Known as Banshee everywhere else, the name ‘Mythic’ gets these Canadian hardcore builders around potential trademark problems in the UK. Their all-mountain Rune delivers a distinctive Canadian take on tough trail bikes for riders who know how to tune a shock.
Ride & handling: Rips through technical singletrack – if you've got the shock set up right
The combination of the tall, long stem cockpit and super-sloped top tube – which relies on long seatpost extension to give decent reach – meant the Rune felt worryingly treacherous at first.
In fact it was so steep, choppy and ready to stumble over its front wheel like a race BMX that we had to check the geometry several times before we believed the head angle was the right side of 70 degrees.
Whip out the spacers, fit a shorter stem and push your arse back, though, and it becomes clear that the basic handling angles are absolutely fine. But you still need to know how to really tweak a shock to liberate its full potential.
The linkages change to a falling rate at just the point where Fox's DHX air shocks always start to feel baggy anyway, which makes it hard to find a decent compromise between blowing through the mid and end stroke or feeling really inert and hardtail-like.
We don’t want to dwell too much on the shock, though, because that’s mostly solvable via Fox's Boost Valve and air volume changes if you know your tuning onions.
The basic suspension design underneath reminds us a lot of Santa Cruz and Intense's original VPP platform. It handles square-edge hits really well and there’s loads of traction feedback whatever you’re doing.
Add a seriously light wheelset and a 13.6kg (30lb) weight, and the Rune can really rip through technical singletrack. Get that saddle up and there’s enough space not to compromise breathing on longer climbs.
Frame: Light and agile, with distinctive rider-reactive suspension
Banshee have always made their bikes on the sturdy side, and the Rune starts off the frame with a big 1.5in head tube for maximum fork versatility. The flared square-section down tube and the shaped and super-sloped top tube make the most of the extra weld potential too.
Monster rectangular chainstays and kinked square seatstays are rib reinforced internally and come together via CNC machined yokes up front and a really nice blended junction with the big rear dropouts.
Grease-ported IGUS polymer bushings take the place of conventional cartridge bearings and the frame has ISCG tabs. The straight seat tube means you can drop the saddle out of the way on steep terrain, although it definitely needs a quick-release lever, not the bolted collar we had.
Equipment: We'd spec a different fork and shock, and shorter stem
UK importers Freeborn can build up your Rune any way you want from the £899.99 frameset. There’s certainly some quality kit on this £2,500 build.
The Hope/Stan’s wheels are impressively light yet tough enough to take rocky descents in their stride. Stan’s No Tubes self-sealing kits reduce both weight and pinch or thorn puncture problems in the Specializedtyres too.
We’re big fans of the RaceFace Atlas chainset too and Freeborn will be switching from Avid's Juicy brakes to the company's more powerful Elixirs now that they’ve got some stock.
There are a few tweaks we’d probably make though. We never felt the urge to drop fork travel, so we’d swap to the lighter, smoother, cheaper, 160mm-only Fox 36 Float or a 1.5in fork to make full use of the massive head tube.
We’d also go for a Float R rear shock rather than the DHX – more on that later. A SRAM or Shimano Shadow-style rear mech would reduce the massive loop of cable from the badly placed final gear stop and stop the mech braining itself on the chainstay. In our opinion switching to a shorter (50-70mm) stem is vital too.
The fact you can do all this tuning before you buy your final bike is obviously a big bonus compared to off-the-peg rigs, especially as it’s still competitive on price.