More Than Just A Pretty Picture?
With almost every bike company these days also offering completes in their line up, brands are constantly seeking ways to stand out from the pack and have their own image. While some rely on their team and others may focus on a low price point, Verde has always put their energy towards having the cleanest, best looking bikes possible. From their advertisements and web videos to the fine details on their bikes, Verde has built a reputation for focusing on style and quality. But are their bikes more than just a pretty picture? We wanted to get to know the real Verde so we had them send over a new 2013 Prism complete for us to put through the ringer and see if their bikes actually performed as well as they look.
LOOKING INTO THE PRISM
According to Verde, the Prism underwent the most changes of any bike in the entire line for 2013, which sounded perfect to us. Retailing at $379, the Prism is one of Verde’s entry level models featuring a hi-ten steel frame with chromoly downtube, integrated head tube with gusset for added strength, mid bottom bracket and an integrated seat clamp. The fork features tapered steel legs with a chromoly steer tube which connect to some tall 8.6” bars via the forged alloy Verde top-load stem. Chris Doyle’s signature Duo grips keep your hands where they’re supposed to be and a one-piece padded seat/post combo help keep weight down while giving you a little comfort in between sessions. Heat treated, chromoly 3-piece cranks with nylon pedals spin on a sealed mid bottom bracket which help provide the power to the steel Verde React 25t sprocket and sealed 9t rear hub, which is an upgrade from 2012. Up front you’ll find a loose ball 36 hole hub and Cinema 333s single wall rim while on the rear you have a 333 double wall rim to give you some added strength where you need it. The bike rolls on fat 2.25” Duo SVS tires, which make the prism bounce like a basketball, and stopping is handled by an alloy u-brake with medium reach lever. The whole package is then given that Verde-touch with a clean matte finish and muted graphics giving the Prism the right pop in the right places.
Whenever we ask a rider to test a bike for us, the first thing they usually say is “What kind of bike is it?” and this test was no different. All we had to do was mutter the word “Verde” and the enthusiasm began to build showing us immediately how the brand is perceived, with our test rider never asking which model, how much it cost, or any of the details that one may ask with other brands. Perceptions aside, it was time to ride, so we headed out to our local park for a day of blasting airs, ripping around bowls and dodging ghetto kids. Being that we never told our test rider how much the bike cost, he appeared to just ride the Prism as if it were his own bike, not holding back at all blasting huge toboggan and barspin airs. The fat tires played a part in adding comfort to some less than perfect landings and gave us more room to dance as we went down our list of footjam variations. More often than not, companies overlook the grips on their bikes as a valuable piece of real estate worth investing in, but that was not the case on the Prism as the Duo Doyle grips were soft and gave us more than enough comfort. The Prism felt stable as we ripped around the park, with 13.5” chainstays and 74.5˚ head tube giving us just enough stability while riding at high speeds or coming in from airs, but still responsive and agile enough for bunnyhops and spinning tricks. With the sun setting and our test rider getting tired from his power session, we called it a day and deemed the test a success.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS?
We rode hard on the Prism, and overall it held it’s own, but we did run into a few small issues. The first was after our very first run the bars slipped quite a bit, which seems to be happening more and more on our bike tests. We reset and tightened them as good as we could but we did have to adjust them a few more times throughout the session. Granted, it is rare that a $379 bike will ever see 6+ foot airs, but it is worth noting that upgrading the stem may be in your future if you choose to go with the Prism. The next issue was with the brakes not grabbing. No matter how hard we pulled, they weren’t doing much more than slowly easing us to a stop. The Prism uses black anodized rims with black brake pads, which are a known combo for brakes working poorly. While most completes with black rims these days are coming with clear brake pads to provide the stopping power you need, the Prism really missed the mark in brake performance. Fortunately you could easily upgrade to clear pads for around $10 and move on with your life and fufanus.
Just by looking at the Prism, it’s hard to tell that it only costs $379, which is exactly what Verde wants. Verde is known for taking pride in making things look good and the Prism is no different, and if Orange isn’t your color then it is available in black and blue as well. Regardless of which color you prefer, the bike has a clean finish and the overall parts package is great and very competitive with other bikes in that range while meeting the trends of today’s riders. The 20.5” top tube means the Prism is designed for a smaller rider, but the rest of the geometry is great for most types of riding, especially park and street which is where most beginner to intermediate riders start out and at just over 25lbs the Prism is lightweight and easily maneuverable for any rider. As we mentioned, we did have a couple small hiccups along the way, but both are easily fixable and with a couple small upgrades the Prism could be a solid ride for any beginning to mid level rider who wants to look like anything but a beginner.
HEAD TUBE: 74.5˚
SEAT TUBE: 71˚
TOP TUBE: 20.5”
* Soft Duo Doyle Grips
* Clean Look with matched frame, fork and bar
* Nice tires for all around riding
* Bars Slipped
* Brakes Don’t Grab