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Review: Prime Thunderflash - A Standout Enduro Bike

Feb 26, 2023 at 16:57
by Matt Beer  


There’s something about obscure bikes and components that grabs my curiosity, so when the chance to test Prime Bicycles’ Thunderflash came up, I jumped on it. The Polish brand only produces two bikes; this 165mm-travel bike, and the Rocket downhill rig. Both have been scarce in the real world since officially launching in April 2021, but Prime isn’t new to the mountain bike game.

Peter Siulczynski, Prime’s passionate founder, managed the Gravity Group World Cup Downhill team consisting of riders like Sam Blenkisop and Filip Polc starting back in 2006 and has kept his finger on the pulse since. Drawing from years of experience racing abroad, you won’t find any quirks or proprietary equipment on their bikes.

Thunderflash Details

• Carbon triangles and links
• Travel: 165mm / 170mm fork
• Dual-link suspension design
• Wheel sizes: 29"
• 64-degree head angle
• Chainstays: 445mm
• Size: M, L, XL
• Weight: 14.8 kg / 32.6 lb
• Price: $7,999 - 8,999 USD ($3699 - frame only)
primebicycles.com
Bred for enduro racing, the Thunderflash rolls on 29” wheels exclusively and employs a 64-degree head tube angle. Full build kits are available in three sizes and two colors, starting at $7,999 with Öhlins suspension. Soon, the direct-to-consumer model will evolve to include a dealer network through Europe, Canada, USA, Singapore, Philippines, and Chile.



Contents


bigquotesWhere has this bike been hiding? Prime has built a superb enduro bike that can muscle up against the heavy hitters in this category while descending but doesn't land flat-footed when the trail requires finesse. Matt Beer




Prime Thunderflash - photos Tom Richards

Frame Details

Arguing that the Thunderflash isn’t striking would just be trolling. Sharp shapes run throughout the frame and it's topped off with a two-tone fade and splatter-finished, hydrophobic paint job.

Prime’s technical expertise came from Cero Designs to build a full-carbon, dual-link suspension platform, and VIP Composites to manufacture the frame. The dorsal-shaped seat mast is a Cero signature touch and can be found throughout their other work, like with Unno and Intense. This one is finished with a clever rubber grommet to seal off gunk from entering the frame, which comes with a lifetime warranty.

Finer linkage details include hidden pivots at the seatstay/rocker link, sealed bolt-heads to shield against water ingress, and double-row bearings on the drive side to increase lateral rigidity. There's even routing for a remote shock lockout that exits below the bottle cage.

Commonplace specifications like a 205x65mm Trunnion mount shock, Boost 148 hub spacing, a threaded bottom bracket, and a 180mm post-mount brake adaptor make component alterations or replacements simple and easy to source.

There’s also plenty of chain damping throughout the rear triangle and a slick fender is tucked between the dual-upright seatstay braces. Under the downtube lies a bolt-on guard and fork-stop bumpers, which double as the housing entry port at the head tube. This particular headset from Acros features a steering lock, although a traditional style could be used, depending on the fork offset and frame size.

Fully guided internal cable routing runs the full length of the frame and takes a convoluted, but secure route, exiting out of the downtube and through the shock basement. The housings are clamped to both the lower link and entry points to the rear triangle. Changing the housing or brake lines requires removing the upper Trunnion shock bolts and holding the rear triangle up and out of way.

Prime Thunderflash - photos Tom Richards

photo
photo

Suspension Design

Prime’s SHRED-Dynamics dual-link design equates to a smooth progressive leverage curve that they say works well with either an air or coil-sprung shock. A 65mm stroke shock is used to achieve 165mm of rear wheel travel with a leverage ratio that starts at 3.11 and ends at 2.3.

Special attention is paid to the balance of the bike at sag, which can be tuned to run between 30-40%. In this zone, the Thunderflash earns roughly a 110% anti-squat value in the tallest 50-tooth cog and 30-tooth chainring.

photo

Geometry

Skimming the geometry chart reveals just three frame sizes to accommodate riders between 165 and 202cm. The reach numbers span from 460, 480, and 505mm; all use 445mm chainstays. The size large gets a 443mm seat tube and has ample standover clearance.

Unweighted, the Thunderflash’s head and seat angles seem fairly straightforward at 64 and 77.8 degrees, but Prime devised a dynamic ride balance for the bike, which we’ll discuss later on.

Specifications
Release Date 2021
Price $8499
Travel 165
Rear Shock Ohlins TTX Air
Fork Ohlins 38 RXF
Headset Acros
Cassette SRAM XO1 Eagle 12 spd
Crankarms SRAM XO1 Eagle 170mm
Chainguide E Thirteen TRS Plus Bash-Only Chainguide
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB BSA
Rear Derailleur SRAM XO1 Eagle 12 spd
Chain SRAM XO1 Eagle 12 spd
Shifter Pods SRAM XO1 Eagle 12 spd
Handlebar Renthal FatBar 35mm
Stem Renthal Apex 40mm
Grips ODI Elite Pro
Brakes SRAM G2 RSC, 200/180mm rotors
Wheelset Industry Nine Hydra Enduro S
Tires Maxxis Assegai 29x2.5 3C MaxxGrip EXO+, Minion DHR II 29x2.4, 3C MaxxTerra DD
Seat SDG Bel Air 2.0
Seatpost Bike Yoke Revive 180mm



Prime Thunderflash - photos Tom Richards

Prime Thunderflash - photos Tom Richards


Specifications

Since this is a boutique carbon bike from Europe, don’t expect there to be a budget build or alloy frame option. Two color choices exist in either a blue/black combo or the gray/black test bike. A frame only (excluding the shock) rings in at $3699 USD but includes the Acros headset and an e*thirteen skid plate.

