Category Archives: MTB wheel sizes

Banshee Rune Longer Term Review

Banshee Rune a few months in

Banshee Rune…see the Rune first impressions review for info on the frame. This one is concerned with reliability, some differences in the setup between this one & the demo bike I rode & anything else that didn’t occur to me originally. The 2 frames are identical except for…

– the demo was a medium & slightly small for me (although great fun!). This is a large & it fits me well; although it’s maybe more like a medium from other brands. It’s got enough room that I might still go for a shorter stem in the future to improve the steering & chuck-aboutable-ness…
– The demo was a 650b & this one’s a 26er, the only difference being a different set of dropouts
– This one has no climb switch on the shock; more on that later

It’s rumoured that the 26er is slightly better, but I reckon they’re both pretty good. Much has been written about the advantages of the different wheel sizes but here’s my opinion. The 650b feels like a slightly smoother ride on rockier surfaces & the 26er feels a touch more nimble, most noticeable is that it manuals slightly easier. It also rolls faster on smoother surfaces. Both feel just as solid & the differences aren’t huge. It should be a slow bike on the tarmac, not that you’d be thinking of riding too much road on it! However, I do tend to ride from home to the trails & it’s no slower on the boring smooth stuff than a lot of shorter travel mountain bikes.

In terms of this being a longer term review, although I’ve been riding it for 3 or 4 months it was an ex-demo frame from EDS Bikes so it’s had a reasonable amount of use already. In terms of reliability, nothing whatsoever has been an issue.

There are other differences concerning the complete build, mostly not that relevant. Most of the build came from my previous frame, a rugged & dependable Orange 5, but it’s all vaguely similar in type & quality to the kit on the demo bike. Different forks were required, the Five was running some solid but quite low performance 150mm Sektors. This frame came with a set of TALAS 160 FIT RC2 forks which are solid & perform pretty well. They’re a massive improvement on the Sektors I was running! However, the demo bike was running Pikes & they kind of give you extremely high expectations for anything you ride after! I suspect a set of Pikes will transform any bike that needs an AM type fork. They are that good, really plush but also feel properly fast whether it’s rough or smooth.

The lack of the climb switch on the Cane Creek DB air hasn’t been a worry. On some bikes I’m guessing it would be a real help, on this frame I haven’t missed it. It might be just me but it doesn’t seem to need it, even on the smooth. As with the demo bike this one climbs well, better than a 160mm bike has any right to..! I suspect that unless things change drastically, other shocks may well struggle not to disappoint once you’ve ridden a Cane Creek that suits your bike.

I’ve mostly ridden whilst teaching bike skills, but lately there have been some quicker riders so I’ve also had the chance to get some speed. Despite being a fun bike I’ve not had any scary moments or crashes. The frame/shock combo would generate more grip with a more chunky rear tyre, the current one is mostly OK but drifts out well before the front. A better one will give even more cornering speed in the future.

The bike rides quite light & seems to get up most trail centre slopes without complaining. It leaves that to me… It’s only running an 11-36 with a single 34t at the front, but it’s only my occasional(!) laziness that stops it getting up climbs. As in the first post, the downhill speed is noticeably fast! I guess that means it may not be a bike for wheels on the ground XC riders but with a bit of basic technique anyone can have some fun on a Rune!

I don’t really do ‘points out of 10’ reviews of anything, but I guess the following would be lots of stars; I don’t usually own more that 1 bike & since I’ve been riding the Rune I haven’t really had the x=n+1 formula playing on my mind…”

Look out for some video over the next few weeks, providing the weather plays along!

Banshee Rune Quick Review

Banshee Rune First Impressions

Banshee RuneFollowing on from the wheel size post from, er, a bit too long back…
…the Banshee Rune can be run as a 26er or 650b (27.5er). This is good news IMO, if only because it allows a frame upgrade by swapping all the bits from your 26er whilst still giving a bit of future proofing or choice depending on how you see things. To change wheel size you just fit the relevant set of dropouts. The dropout height is also adjustable to give 3 different geometries. The one I rode was in it’s 650b guise. Many forks these days do 26 & 650b with the same fork, which is great for the indecisive!

