Strengths: Lefty Fork is plush and sturdy and can't be stopped, wheels are maintenance free, Swinger rear shock cannot be killed. Frame is monster that will outlive me. This bike is the perfect choice for someone that likes trails and jumping or wants to start AM and FR.
Weaknesses: There is a little bit of flex in the rear when cornering heavily.
I am the third owner of this bike and everything was stock. I then put over 1500 miles of hard trails to full-on downhill coarse to even massive tabletop jumps and this bike just yawns at all of it. I had a rock chip my rear shock stancion on my Swinger X3 so I figured I would ride it until it pulled out all the oil and started to fail and then replace it. That was about 600 miles ago and it rides like new. I have only had to replace normal wear and tear items. Other than that this bike is a blessing. I highly recommend this bike!
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: June 24, 2012
Strengths: The frame, cranks and seatpost are still going strong after 4.5yrs of general punishment, interstate plane trips and trying things that I now leave to my 8inch travel DH bike! The switch over to a dually was well worthwhile (coming from a strictly hardtail XC background) and allowed me to find new lines in my local trails as well as boost confidence to hit more jumps.
1.5inch headtube is now somewhat useful as finding a bargain on a 1.5inch forks is now much easier!
Changeable geometry (FR to XC).
Rides pretty easily up a hill and is way more fun when pointed down!
Weaknesses: The Lefty fork! From day one the bike had what has been referred to as 'a Friday afternoon job' fork. After four (4) services in the first year (removing the Lefty from the bike and sending away to Cannondale in Australia), the Lefty had to go. After some correspondence with Cannondale Australia, I was told that the Lefty should ride straight. I took the opportunity to 'ride it straight' to the LBS and leave it there. It now serves its purpose as part of the mechanic setup in the shop to hold Lefty wheels for servicing/truing.
I found the Lefty to mess with the balance of the bike (i.e. I felt I needed to compensate whilst riding no hands [and maybe jumping or perhaps my technique - although on my other two bikes I jumped straight with confidence]). Either way I thought the fork had its nice selling points and was stiff, supple and certainly straightened out some hairy situations and took some big hits - if only I could have gotten it to ride straight and didn't leak oil it may have stayed.
Eventually I fitted real forks (firstly 130mm Revelations and now Fox 140RL's) and never looked back! So much more confidence.
Having owned the bike for over 4 years I have replaced basically everything except cranks, seat tube, seat (even though its a bit ragged) and frame. This frame is seemingly strong (I weigh 70kgs, 6ft 1in) and I do enjoy drops up to max 6-8ft, jumps maybe 20ft in length and rough and rocky trails (plenty).
Another benefit is its versatility with its changeable geometry. Changing its geometry from 67.5 to 69 degrees makes a significant difference to the confidence and ability of my manualling skills. When I set up for longer XC rides I just use a longer stem, lightweight tyres and narrower bars.
I added a 57mm x 200mm RP23 partly by curiosity (I believe it should be 50mm x 200mm) and a 2.35 Maxxis Minion tyre does bottom out and rub on the frame when shock pressure is really low. It does however feel very plush compared to the original Manitou 3-Way swinger. Although I believe there is some potential issues with shock dynamics (something to do with linear travel??). But it feels a lot better and I run it set up quite firm.
Although its getting a bit long in the tooth, the 2008 frame is still ticking over and a pleasure to ride. I like the aspect that instead of buying a new bike I have slowly upgraded this beast and it still does the job well.....
All the pivots are still in good working order despite lack of maintenance (ie I have only serviced them once or twice in the life of the bike!)
People interested in this bike may be looking for a bargain for a very versatile well built bike. Just make sure you have some $ left over to retrofit and replace parts for upgrades....
