Banshee is playing around with 650B wheels on a lot of their bikes and developing some entirely new models for the trail and the park.
Above, the Phantom is a new, possibly 2015, 100mm 29er trail bike. Yes, 100mm is short for a trail bike these days, but Banshee’s designer Keith Scott says it gives the suspension you want while still being quick and snappy, feeling as low and lively as their 140mm Spitfire.
So what makes it a trail bike? It has a 67.5° to 68.5° head angle depending on setting, and they may go a bit slacker. That, plus a longish top tube (24.2″ ETT for a large), shortish 17.3″ chainstays and a lowish bottom bracket (13″ to 13.5″) give it a planted, stable feel that’s also easy to pick up and throw around.
New Darkside is a 180mm park bike designed to be “playful and fun” going downhill. It’s pedal neutral, which Scott explains to mean it can pedal uphill but it’s really designed to go down.
Integrated ODI bar end plugs serve as fork bump stops, so you can color coordinate with their grips.
It’s planned around a 8.75″ shock (2.75″ stroke) but you could drop it down to 8.5″ x 2.5″ to lower the whole thing a bit. The pivot axles are oversized, so even though they look narrow they say they’re very stiff for the intended use.
All of their bikes use their modular dropout system that lets them easy test different wheel sizes, but also lets anyone swap in 27.5″ wheels onto any of their 26″ bikes right now. The design also has three positions on them to quickly change geometry and height, plus having dropouts for any axle standard. A fresh set of dropouts is about $120 with axle.
The Darkside is in testing now, planned for Spring 2014, but they may do a small run over the winter.
The Spitfire gets refined to drop a bit of weight. It has new forgings on the rear triangle at the yoke, with each side now being a one piece part, and dropouts.
Scott says the one-piece design makes it stiffer, too, and it’s shared on a couple other models.
They’re also testing 27.5″ wheels on their Legend DH bike.
All models will get a stealth option using a polished black logo over a matte black ano finish, as shown on the Phantom at top of post.