I got the chance to ride one whilst helping take groups round Dalby’s demo route for EDS Bikes. The Rune is a 160mm travel frame & was set up with a Rockshox Pike fork & Cane Creek DB Air shock at the rear. The shock had the ‘climb’ switch on it, for …climbing, but I left it open all the time & it still climbed pretty well. In fact it climbed easily as well as any 125 – 150mm frame I’ve ridden.

If you’re like me, climbing well is good, but of no use whatsoever if the thing doesn’t descend!

Happy to say it went down one of the black descents faster than I’ve ever been & it seemed happier in the air than anything else I’ve ridden 🙂
This isn’t a substitute for actual jump technique! I’m happy on the jumps, but this frame inspired extra confidence.

The Pike fork was great, although the fork model is up to you. The Cane Creek air shock performed extremely well, the back end of the bike tracked the ground as you’d want it to, although part of that has to be down to the frame design as well.

Although a Canadian brand, Banshee are apparently designed by a Scottish chap. He actually lives in Scotland as well & so the bikes have mud clearance. Yey! Another nice touch is that the bearings are deliberately standard sizes meaning you can use any quality bearings that are the correct size.

When I look at a suspension frame, I tend to look at how a bump will work on the pivot points. On some frames a hit seems to impact a bearing more than rotate it & to my mind this will wear it out quicker. The Rune looks like the bearings won’t be stressed in this way & so I would guess they’d last well. The design seems to give a nice stiff frame laterally which helps keep you pointing where you want & other bits of good design include the stays being built from a kind of rectangular figure of eight cross section to add strength whilst keeping the weight down a bit.

Not sure what the weight was but it didn’t feel heavy to lift & rode a bit lighter than it felt as well.

I always feel I should be honest & say something bad if it needs saying, but in the 4 or so demo laps I did I couldn’t find anything negative! The funnest bike I’ve ridden in a long time & I want one..!

Apologies for the lack of pics, I was riding & my GoPro hasn’t arrived yet! But here’s some video of a Banshee rider trying to break his bike…

The great MTB wheel size debate

the past is the future...Which MTB wheel size? A brief summary of pros & cons…

I should say to start off that I don’t have any massively strong opinions on wheel size, but I prefer 26ers. #26aintdead and all that… main reason is they’re stiffer & stronger

So, here goes:

29er enthusiasts have long held that they roll faster. This is kinda true & importantly for MTBers, it’s only true off-road & not all the time. What they definitely don’t do is accelerate as fast as a smaller wheel, but you might be surprised to know that the smoother the surface the slower they roll compared to a smaller wheel. I know this because I’ve been on tarmac with a sticky 26er tyre, set off at the same speed as a similar weight 29er rider with a faster rubber compound tyre & still freewheeled down the hill faster. The mechanics behind this is the fact that on a smoother surface the bigger contact patch of a bigger wheel creates more drag. As the famous Mr Moulton has known for a long time, the fastest wheel on tarmac is a small one with a high pressure tyre on it. Why? Smaller contact patch = less drag. It’s also uncomfy, hence the suspension on his classic bikes

So when is a 29er faster? Once the bumps/rocks are big enough that the bigger wheel rolls over them smoothly when the smaller wheel is bouncing over them, the 29er will be quicker. When is a 26er faster? On the bits of trail where the give in the tyre is enough to keep the bike rolling straight the smaller wheel is quicker. Also, if weight is the same & wheels & tyres are the same models, a 26er is faster accelerating. This will be more noticeable if you have to overtake lots of people & if there’s lots of tight bends to accelerate out of. 29ers can also make drops feel smaller which can give a rider more confidence to go over it faster. This isn’t necessarily the bike being quicker, it may be that another rider on a 26 will be just as quick if their skill level is sorted

It’s obviously not totally straightforward and things like suspension quality play a part as well. On a route with medium size bumps a 29er will give a more noticeable advantage if the suspension on the compared 26er is poor

In my experience, over a ride different bikes are faster in some places & slower in others. In the end, if you want to prove that one size is best you have to pick a route that suits it!