Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Logo

Love it? Hate it?

Here's what it'll look like on the TEAM edition Wildcard.
All the bikes will have 1 team edition model however the colors may be different then just black and white... oh and I know the pic is crappy but i'm not that good in photoshop.
Every bike has an icon as well with a description behind the Banshee name and its icon; I will be releasing more details when I get some more time. Let me know what you think.

Schwara: Let me introduce...

Let me introduce myself. My name is Pavel Schwarz, but most riders in my country know me as Schwara. I´m from Czech Republic, it's a small country in the middle of the Europe wellknown for excellent beer, pretty girls and good ice hockey players (and also good riders like Michal Prokop two times World Champion).

I´ve been riding on Banshee for two years. I'm using freeride Banshee Chapparal and hardtail
Scirocco this year and I hope I will ride new Willdcard frame.

My main goals for this year are here: Now I'm working on organization of the 3rd volume of the biggest slopestyle event in Czech Republic.

Next month I'm going to participate Ticket To Style in Saalbach. It is a qualification for Adidas Slopestyle. I was 12 last year from 70 riders from all of the world.

Then I have in contemplation some roadtrips in Germany and Czech Republic and local races. Take some video for my profil in Dirt Biker's (the biggest MTB and BMX magazine in Czech Republic) annual DVD. I shoud also ride on European part of Flowshow tour. And have a fun

Last weekend I spent in Portugal. I was invited to Lisboa Down Town contest. It was my second start in Lisboa. Lisboa
Down Town is a famous urban downhill race takes place in the centre of the old town, starts on a castel and leads down through narrow streets, over sets of stairs, jumps, rocks and etc. The track is always crowded by thousands people.

On start list were the world best downhillers like Peat, Minnar, Rennie, Hill, Gracia, Areton, Graves, Brain Lopes... It was amazing experiences. Next day local riders took me to best freeride spot in Portugal and show me lot of perfekt trails. Especially one secret trail was wonderful, realy long, technical with difficult roll downs, drops and big gaps. Unfortunately I'm still waiting for photos.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My thoughts on the Wildcard.

So I got the call from Jay late last week and was told a Wildcard was on it's way from the factory overseas. I started to get that feeling I usually only get during the days leading up to opening day of the Whistler Bike Park... anticipation. Like you, I had only heard, read, and seen about it from what I could squeeze out of Keith and Jay so I was anxious to get my hands (and feet) on one and see for myself what all the hype was about. Then Jay dropped the bomb on me... "Hey Shin, why don't you take it up to Whistler this weekend?" WOW! The least I could do (other than give the bike back after I was done with it) was write up a little review. Most of my comparisons will be against the Chaparral. Mostly because it's the bike I've been spending the majority of my time on lately but also because it seems to be the bike it's compared to most due to it's design. More on that later.

Like any dualie, the suspension components will have a lot of influence on how a bike behaves. The Manitou ISX-6 and 1point5 Travis 180 Single are no different. It took a while to dial in the ISX-6. Since it has an infinite amount of adjustments you can literally dial this shock to perfection. The air spring along with it's numerous compression, rebound, and bottom out controls allow this. The 180mm Travis Single was great out of the box other than dialing in a bit of rebound and compression to match the rear. Avid Juicy 7 Brakes worked great as did the SRAM X9 shifting. The FUNN Hooka DH cranks performed flawlessly while maintaining an impressive weight to strength ratio. The Gamut chainguide worked flawlessly as well. The Formula/S-Type wheels mated to Kenda Nevegals did their duties as promised. The bike was finished off with a mix of Truvativ, FSA, WTB and FUNN parts. I ran the bike in the 6.5 inch setting which mated well with the 7 inch Travis up front. It all worked well together and built up to a respectable 39lbs. Not bad for a prototype with a burlier build.

Now the ride...

