Banshee Rune XT review£4,300.00

Super-slack and low gravity groover

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Banshee may not have the loudest presence in the UK market, but it deserves a serious look if you like your bikes slack and low for blowing up berms and attacking fall-line descents, or are still transitioning from 26in to 650b wheels.

The 64.5-degree head angle of the Rune in its lowest/slackest setting is the standout figure on paper, and the ‘XT’ build kit from UK distributors Ison maximises the outrageous stability inherent in that kind of choppered-out front with a super-stiff 35x800mm Renthal Fatbar and matching 40mm Apex stem.

Broad 35mm Halo rims fatten up the legendarily grippy Schwalbe Magic Mary front tyre too, although, at well over 14kg, it’s a bike gagging for the deliciously-damped ‘Super Gravity’ carcass in a larger size rather than the lighter 2.3in SnakeSkin version fitted.

In a size large without pedals the Rune XT weighs 14.36kg / 31.66lb
In a size large without pedals the Rune XT weighs 14.36kg / 31.66lb

The raked-out head angle and max-leverage cockpit also put the RockShox Pike fork under a lot of stress that would be better handled by its stouter Lyrik sibling.

An older RockShox Monarch Plus shock, rather than the latest Super Deluxe model, is used at the rear, but it’s still a well sorted, easily tunable damper that’ll suck up a ton of stress without losing the plot.

The twin-short-linkage suspension handles square edges well without wallowing under power and it’s an easy bike to find a consistently capable tune on.

Being able to switch the bolted rear dropouts between long and short versions in 142 and 148mm (Boost) widths, as well as adjust each option vertically, doesn’t just let you tune geometry. It also makes the Rune 26in wheel compatible.

External control routing, a threaded bottom bracket shell and an ISCG mount make it an easy bike to live with too. It’s a hefty piece of kit though, especially given that it’s not as obviously stiff and surefooted in max aggro situations as similarly heavy-duty frames such as Ison’s own Identiti Mettle.

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

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

Related Articles

Back to top