Build kits start at 6,999€ using an Ohlins 38 RXF fork, TTX Air shock, Bike Yoke Revive post, Industry Nine alloy wheels, and a full SRAM GX drivetrain. Oddly enough, all builds are spec’d with some variation of SRAM’s G2 brakes, which were somewhat underwhelming for this big-travel enduro bike.

Our size large S-build costs $7,999 USD and weighs 14.8 kg / 32.6 lb stock with a Maxxis EXO+/DD tire casing combo. Moving up the pricing ladder, the drivetrains graduate to full mechanical X01 and Ohlins TTX 22 M.2 coil shock options for a grand total of $8,999.





Test Bike Setup

Coming to terms with the Thunderflash didn’t take long, since all of the parts were familiar sights. As usual, I trimmed the bars to 765mm, stuck with the 40mm stem, and ended up with 25mm of stack (including the headset cup) under the 30mm rise bar. I knew where to start with Öhlins brilliant 38 RXF and set the shock to 195 psi or 16mm of sag (25%). This sounded like too little, but the bottom bracket seemed to drop into the sag fairly quickly.

After two rides, I realized the rear suspension was spending too much time in the top half of the travel and toned that down to 186 psi, landing on 19mm of sag (29%), and tweaked the damper settings slightly. Both the rebound and low-speed compression ran about two-thirds of the way open for the majority of the time.

I became annoyed with the lack of bite from the G2 brakes and swapped them for some much more powerful Formula Cura 4s, another brake in line for testing. Other than that major change, I found the rest of the components to be totally adequate for pedal-up, smash-down style riding.
photo
Matt Beer
Location: Squamish, BC, Canada
Age: 36
Height: 5'10" / 178 cm
Weight: 170 lb / 77 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mattb33r


Prime Thunderflash - photos Tom Richards

Climbing

Pedaling enduro bikes uphill does not have to be a taxing job, especially when you’re on board the Thunderflash. The lightweight build and 500% range, along with a 30-tooth chainring, make that job a breeze; there’s a special balance that keeps it settled without scraping the ground.

Geometry also adds to that zest, placing you in an upright position with a solid perch to sweat out long climbs. The longer chainstays and substantial anti-squat save you from slipping traction and slouching backward, resulting in a strong climbing posture. There’s no need to kiss the stem when the grade increases.

Similarly, cleaning tight switchbacks can be done without exaggerating your weight over the front wheel. Although that’s not where I’d choose to win battles on an enduro bike, the versatility of a moderate 64-degree head tube angle comes in handy in those situations.

I thought that the 25mm of bottom bracket drop and the progressive suspension would make the Thunderflash a ground-hugger through technical climbs, but it actually performs beyond what the geometry states. 170mm length cranks didn't graze the ground too often, despite the Ohlins TTX Air shock having a firm compression lever rather than a full lockout.


Prime Thunderflash - photos Tom Richards


Descending

Stance - it’s a word that I’ve mentioned a few times which refers to how the bike sits under the rider’s weight. Prime calls it SHRED Dynamics, but I think they’ve nailed the overall prowess of the Thunderflash.

Often, bikes that are too progressive can feel unsettled through the beginning of the travel and ramp unexpectedly over consecutive square-edge hits. I didn’t find that was true here because I typically prefer a long-travel bike with less progression.

Once I found the optimal balance between enough sag to sit in the bike and not dive into the beginning of the travel, the Thunderflash became one of the stand-out rigs I’ve ridden in the last year. There’s enough small bump compliance that it doesn’t hang up at low speeds, but also doesn’t wallow through the mid-stroke either.

Versatility is one of the Thunderflash's highlights. However, a few numbers had me doubting its all-out downhill capabilities at first, primarily, the moderately slack 64-degree head tube angle and the lengthier 445mm-long chainstays.

Just because the overall weight is on the respectable side for this build, doesn’t mean that the Thunderflash isn’t a burly bike. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The frame is plenty stiff but the suppleness allows the rear wheel to track rough, rooty, off-camber sections and still hold strong in sharp corners and compressions.

Again, the balance between the axles and actual bottom bracket ride-height kept me confident, descending “in the bike”, yet didn’t sap speed while popping rhythms on flowier trails. I had no issue leaning it into turns thanks to that steady, low center of gravity. You can drive through corners and compressions with your feet because your center of gravity lies low in the bike. That's another reason that the head angle doesn’t need to be overly slack here.

Under braking, there’s no need to hang off the back and upset that centered position and the suspension is still active while on the binders. There’s no sense of firming up or squatting into the travel at all.

Picking out flaws in the Thunderflash requires looking beyond the ride characteristics. There’s plenty of rubber protection against the typical chain oscillations, but on occasion, a large impact would result in the odd “whack”. Debris can build up below the shock, and that cable routing is smart in theory, though tedious to replace when the time comes.

