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Prophecy Ambassador - Seth Gehman

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The modern mountain bike has gotten to a place where we are able to ride more and more challenging terrain, and has lead to a renaissance in modern trail building. For the last 10 or more years I’ve exclusively rode full suspension mountain bikes, claiming with each new purchase to be riding the best bike I’ve ever ridden. And for the most part that’s true, these 6″ travel, air sprung, 12 speed, dropper post, big wheeled bikes of 2018 are game changers, but is it always necessary?

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As I approach my midlife, I personally am embracing the so called crisis and am attempting to add some new adventures to my life. In my mountain bike life I’ve been craving a more utilitarian bike, something that slays trails but doesn’t attract the attention of the bike thief locked up out in front of the grocery store or bar, something that looks at home in an xc race as well as at the dirt jumps, something that more resembles the romantic idea of what a bike is than these multi link crazy moving machines.

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This search lead me through the internet, looking at smaller, younger brands, bikes that less people had seen or ridden. About a year ago I discovered the brand Prophecy Bikes (https://prophecy.bike) out of Camarillo CA. They were just launching the Oracle their first frame, and right off the bat the geometry really spoke to my riding style. I also liked that I could choose the color and that the options for build were wide open.

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This search lead me through the internet, looking at smaller, younger brands, bikes that less people had seen or ridden. About a year ago I discovered the brand Prophecy Bikes (https://prophecy.bike) out of Camarillo CA. They were just launching the Oracle their first frame, and right off the bat the geometry really spoke to my riding style. I also liked that I could choose the color and that the options for build were wide open.

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The guys at Prophecy were pumped to help me with my project as they had yet to build one of their bikes up as a singlespeed. The frame can run 29″, 27.5+, and/or 29+, I went with 27.5+ and a 2.6″ Schwalbe Rocket Ron’s set up tubeless for my tires and so far I’m loving them. Fork is a Rock Shox Pike 140mm, brakes a Magura MT5 trail, with a RaceFace mechanical dropper post.

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As I write this first post I’ve put about 300 miles on the bike, and I haven’t ridden my Nomad once since I got this built up and I really am in no hurry to return to my full suspension anytime soon. I love the challenge of singlespeed mountain biking and it’s the perfect bike for winter riding here in Bend Oregon. Plus I love looking at lines with a hardtail underneath me to navigate through and over the technical sections on some of the local trails. We can so easily forget the joy of cleaning a rock garden on a bike that monster trucks through everything unaffected, but on the Oracle I find myself finding fun new lines that recreate fun in trails I had been overlooking in seasons past.

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 "The most fun hardtail I've EVER ridden!" 

- Travis E, San Clemente, CA


"Thanks again for the sweet ride! 800 miles and counting!" 

- Bill T., Billings MT


"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, and 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 would 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

RIDE REPORT

 Prophecy Oracle  Prototype Ride Report

By Jimmy Mac


CONDITIONS

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.


THE RIDE

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.  


OVERALL

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