First off this bike begs to be jumped. It has nice 'pop' off the lips (more so than my Chaparral) and begs to be tossed around due to it's light weight and short stays. I'm not a slopestyle star by any means but jumping the Wildcard felt as natural as a thoroughbred does. So much so that I soon found myself overshooting a few of the landings. Thankfully the 6.5 inches of highly progressive travel happily soaked it up and saved me from a ride in the meat truck to the Whistler Clinic. Did I mention how nice it 'pops' off lips?

Like any Banshee, cornering was also second nature. The Wildcard held it's line through the many berms and off camber corners that Whistler has to offer. Banshee continues it's tradition of using internally ribbed stays for a laterally stiff rear end unmatched by any in the biz. The stiff short stays combined with the Wildcard's lowered BB make for one sharp handling ride.

Technical riding didn't seem to phase the Wildcard. Roots and rockgardens were relatively easy to maneuver through even though it isn't a 9" travel hill couch. It held it's line through the gnar without flinching. Tight switchbacks were handled with ease thanks to the single crown fork. I found myself almost riding the front end and swinging the rear around while taking tight corners at high speed. The Wildcard is very responsive to rider input.

Some of the differences between the Wildcard and Banshees of yore are immediately apparent. The swooping downtube and 1.5 headtube stand out the most. Subtle differences include the rocker arms which are machined out and sleeker than previous incarnations; the seatstay pivot, which is located lower on the strut; the top of the seatstay is machined out for weight savings; the dropouts are slightly modified and trimmed down for weight savings; the chainstay is shorter and more compact. What you can't see is the new system in the dropout pivot and the upcoming hydroformed tubes.

I honestly can't think of anything really wrong with the Wildcard. Riding this bike at Whistler was a real treat. There was a minor clearance issue with the seatstay making contact with the seat tube. It's my understanding this has been rectified. And there were some tire clearance issues... also corrected for production. Can't really fault it for those reasons. It was a pre-production prototype after all. It climbed surprisingly well, as do most Banshees. It descended like a champ. It descended so well I could see myself riding a Wildcard all summer long as my Whistler 'play bike'. This duty currently belongs to my Chaparral. Buh bye Chaparral, hello Wildcard??? Perhaps.....


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Status Report

We should have the Rune and Rampant samples done this week.
The Scythe should be pretty close to being finished, probably just a few more weeks and then we can post up the 3D model
Once the Scythe is done Keith will finish off the DH bike... known as the Banshee Legend MKI.
The new banshee graphics and the new aluminum headtube badge are done so I'll be throwing that up soon as well
Picked up a few new riders this year too... one of which has just finished up filming for NWD8, and will competing in most of the major slopestyle comps. Also have 3 other riders coming for Crankworx. Chris and Alan from, Australia, but also 2 BC boys and all will be riding the Wildcard.

Well Shin had the Wildcard up at Whistler the other day so I'll be jonesing to hear how it performed. I'll get him to write a quick review and throw it up here.

Thats it for now

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Another vid and some comments from Chris on the WC

Chris weighs in on his thoughts about the bike and another vid... some of the last part is of one of the other EV crew that doesn't ride for Banshee.

"Hey Jay, Keith

Here is a another video of us riding, it isnt that great and is a little repedative, if you would like, Al and myself can make a better freeride video and find a better host so the quality isnt shit.

Also attached is a picture of the wildcard i got before riding it. Probably gonna do a quick write up, will send you what i write as well.

So far the proto is sick. I know i am supose to tell you all the bad points about it but i am struggling. The only things i can see is that there is a bit of fat that could be trimmed off it. The pivot above the bottom bracket seems pretty over built and the rear chain stay still looks over built to. When playing around with it, it also seems as if the frame bottoms out on the seat tube but i am sure you guys have already seen that. At first i didnt like the 1.5 steerer tube but after being able to put a flat bearing cup inside it i really like it now. The bearings give it no rise in the front end yet there is plenty of clearance for the fork to spin under the frame and plenty of clearance from the pedal forward and front tyre.

i really like the geometry of 5inch front and rear travel. The short rear end makes it so much better to flip, whip and 360. On 360s the rear end of my bike would get caught up on the lip when carving which no longer happens. on backflips the long chain stays created a heavy rear end which you could feel upside down. it felt as if the rotation was being pulled around from the rear end, like a bottle quater filled with water, the wildcard feels like flipping a hardtail, very controlled. tail whips are also easier purly because it is so lite.

