Proflex 856 Bike Bike 1998 or Older

4.2/5 (94 Reviews)
MSRP : $1899.00


Product Description

Proflex 856 Bike


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Reviews 1 - 15 (94 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mtbr123 a Weekend Warrior from Tyler, Tx, USA

Date Reviewed: May 20, 2011

Strengths:    Lightweight dual suspension bike, handles great and perfect for trails. Climbs great for dual suspension.

Weaknesses:    Problems with just my setup: rear noleen shock comes appart often, spring was too stiff(easy fix), raceface crank bearings and crank are horrible, my rear mount for disc brake that was tig welded on to the 7075 aluminum frame is starting to crack. I have read about frame cracking but haven't had that happen.

Bottom Line:   
If you can find one get it, it is very versitile. The advantage this bike has is weight, it is the lightest dual suspension I have rode and handles great with modern fork and brakes. I use the bike for trails and around town. It will handle fast trails and 4 ft drops pretty smooth.

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Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $210.00

Purchased At:   craigslist

Similar Products Used:   Specialized big hit spec

Bike Setup:   Converted to 6" disc brakes, raceface crank, noleen shocks front and rear, 26 lbs approx, disc wheels, bare aluminum (no paint). Bought bike without wheels.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Harry Rubin a Cross Country Rider from Nashua, NH

Date Reviewed: April 15, 2005

Strengths:    Light weight awsome handling. Setup properly with the Risse astro in the back zero pogoing climbs like a yeti!

Weaknesses:    Little travel. Front derailuer setup is touchy. Stock Girvin elastomer suspension had to go.

Bottom Line:   
Nice bike built for speed not plushness, But really a decnt ride despite being old tech.

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Favorite Trail:   Any trail

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Ebay

Similar Products Used:   GT I-drive

Bike Setup:   XT Comp Group, Marzoucci R3 in the front and Risse astro 5 in the rear.Bontrager race lite bar stem Rims and hubs. 9 speed.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by marc furtado a Weekend Warrior from taunton

Date Reviewed: March 18, 2003

Strengths:    durability and looks

Weaknesses:    weight and frame cracks

Bottom Line:   
my components are killer and my bike frame sucks. simple as that. i bought the bike on ebay cheap (500 bucks) and have invested another 4-5 into it. the bike surves its purpose but if i was to do it again i would go with another frame. this frame is super heavy and it has cracked in two spots. i am only a weekend rebel but i am a solid 195 pounds and i ride hard and i need something stronger. big people don't buy this bike.

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Favorite Trail:   freetown state forest

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Bike Setup:   rock shox xl dual front, modified rock shox rear, race face forged cranks system stem and xy post, xt shifters, levers and f,r derailliurs, rock shox disc brakes on mavic 317 rims with white industry ti hubs, michelin wildgripper green tires

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tom a Weekend Warrior from New York

Date Reviewed: March 15, 2003

Strengths:    light frame,

Weaknesses:    rear shock bobb's,rear brake cable hits crankarm but thats no problem, forks got to go

Bottom Line:   
If you take off the forks this bike is a great bike to trail ride an freeride. If you are going to do any more then 3 feet drops I would change the rear shock, because if not there is alot of bobbing.the xt components work great up hills. they make this bike a mountain goat.

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Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $575.00

Bike Setup:   proflex 856, duke sl forks, XT components, ods rear shock

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tom a Cross Country Rider from Waterloo, IA

Date Reviewed: December 28, 2002

Strengths:    Kinda light for full suspension, easy to service, handles well

Weaknesses:    Damn pogoing, front derailleur positioning/adjustment, rear cable routing, unfriendly with rear V brakes, derailleur hanger is of VERY soft alloy, that damn nubbin in the seat tube, would rather have bearings instead of bushings