Bike Setup: Fox RP23 (Rear shock 57mm x 200mm), Fox 140mm RL 1.5inch steerer, 50mm Deity Fantom Headstem, Renthal Fat Bar, XT Brakes Front 180mm and Rear 180mm, DT Swiss 5.1D Wheels on Hope Pro 2 Hub (rear) HFG (front hub), X7 shifters, X9 Rear derailleur, Shimano XT front shifter (e-type), Real World Cycling needle shock bearings (rear x 2).
a Weekend Warrior
from Studio City, CA, USA
Weaknesses: Lefty fork can make transport a hassle. Lackluster grips and tires. Front brake cable routing needs redesign? - rubs tire when fork is heavily compressed. Probably not the bike for the weight-obsessed.
An ideal choice for this weekend xc rider who asks his bike to do a little of everything. Dramatically stiffer, more efficient going up, and faster going down than its predecessors. This is in comparison to my previous bike, a 2001 Jekyll 700 LTD - just for those pondering an upgrade. The Rize is a MUCH better fitting bike for me. At 5'10" and 184 lbs., I often felt inbetween sizes on the medium Jekyll, but not so on the Rize.
Happy to report Cannondale now does a much better job equipping their mid-level bikes. They've apparently abandoned making things they're not good at- entry level cranks, seatpost, and those WTF!?!? 4 bolt pattern disc hubs. And they've stopped skimping on critical components, I'm looking at you- Magura's plastic brake levers.
Bike Setup: Stock save for different grips, SPD pedals and tires.
a Weekend Warrior
from Cold Spring Harbor, LI-NY/Bustarviejo, Spain
Date Reviewed: January 17, 2008
Strengths: Strong, simple and light; Versatile, smart geometry that you can even change (XC/FR)without affecting suspension, comfortable, reliable, does it all, it is beautiful and the price is reasonable.Slackish angle in the front; steep angle in the seat,and amazing combination specialy for taller people. Climbs impeccably. Descends better.
Weaknesses: The rear end flexes a bit.
XC and AM for hours and hours, in the dark wet singletrack or in open wide trails, up and down, from sunrise to sunset, to have fun and play in the technical trail or to get serious for hours and ride miles and miles, even race (I do mountain triathlons). If you are small, the Rush should be enough, but for bigger people (my case)or more aggressive riders the Prophet is one of the best bikes that exist. Well positioned single pivot is wonderful, it is simple, reliable and works close to perfection. Never again will ride complicated systems full of pivot points and links.
Similar Products Used: Marin Mount Vision and costumized Giant Iguana (still have them, still love them).
Bike Setup: Truvativ Hussefelt riser handlebar. Sincros AM 90mm stem. Avid Juicy 7 brakes with 180mm front rotor. Shimano LX front and XT rear, both with XT levers. ODI grips. Marzocchi All Mountain 3 2007 140mm fork. Shimano XT cranks. Drive Magnesium platform pedals. Thomson zero setback 410mm seatpost. WTB Rocket V Stealth saddle. WTB Mavic XM 317 rims with WTB Laser Disc Lite hubs. Maxxis Minion 2.35 tires. Fox Float R 7.9x2.00 shock. Ah, yeah, and a raw aluminum with black and red decals Cannondale Prophet 2008 frame (140 mm rear travel).
a Weekend Warrior
from Brisbane, Australia
Date Reviewed: March 7, 2007
Strengths: Lefty is superb. Climbs and accelerates well for a 5.5inch travel bike. Adjustability of front/rear shocks. Cannondale build quality (and retained value)
Weaknesses: None so far - but i may try a lighter tire set when the Maxxis LUST Ignitors wear out
Love the bike. The lefty is superb and is a big reason i came back to Cannondale. This bike will handle most situations you can get yourself into - from your average 1 to 2 hour romp, light free ride, heavy duty trailbike, 100k epic. Just change the tires/shocks/angle to suit and go for it.
I have love all my previous bikes - this is the best so far.
Bike Setup: Stock except for pedals (Shimano 424 - cheap and good)
a Weekend Warrior
from Windsor, CT. USA
Date Reviewed: October 2, 2006
Strengths: Design. Stiffness. Lefty. Single-Pivot. Heritage. Made in USA. Avid. SRAM.
