Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wildcard Version 2.0- More than just a dream?

A follow up response to http://bansheebikes.blogspot.com/2009/08/banshee-wildcard-long-term-review.html

As my eyelids struggled to compete against the force of gravity, a few thoughts tripped on my mind’s doorstep. What if money grew on trees? What if first time homebuyers didn’t need a 25 year mortgage? What if I could change whatever I wanted on the Banshee Wildcard?

As my eyelids regained their crown as the daily Awake Champion, I began to contemplate the thoughts that only moments ago occupied my cerebrum. The first two questions were quickly dismissed as I remembered a wise and BIG philosopher once said, “Mo money, mo problems.”

But what if I could change whatever I wanted on the Banshee Wildcard? What would I change?

In my opinion, the Wildcard was initially designed as a slopestyle bike, but due to its versatile geometry it soon found its niche as a true jack-of-all-trades bike capable of slopestyle esque riding and freeriding. As a result, most riders who choose to purchase the Wildcard also spend a great deal of riding time on the trails.

With the above disclaimer in mind, there are three and a half revisions I would like to suggest. The first is revision is around the area of geometry. The Wildcard is an excellent all around platform suitable for climbing, jumping, descending, and cornering. However, I would like to see a slightly lower bottom bracket height of approximately ¾ of an inch (bringing the bottom bracket height to 13.15” on my current set up), and a slacker head angle by one degree (bringing my current head angle to 66 degrees), while the rest of the geometry numbers remain the same.

With a lower bottom bracket height, the Wildcard would have a lower center of gravity and in my opinion, be even better at railing through high-speed corners. With a slacker head angle, the Wildcard would be even more stable when pointed down steep descents. Of course the drawback of having a lower bottom bracket height means more bottom bracket, crank, and pedal smashes while having a slacker head angle means having a slower turning response for slopestyle maneuvers.

The second area of revision is around weight. While by no means heavy at 8.92lbs (for an anodized finish DHX air 5.0 equipped size small), a loss of ½ a pound would place the Wildcard ahead of its competitor the Transition BottleRocket and be one more reason to hand over the green (or brown bills) to Banshee Bikes.

The third area of revision is around appearance. With riding hotspots like Whistler peppered with wildly finished carbon fiber helmets and TLD superhero suits, riders are definitely spending money on their riding kits. My preference would be to see anodized links to colour match or colour clash the anodized finish on the Wildcard. Banshee specific decal kits (think Rock Shox like) for the wet paint Wildcards would also be a draw for all the sticker-crazed groms.

The last half revision is around price. The reason I claim this to be a half revision is because while the Wildcard is a fairly pricy frame, you definitely get what you pay for. It is a solid frame, backed by a great warranty, and a standup company. However in tough economic times, what will entice new riders to purchase a Wildcard over similarly priced frames? I believe my first three suggestions are the key.

Wildcard Version 2.0, am I still dreaming?

C.C.

9 comments:

Robert "Goulet" Dunnet said...

i have ridden and owned both a bottlerocket and a wildcard. both frames built with the same components. i am not into the weights of things other than my girlfriends so i do not know what the difference weight wise was. that being said i have found that my wildcard is a lot more stable in the air, easier to do tricks on and is easier to handle on fast tight trails. my bottlerocket did feel better on rooted out steep decents.
just my personal opinion, great reviews.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the geoometry changes fo sho! Banshee also need to make more tyre clearance on the seatstay wishbone so there's as much clearance as there is on the chainstay bridge. making les conspicuous cable guides like NS bikes use would also be a nice touch!

Kajetan said...

I ride transition double, and Dirtbag and i am thinking about jump to Banshee.
it's because I can change those two bikes on wildcard, buy AMP, and I would have than 3 bikes in price of 2!
My sugest changes are:
1-biger size should be only longer, not higher- to do Enduro, or Am you can always buy long seat post (I do sometimes XC on 14"double)But when you are tall slope style rider, you want to have longer, but still low frame... And small frame look's much better than bigger one, because of bending down tube- would be nice if Medium size heve it too.
2- in "slope" setup the travel could be a bit smaller-like 120mm. Most of riders ride slope on 100mm bikes...
3- fatter tubes in swingram would give nice "more like hardtail" look. Than they can be thinner, so maby you lost waight there...
3-Also Nice thing is reduced head tube from 1,5", to 1,1,8".

ras said...

I agree about appearance. IMHO Banshee did a great leap forward in 2008: graphics, color choices... But I reckon it has some (minor) details to improve: for instance I think the head badge/logo gives a cheap feeling; then those silver, round headed pivot bolts... they look cheap! Why don't you try some black/anodized ones? I think these are little details that could bring Banshee to the next level.

Anonymous said...

Im riding a Wildcard at the present and I only have to say one thing. Its allready lighter then the Bottle rocket, its handles amazing and its perfect for what it is marketed for : Slopestyle. Now i now lots of people now turn towards the rampant for SS but truth is many riders are not that smooth and the 5 inch wildcard provides a great platform for learning and saves ur ass on bigger stuff. Plus Banhsee offers a neat range of all mountain and freeride oriented frames that will do a better job than the Wildcard in the all mountain specter. Dont try to change the Wildcard into something it is not...

BKBroiler said...

I've been riding my WC for two summers now and have tried a 36 van RC2, 36 Talas RC2, Wotan and just purchased a Totem coil for it also. I have a DH wheelset and trail wheelset with corresponding brake rotors. I have settled on the Totem and the Talas respectively for DH and Trail. I will say that the slacker HA and lower BB would be great, .75' lower though....too much. I just rode Blue with the Totem on and the bike in 6+ setting after riding the previous weekend in 5' mode with the talas on set at 160mm. The bike needs to be raked out. One more degree would do it.

ctd07 said...

The Wildcard has great potential but definitely falls short in a few areas:

I agree with the geo changes, 1ยบ slacker HA and 0.75" lower bb (it comes out a bit higher than claimed from what i've measured [the frame is also heavier than claimed by 0.65lbs+]) would help it out.

I also would prefer a 12x135mm maxle rear end as this would give much better hub choices. There's also room to provide some additional tyre clearance at the top seatstay bridge, my wheel's constantly jamming up with leaves and mud in this area.

The point about the bearing plates is also very valid - take a lesson out of Giant and Corsair's books on this one - it makes a huge difference to the appeal of the bike; I'd also prefer a higher quality bearing housing assy as the linkage doesn't move very freely.

oh - and better paint!

Keith Scott said...

Good feedback guys.

I'll be redesigning the wildcard at some piint over the coming year to keep it up with the times. my thinking is very much along the lines of what I'm reading here so far... but am taking notes of everything being suggested.

Horst said...

slacker headangle and lower BB would be fine!
when I choose the 5.5" traveloption (with a 66 fork), the geo is like that and - for me - it feels better.
weight : if it would have the claimed weight it´s okay with me.
maybe maxle or syntace X12 instead of 10mm QR. and hardanodized dropouts, the paint wears off fast in this area.