First Ride Review: The Banshee Legend – It’s all in the Name
Everything you need to know about this bike is written on the top tube – it’s called the Legend for a reason. It’s an 8” travel downhill bike that can conquer any obstacle.
It’s low, it’s plush, and it’s fast. But does it live up to its namesake?
For 2013, the changes to the Banshee Legend where minor. Small tweaks to the stays decreased the overall weight marginally and is claimed to have stiffened up the rear . The bike is only available as a frame set with either a Fox RC4 or Cane Creek Double Barrel Air. You can pick one up in either black, raw, or love-it-or-hate-it green.
The frames are constructed of hydroformed 7005 butted aluminum tubes that are hand welded in Taiwan and the seat and chain stays are internally ribbed for additional stiffness. The VPP frame also scores high in bling factor for including titanium pivot hardware and rear axle.
First Ride Impressions
The Legend is the kind of bike you trust implicitly. Down gullies, over baby heads, through snow run off, and in the air, it makes quick work of everything.
There has been a recent trend in the industry towards DH rigs with extremely slack, world cup worthy, headtube angles. While some companies maintain that the average consumer needs a 62 degree headtube angle, the Legend sits at a more reasonable 63.8, which can be made steeper or slacker with the addition of an angle adjust headset and offset bushings. In the stock configuration it is slack enough to feel stable but not too slack that the handling through low speed technical sections felt compromised.
For my riding level, which is far cry from World Cup status, the Legend strikes a near perfect balance. The bike begged for more speed through big swooping (braking bump ridden) berms and was still highly maneuverable through the trees. The best sensation was feeling the bike surge out of the tight berms on ninja cougar (or one of the other samurai cat trails at Whistler Bike Park). The Banshee loves to turn and rewards willing riders with a shot of speed when pushing high into berms and out through the apex.
The bike not only accelerates through corners, but over roots and rocks. The long wheel base and longish (17.4″) chainstays kept the bike well planted through rough chutes. Since Whistler Bike Park isn’t my home turf, I had plenty of “oh $%^&” moments, and some trepidation regarding a few trail obstacles/features, but the Legend carried me through with grace. Frequently surprising me by it’s quick response to inputs and willingness to bunny hope, characteristics that saved me more than once.
Unfortunately, my time aboard the Banshee was too brief and consisted of only a handful of laps at Whistler Bike Park. The experience left me yearning for more. The Legend isn’t just a bike I’d like to take out on a few more test laps, it’s one I’ve actually considered buying.
For more info visit their website or check out our coverage of their new range of trail bikes.