Since it was hard to fault the Thunderflash, I was curious to explore what a -1-degree headset from Works Components would do for two reasons. First, I wanted to shorten the reach and gain some leverage over the front of the bike. Secondly, to see what doors the extra slack Thunderflash would open up on descents by stretching the wheelbase. Basically, this led to geometry very similar to Transition’s Spire, just 10mm shorter in reach - a closer fit for my height.

Those resulting changes led to ride characteristics that I expected. In straight lines, the cockpit of the Thunderflash felt slightly smaller, giving me more strength and range of motion to attack in steep zones. One downside, was that the increased front center length required more planning to navigate hairpin corners and some slight understeer on flat, unsupported corners. As always, there's a trade off to each change and for the purposes of enduro racing, the stock geometry is dialled.

Prime Thunderflash - photos Tom Richards
photo


Technical Report

Ohlins 38 RXF Fork: This may just be my favorite fork on the market for enduro bikes. A huge selling feature to me are the two air chambers; one for the positive/negative spring and the second to control the ramp-up without the need to install volume spacers. Fine-tuning between the two chambers can take a little more time to initially set up, so a digital pump is necessary, but the clickers do have fewer indents than other brands. That helps to find the right spring rate first and fiddle with the damper later. The chassis is also much stiffer than the 36 RXF and has a lower axle-to-crown height.

SRAM G2 RSC Brakes: I’m a huge fan of powerful brakes. You spend less time using them and that leads to less arm fatigue and a smoother operating bike. These G2s held back the descending capabilities of the Thunderflash massively and were exchanged early on.

Renthal Apex Stem: Stems don’t have elaborate jobs. They just have to stay quietly in place. Even with some Ti prep paste smeared under the bolt heads, the odd creak would cry out when maneuvering the bike around. I dig the looks of the Apex stem and love how the clamps hold themselves in place on the bar during installation.


Prime Thunderflash - photos Tom Richards
Prime Thunderflash
photo
Transition Spire

How Does It Compare?

Transition calls their 170mm Spire a “nimble bruiser”, and that’s just what the Prime Thunderflash is too. The 29” wheels keep both of these bikes rolling fast over stutter bumps at low speed, the overall weight isn’t a burden uphill, and the geometry holds your center of gravity low and in the middle of the bike.

With a 63-degree head tube angle in the high setting, the Spire does have a slight edge up on the Prime for attacking when the trail tips straight down. On the other hand, the slightly shorter front-center and steeper head tube angle let the Prime dance through switchbacks and pinch points on the trail at a moment's notice.

The Thunderflash’s dual-link design wins out in terms of suppleness too. I found there was less compromise in the setup when it came to balancing and absorbing trail chatter. The Spire either ran a touch harsher off the top with more pressure or sat much deeper in the sag to get that light action at the start of the travel. Another difference that might not be everyone’s cup of tea was the Thunderflash’s stiff frame. I wouldn’t say that the Spire was flexy, though, just slightly softer when loading the bike to dig into a corner.




Prime Thunderflash - photos Tom Richards


Pros

+ Strong, deep rider position doesn’t hold back descending
+ Clean design with sturdy frame and hardware
+ Combo of supple suspension and moderate head angle keeps it agile in slower, technical zones

Cons

- Limited frame sizes
- Convoluted cable routing
- Underpowered brakes hold back the bike's capabilities




Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesIf you could take all of the elements that we loved about the enduro bikes we've tested in the last two seasons and merge them into one bike, it's likely you'd end up with something like the Prime Thunderflash. Sure, there are slacker enduro bikes out there, or some that use high-pivot designs to decimate bumps, yet they all have slight drawbacks. We've never used the phrase "well-rounded" before, but Prime has covered all of the angles here, quite literally.

Picking apart the Thunderflash uncovers few flaws. Aside from the choice of brakes and a minor gripe with the cable routing, the overall packaging and performance is top-notch.
Matt Beer







Author Info:
mattbeer avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2001
380 articles

