Banshee Rune review£3,500.00

Shapeshifting long-travel bruiser

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Banshee boldly claims that the Rune ‘defines’ all-mountain riding. With updated geometry and a well thought-out spec list, our expectations were high. But just how would it measure up on the trail?

Triple-option geometry

The Rune has had an update for 2016. It still accepts either 26in or 650b wheels, but the front end is 20mm longer and the head angle is half a degree slacker in each of the three geometry settings, selected via chips at the rear dropouts.

Banshee’s proprietary KS Link dual-link suspension design delivers 160mm (6.3in) of highly active rear wheel travel, controlled by a RockShox Monarch Plus shock. Frame features include a tapered head tube, 142x12mm bolt-through back end and ‘stealth’ dropper post compatibility.

Banshee’s ks link suspension design delivers 160mm (6.3in) of travel, controlled by a rockshox monarch plus:
Banshee’s ks link suspension design delivers 160mm (6.3in) of travel, controlled by a rockshox monarch plus:

Banshee’s KS Link suspension design delivers 160mm (6.3in) of travel, controlled by a RockShox Monarch Plus

Shimano’s new XT M8000 11-speed transmission is already a favourite of ours and was a welcome sight on the Rune, where it delivers dependable and accurate shifting. (Please note, Shimano builds may not be available depending on territory.)

The solid and relatively light (1,750g) Halo Vapour wheels are tubeless ready and capable of taking a pasting. Finishing kit is all top dollar stuff too, including a Renthal bar and stem, and RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post.

Shimano’s trusty xt m8000 11-speed transmission was a welcome sight on our test rig:
Shimano’s trusty xt m8000 11-speed transmission was a welcome sight on our test rig:

Shimano’s trusty XT M8000 11-speed transmission was a pleasing sight on our test rig

Our sample came with an MRP Stage fork (a 2015 sample). It’s also available with a RockShox Pike for the same price. If you’re reading this in the UK, all Banshees bought here are assembled in-house by the brand’s importer, Ison Distribution.

Hard-riding versatility

The Rune’s ace in the hole is its versatility, with that three-way geo choice and two wheel sizes.

In its most extreme ‘low’ setting, the head angle is a slacked-out 64.5 degrees, the BB height a corner-spanking 338mm (with 650b wheels) and the chainstays a stability-enhancing 437mm long. Yet it still climbed efficiently on some of our favourite, steep test ascents.

The banshee gobbles up rough descents with pleasure:
The banshee gobbles up rough descents with pleasure:

The Banshee gobbles up rough descents with pleasure

Where the Banshee really comes alive, though, is when you point its burly behind downhill. The slack head angle and relatively long front centre (756mm on the medium frame) and chainstays offer up stability by the bucketload, and the taut chassis lets you load the Rune hard into corners and make quick changes of direction when going flat out.

In the rough stuff the dual-link back end tracks the ground superbly well, rarely hanging up on anything other than really sharp square edges. This means the bike carries speed with aplomb.

The MRP Stage fork on our test bike was also hard to fault once correctly dialled in. It was only the QtapeR axle, which requires two hands to operate, that irritated us.

If you want a reliable and durable long-travel all-rounder with more versatility than most, the Rune is well worth a look.

Also consider:

Orange Five Pro

Getting the job done with simple suspension, the cult-classic Five Pro delivers visceral communication with an excellent geometry to create an addictive aggro trail slayer.See our full Orange Five Pro review.

Cotic Rocket 275

If you ride hard and fast, plus need (or simply desire) the strength and stiffness of 853 steel, the supremely balanced 150mm travel Rocket should be on your short list. See our full Cotic Rocket 275 review.

Radon Slide Carbon 160 9.0 HD

Light and capable on the climbs, the Slide Carbon shines when medium-rowdy is your limit and you take as much pleasure in dialing in suspension as you do in riding. See our full Radon Slide Carbon 160 9.0 HD review.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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