EB14: New Banshee Phantom No Longer a Figment of Imagination, Plus One Ride Review

2015 Banshee Phantom 29_4

Ever year at trade shows people always ask me what the coolest or best thing I’ve seen is, and last year at Sea Otter, the answer was a short travel 29er prototype from Banshee. Long, slack, and mean, it had XC travel, and all mountain attitude.

After an additional year of development, the Phantom has finally emerged.

2015 Banshee Phantom 29_2

While a ~100mm travel 29er usually attracts the spandex and gel shots crowd, the Phantom is targeted towards a different group of riders. Just look at what shock they’ve spec’d on their display model.

With a 120mm fork up front, and the option of either a DB Inline or Fox Float shock, the frame is designed with short travel fun in mind.

2015 Banshee Phantom 29_1

Squish is provided by the acclaimed KS-Link suspension platform, which was introduced two years ago on the redesigned Spitfire and Rune.

This platform improves on the older VF4B design by reducing bushing rotation, which reduces friction, and offers better performance off the top of the stroke. The new system has also proven to be considerably more reliable and easier to maintain.

2015 Banshee Phantom 29_5

In order to create some of the stiffest feeling aluminum frames on the market, Banshee utilizes internally ribbed seat and chain stays (picture here).

2015 Banshee Phantom 29_3

Out back, flip chips allow the frame geometry to be easily adjusted from slack, slacker, and super slack. The chips also adjust BB height and chain stay length.Banshee Phantom 29er Geometry 2015

Click to enlarge geometry chart

The head tube angle can sit anywhere from 67.5°-68.5°, while the stays can grow anywhere from 17.3-17.5″.

Banshee Phantom Test Mule

Sorry for the crummy cell phone picture. It’s dark in the woods.

Last year, when one of the Banshee team riders was in town, I had the opportunity to take a pre-production test mule for a rip on my local trails. At 5’7, I’m on the shorter side of the target 29er demographic, which is apparent because the Phantom is only available in three sizes – M, L, & XL. Yet, the borrowed medium frame felt spot on when paired with a  shorter stem.

With a burly build kit, it would have been difficult to mistake the test mule for an XC whippet, yet the short travel 29er handled short punchy climbs and tightly winding single track with precision. And despite the slack head tube angle, the frame was easy on the legs both in and out of the saddle.

Punching it downhill, it’s incredible to think the bike has only 100 mm of travel ( the production model has 105 mm). Without spending much time at all fiddling with knobs or adjusting air volume, it was all pin-it-to-win-it descending. With mostly steep chutes and ripping berms at my disposal, the Phantom felt controlled when tossed into corners, and the rear didn’t dive or suffer from harsh bottoms out.

Considering the Phantom I rode was only a test mule, and I didn’t fiddle with the geo chips, I was fairly impressed with my short ride. How does it perform in rocks, hitting a big set of doubles, or in different geometry settings? Only more time will tell, but if my short ~15 mile loop was any indication, then the new Banshee is a winner.

Banshee Bikes

 

Comments

Stamps Transou - 09/04/14 - 9:58am

I wish we’d see more bikes like this from the big manufacturers. Short travel w/ slack angles sounds like a fun lively ride ….especially when paired with a dropper…

wheelz - 09/04/14 - 10:00am

Want!

Devin - 09/04/14 - 11:08am

That looks massively fun.

professor - 09/04/14 - 11:17am

It seems like with the flip chips you could set this bike up with 650b wheels.

thad - 09/04/14 - 11:18am

copying the kona Process 111, so hot these days.

Scott B - 09/04/14 - 11:51am

I’m waiting patiently to buy this!

gerald t. - 09/04/14 - 11:53am

@thad- if by ‘copying’, you mean making a much better versionof a similar style of bike, then sure

Ryan Daugherty - 09/04/14 - 12:35pm

@Thad, I would say copying anything. I just think this is a direction that has been coming and now bike companies are beginning to respond. From what I understand this has been in the works for a good amount of time.

Tony - 09/04/14 - 1:21pm

These are available now, I know a guy who just got his production one last week.

You could run a 650b dropout on it, but the Phantom is designed as a 29′er, the 650b version of this bike is called a Spitfire V2.

Missin - 09/04/14 - 3:24pm

Actually, the KS Link was developed and introduced with the first 29er FS for Banshee, the PRIME, not the Run & Spitty as stated.

Rivers - 09/04/14 - 6:15pm

I have been riding my Banshee Prime for a while now and LOVE it. Toying with the idea of selling it and grabbing a Phantom for trail days and a Darkside for rowdy days…right now the Prime does all of that…lol.

Banshee was one of the first companies to use this type of geomety…they did not copy, they were on the front line.

Fattylocks - 09/04/14 - 8:54pm

Neat bike , like the idea of a short travel 29er with stable handling characteristics.
Not a lot of seat-post showing, I am guessing that it is a slammed dropper post.

Tim - 09/04/14 - 10:39pm

Very cool looking bike, love the concept! Is that a press-fit bottom bracket?

Keith - 09/05/14 - 5:38am

Nope, threaded BB… no a creeky press fits on Banshee.

JC - 09/05/14 - 9:43am

Bian….. Banshee green!

Helmetless - 09/05/14 - 3:43pm

I disagree with the comments about Banshee copying other companies. Banshee is on its own path doing the best they can make on aluminum basis, this is, low/slack bikes, short chainstay, and effective suspension for most riders. The Prime is years before the Process. The Phantom is a lightweight, short travel approach/version to catch more riders on that side. Not fair that comparison with the Process IMO

Alps2 - 09/06/14 - 1:11pm

Brillant bike – I am a Phantom owners and I can only recommend it.

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