Banshee Spitfire

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Yes, I’m that guy on the trail.  You all know the one I’m talking about.  That dude that brings the wrong bike to the party, and ultimately the one pushing his bike where others pedal up with what seems minimal effort.  So, this spring I’d had enough and ended up pulling the trigger on a new trail bike.  Initially I was looking at bikes like the Kona Process 134, Banshee Spitfire and Transition Scout as I liked the idea of a shorter travel trail rig that I can beat the hell out of with no complaints.  After scouring the interwebs for any useful reviews I settled on the Banshee.  Not because I tested all of them with due diligence, but simply because I rode it and knew I must have this bike!  I’ve had my Spitty for a couple months now and thus far have been blown away!


IMG_3105This is a budget build on a kick-ass frame!  Wes at Hi-5 Bikes (somebody get that man another beer!!) hooked me up with Spank wheels and cockpit and other than the mandatory upgrade of a dropper-post and some good pedals the rest of the components are from Shimano’s bottom shelf.  Suspension is handled via Xfusion (Slant/RCX) and I think that this is some of the most underrated squish out there!  It should be noted that I never mess with my suspension beyond initial setup and random air pressure checks.  Lock-out?…psh, get that shit out of here.  I want a bike I can just ride, not spend time flipping switches, or in my case forgetting to flip them back.  Dirt contact is handled via Geax Goma 27.5×2.4 and holy hell, do these things grip!  They have a higher rolling resistance than most tires I’ve sampled, which was pronounced during climbs, but  damn son do they hook up!  Point and shoot ladies and gents!


Banshee has built a bike that absolutely tears the trail a new one!  With 140mm of squish this bike is an absolute menace, I can’t go for a ride without this rig scaring me at some point.  It simply begs you to get off the brakes and just go, and the more you listen to the wails of the Banshee…the better the ride gets.  There is the option to run the Banshee in high/normal/low settings via the interchangeable rear dropouts.  I kept it on the normal setting until quite recently.  The normal dropout setting gives a super playful light feel and I was hesitant to make a change.   So far I’ve only got a handful of rides on the low dropout setting, which raked her out nicely, and I’m digging it!  Maybe I felt the geometry change, maybe it was all in my head.  Regardless, the climbs with this setup were a bit tougher.  When on the decline, I was rewarded with a machine that ate up all the chunder that could be thrown.  Long story short, I don’t think that I’ll be changing the dropouts back.  Lucky for me the change doesn’t have to be permanent.  The suspension feels plush, almost to a fault at first, but once you start riding you don’t even think about it…it just is.  Bottoming out the suspension every run is common, and if I’m to be honest, an obligation.  I find my self actively seeking bigger and gnarlier lines every run.  Yet I never feel any harshness or much indication that I’ve hit the limit of my travel other than the just knowing of it.


IMG_3118When I took the Spitty out for her initial run I was floored by the stoutness of the frame and absolute lack of flex.  This thing is deadly fun on all of the PNW trails I’ve hit!  I’ve taken her to Bend (Tyler’s Traverse/Tiddlywinks) as well as shredding my local trails here in SW Washington.  The added rigidity is definitely a plus on the trail.  This is a beefy machine and those of you that like to watch your weight should probably move on down the line.  She’s not heavy by any means, but if you get this bike specifically for climbing or anything other than earning your hill before shredding your face off on the descents, then you might be disappointed.  That being said the Banshee climbs how I would expect it to.  There’s no real chance of me hauling ass to the top but if you just chill and get your grind on, the reward is a climb that is both steady and predictable. Once you point her down trail this machine begs to be pumped, popped and launched off of every little bump or roller that you can find.  She’s just as happy on trail as in the air.


This is a bike that fits me well, so I have a hard time finding any weaknesses.  Sure it would be fun with 160mm under me, but I have yet to encounter a ride where I wish I had more squish.  If I want more, I’ll ride my DH.  I have no clue what the bike weighs in at, and I don’t really care to find out.  It’s a bike after all.  With the budget build I know that the brakes are my first upgrade, then the drive train but until then…shred on!!!


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