205 Comments
  • 187 58
 These are objectively the best looking bikes on the market.
  • 57 102
flag 5afety3rd (Mar 6, 2023 at 8:19) (Below Threshold)
 The looks are just bland and boring, just like the crossover suvs at the trailheads
  • 63 35
 Propains and Crestlines look better
  • 91 0
 Antidote: Am I a joke to you
  • 15 0
 @5afety3rd: like one of those toyota crossovers thats trying to break into the Subaru market
  • 86 44
 The We Are One Arrival they copied looks better
  • 57 9
 Objectively? Id be interested in the repeatable, scientifically proven metrics you use to measure "best looking" and how they withstand scrutiny.
  • 18 2
 @chaoscacca: True, also UNNO and We Are One Arrival are nice to look at
  • 5 3
 I think Antidote and Unno take the cake on that, at least for carbon fiber.
  • 3 1
 @Dogl0rd: Except they're actually reliable and are not a nightmare to work on. You ever seen the spiderweb of coolant lines hidden away?
  • 7 14
flag smokey101 (Mar 6, 2023 at 9:00) (Below Threshold)
 @stuie321: I would share my study with you but I am not sure that you would be able to comprehend it.
  • 12 2
 Polska!!!
  • 34 0
 @colinb191: thunderflash was released before the arrival
  • 9 4
 @Upduro: It looks like a more refined version of the Arrival for sure.
  • 18 4
 Using "objectively" and "best looking" together is kinda weird. Looks are not objective but a personal thing
  • 4 3
 It doesn't look at all POLEish to me.
  • 9 3
 It's nice looking ,but you should read the definition of "objectively"
  • 2 0
 @mkul7r4: You mean the previous generation of Unno's, right?
  • 4 0
 Splatter paint job makes it look perpetually dirty… or it’s just dirty. I can’t tell.
  • 6 1
 Apparently you've never seen a Pole Voima
  • 4 0
 @chaoscacca: i UNNO about that!
  • 11 3
 @grnmachine02: You mean Pole Vomit...
  • 1 0
 @lehott: now that's punny
  • 2 0
 @Sardine-Vladu: I came here to say this
  • 15 0
 @colinb191: this was released before Arrival, haters gonna hate
  • 3 2
 @stuie321: I bet you're fun at parties.
  • 21 0
 @colinb191: If anything, WAO copied Primes homework. The Prime has been on the market for longer than the WAO.
  • 3 1
 Looks and rides (by the sound of it) much like the oft overlooked NS Define, which has the bonus of tough but forgiving frame flex wise, the downside was the seatpost angle (for me being 6’4”), otherwise I’d still have one.

Did I miss where Matt says what he thought of it running 63 HA?
  • 3 0
 Yeh I did miss it! Ignore me
  • 3 3
 funny, and not so funny....since everything behind the Headtube looks exactly like a Mondraker Foxy. lol
  • 1 0
 @smokey101: Please go ahead and share it; I'll let you know if I have any questions
  • 1 0
 @slow-cal: I am; I hang out with like-minded guys like you
  • 1 0
 Yeti says hold micro brew
  • 2 0
 @Ck7lOi: hold my ipa
  • 7 1
 @colinb191: I could be wrong but didn’t this come out before the WAO?
  • 8 1
 @colinb191: Pretty sure the WAO came out after the Prime Thunderflash
  • 2 0
 @sebbeaulieu: you’d be correct by about 4 months.
  • 1 0
 Looks like a similar suspension layout to the Ironhorse Sunday. Probably quite a nice riding bike
  • 3 2
 @stuie321: I think he means subjectively, he’s just mixed up his words
  • 3 2
 "You know what else could draw a crowd?...A golfer with an arm growing out of his ASS"
  • 2 0
 @bermdweller: I definitely passed off some RAV4 owners with my comment
  • 3 0
 @nickfranko: yup buy a toyota you know what to expect, buy a Subi you roll the dice maybe get 300,000 miles or need new motor at 75,000.
But hey you look really cool in a broken down Subi.
  • 1 3
 @5afety3rd: I had the misfortune of driving a newer Rav4 for about 10 miles over the weekend. Holy cow what a pile of crap. Having driven some of their older SUV's I was extremely disappointed in just how much of a overpriced tin can that was. I'm sure it'll run forever, but there's no way i could drive that over a long distance.
  • 1 1
 @grnmachine02: there’s reasons I drive a German wagon with manual gear selection and 3 pedals.
  • 1 0
 @5afety3rd: Nice.
  • 4 0
 @5afety3rd: Interesting point in a discussion of reliability.
  • 1 1
 I'm objectively the best looking....
  • 1 0
 @font style="vertical-align: inherit;">font style="vertical-align: inherit;">colinb191/font>/font>: the prototype of bike is during ten years
  • 48 0
 @mattbeer So how did it ride with the angleset? You mention the geo changes, but not the results on the trail.
  • 9 0
 Yeah. It looks like there is a paragraph missing?
  • 2 0
 @ak-77: +1, there is zero comment on the riding performance with the angle set - just that it looked like a transition spire.
  • 4 0
 @ponyboy24: That's what @ak-77 is saying I believe. The paragraph about the angleset reads like an introduction for a followup paragraph that never arrives.
  • 1 0
 I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't see that...
  • 10 0
 @MarcusBrody Good question. That was an oversight on my part. I've updated the article now.
  • 39 0
 Shouldn't the G2 brakes allow you to go faster on the descents since you can't slow down? Wink
  • 35 1
 Kinda looks like the spawn of an Unno and a Transition
  • 15 2
 I was thinking Forbidden and Canyon
  • 3 1
 I was thinking Norco for the scalene frame shape and YT for the rounded character lines and linkage
  • 2 1
 Linkage reminds me of Banshee Rune
  • 1 3
 stop it you all, it all looks like Session Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Its a new age, carbon Ironhorse sunday in enduro form, and i am all for it
  • 27 1
 Good to see you finally testing that bike, just two years after Enduro mag reviewed it Wink
There actually was a budget-friendlier build when the bike was first released.
For 5k € (yes, still too expensive for me) the C-Model had Fox Performance Elite suspension, GX 1x12 derailleur, EX1700 wheels and Code R brakes.
  • 35 18
 They forgot to put Price in the con category. Starting at 6500 euro FML we have officially passed the point of no return on building unaffordable bikes. Direct to consumer no less…
  • 50 6
 There are plenty of options out there for more affordable bikes. In the car world it isn't considered insanity when Ferrari bring out their latest sportscar, as Toyota still produce hatchbacks. Having the option to buy a (super duper) expensive bike is no different, now that the sport has grown so much.
  • 3 0
 Now the Trinity release makes sense. I can reply to you, nah man, this is such a good price! See the other one, the frame alone is 6k freedom dollars, what a bargain here!
  • 8 4
 @jezzah: Even better is that the Toyota's of the mtb world often perform just as well (if not better in some cases, cough *santa cruz* cough), than their Ferrari priced competition.
  • 3 1
 My local shop has a few of these in stock. Nice bike, but with mediocre builds starting at around 12k...
  • 8 0
 It started at 4999€ with Fox Performance Elite and DT Swiss EX1700 in 2021
  • 5 25
flag skywalker909 (Mar 6, 2023 at 12:00) (Below Threshold)
 @jezzah: comparing a moulded pile of plastic to Ferrari or even a basic car is insulting to car industry
  • 2 4
 @skywalker909: I’d take the latest Supra GR over a Ferrari. There’s something to be said for being able to actually drive home from the racetrack
  • 2 1
 Yea but what does the driver really contribute. If you suck at riding it doesn’t matter what you’re on. I much prefer heavy, reliable and never having to worry about warranty. When I look back on my favorite bikes they were all the most basic. Rebound only shocks. MTX rims. Marz suspension. Less twisting knobs and looking at suspension curves. More time riding.
  • 4 1
 @Chondog94: *BMW Supra
  • 3 1
 @skywalker909: the car industry is often used as an example as it is known and understood by most. If I tell you that a Kastle is stupidly priced for performances that can be achieved by a run of the mill Dynastar that will cost half of the price will you and most of PB users understand ? Probably not, yet it means the same than the Ferrari/Toyota example.
  • 2 0
 @Chondog94: the GR supra is a BMW Z4 in disguise. I wouldn’t have such high hopes for on track reliability whereas a modern Ferrari would probably be 100% fine lapping a track day non stop.
  • 18 5
 Ohlins 38 RXF Fork. A huge selling feature to me are the two air chambers; one for the positive/negative spring and the second to control the ramp-up without the need to install volume spacers.