A shout goes out to my new Cannondale shop: Bikers Edge in Bristol CT. Great shop with knowledgeable staff. www.bikersedge.com. Very large shop, new building. When other shops offered to call Cannondale to ask about remaining 2006 stock (and most didn't call back), I heard Bikers Edge staff clicking a keyboard saying, "I can check inventory from right here." Very responsive staff. Offered to order a 2007 and was willing to move a little on price, even when ordering the latest and greatest. Great shop. Check them out.
Weaknesses: Haven't found any yet.
I have to gently disagree with fellow-scribe Christopher from Wallingford above. You gotta go Lefty baby! I'm sure Fox and others are great products, but the Lefty is the coolest thing in MTB Histoy! I hear it's round on the outside, square on the inside, and was orignally designed by engineer(s) with aircraft landing-gear experience. They say it's laterally stiffer then a conventional fork. The best review I ever read about it said, "When the patent runs out, they'll all be like this."
All right then. Back to rationality. I can't comment with great authority at this level, as my experience is an 8 year old beater that flexed like crazy (but held in through all those years of Case Mtn punishment. FYI: Sun Rhino Lite wheels are cheap and indestructable).
To me, the Prophet is incredibly stiff. The entire thing acts like one solid piece. If you stand over the bike and wiggle the handlebars, it moves as a single unit, tight like a road bike.
The Lefty is excellent. Terrific tracking. Air chamber, easy rebound adjustment. I was taking bad lines on purpose over rocks and the bike just doesn't care. First ride I did a few rock-gardens I've never done before. Very straight. The whole bike is point and shoot. And when leaning left, nothing is cooler than seeing the bike hanging from the Lefty hub; or out over the hub when leaning right. I can't imagine getting tired of that.
The rear shock is very good. Air chamber and rebound, plus a small lever underneath allows one to dampen slow-input response (like pedalling) while still allowing hit-response. You can feel the difference between the 3 settings. I didn't notice much of any pedal-bob, but look to expert reviewers for the final word on that.
The Avid Juicy 7 brakes are very good. Smooth, progressive, not grabby. Quiet so far.
Overall the Prophet has been worth waiting all these years for. I starting dreaming big back in the Raven 4000 days, and it's finally happened. What a Blessing.
As a final word, I struggled between Prophet and Scalpel, but after test riding both last year at a Cannondale Test Ride Event (check them out), I can see that at the same price point, the Prophet is designed to do it all, without specializing in only one thing. It climbs well, isn't heavy for its capability (5" balanced front and rear travel), and has geometry that's more forgiving about going over the handlebars (and that's in XC mode). The Scalpel was clearly even more direct, lighter, but with less travel, and gives the rider maybe a little more punishment. Even on a test ride it was clear that Scalpel was for racing performance. The Prophet with big travel was the clear choice for my enthusiast New England riding. Of course, they had to come out with the Rush between then and now to muddy the waters, but my mind was already made up.
Like I said I'm not experienced with bikes at this level, but I hope this helps. The component spec for 2007 and price started out the same as the 2006 Prophet 1000. I used many of the MTBR reviews of the 1000; check them out!
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 1, 2006
Strengths: I have the Profit Z3 with the Fox Talas. So far I am impressed with the simple design of the frame and the finish on the welds. Plush ride but accelerates beautifully. Climbs incredibly well and inspires confidence on the down hills and tech sections. I love the Talas fork. It can adjust between 140mm, 120mm and 100mm. On 120mm the bike rips through tight single track. On 140 the nasty sections get sucked up with out a problem.
Weaknesses: none so far
Awsome so far. Get this bike with the TALAS. The ajustability of the shock is incredible. Drop it to 120mm and the head tube angle is about 70 degrees allowing the bike to steer quickly. A flick of the switch and you have a slacker head angle and confidence on the downhills. Great bike with a great component selection for a really good price. Totally worth it.