Bottom Line:   
I originally bought this as a frame only for $125, without a shock. I emailed here, called there, and so on...finally coming up with a Girvin ODS shock. I built it up and began riding. I have tried many different ways to get some damping into the shock...it has no adjustment, and is basically just a spring. I have had some luck by using different oil viscosities, but still not what it could be with a damping adjustment. That said, it could be better, but is a good handling bike with the Manitou fork. I also have had some trials and tribulations with the shock adjuster...I've had two of the El Cheapo plastic adjusters strip out, forcing me to have one made for $50. Now, the shock squeaks to no end! This frame is easy to rebuild/service (I've taken apart and serviced lots of times), except for the front derailleur issue...what were they smoking when this was thought up? This is reason #2 for it being an 8 spd bike. Reason #1 is that I just really don't use the big ring or granny...maybe because I could never get the derailleur to swing far enough to get down into granny. I solved the rear V brake problem with a set of Caramba Smooth Operators, eliminating the wide-bending noodle. I've had my trials and tribulations with this bike, but it has been really good to me...including quite a few drops of over 5'. It does do some pogoing, and has little-to-no rebound damping, but rides really well all in all. I have recently been longing for a custom steel hardtail and considered selling the 'Flex, but as I write this review (I thought that I had already done this, but I didn't see my review on here), I see little reason to sell the 856. I'll just hafta save up my beer cans for while for a steel hardtail.

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Favorite Trail:   Ulrich

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $125.00

Purchased At:   Private buy here

Similar Products Used:   My first full suspension, but I've ridden a few friends' full suspension bikes, as well as test-riding some others.

Bike Setup:   856, 8 speed only, SRAM ESP shifter/derailleur, Manitou
SX-R fork, Girvin ODS shock w/SpeedSpring, Oury grips, Avid Vs, full cable housing (rather than interrupted), Bontrager wheels.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jeff a Cross Country Rider from North Carolina

Date Reviewed: July 19, 2002

Strengths:    A great looking bike that's full of usefull features.

Weaknesses:    The little yellow elastomers (shocks) are near useless. But with a quick upgrade to some Eibach Springs, the travel hits the full amount and the bike handles tons better.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is one of the best full suspension bikes ever. The the design of the rear suspension has been copied dozens of times, including in the 2002 Gary Fisher Sugar. The only complaint I've had is with the weight. But having an extra couple pounds in the bike is well worth the added comfort and control this bike provides.

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Favorite Trail:   Tsali

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1750.00

Purchased At:   First Flight Bicycles

Similar Products Used:   Specialized M2 Hardtail, Cannondale SuperV, Trek Y-Frame

Bike Setup:   Spinergy Wheels, Full XTR, Michelin Wild Gripper Tires, many extras.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ricky Leung a Cross Country Rider from Toronto

Date Reviewed: June 16, 2002

Strengths:    The Bike is very good. You people should get this becasue it has a better than alot of new full suspension bikes. I very recomend this bike to anyone.

Weaknesses:    Bad Wire Set-Up

Bottom Line:   
This is a very good bike, BUY it if you can find it!

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Favorite Trail:   Don Valley Parkway

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1900.00

Purchased At:   Bike Store

Similar Products Used:   Shimano XTR, Race Face, Rock Shox

Bike Setup:   Deore XT/LX Race Face Cranks, LX Brakes

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John from Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Date Reviewed: May 24, 2002

Strengths:    Great component spec (all XT except the shifters which I upgraded.
Climbs like a billy goat, just stay seated.
Pretty much indestructible.
Light (especially compared to the beasts available in 2002)


Weaknesses:    Chain rings suck (finally replaced with Race Face two years ago), leading to poor downshifts under power.
Had to cut down an allen key to adjust front der. and still a pain in the....
Front drop-outs on Girvin fork bent pretty easy.
Not much travel (took me five years of hard riding to finally break in the front elastomers to full travel!)


Bottom Line:   
Bought my Proflex for Cdn$2850 in June of 1996, finally sold it this May for Cdn$500, rode it hard for 5 long years.

Climbed like a billy goat - when I shifted down to granny, I knew that my legs would give out before I ran out of traction.

Bought a 20" frame and found it was great downhill, but found the front end a little light when climbing in the twisties. Took me the better part of five years to get the hang of the geometry before I was able to get it to truly sing in the slow motion single track (needed the bike up to speed before it would carve the tight turns).

Fork was incredibly stiff, but not very compliant on the little stuff until about the last year (yeah, I know, should have taken it apart and replaced the oil with a lighter weight, never got to it). Weak part of the fork is the drop-outs - I'm sure the front wheel was never quite right, even out of the box, and I bent the drop outs on one nasty fall in a rain storm. Bike shop repaired by bending the drop-outs back (that's the factory fix!).

The front der. (damn, how do you spell that word) never did shift well under load - it was really bad with the original grip shift, was a little better with the XT shifters, but slowly deteriorated as the rings wore. Shifting improved with race rings, but I still found myself shifting the cable back up to the bigger ring the odd time because the chain wouldn't drop under load (ah, for the heavy spring on the DX der. on my old Marin - boy does it grind shifting under load, but it will shift!).

