The 10 Million Dollar Question: Rune VS. Spitfire

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IMG_20140308_104012_438First things first: I love both of these bikes.  They are both rad, they both shred, and no one who buys one is going to be sad about it.  That said, I have been asked at least a dozen times by total strangers in parking lots which bike is better: Rune or Spitfire.  The answer is always the same: that depends.  It depends on a lot; Where you ride, how you ride, how much you weigh, and what your spirit animal is, among other things.  Lets take this opportunity to break these two shred beasts down and get some info about both.

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First, a little background.  Two years ago when the V2 Rune was just starting to come out as a pre-production bike I saw it and I was smitten.  I wanted it, I lusted after it, I searched the internets at least once per day to see if any new articles about it had been posted on some obscure German Mountain Biak Deutsche website.  The second I could get my hands on one I dropped everything and jumped.  I rode the thing as hard as I could for just over a year: it hit 50′ jumps, it did 40 mile epic rides, it did the occasional training road ride, it raced Enduro, XC, and DH at different times.  883439_155370854625789_1853198020_oMy Rune did all of this with little complaint, and Banshee stood behind it every step of the way.  At the beginning of this season, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to give the Spitfire the same love as the Rune.  And the second verse was the same as the first, wheels a little bit bigger and not a touch worse.  My Spitty has been through the ringer for the last 5 months and it hasn’t missed a beat.  So read on to see how these two miracle machines stack up against each other.
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The Rune:
The Rune is a singular bike.  There are many things about it that make it special, 650B or 26″ wheels, 150, 142, or 135 rear hub, adjustable head angle/bb height, and a super slack 65 degree head angle make this bike very versatile.  I ride an extra large and mine built up with nothing particularly special was 31lbs.  Very respectable for a 6″ trail bike with fully capable parts.  Two things about this bike stand out, first, in a low gear it climbs amazingly.
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It is happy as a clam to turn and burn up any hill for hours.  The slack head angle requires a bit more minding than a typical xc bike, but nothing extreme.  The second major point on this bike is that when you turn it downhill, it will try it’s hardest to convince you that it’s actually a DH bike.  This can be tricky, because it will make you want to push it.  So, that is the gist of the bike.  In my time with it I did everything you could imagine.  It shuttled, climbed, and hiked.  It rode chair lifts, and went on mega back country rides.  Never once did this bike protest.  The Rune is an amazing rig that can and will do so much.
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The Spitfire:
The Spitfire is similar to the Rune in many ways.  All of the fun features of the Rune are here too, however the travel is stepped down a touch (from 160mm-140mm), and the head angle goes down a touch too.  On the other side of things, the top tube is a touch longer.  This makes the bike have a slightly different feel.  Where the Rune wants to hulksmash, the Spitfire wants to slice and dice, or just go over the whole damn section.  Where the Rune makes huge hits feel small, the Spitfire lets you feel a bit more while still remaining happily stable.  The Spitfire does all of this with a little more legs.  The first time I hopped on this bike I was blown away by its nimble feet.  In fact, I was so surprised by its climbing ability that I was worried it would suffer on the descents.  My fears were unfounded, this thing goes down just as good as up.beacon
Components:
Ok, building these rigs up is one of the most important aspects to speak to.  Due to the overlap of the frames, the build kit you choose will be a huge factor.  You can go with a big fork and burl components and have a bonnafide park bike, or you could go with a 3 lbs fork and skinny tires and have a mid 20lbs hill slaying machine.  In reality, either of these bikes are going to take a whole bunch of thoughtful component choices.  The beauty of this is that you can truly build a bike that is going to be perfect for you.beacon2
The Verdict:
Well, on this one there are no easy answers.  Both of these bikes are rad and I want one of each!  But I get paid to make the hard calls so here is the best I can do.  These bikes overlap about 90%.  The Rune is 5% more gnarly than the Spitfire can ever be, and the Spitfire is 5% more efficient than the Rune.  5% isn’t a ton, and with the right component choices it is pretty easy to build either one up to do just about whatever you want.  1016676_10200682882491898_915929773_n
The only people who absolutely NEED one or the other of these bikes aren’t going to be the ones reading this, and those people are the extremes of chainguide/180mm fork guy, and carbon rim/22lbs bike guy.  For the other 90% here is what you need to ask yourself.  How do you ride/how do you want to ride?  If you want a bike that is going to give you the absolute most on the downhills, and you like your bike to feel a bit more stable and rugged then the Rune is the bike for you. If you want a bike that is going to bit a bit more pedally, and feel more precise and exact, its a Spitfire.  For me, the perfect balance is my current bike; a 650B Spitfire, setup with a rugged suspension build of Fox Float X/2015 Float 36, a light but tough Industry 9 Enduro wheel set, and some light and strong Race Face components mixed in.  This bike really does it all!  But I still want a Rune too….
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