So it is just a very over priced Manitou Mezzer Pro.
  • 4 7
 At least the ext era have the coil for small bump compliance.
  • 11 1
 Came here to post this
Manitou should offer a front-arch Mezzer option with a choice of decal kit and cash in on the aesthetically "astute" crowd
  • 1 4
 @ybsurf: So you mean like DVO. So its an over priced Mezzer/Diamond love child
  • 6 0
 Three chambers, according to Öhlins. The damper is coil-sprung, unlike Mezzer Pro. A few years back someone wished for IRT and Grip2 in same chassis--RFX looks pretty close. If an EXT person contributes here, we'll be doing our ABCs
  • 4 4
 Seriously, the EXT is the best fork I've ridden. Honestly tho, the damping is so good, the compression so supportive, that I don't use the ramp up chamber. I fill it to essentially the same as the main chamber, but then again I'm a crappy rider.
  • 3 1
 @ybsurf: oh my sweet, sweet child… you’ve much to learn
  • 1 0
 Honestly interested in why upvotes/downvotes are split for @hamncheez perspective on the EXT ERA
From what I've heard and read the ERA is a very adjustable reliable performant fork with great supportive feel.
What sucks about it other than the price and US-based serviceability (are there EXT service centers in the US)?
  • 2 0
 @chrod: Suspension Syndicate in SLC is the USA service/distributor. They do a great job and will take the time to just chat with you about suspension tuning. I'm semi-local, so idk what shipping times are like.

I have a rather negative reputation on this site, so no matter where/what I comment on I always collect a few downvotes, plus my comment was kinda off topic I guess.

But to my main point, if you have a very well tuned damper, the ramp-up chamber isn't really necessary. Even for pros. If it was that much of a game changer, why would any pro choose coil, like many do? Coil is even less progressive than a traditional air spring.
  • 1 0
 @chrod: when one gushes like a teenager dressed in cheap adverbs and provides an unconvincing explanation for a significant departure from reviewer's ++ and + pressures, mixed props are fitting?--not that I left any. And when some very good riders ride well on Grip dampers which can be had on new $500 forks in Buy/Sell, it's difficult to care about extra-special coatings which won't help crappy riders anyway
  • 11 0
 @Mattbeer you mention that other than the brakes, the rest of the components are perfectly fine for hard trail smashing, although in Henry's bike weight article, it seems your preferred component spec is 4.3lbs heavier than what is stated here. So where is all that weight coming from (guessing the DH Conti tires and wheels, and accessories) and if you feel you prefer wheels and tires that are that much burlier, is this actually a adequate build for dh smashing? Just curious about what you mean by that exactly? More of a general question in what exactly is "adequate components for dh smashing" I suppose.
  • 1 0
 @misteraustin I used more than one wheelset for mud tire testing and also wanted to compare the alloy vs carbon wheels on the Thunderflash, since it's already a stiffer frame.

