Its pretty hard to make a bad bike these days…. Every year designs are refined, slackened and lengthened creating some amazing bikes that are a world apart from trail bikes of the past.
Banshee have always been at the leading end of the modern geometry charge, along with a few other smaller companies… they pave the way for the big boys to follow suit.
With bikes being developed on Canada’s north shore its not surprising that they are so good. Being built to last whilst taking a beating in bike parks or back country trails is high on the agenda. To me this is far more important than saving a few pounds and having to warranty a frame halfway through the year.
Choosing the correct size bike for you is a minefield… One person says this, someone else says that….
Slowly people and companies are heading in the same direction and I hope in the future sizing will be standardised, I’m not holding my breath though.
We decided on an XL frame for our test rig for a rider at 5’11… paired with a 30mm renthal stem the set up felt bang on.
Note for 2017 banshee have lengthened their bikes so we would probably fit perfectly on the size L now.
Adjustable geometry to me is one of those is it worth it designs? Would the Banshee Rune change my mind? Personally I don’t think its needed, from testing the 3 different settings (low, mid and high) I found no advantage for riding downhill in making the HA steeper and the BB higher. After a few tests I flipped the drop out chips to low and left them there for the rest of the year.
Banshees UK importers Ison distribution really went to town in kitting the bike for us with some top notch components that were both functional and reliable.
The MRP stage forks have really impressed me all year, with nice and simple set up options, making it easy for anyone to get the forks to suit their riding style. Do not pass them by when looking for a new fork for your ride!
The CCDB air was the most adjustable shock I have ever ridden… it was a bit of a hand full to start with. Luckily Cane Creek are on it, offering a great tutorial app called Dialed. This does exactly what it says on the tin and helps you dial in a complex shock to suit you and the linkage system on your bike.
A full SRAM drive train and stoppers kept us moving forward. This is the 2nd year I have run an XO1 drivetrain and it is a great piece of kit, the whole lot was faultless for 10 months. No play in the BB or cranks, no problems with the cassette, chain or derailleur and I didn’t even adjust the gears once… In fact we still have the original gear cable in and the shift is still perfect changing up and down. This puts Srams unreliable past far behind them making their components worth every buck.
Srams guide RS brakes have been faultless like the drivetrain, with only one pad change and no bleeding needed over the year and I ride alot!
Following the MRP theme we used a 36 tooth Wave chain ring paired up with a G3 chain guide, one of the best on the market with a great taco guard and top guide combo.
A set of 35mm HALO vapour Aluminium 275 rims have kept spinning all year, the back wheel is on its last legs now but I’m fine with that, I haven’t been kind to it. These wide wheels set up tubeless have been really impressive, letting me getaway with 26psi in the rear and 20psi upfront… offering so much grip without burping. A great set of wheels at an amazing price.
HT Components X2 pedals colour matched perfectly to the bright colour scheme and added to our solid build, a great clip pedal with a good solid platform.
A Renthal cockpit finished off this bright bike perfectly, with the 30mm stem being the shortest on offer giving really positive and direct steering.
As you can see I have a set of Exposure lights attached too, these a permanently on my bike all winter as I do most of my riding in the morning and evening traveling to and from work.
A decent set of lights is a must have for any die-hard UK rider.
I have used this bike for every thing from my commuter to DH race bike over the year and it hasn’t ceased to amaze me.
Don’t get me wrong its no spring chicken uphill but It gets the job done and I have the bikes extra weight to thank for my increased fitness this year, so I cant complain.
The KS link rear end really tracks the ground well, on my first ride I rode through a rock garden that usually slows you down… not on this bike. Hanging on I accelerated through the rough like i have never felt before. It became very apparent this bike is an animal in the rough stuff, eating up the terrain and propelling you through it at warp speed.
Living in the south we don’t have the terrain this bike thrives on, it was a bit more bike than I needed TBH. To compensate I set the suspension up harder than recommend to keep the pedalling efficiency up and the bike performing at its best on my given terrain.
Angle wise the bike has a good set of numbers, in the low setting I had a 64.5 HA, 338mm BB height, 480mm reach, 1233mm WB and a 71.5 ST angle. The only thing I would change is the seat tube angle, if it was steepened the pedalling position would be perfect.
With the Rune a neutral/central position got the best out of the bike. Once you started trusting the angles you could really tear into stuff, not only do you get away with crazzy lines, you get speed from them… something I really got the hang of and man was it fun.
I consciously made an effort this year to brake less, look further ahead and really rail corners… The Rune assisted me perfectly in this giving me the confidence to push my limits. I would like to say I pushed the bikes limits but I figured I wouldn’t achieve them in this country, this bike is a Mountain slayer and as good as the riding can be around the south we just don’t have the gnarly terrain this bike yearns for.
Mud clearance is often a factor overlooked in bike design… I rode the Rune in some pretty sloppy conditions over the year and with a 2.35 tire I did have a few problems of mud clogging in the rear end. The wheel never stopped moving but it wasn’t far off. Its good to see that Banshee have addressed this factor for 2017 with clearance for up to a 2.5 tire now.
The only criticism I have of the Rune is the weight, as this was my Enduro race rig for the year I did feel it was slightly on the heavy side. That said you could go to town on the build kit and drop a few pounds.
Banshee must have read my mind… For the 2017 models the Ali tubing has been redesigned and is now hydro formed allowing a good bit of weight to be saved from each frame.
Round it up.
The Banshee Rune is a no nonsense, hard hitting mountain bike. Notice I’m not using the ‘E’ word… Its better than that.
This truly is a one bike to do it all, I have ridden everything from flat XC to Flat out DH and big Jumps, All with a huge roost filled smile…
Corners get smashed, jumps get whipped and Rocks get put back in the ground.
Not the fastest of race bikes but If you are after a bike to just simply ride and not worry about then this is the bike for you. Set it, forget it then go and send it.
Words by Oli Carter