Pronghorn Racing PR6-SW  2010 Mountain Bike Review

Pronghorn Racing PR6-SW 2010

Reviews / XC Bikes

Pronghorn Racing 6,059

At a glance

Pronghorn are a Danish bike company that actually manufacture their carbon frames in Denmark using their own patented Smooth Wall Construction, they are obviously confident that they have things right as they offer an impressive 99 year warranty on their frames.

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The PR6 is their 100mm full suspension race bike and it looks a little odd as the rear shock is mounted on top of the top tube which caused a couple of tester to question whether it was likely to affect their chances of fatherhood, this is not actually a problem as the top tube is heavily shaped to ensure that the shock is tucked well out of the way.

Tech heads

At the heart of Pronghorns suspension concept is their APLS or Anti Power Loss System which is pretty much a traditional Horst link system but as mentioned they have mounted the rear shock on top of the top tube. They claim this ensures that this keeps the forces applied to the shock in a horizontal and forward plane thus eliminating pedal bob.

The carbon tubes are oversized giving a sense of strength with the top tube and down tube being gusseted together before going there own ways. The chain stays are alloy and the numbers that the tubes sport are their lengths which we quite like. Pronghorn state a frame weight of 3.7lbs for a 16’’ frame with shock.

Geometry wise the PR6 sports a 71º head angle, 73º seat angle, our large 20.5’’ frame has 603mm effective top tube, chain stays are the XC standard 425mm, BB height sits at 330mm and the wheelbase is 1087mm.

Our test bike came sporting DT Swiss carbon blingtastic suspension units in the shape of a XMC 100mm travel QR fork and XR Carbon rear shock.

Drivetrain duties are taken care of with top draw stuff, Sram X-0 shifters, X-9 front mech, X-0 rear mech and a Truvativ noir chainset ensure crisp shifting.

Braking duties are down to Avid Elixir R, no carbon levered CR’s which would have complimented the overall carbon fest feel of the bike.

Pronghorn supply their own carbon stem and handlebars, the stem is 110mm long and holds a lo rise 665mm wide bar in place. Grips are Token lock ons and Token also supplies the saddle which is a long nosed roadie type affair. This sits atop an alloy Kore seat post that does its job but like the brakes lacks the presence of a true top end piece of kit.

Wheels are race ready DT Swiss XR1450 which as the name suggests are lightweight at 1450 grams per pair and these are finished of with decent sized 2.25 Schwalbe Nobby Nics.

Our 20.5’’ large bike weighed in at 23.4lbs without pedals on our scales.

On the trail

Hitting my local training loop the first thing I noticed was that I was riding a large size frame and I was overstretched by the 603mm top tube and 110mm stem combination, I normally ride a medium so it was not surprising I felt a little uncomfortable. A quick trip back to the van and 5 minutes later was back on the road with a 90mm stem making the world of difference.

At this point it is worth noting that in a medium the bike comes with a top tube of 580mm and a 100mm stem reducing the cockpit by 33mm which could feel a little cramped, add to this the short wheelbase, 1064mm on the medium and you end up with a very short cramped bike so the answer is to order a size up and then play with stem length, at 5’10 ½’’ the large with the 90mm stem felt spot on.

The DT Swiss fork felt like it was pinging of roots and rocks on my favourite technical climb and the bike did not respond well to being dropped into the granny ring, a few fettles with the fork and a few hours riding improved the forks suppleness but I never felt like it behaved as well as some of the opposition. The simple answer to the feedback in the granny ring is not to use it and to be honest once you start heading up hill with that in mind then a smooth pedal stroke and good cadence will have you blasting up stuff you have dawdled up in the past.

The next ride out on the PR6 just so happened to be a local XC hour plus a lap race on a short but fun course that took in lots of flowing twisty singletrack with the odd open section and a few short but steep climbs.

Straight off the line I was in mixing it up with guys that normally stretch away from me on the first long steady up hill and the APLS does feel very taut as you put the power down, once into the singletrack you start to appreciate that the Pronghorn is a real thoroughbred.

The attacking low front end and pin sharp handling means you can really motor and rip into turns but you will need your wits about you as this bike does not suffer fools gladly, this is a bike for fast, focused riders that can handle a bike and have confidence in their ability.

Open sections gave a chance to stamp hard on the pedals, this extends the shock and drives the bike forwards with a surge of acceleration that saw me picking up places where I would normally be happy to hold station.

Crossing the line saw me several places higher than usual and as I rode back to the van I found myself patting the Pronghorn on the side of the top tube and muttering ‘well done girl, well done…’

As part of our testing we like to see if bikes can cross over from one type of riding to another, with this in mind we took the test bikes to Wales and spent a few days soaking up the sunshine and riding some trail centres to see if they were more than just one trick ponies.

The PR6 made short work of the ups and on super fast flowing sections of singletrack it was one of the fastest bikes I have ever ridden but that said it also emphasized the fact that this bike is not for the faint hearted, it has surgical accuracy but the slightest mistake will see you punished.

Once things got a little rough then the DT Swiss shock overheated and the ride started to suffer which is not surprising as it is a dedicated light weight race unit.

For

The Pronghorn is a high quality piece of kit that is very much focused on the business of winning races and it will do just that in the hands of a skilled rider.

On the plus side Pronghorn say that the frame can take a 120mm travel fork which will just take the edge off the ride and open the bike up to more riders, this will also enhance its credentials as a fast trail rig but it will need a slightly more trail oriented shock to round out the package.

Against

Whilst the DT Swiss fork and shock are high quality, light weight units and ideal for this bike as a pure race machine they do limit the bike to being just that.

The ride is so focused on speed that it simply will not suit most riders.

This is not a cheap bike but then you are getting a top grade bike and it is in the same price bracket as its competition.

Overall

Strange, almost ugly to look at the Pronghorn should not be overlooked, swing a leg over it and go bury yourself and you will soon realise that looks are soon forgotten.

If you are in the market for something a little different yet ruthlessly fast and efficient then the PR6 should go on your shortlist…

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This review was in Issue 6 of IMB.

For more information visit Pronghorn Racing

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By Nigel Garrood
Nigel Garrood was one of the instigators of the IMB project and has been with us since the very beginning. This loveable rogue has more stories than the Bible and is known to enjoy a beer or two. On the bike, he’s fast and loose and often puts younger riders to shame. Equally he’s been known to suffer from the odd crash and carries the scars to prove it. He was once referred to as being a robot sent from the future to save us all!

Tried this? What did you think?