With that said, the Industry Nine wheels were impressive in durability. Prime also spec'd the 38 RXF over the 36 which is noticeably stiffer in fore and aft flex.
  • 11 1
 Fitting the Works headset will not have shortened reach. The top bearing might be offset back but if you slacken the head angle you lower the front and therefore don't really change reach by much at all. I asked about this myself.
  • 3 0
 Yes, came here to say this. It shortens the effective top tube length, but in fact increases reach. Tilting the steerer tube rearward (slacker) means the front triangle tilts forward (think about opening or closing a pair of scissors). Headtube tilts forward=upper headset is now farther away from cranks. I use bikegeo.muha.cc , if you plug in the same numbers in both columns and then add -1 to the HA insert you'll see the results in reach.
  • 3 1
 @hypermoto: yup - but there probably isn’t any increase in reach as the calculator won’t take into account the bearings offset so reach pretty much remains exactly as it was before, certainly not 10mm as the article says, probably more like 1mm
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: @hypermoto: would the effective reach at your grips decrease due to the slacker head tube angle?
  • 3 1
 @Spencermon: I don’t see how - as we say above the front end is lowered when slackening the angle which cancels out the rearward upper bearing offset, it would depend upon the distance from the bar centre to headset I suppose but we are talking a few mm here, not a whopping 10mm as quoted in this article for 1 degree.

If we use this articles maths, a 3 degree headset would shorten reach by 30mm which is obviously not correct.
  • 2 1
 Ye ... but no. Because of this you usually need to add some spacers under the stem, which will reduce reach, especially with the slacker HT angle. Stack/Handlebar height is at least as important as Reach and can't be considered separately.
  • 2 0
 @Balgaroth: Stack and bar height can be considered separately when the article is mentioning only reach and stating that reach was reduced by 10mm by fitting a 1.0 degree headset.

Also you are over-estimating the effect on stack here, its around 1.5mm a degree according to the online calculator, would you add a 1.5mm spacer and claim it decreases reach by 10mm?

@mattbeer - any ideas how you came to the 10mm figure?
  • 3 0
 Possibly the specification of 10mm with reference to the reach of the Transition Spire in comparable frame size?
  • 2 0
 @floaterdd: exactly this
  • 1 0
 @floaterdd: think you may be right there about the 10mm thing and I have the wrong end of the stick.

It’s still incorrect to say an angle headset shortens reach by any amount more than a couple of mm / a noticeable amount though.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: he does not say that! He gets with an Angleset the same as angle as a Spire, but has 10mm less Reach than with a Spire.
  • 1 0
 @floaterdd: yea, did you miss the bit where I said I got the wrong end of the stick? Its literally written above, you took the time to type, just not the time to read huh?

I admitted I got it wrong dumbass but I will say again, angle headsets dont reduce reach as he suggests.
  • 3 0
 @justanotherusername: All I can say is that it felt shorter. I used this website to estimate the reach by plugging in the headset stack heights and stock geometry: www.bike-stats.de/en/geometrie_rechner
  • 2 0
 @justanotherusername: Sorry, I must have had a mistake between my headphones.
  • 1 0
 @mattbeer: headset stack height below the headtube would have been the same.

It sounds like all that changed was stack above the headtube or basically an increase in stem / bar height, the same as increasing the amount of stem spacers.

The actual angle headset won’t have reduced your reach.
  • 10 0
 Riding the bike for more than 1,5 years and had no issues yet.
Just changed my framebearings the first time (still ran ok). When i changed my housings on the Thunderflash, i just removed the shock straped the rear triangle to the seatstay and then you have plenty of space to reach all the clamps and entry/exit holes on the bottom. Love my Thunderflash still and do not wanna change it soon! Loving all the nice details, where other big brands took years to figure out, or still do! Such a awesome first bike from a small and young brand! Keep it up Prime
  • 1 0
 Pity that I diddn't take the gamble to buy it back then and went with the Enduro instead.

Which has a cracked upper headset shell (and a terribly loose swat door) since August 2022, waiting for a replacement frame from Specialized for 8 months now...

Prime's service probably wouldn't have been worse.
  • 12 1
 Finally a new bike without through-headset cable routing, and Pinkbike gives it a con, calling it "Convoluted cable routing"...
  • 8 0
 I have had one since July 2021.
Good points: was available within 2 weeks in July 2021, looks great, responsive after sales service, great suspension,
Bad points : the bearings are quite a pain to replace, the frame tends to chew up rocks between the front triangle and the lower link due to the bowl shape of the front triangle near the shox, ACROS headset bearings with locks are not durable at all and are expensive to replace
I upgraded it with a pair of We are One wheels, it makes it a bit sharper
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the insights!


Acros was always a pain, even before they invented those plastic integrated cable guide headsets Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Do you have to use the acros headset? I know it comes with one but if they are not great, can’t you swap for a better alternative (CK, Hope, CC)?
  • 2 0
 @gbcarmona: you can swap the upper bearing but for the lower bearing due to the blocking system you have to change the whole system (cup + bearing + lock)
I replaced the cup and put a cane-creek cup and bearing , so I don't have the blocking function anymore, the T of the fork can touch the plastic protection under the frame that I turn the handlebar all the way
  • 6 1
 9k CAD for a pretty good build comparable to an equivalent spire. Not cheap by any means but a sweet boutique option for those who want a unique ride.
  • 5 2
 Nice bike, at 3700 dollars without shock it better be! But it is kind of ridiculous to refer to its "lightweight build". This is a downhill bike, happily flirting with the 35 pounds mark with pedals, and more with a coil shock. You can be certain that despite the reviewer's claim it will not "make climbing a breeze".
  • 3 0
 @mattbeer Actually, you won't have changed reach much, if at all, by fitting a -1° angle set. The cups might be offset to the rear, but the slacker HTA lowers the front end (or rather makes the entire frame tilt forward - pivoting around the rear axle) which in turn lenghtens reach and negates the effect the angle set might have on reach.

