Entry into the US market is fraught with hurdles, particularly if, like Pronghorn, you use a chainstay-pivot rear suspension design. The US patent for this is owned by Specialized, so you have to either license it or do something else. Pronghorn is exploring the licensing avenue, but in the meantime has assembled a seatstay-pivot back end for the US. We tested the Pronghorn PR6 a little while back, and very much appreciated its impressive fastness. We knew that the Pronghorn PR6 carbon fibre version was in the works, and it put in an appearance at Interbike, giving us a chance to ride it. This is, of course, a bit perverse – Pronghorn is a Danish brand, we’re in the UK and thus both parties had travelled getting on for 6,000 miles in the same direction…
The front half is where the real action is, though, with a carbon fibre front triangle. The new frame shares the distinctive shock location above the top tube, but with a little more swoop to the frame. There’s also more volume to it, making the whole frame stiffer while losing some weight.
The demo bike was equipped with a suite of high-end parts, including DT Swiss carbon forks and rear shock. Travel is unchanged at 100mm, but the combination of US-spec rear end and DT shock isn’t quite as effective as the European bike we tested. Often a shift from chainstay to seatstay pivot is scarcely detectable, but Pronghorn’s pivot was an unusually large distance from the rear axle and thus had more effect. The carbon bike felt a little more wallowy through compressions in the trail and a bit plungy under clumsy pedalling, although we suspect that these characteristics could be readily mitigated with shock tune (or a different shock).
What’s no different is the agile handling, and the carbon front end feels suitably solid. It’d definitely be a winner with the original back end, but if Pronghorn finds itself having to use the seatstay pivot rear then a bit of work with shock manufacturers should see it right. We look forward to riding a Euro-spec version…www.pronghornracing.com