Mythic (Banshee) Viento review£2,000.00

Canadian cross-country hard case

BikeRadar score3/5

Canadian brand Banshee – who are called Mythic in the UK due to shared name issues – are known for their tough bikes, like the Viento. The frame is strong enough to take a long fork but the geometry hasn’t been altered to properly accommodate anything over 100mm. That means it's a strong, stiff cross-country bike rather than a punishment-saving long-travel hardtail.

Ride & handling: Tough cross-country bike for aggressive or heavyweight riders

Mythic claim the Viento will take any fork with 3in to 6in of travel. With a 3in fork the angles are classic 71-degree head and 73-degree seat, but these slacken a degree for every inch (25mm) of travel you add. This is fine up front, as slacker head angles work better with longer forks, confirmed by the balanced front-end responses of our sample thanks to the short stem and reasonable width bar.

But as the seat angle leans further back over the short rear end, rider weight shifts back too. This makes the front end light and prone to slide when you’re in the saddle. Once the front end lightens the bike pivots on the back wheel as that’s what you’re sat over. The imbalance is obvious when you sit down, as you drop onto the nose of the saddle rather than the rear.

You can offset the frame geometry with the saddle shunted forward on an inline seat post and there’s enough top tube stretch to get away with it. The back end is stiff and jarring over rougher terrain though. The low wheel weight plus brutal back end stiffness mean it comes out of corners and responds excellently to power input, however. There’s plenty of rear wheel traction feedback through your feet too.

Frame & equipment: Very strong and extremely stiff chassis ready for your choice of kit

With most hardcore frames moving to 44mm internal or tapered head tubes to handle the latest generation of long-travel forks, the conventional head tube of the Viento looks almost vintage, but is asymmetric for added strength. Square-to-round section main tubes taper towards the bottom bracket shell, while the square stays are kinked for crank and ankle clearance.

Internal ribbing keeps them rigid and the cowled and socketed cold forged dropouts are robust. There’s no ISCG mount on the bottom bracket, but UK distributors Freeborn’s fitting of a clamp-on chainguide shows that’s not really an issue. The frame comes in black anodised and red/white/polished versions of our non-standard black/white test sample.

The Viento frame is sold separately for £480 but Freeborn will put together a competitive complete bike quote. We like the Shimano SLX/Avid stop/go selection, with a double-and-bashring combination up front, and the Easton/Thomson cockpit is a good combo. The tubeless-ready Stan’s Crest rims make up a chunk of weight saving and responsiveness.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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