I've done the math and depending on the exact dimensions of everything involved (headtube, A2C, cup dimensions, etc) you will have effectively shortened the reach by 2 or 3 milimeters. A neglectable amount.
  • 2 0
 Possibly the specification of 10mm with reference to the reach of the Transition Spire in comparable frame size?
  • 3 0
 Prime owner here. I have had mine since the first ones became available. I also swapped out my brakes, went full Shigura. Apart from that still all stock and extremely satisfied. It looks cool and stealthy, the components harmonize nicely, the ride experience is extremely positive both pedalling uphill and shredding downhill. Great bike!
  • 4 0
 would be curious to hear about "cable wear" after a half a dozen muddy rides...since it has the cables routed to be inundated with mud and trail debris.
  • 11 5
 We are One here waiting for its Arrival
  • 2 0
 like siblings
  • 2 0
 Great review Matt! I can relate to the curiosity towards unique and obscure bikes. I just received my Hope HB916 and it is something special. Any chance you’re going to be getting one of those in to try? Also, glad to hear you’re spending some more time testing the Formula Cura 4 brakes. If you haven’t already, I’d highly recommend running the sintered pads, or something like trickstuff power pads. Looking forward to a full review on them in the future!
  • 2 0
 @norcorider-13 Thank you!

Seb Stott got first dibs on the Hope HB916 but it's a bike that ticks all the boxes for me.
  • 1 0
 @mattbeer: oh man, well if you need want to take one for a spin I’m just a short ferry ride away in Victoria. It definitely ticks all the boxes for me, stoked to hear that you think the same. Keep up the good work, I’m always hyped to see your name at the start of a review!
  • 3 0
 "substantial anti-squat save you from slipping traction" So you're saying high antisquat equals traction? Hardtails have a lot of AS, do they have more traction than a low AS FS bike?
  • 1 0
 Yeah this always gets me too. Using pedaling force to reduce suspension activity has been confused with climbing efficiency and traction since the Outland vpp.
  • 2 0
 Great cable port design work. But, I have to wonder why spend all that effort for such a tiny distance to run the brake hose inside the chainstay? There is more hose outside than inside, and not much more mech housing inside the other side. Plus that bend over the BB and then into the stays is... not ideal. Form over function run amok.
  • 5 0
 "Hey, what bike is that?"

"It's a Thunderflash, bitch."

It's hard not to say "bitch" after saying Thunderflash.
  • 5 0
 That's a damn good looking bike IMO.
  • 4 1
 How does it compare to the Arrival? seems like the geometry between the two is quite similar, both use dual link suspension layouts...
  • 2 0
 I very much approve of designing for seat angles that are constant over sizes when evaluated at a realistic ride height. All too often they are constant at stack height or they even get lower for larger sizes.
  • 3 0
 "Changing the housing or brake lines requires removing the upper Trunnion shock bolts and holding the rear triangle up and out of way". That sounds pretty annoying indeed.
  • 1 0
 That paragraphs at the descending bit ,that is what I’m looking in a bike ,a one that seats in the lower sag point but doesn’t wallow while riding and feels soft in the small bump without being dead ,,and I think that a litle less tension on the spokes makes miracles in a bike ,good review
  • 1 0
 Aside from a couple of geometry niggles (STL & HA) this looks like a fine bike.
Does the suspension feel a bit like Mondraker's Zero @mattbeer ? I loved my Dune & Summum about 10 years ago. Felt like a hot knife through butter but still pedaled well.
  • 1 0
 Both of those numbers weren't an issue for me. I just wanted to push the boundaries of the bike with the -1 angle set. I haven't ridden either of those so I can't say sorry.
  • 1 0
 @mattbeer: how would you compare it against a Spesh Enduro? Which one would you choose?
  • 3 0
 It's only fast because of the g2 brakes. You have no choice but to totally send it :-D
  • 2 0
  not a bad looking bike! Hopefully New SRAM codes coming soon? Seeing more and more bikes with G2 when they should have codes…
  • 3 0
 Interested....Make a 29-30lb bike with 150mm of travel and I'm listening..................
  • 4 4
 It's a nice shock and that's why the rear end feels so good. Put a nice shock on every bike (ttx, cane creek, mara pro, tuned superdeluxe,not some fox junk) and you'll find that they all perform very very well. If you are triggered by this comment then you need to humble yourself ask if all you've been riding is Fox....
  • 3 0
 Not sure why people down voting you for slinging the truth. Demoed a bike with a TTX2 air and it blew my mind.
  • 1 1
 I´m happy with my Thunderflash since June 2021. No issues yet. Going to replace headset and BB after two seasons.
Love the way it climbs (which is absolutely not my priority) for an Enduro Bike with that specs.
Customer Service of Prime is a dream - they respond super fast and help out where they can.