First jumping on the bike i noticed it pedalled really well. there is little to no bob in the susspension whilest pedaling. but as soon as you jump or hit a bump you can feel the susspension work. it is really cool. the first day riding it i felt comfortable on it within a few minutes and within a few hours it was like i had been riding it for months. suites my style of riding really well.

When actually looking at the design of the bike it does look really good, one of my favourite parts is the rocker plate design.

i have only done a bit of riding on the 6.5 inch rear end travel. Hopefully tomorrow i will do some more riding on the longer travel because i was unsure on the geometry so will get back to you on that.

So far i am very excited about it and will try and find something not to like about it.

Thanks Guys,
Chris Soininen"

He does mention there might be a fit issue with the seattube/seatstay yoke which I don't think Keith had any issues on his. We'll make sure to increase the tolerance if there is a problem which should be really easy to do.

Keith shouldn't give me pics he doesn't want showing up on the internet... he's not as angry as he looks in the pic... hahaha

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wildcard: testing for function and fit

Alan Hepburn and Chris Soinenen just sent me this... looks like their taking to the Wildcard like fish to water.
Chris has emailed back saying that you can really throw the bike around, " its really easy to do 360s on and I was nailing 95% of them by my 6th run"... "there's plenty of space between the fork crown and downtube as well as good space between the lead pedal and the front tire".

Friday, May 11, 2007

Rune Update

I should have something to show you guys pretty soon. Unfortunately, again the tubing molds will take a bit of time so we'll use a substitute downtube and top tube for the prototypes. All the CNC parts are completed and welding will begin this week.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Wildcard Prototype...

I've spent the last couple of days tracking down parts and building up the wildcard prototype for you all to see, so without further adieu... The Wildcard!
If you want to see bigger pics of the wildcard you can check'm out HERE

(please be aware that the tubes are mock ups of what will be non-gusseted hydroformed lighter sexy tubes)

Soooo... how does it ride??

Hmmn how to describe?

I would have to say that the word that springs to mind is FUN! It is soooo much fun! It feels nimble, aggressive and low. It is compact (as a slopestyle bike should be) yet the top tube feels a comfortable length (and I'm about 6'3"). It just makes you want to rail every corner, boost every jump and nail every line.

Now I like to be very honest with our riders, so I admit that the prototype has a few small faults, chiefly a lack of tire clearance for rear tire, but don't worry! I have already changed the models and drawings, and will send them to the factory to fix any issues before they hit full production so that it will not affect your ride! What can I say? That is what prototyping is for... to test and improve designs!

Ha, thats why I have been trying my best to snap or crack it, by landing drops to flat and pushing the bike into the ground (aka Harsh Hacking!) so far my attempts have been futile, I have even run the shock at half pressure so that it bottoms out really easily to try and stress and shock the frame, yet still the frame seems happy to just take it.

The geometry is as posted previously, and the frame weight... well the prototype weighed in at 7.8lbs, but it does not have the right tubes and has extra gussets etc... I suspect that the weight will drop to around 7.4lbs (for large) and closer to 7 for the small so I think we've managed to come really close to our initial target, but we will have to weight and see...

All I can say is that I am happy with how it looks and more importantly how it rides, it is just squishy fun on 2 wheels!

Also, thanks to Mike at Gamut USA for letting us prototype the P30 on this bike... and I think Jay is trying to get something going for a chain tensioner with YESS so that you can run it single speed.