Pronghorn will be a new name to many UK and US riders but in their native Denmark their range is very popular with enduro and marathon riders.
The brand is named after the pronghorn antelope – as fast as a cheetah but with better endurance. Speed and endurance are a heady combination for any bike to lay claim to, and certainly raised our expectations for the PR6-LT long-travel trail bike.
Ride & handling:
The PR6-LT has 6in of travel and uses this with a bulldozer mentality: it is quite happy ploughing into, over or through anything on the trail, not fast but steady.
If you’re looking for a bike with a bit of out-of-the-saddle-sprint ‘zing’, something you could nail a hot lap or casually unload a marathon on, then try Pronghorn’s shorter-travel PR6-XC Race. But if it’s steady forward movement you’re after on twisty rocky trails, then the LT is a sorted choice.
To maintain that momentum you need to keep applying the power to the pedals, especially on climbs where the big tyres and soft suspension will slow you if you ease off.
While the PR6-LT's shape doesn’t mark it out as a natural climber, given the relatively tall front end, the front wheel remained well planted on steep in-the-saddle climbs and the rear end bit hard into the dirt.
It was a pleasant surprise and the active Horst Link rear end is a major contributor to its bulldozer temperament. Sit, turn the pedals and watch the bike do a monster truck impression over everything.
The Fox RP23 shock worked brilliantly with the rear suspension and, even left fully open, there was little to no bob making the need for a platform unnecessary.
Get it going really fast and the bike tracks pretty well, even when fully loaded, into flat-out bumpy downhill turns – where you’d notice any tendency for the rear to steer out of the turn.
In fact, it was while going fast downhill that we had our only real issue with the bike, as the DT Swiss EXC150 fork can be bit twangier under hard braking loads than similar length Fox or RockShox forks.
The fork also takes a bit of setting up as it has a tendency to settle deeper into its travel than is desirable, even when running the right amount of pressure on initial sag setup, and adding more air means the fork loses some of the sensitivity that DT has sweated hard to design in. (Pronghorn have now started specifying the Fox 36 Vanilla instead ed.)
The PR6-LT is a difficult bike to pigeonhole. Marathon riders looking for a sprightly, light-footed ride will find it a bit long-legged and ponderous, while the hard hitting all-mountain brigade will look at their knee pads and then at the fork and shake their heads.
However, if you’re more concerned about bagging lots of full-cream rough-and-tumble singletrack and less about raw competitive speed, covering zillions of miles or hitting up double black diamond downhill runs, then you might have just found a new best friend.
The Pronghorn design strategy is to chuck convention out the window and forge their own path, and the triple-butted 6000 series PR6-LT frame is a great example with its ‘shock over top tube’ design, which Pronghorn call APLS (Anti Power Loss System). Pronghorn claim that this setup offers better (more linear) transfer of forces through to the rear shock, and we can see that this might well be true.
Pronghorn also claim that the frame design adds stiffness and rigidity. We didn’t find the matt black painted frame lacking in either department, although we’d argue that this had less to do with the ‘shock over top tube’ arrangement and more to do with the basic structural integrity of the tubes, gussets and machined linkage.
All the pivots are all well finished and match the overall theme of the frame, looking burly without being overbuilt, and everything moves smoothly with minimal effort so you get the feeling they’re working well. Crucially all the bolts stayed quiet and tight for the duration of the test.
The front end of the bike sweeps upwards to afford the bike good standover clearance as the top and down tubes join to meet the waisted integrated head tube to give an unusual silhouette. The look of the frame really grew on us – something that can’t be said about the tube length notations that were painted on the relevant tubes.
We rode the Shimano Deore XT version of the PR6-LT (there’s an XTR model, too, for the moneybags) and as we’ve come to expect, the performance of the XT transmission was flawless.
The rest of the kit list was Kore, a solid if unspectacular brand that’s been about for years. Particular attention went to the Kore I-Beam seatpost and saddle. We had trouble adjusting the saddle for position as the serrated nylon rail was getting torn up after a weekend at one of our Demo Days.
Up front the show is dominated by the leggy EXC150 fork from DT Swiss, a smooth mover whose svelte demeanour belies its ability when pushed hard in the rough.