Never regret my decision - Keep it up Prime!
  • 4 0
 This is what the Unno frame design should have evolved to!
  • 2 0
 Saw the Prime Rocket last year at Bromont. Definitely a looker, had to go research what it was afterwords.
  • 2 0
 That is a gorgeous bike. Sounds like it rides well too. Would love to see one up close.
  • 4 0
 Cons: Too light - Henry
  • 1 0
 I wonder how it would compare to the Giant Reign...the suspension looks similar, but I am sure they would ride much differently.
  • 3 0
 You’ve never use the phrase “well-rounded” ? Really? Like ever?
  • 2 0
 thatsthejoke.gif
  • 1 0
 @Junker92: Huh, I usually get jokes
  • 1 0
 I am sure the bike is swell, but this is the first thing that came to mind with it's name. The sexy saxophones really sell it... www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqeKV2UYq1Q
  • 2 3
 When I was little boy in Poland, all the times, I dreaming of America. So I come, I work hard, and I climb to the highest stars.
Ole ole ole olé! Oh la, oh la! Everybody! Ole olé olé olé, oh la oh la!
  • 1 0
 Wut?? All I am thinking is that I'd have AC/DC Thunderstruck stuck in my head whenever I threw a leg over it.
  • 4 2
 I know a lot of people really love Transitions, but having tested a Spire, I would describe it as the opposite of "nimble".
  • 1 2
 I have a Thunderflash, I have had a problem, and the treatment received by the brand has been zero. Without answering my emails, ignoring me, and after months of waiting for me, without admitting his mistakes, without assuming his responsibility, and finally with mockery of me. It is impossible to be more dissatisfied
  • 1 0
 Make sure to keep us in the loop when dealer networks are set up in Canada and other new countries.
  • 1 0
 Already available on www.lamacycles.com/en/prime-bicycles, shipping Canada/USA !
  • 2 0
 Looks and sounds just about perfect, other than the brakes.
  • 1 0
 There will be a Thunderflash storm of sales for Prime, now with this review.
  • 4 2
 Or buy a Banshee Titan and have a better bike for less money.
  • 2 0
 Thundergun Express !!!!!!!!
  • 2 0
 Front triangle=Intense
Upper Linkage=Canyon
Smile
  • 2 0
 64 degree HTA, I like not too slack.
  • 2 0
 "this is a boutique carbon bike from Europe" except its made in Asia....
  • 1 0
 Today was national dentist day ! How can you pinkbikers forget such an important day ?! Same on you !
  • 1 0
 Rear triangle and suspension/link is pretty much identical to Mondrakers zero suspension. Event the numbers are the same.
  • 1 0
 The Prime was the early release of a worthy Giant Reign 29er which Giant didn't release until 2023.
  • 1 1
 If these graphs with leverage and anti squat are for the lamen, what does that make me? I can’t even pretend to want to find out what it’s about. Uninterested
  • 2 0
 @mattbear how would you compare this against the Spesh Enduro? Thanks
  • 2 0
 Hot. Would.
  • 1 0
 Get me a tissue... goddaaaaamn
  • 1 0
 Why not just ride the medium?
  • 4 3
 How is the name Thunderflash not listed as one of the cons?
  • 1 0
 Thunderflash... [Insert fart joke here]
  • 1 0
 32 lbs, nice to see some lighter enduro bikes come out
  • 1 0
 Had to do a double take, looks just like the huckleberry spire
  • 1 0
 Was the name "lightning" taken?
  • 1 0
 Sexy looking Euro best. Thumbs up to the constructers! 3
  • 1 1
 any bike that can't accommodate 200mm+ dropper is a straight up deal breaker for me...many can't
  • 1 0
 I hear you. I have a similar geometry bike to the large here, but with a 420mm seat tube to take a 210mm dropper and I'm loving it. And a proper 63deg HA in the first place.
  • 1 0
 oh wow, thats a fancy astro frame!
  • 1 0
 That lower shock mount is a good place for goop to lay.
  • 1 0
 Motofoam for the win.
  • 1 0
 the renthal apex stem creaks, its so annoying
  • 1 0
 I´m greasing the bolts from time to time...silence.
  • 1 0
 I’m amazed it’s not a high pivot tbh
  • 1 2
 There not wrong when they say it looks like a transition. When I saw the post I instantly thought they were reviewing a new transition bike!
  • 1 1
 The paint job also reminds me of the specialized enduro that had flight attendant
  • 1 1
 I do not, for an instant, believe the claimed weight of 14.8kg. It's at least 1kg heavier.
  • 1 0
 Nothing new on the market
  • 1 0
 these bikes are soooo sick
  • 1 0
 Compression it to the raaw Madonna please.
  • 1 1
 Gorgeous bike...hideous name.
  • 2 2
 Another bike too long, period.
  • 1 0
 Hundred percent. Shortest reach at 460! Mind blowing.
  • 1 0
 Chain stay 445mm. Nice.
  • 1 1
 How many of these things does it take to screw in a light bulb?
  • 1 0
 Derailleur. Pass.
  • 1 1
 We Are Who?
  • 2 4
 Looks great, like a more meaty version of the Arrival.
  • 3 5
 Looks like a Sessival
  • 1 3
 Looks like an Arrival
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