As for maintenance, never did too much (lubed chain often, replaced mud plugged cables and guides almost yearly, repacked the hubs about twice a year and replaced the pivots once) and it still ran good. Did end up tweaking the rear wheel's spokes about once a month (never could get it to stay tight, even after re-lacing the whole wheel).

Overall, the bike had some limitations (mostly due to size - should have bought a 19" frame) that took a few years to get used to, but damn fine ride for hard core cross country riding. Gonna miss it, but also looking forward to my new bike (just ordered a new Jekyl 1000 and boy its plush in comparison).

Ratings - 5 chilis for value because of the good component spec and the weight, 4 chilis overal because of the lack of travel

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Its a toss up - Sulphur Springs (Calgary) or Jack-Ass Canyon (Moab)

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1900.00

Similar Products Used:   Marin Eldridge Grade (my old hard tail, still lighter and handles better than the 856)
Jekyll 1000 (2002), Marin Mount Vision (2002), Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro (2002) - all test rode to replace my Proflex


Bike Setup:   Stock, except new tires (don't like the velociraptors!), upgraded shifters to XT rapidfire and pedals to SPDs, Race Face Race Rings, installed a shorter stem

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Ken a Cross Country Rider from Atlanta

Date Reviewed: June 19, 2001

Strengths:    Great Climbing ability

Weaknesses:    Elastomers
Bobbing


Bottom Line:   
Has served me well for 5 years of hard riding in Georgia, Moab, and New Mexico. Climbs as well as a hardtail, maybe better. Noisy suspension, big clank in back, squeaks in front. Be careful on descents and clearing obstacles, the steep head angle and the motion of the suspension makes this bike have a high propensity to Endo (wear your helmet!). Steep head angle makes the bike a bit twitchy, though it is extremely agile on twisty singletrack. Upgrade to Speed Springs really helped in the rear, although there is not much damping. Travel is much less than advertised. The Noleen fork is great overall, very stiff fork that tracks very well and has not required excessive maintenance. Big improvement over the stock Girvin II. Bottom line, I have been well served by this bike. I understand it can now be purchased for as low as $500. At that price, it is a much better bike than anything in the price range. Technology has moved too far forward to compare it to bikes in it's original $2000 price range, bikes have come a long way since 1995. I would recommend it to anyone who has a limited budget and would like to get a full suspension bike for under $750.

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Favorite Trail:   Porcupine Rim - Moab

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1900.00

Bike Setup:   856 with Speed Spring on ODS in Rear and Noleen Elite in Front. Mavic 517. XT components.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mike krakovsky a Weekend Warrior from cleveland, ohio

Date Reviewed: May 31, 2001

Strengths:    great frame! goes up/down like a champ

Weaknesses:    forks got to go, rear brake cable hits crankarm unless cortorted to an ungodly extent

Bottom Line:   
i cant say enough about it, except that i cant ride it b/c i need a new D.hanger and cant find one anwhere, IF ANYONE KNOWS WHERE I CAN GET ONE, PLEASE, EMAIL ME!!!!!
xmisty40@aol.com

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Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Bike Setup:   Panaracer fire pros, ritchey wheels, raceface Next LP, XT ders.,LX v's and shifters, Mars 1, Kore stem

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by g e a Weekend Warrior from southern,indiana

Date Reviewed: January 20, 2001

Strengths:    light, solid equipment, good parts selection

Weaknesses:    stock elastomers are useless. cables rub on headtube. v-brakes are a pain on the rear of bike, don't open enough to quick release wheel.

