Prophesying Awesomeness

Phase I of Operation Get Back Into Mountain Biking is complete.  This week, we bought Michelle a used Cannondale Prophet.  Comparing this thing to my Zip is a study in how dramatically times have changed.  Looking at the bikes side-by-side, it seems the only similarity is the fact that they both use wheels,  are powered by pedals, and the rider sits on a saddle and holds onto a set of handlebars.  But the implementation of nearly every detail differs dramatically.

The most obvious is the suspension.  Not only that there is suspension, but the way it changes the design of the bike.  The bottom bracket just floats beneath the bike, seemingly in a vacuum.  One of the most visually dramatic details of the bike is the Lefty fork: there is only one beefy blade with 140mm of travel.  Compare this to the Zip with it’s roots firmly planted in road bike design and simplicity, and it’s hard to realize these two bikes are built for the same purpose.

Technologically, I’ve stayed pretty well in tune with the changes in bike design, but one thing that caught me off-guard with the Prophet is the hydraulic disc brakes.  I’m aware of the switch to disc brake technology, but didn’t realize there were hydraulics involved.  We’ll have to see how they perform, and I’m looking forward to figuring out how to service them.


Now it’s on to customizing and tweaking both the bikes, which, in my opinion, is the most exciting and reward aspect of owning a bike.

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5 Replies to “Prophesying Awesomeness”

  1. Frank, I’ve used hydraulic brakes(Avid Juicy something or other) on my woods beast and they are fine. Almost too much power on the front, one need only use a finger on the lever or it’s over the handlebars. If you have to shorten brake cables then you get into the line bleeding operation which is not hard or messy but does require some extra bits, like hypodermic syringes. It’s not unlike car brake bleeding but less cursing. john

  2. Frank!
    You mention that compared to your Zero you can hardly believe that both are designed for the same purpose. I think that the answer to that question is that they are NOT! Ha, your great post on the Zero the other day was awesome but certainly everything has changed in Mountain biking since then. If you felt there was a quantum leap from the Schwinn to the zero, you have to realize that there has been plenty of leaps since the Zero, both in bikes, but also in trails etc. I live in Northern, MN and the trails you spoke about exist, but the fact is we all like riding sweet MTB rider built singletrack now (although that stuff you rode as a kid still gets poached now and then…) Hansi

  3. @Hansi
    We are going to take both bikes out for their maiden voyage this weekend – either out by Issaquah or over the pass at Cle Elum, depending on weather. You are right, indeed – the trails that are designed for riding are so amazing compared to the stuff I sharpened my teeth on. Those banked hairpins are going to be aweseome on Michelle’s new ride!

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