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.
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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.
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.