Bottom Line:   
i was pretty happy with the bike for the first couple years, but wished for a little more travel. sorry if this offends anyone, but elastomers are THE MOST WORTHLESS PIECES OF GARBAGE EVER PUT ON A BIKE! no matter how hard i try, i couldn't get them to do their job. they just squish. or turn hard as a rock as soon as it gets cold. i was looking to get a new bike, but after a little research and a couple good sales, i'm glad i kept it. there is NO COMPARISON in handling between elastomers and a good old coil and oil setup. now the bike actually suspends me, it's super plush, and just all around one hell of a good time. the bomber is unbelievably smooth, and the stratos helix is even smoother still ( hard to believe but true!). it pogos more than before, but still less than 90% of the bikes i test rode. nothing goes uphill as well as a proflex (that i've seen), and now it's a blast to descend. it was pretty stable on downhills before, but now what used to be scary is just another piece of trail. my biggest complaint is: i paid $1300 for my bike, on sale, and at the time, that was a fantastic deal, but one to two years later, and i could've gotten the exact same thing for $500. not the bike's fault, but still makes me grrrrrrrr.. overall, great bike, better prices everyday, and durable as all get out (i've never broken ANYTHING on my bike, and i've pulled some stupid stunts in my time!). i'll give 5 for value, and 4 overall because of those darn elastomers.besides, with what you save on the bike, you can get super plush shocks and still have change. oh yeah, didn't care too much for the girvin fork either. yeah it's light and stiff, but on a good day you get maybe 1 or 1.5 inches of travel.i'll take a zokes any day over that.

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Favorite Trail:   the one under my tires

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1300.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   numerous cannondales, specialized, living-x

Bike Setup:   xt drivetrain and hubs, gripshift xray, goretex cables, avid sd2.0 brakes,titec hellbent riser, oury grips, wtb seat and velociraptors, marzocchi z2 atom bomb, stratos helix expert in back

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steven a Weekend Warrior from Vancouver, BC

Date Reviewed: August 22, 2000

Strengths:    Geometry
Comfort
Looks good


Weaknesses:    Hard to reach front derailleur

Bottom Line:   
After all the upgrades there's nothing bad that I can say about this bike. Its just an awesome bike. The elastomers were good, but outdated now. Change the elastomers for springs which can be done in 10 minutes (only 4 bolts to remove) and your ride will be sweet. Liked the girvin vector fork but switching to a noleen chubby was a much better deal though the noleen chubby seemed a little heavy ( hence the name chubby ). I will give the bike 5 flaming chilis.

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Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Bike Setup:   Noleen Chubby LT, Shimano XTR Shifter, XTR Brake Lever, XTR V Brakes, XTR Seatpost, XTR front and XTR rear Derailleur, XTR hubs, Black Mavic X517, Noleen NR4 rear shock, Race Face cranks, Azonic World Force Riser bars.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Dylan Markow a Weekend Warrior from Dana Point, CA, USA

Date Reviewed: May 29, 2000

Strengths:    Little Pogo, comfortable downhill ride

Weaknesses:    Pain to service, specifically adjustment on the front der.

Bottom Line:   
Rides very nicely. It's not too heavy, compared with some other full-suspensions, which helps a lot with the uphill. Great bike for overall riding. Great for single-track, handles nicely.

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Favorite Trail:   San Juan Trail/Hot Springs

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Bike Setup:   Full XT with Manitou SX-R Fork

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by D J Novak a Weekend Warrior from Tempe, AZ

Date Reviewed: February 2, 2000

Strengths:    Front Girvin fork is strong.

Weaknesses:    Elastomers, bike makes lots of noise, Bit heavy.

Bottom Line:   
My first FS bike. Replaced shift/brake with XTR Rapidfire and Vbrake, there wasn't a good place to run the new V-brake cables. The elastomers had to go, replaced with springs. The bike rocked, but suspension needed lots of maintenance. I never could get rid of all the squeaks the suspension made. Recently got in a car wreck and flattened the bike, replaced with a Specialized "BIGHIT" - OMG that bike kicks ass!! High maintenance and some crappy components keep this bike from being great.

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Duration Product Used:   2 Years


Overall Rating:4
Submitted by DJ Osborne a Cross-Country Rider from Santa Cruz, CA

Date Reviewed: January 1, 2000

Strengths:    
Excellent front Fork... better marketing and this unit would take over the noodlie stantion designs. Also, minimal po-go, nice weight, easy to maintain.


Weaknesses:    
The V frame swing arm mount is a semi-poor design. If you are a large human you will eventually break it. But no fear as K2 will replace it as they did mine.


Bottom Line:   
Excellent value. My last one was stolen. I have the replacement rear section. If anyone would like to sell a front frame part only I would love to buy it. Then I could re-build back my 856. email osbornedj@hotmail.com

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Favorite Trail:   
Clearance River Expedition, New Zealand

Duration Product Used:   
more than 3 years

Similar Products Used:   
Trek Why bike
Cannondale V series


Bike Setup:   
XT, with coil springs in the shocks

Reviews 1 - 15 (94 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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