Good thing for copious notes. Digging back into my notebook from DealerCamp last Summer, I neglected to do a quick review of the 2011 BH Prisma Ultegra road bike. While my time aboard was limited to about an hour, I had a good time and felt the Prisma was worthy of a few thoughts.
BH Prisma Ultegra Features:
- The Prisma is an all new frame design with G5 features and technology at an unreal price point.
- Monocoque carbon construction with full carbon dropouts on the Prisma are modeled after the G5 design. (Derailleur hanger is interchangeable with G5, RC1, and Cristal designs)
- A sub-1100g frame weight and 400g fork mean the new Prisma is in the weight range with some of the finest racing frames in the world.
- The Prisma also features downtube barrel adjusters for easier maintenance and adjustment.
- Bonded and riveted front derailleur hanger offers maximized front derailleur stiffness and shifting performance for the Prisma that is on par with the G5.
- Taller head-tubes, slightly steeper seat angles, longer chainstays (405mm), and 45mm fork offsets give the Prisma a slightly longer wheelbase and more stable handling without giving up the precision handling and incredible climbing characteristics that all BH bikes are known for.
- MSRP: $3199 (Ultegra spec – as tested) or $2299 (105 spec)
BH Prisma Ultegra around Deer Valley
With the all-new Prisma looking me straight in the face, I had to get it out on the tarmac. The roads around Deer Valley Resort are the perfect testing grounds for road bikes. With plenty of climbing on winding, less-traveled pavement, I was able to quickly push the Prisma uphill at a strong cadence. The overall stiffness of the Prisma can be quickly felt. A BB30 bottom bracket really helps, but the entirely-new carbon layup on this puppy just felt zippy.
Stepping on the gas, I was able to push the bike uphill at a strong pace — passing lots of flatlanders on my way up from Snow Park to Silver Lake Lodge. The 900 ft. climb really felt like a dream and I appreciated the predictable shifting afforded by the new Shimano Ultegra grouppo. While I do like SRAM’s road components, I’m still surprisingly drawn to the comfortable function of Shimano’s tried-and-true Ultegra platform. They are a great blend of crisp performance in a competitive price point. I also feel the hoods are more comfortable for my tastes.
I had no complaints about the Shimano RS20 wheelset, but they aren’t anything to write home about. By no means did they feel sluggish or flexy, but they are a good midline wheelset that fits the overall Prisma package.
I appreciated the relaxed cockpit afforded by the Prisma. I’m definitely not a racer when it comes to spending time on the road, so a slightly-upright cockpit (taller head tube and shorter virtual top tube) kept the comfort level high and will let me easily ride longer with minimized discomfort.
The only drawback I felt on the Prisma was a little less confidence heading downhill. Much of this could be attributed to not having the bike perfectly set up for me, but it’s hard to tell. Other roadies tested the same day felt just a tad more dialed on descents. Again, it was a short spin and perhaps I just need more saddle-time.
- A beautiful overall package
- BB30 and new carbon layup provides a responsive ride
- Road-smoothing comfort
- Love the more upright cockpit for a comfortable ride
- Respectable package and pricepoint
- Shimano RS20 wheels are pretty pedestrian
- Would be nice to see some internally-routed cables for cleaner lines
- A little less confident on the down out of the box (likely need more saddle-time)
Bottom Line: 2011 BH Prisma Ultegra
The first road bike I hopped onto at DealerCamp was the BH Prisma. It’s definitely a beautiful bike with a solid pedigree. The all-day geometry and solid Shimano Ultegra components really provides a compelling package if you’re in the market for an all-around road bike.
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