FR mode - are you riding in FR to look cool or do you seriously think that FR setting is actually better then the XC?
Weaknesses: rear brake line loose, crappy stock saddle
UPDATE: Wow. What a trail bike. I've only ridden my Prophet in the slacker FR setting- and it still climbs like a banshee. Propedal gives the bike a very grounded feel on tougher descents, and gives a responsive climb-- even while out-of-the-saddle hammering. Drop the seatpost for the descent and hold on. I dropped the PSI about 10lbs front and back (I weigh 165lbs- 5'9")and the bike is perfect. It's super snappy on tight singletrack. I can't wait to do a Moab trip.
Also the stock tires on the 2008 need lower psi to get a bite on technical ascents. Then they hook up fine-- even on looser sandy and clay trails.
Overall, definitely a contender in the 5 inch trail bike category. Get one.
Favorite Trail: Fire Swamp, ThievesChip's Loop, Sope Creek
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Purchased At: Atlanta Cyclery
Similar Products Used: 2002 Kona Stinky Deelux, 2006 Kona Stinky
Bike Setup: Race Face Atlas AM stem 70mm, Hussefelt Risers, ODI Ruffians, WTB PURE race saddle, SHimano SPD
a Cross Country Rider
from ATL, GA, USA
Date Reviewed: August 12, 2008
Strengths: Geometry, Build, color, weight,
Weaknesses: Haven't really found any yet
I'll post an update after I get some more miles on this thing, but initial bike setup looks great. I've already switched the ride to the slacker FR shock setting. The cockpit is roomy enough to pedal. I think my bike is around 30 pounds.
For around 2 g's this is an amazing;y spec'd bike. I'll put it through the trail-bike paces tomorrow. And perhaps a jaunt out to Poison Spider next month.
Did I mention the Avid Juicys are white on the 08 Prophet? Yeah. All the dudes in the shop were drooling. This bike's definitely a head turner.
Konas are great. But they're heavy
Santa Cruz's are amazing. But they're too spendy.
Try the Prophet, you'll like it.
Overall rating is 4 chilis until I really put the bike through the paces on the trail.
Similar Products Used: Kona Stinky, Kona Coiler, Cannondale 900,
Bike Setup: Race Face atlas AM 70mm stem, Hussefelt risers, Odi ruffian lock-ons, Shimano MD540 pedals, stock everything else
a Weekend Warrior
from Roanoke VA, USA
Date Reviewed: August 6, 2008
Strengths: Versatility. The RP2 shock's pro pedal setting allows you to climb like the bike is virtually a hardtail. The suspension in general is slightly better quality than you can find in this price range in any other products.
Weaknesses: Wheelset. Crank. Juicy 5's?
First it has been 4 weeks since I have purchased my prophet 2. Since then I have had two problems that have caused it to be in the shop for a week.
-1 the juicy 5's had a leak in the line causing my rear brake to be mushy and un responsive.
-2 the rear wheel got busted out of alignment after about 4 rides.
However, SRAM is sending a new set of Juicy 5's in the color to match my bike so I can't complain except i would rather be riding it right now.
I have some trouble with the handling while descending when the bike is in the cross country 69* head angle setting. I feel like this may have something to do with the straight angle of the seat post putting my body closer to the handle bars. I seem to get to much of my weight on the front wheel sometimes in turns. However, if you take the time to flip the bike to the FR geometry this is a non factor.
Other than that the bike climbs magnificently. You can even lock out the Fox Vanilla fork if you are riding on smooth climbs and the bike is basically rigid. The balance and geometry have worked great for me going up. I have had increased ability to clear logs and rock gardens going up. Partly due to the good BB clearance and to the placement of the rider being slightly forward compared to most bikes.
I think if you are interested in a bike that can do a lot of things well. you are looking at the best bike in its price range. The Santa Cruz Heckler, Kona Dawg, Trek Remedy, Titus Ml-1 are all significantly more expensive for the same goodies. The Prophet climbs excellent benefits of the rp2 shock pro pedal, and can rip down most anything this side of 3+ foot drops comfortably and confidently in the fr position. However, some of the downhill handling characterisitcs in the xc setting are less than favorable.
4 chilis for having to get new brakes immediately.
Bike Setup: 08'prophet 2 frame, pike 454 air-u turn, fox float rp2, mavic deetraks, and most of the other parts are all DH/FR oriented
a Weekend Warrior
from Sacramento, CA
Date Reviewed: September 29, 2007
Strengths: It is hard to beat the frame design and overall proformance. I love the variable geometry, and was sceptical at first, but after one test ride I was hooked. The bike now comes with Fox Shox both front and back. They work great, although I miss the option of the Lefty fork. (Cannondale stopped making the 140mm Lefty after 2007, but you can still put it on the 2008 frame) This is also the first time for me using "Egg Beaters" instead of SPD's, I love the egg beaters!
Another great thing about the 2008 models, is the price. They have seriously reduced the MSRP's on these things compared to previous years.
Weaknesses: Being that I owned a 2007 model before it was stolen, I have to say that I am a bit upset that even though I bought the 2008 Prophet 2, there were a couple of components that were better on the 2007 Prophet 3. The big one is a huge step down considering the P2 was supposed to be a step up, was the brakes. My 07P3 had Avid Juicy Seven's, and now the only 08 Prophet that has them is the Prophet 1. I'm pretty sure the shifters took a step back too, SRAM 0-7 vs. 0-9, but they still preform as good.
The "Bottom Line" is this, although I think the the 2008 is a step back from the 2007 models, and I wish the 140mm Lefty were still an option, it remains my bike of choice.
a Weekend Warrior
from Spotsylvania, VA USA
Date Reviewed: November 10, 2006
Strengths: I have had the Prophet2 for a little over a month and its strong in every way. The new XTR rear derailuer and XT drive train are flawless, it shifts so smooth. The manitou swinger with SPV, now factory pre-set really works well. The carbon SPV lefty 140mm eats up anything I have thrown at it. You can take the worst lines and it will get you through it like a pro. I like the SDG i-beam saddle, its an interesting design thats well suited to a full suspension bike. As usual with cannondale the frame quality is best in the business as far as I'm concernced. The welds are so flawless. The rear triangle on the prophet is so burly and no flex. The Mavic X819's are very sweet wheels and the Maxxis UST Ignitors are great as well.
I got the silver/blue color and it looks so good, the pic on the internet does it no justice. The guys at the LBS were amazed as well.
Weaknesses: haven't found any yet.
Best bike I have ever ridden. I get giddy just looking at it!