'The most fun hardtail ive EVER ridden!" Travis E, San Clemente, CA
"Thanks again for the sweet ride! 800 miles and counting!" Bill T - Billings MT
Prophecy Oracle Prototype Ride Report
By Jimmy Mac
Wildwood Park. Dry trail without dust due to recent rains. Numerous rain ruts on all inclines. Loose, small rocks on top of hard pack in many sections.
Pedaling: Surprising how easily this bike spins along the trail. If you were not looking at the tire’s width, it would be easy to mistake this for a conventional 29er, only smoother and even less affected by the trail surface. It floats over loose trail debris. The tire noise is less than a conventional 27.5 or 29er. It is a sweet muffled sensation. If there is added compression and rebound generated from the tires, I didn’t feel it in the saddle. The expected “bobbing” just wasn’t detected. I’m guessing your wheelbase selection has a lot to do with that (a shorter wheelbase on a big-tire bike can cause weird pedaling feedback). I experienced some heel contact with the seat stays but I think I am overly sensitive to this from my roadie days and the way my cleats are set.
Climbing: This bike has about a 6-inch taller gear in its 42-tooth cog than the bike I’ve been riding all year (a 2x10 Pivot Mach 429 that is also about 1.5 pounds lighter) but I cleared climbs I don’t always clear. First, this bike has no issues with its rider getting out of the saddle to punch over inclines or to increase crank RPM to get on top of a gear. It is equally impressive in the saddle. Over rocks and ruts, it maintains traction so the rider can just crank away. The pedal clearance helps in rocky sections too. The only issue was when the Wolf chainring hits its power stroke and the tire starts scratching for traction. There is a learning curve to riding with the oval chainring. I think I would have better results if I moved the saddle back a bit.
Cornering: It doesn’t feel slack (sluggish) or steep (nervous). It is right there in the middle with a light, neutral feel to steering input. This helps a lot on the climbs. The bike stays on its intended line. There is no sawing at the bar when going up slow, steep inclines. It shines on off-camber sections. The thing just sticks. Same goes for corners. The bike likes to be ridden aggressively through the corners with the rider out of the saddle and weight low. Again, the bike sticks.
Descending: This is a very forgiving hardtail that responds to aggressive riding techniques. Stay off the brakes and out of the saddle (dropped) with your chest a few inches over the bar and the bike feels like it is on rails. I liked the bike’s geometry, but I’m not a downhill racer. Gravity-oriented guys might ask for a slacker headtube, but I’m not one of them.
Braking: The Magura brakes are well matched to the task for slowing down these large tires. I locked up the rear wheel a few times, but I’m used to rear suspension so it would take a few rides to recalibrate my brain and right hand. (The only drawback to the Magura stoppers (I use them on my personal bike) is finding a bike shop that stocks brake pads. I buy them on Amazon and keep a spare set in the toolbox.
Breathes new life into the trusty hardtail mountain bike. Expands the possibilities for the trail rider who doesn’t want the complexity or expense of a dual-suspension mountain bike. Selling direct will require good rider service when setting the bike up. I would have said I needed a longer stem but after riding it, a longer stem might have ruined the bike’s handling. There will be a bit of education for existing riders. I had too much air pressure in both tires, but that is so simple to experiment with that it is part of the fun of owning any oversized tire bike.
Jimmy McIlvain - Former editor, MBA
I hadn't ridden a hardtail in over 20 years so I didn't expect much when taking the Prophecy Cycles Oracle out for a test ride. On the first ride I still wasn't convinced it could replace my full suspension bike as my everyday go to, but after a little tweaking with seat and bar adjustment and a couple rides in, it definitely has.
The handling and the traction are so good, the geometry is perfect for a trail bike. The Oracle turns on a dime, the traction of the big tires give so much confidence in the turns it's amazing.
Now when I go the garage to grab a bike to go for a ride it's a no brainer, I never even think of grabbing another bike, and I have plenty.
I've had my Oracle for about six months now and I've only ridden my other bike one time since I got this bike, so I would definitely say it has turned into my go to bike.
Dan C. Simi Valley, CA
Coming off a 8k carbon fatbike, I thought that it couldn't get any better. I was wrong. This bike climbs better than pretty much anything I have ever ridden in my 20 years on two wheels, and it descends fast enough that it has nearly every one of my PR’s now. It's so versatile, I ride it on everything, and if you had told me there was a hardtail that would make me stop riding my VPP bike, I wouldn't have called you a liar. If you told me there was a bike like this, I wouldn't have believed it either. I do now.
Ken P. Agoura Hills, Ca