Back in their Canadian homeland, Mythic are actually Banshee and have a reputation for making properly freeride-proof rigs, forged in the fiercest freeride furnace on Earth. The Wildcard is certainly state-of-the-art as far as slopestyle goes.
The Mythic Wildcard is built round a tight, responsive, travel adjustable play frame with a OnePointFive size headtube. The frame itself is a bit of a bargain.
However, the suspension performance is average rather than outstanding and it's hard for a small company like this to compete with the bigger ones on complete bike value.
Ride & handling: up front, tractive & tweakable
With its compact position and low slung frame the Mythic is begging you to tweak every move a bit further than normal. The steep seat angle pushes you more over the front of the bike than normal, leaving the relatively short back end free to whip and flair as soon as it leaves the ground. The low, centrally placed weight gives a natural centre for easy rotation once you’re up there too, and we had to keep checking ourselves to stop over-rotation – rather than under – on our first few runs.
The forward weight placement does mean you’re working the RockShox fork hard on the ground, though. This isn’t a problem on the Lyrik, but might be on the Domain of the cheaper spec, which is also likely to be lower on overall airborne agility.
The handling character isn’t price dependent though, and it puts you right up front where the action is, with loads of traction for sketchy turn-ins or collecting a crooked landing before it blows out. If you find the lack of self correction alarming sometimes, you can always rake it out for extra stability by dropping the rear travel or fitting a longer fork. Either way, the impressive nose-to-tail tightness of the frame adds a useful clarity to what’s going on underneath your tyres.
Unsurprisingly – considering the top quality fork and shock – the Wildcard is far from wild on landing. The easily tweaked nature makes it easy to slot into tight spots, and while it’s not as astonishingly ‘splat and stick’ as, say, the Norco Six Two, nothing nasty happens, not even off the big stuff. You’ll find it jumps around more than the four-bar and DW systems if the run in or braking zone are rough, though, so either stay loose or aim for the smoother sections.
Wind on enough ProPedal to fight any reaction to body movement/power surge and the linkage-driven single pivot back end has got an impressively sharp kick for getting up to speed. Add the full saddle height adjustment and you’ve got a decent pedalling back up, although the compact position will leave you short on breath.
Frame: light, stiff & cracking value on its own
While complete bike deals will suffer in price compared to bigger brands, the actual Wildcard chassis is available for £899 – a cracking deal considering the frame you get. Hydroformed main tubes are tucked into a ‘swallow any steerer’ OnePointFive-in head tube, while the whole bottom corner of the frame is hewn from one big block for maximum strength. The top tube is sloped super low for maximum slopestyle trick foot clearance and sudden stop standover as well.
Big ribbed terminals on the stays and bridges add stiffness to the back end and the relatively short rockers are curved for extra twist resisting depth. The rockers can also handle the shock in two positions (you have to rotate it through 90 degrees) to give either 5in or 6.5in of travel without affecting geometry. In keeping with the slopestyle-specific design it’s a relatively light frame, which works to its advantage in any situation where you have to pedal it or chuck it around.
Our mechanic was impressed by the super-fat OnePointFive head tube, which shows how serious Mythic are about what it’ll handle. Simple physics says the wider tubes all round make for a stiffer steering, slam-proof front end in case you come up short. It also means you can plug in the biggest Travis, Totem or 66 fork options without worry.
Equipment: choose your weapons
UK importer Freeborn can build up the Wildcard however you want, but our sample came with a lightweight variation of their Pro £2,700 selection. To keep the bike light and agile they’d swapped Totem forks for Lyriks, and Sun Singletrack rims were fitted instead of heavier Mavic hoops. Add Saint cranks and other top gear from Hope, Thomson and Easton and you’ve got a very nice progressive riding package indeed.
Alternatively, the basic £1,999 build runs a mainly Deore/ Hone transmission with dependable but hefty DMR finishing kit and a RockShox Domain fork. Not bad value but certainly likely to come out heavier and less smooth up front than similarly-priced bikes of this genre.