Thursday, November 6, 2008

An old friend of mine, and Banshee, is back on board!

Hello! Laydee arms here,

Well….it’s been a while. After working for Banshee Bikes back in 2004 with Jay and Keith I have always had an interest in the brand and their development as a company.

Back in the day (Jay, Andy and DH) in the old banshee office in North Van. Keith is the summer placement student taking the pic.

It all began after those endless summer days riding the mountains with Keith and the boys at Banshee. I was always asked by Jay when I got out there why I didn’t want a Banshee Scream. My naive answer was they were too heavy, hence the nickname 'laydee arms'.

In my rush to own a classic piece of biking design I decided to buy a second hand Yeti DH9, Lawwill at his best. The bike road well but due to its age it soon began to be known as the Yeti Spaghetti due to the amount of time it ended up being out of action. Beautiful bike but I think I bought a lemon.

Lemon spaghetti

The upside of this and due to the kind nature of the guy’s at Banshee I was able to try a number of the Banshee’s bikes around at the time. These being the since replaced Scream, Chaparral as well as the hardy Morphine and Scirroco.

Every one of the bikes had a similar confidence inspiring feel as they had been designed well for the job they were intended. The most memorable moment was when I borrowed the heaviest Banshee Scream they had to go ride the Shore. Let’s just say the moment came down as a piece of biking history (well mine at least)…. the Seymour Grind.

With its 3 piece steel cranks and Monster T’s the Scream came in at a mere 54lbs. Pedalling the Scream up Mt. Seymour to ride back down was a pleasant surprise, with its 32 tooth chain rings slapped on it, handled the climbs. It was hard work but it made it up. It was when the Scream was pointed down hill that it came to life and all that effort seemed justified. With its ability to take the tight corners and track well due to its stiff tight rear end and its ability to take big hits it inspired confidence to tackle some of the trickier and bigger sections of the Shore.

After the returning to the UK I took some time out from riding as I was suffering from the well known biker depression often suffered after riding in BC.

Twelve months later I found myself with another full on DH bike and I was asking myself… why, oh why, does the lure of the glamour of big bikes and professionals in all their bling suck us mere mortals into buying these thoroughbreds like the Sunday.

Epic backdrop of Andy racing in the Mega Avalanche

The Sunday was a great bike, but it was a bit of over kill for the UK tracks on my doorstep. It handled the Welsh and UK races well but after the third bearing change in a year and struggling hard to manage a semi-respectful 80th during the Mega Avalanche I started to think about what I really needed from a bike. As we all know there is not always the luxury of an uplift available and hauling DH bikes up the side of a hill isn’t fun.

Suddenly the heavenly gates opened and the light bulb switch flicked.

The Rune!

The Rune…..

I have always support the guys at Banshee as they have a good ethos and have always aimed to produce the best product for riders.

I had been talking with Keith for a while about the new line up of bikes at Banshee, it sounded like the rigs have been going through a complete re-vamp and had been hitting the gym to loose those extra pounds. The description of the Rune sounded like it was built for what I needed, able to handle downhill as well as the annoying, but somewhat frequent, ups that seep in and limit our enjoyment.

The truth is in the pudding I tell myself….. take the plunge….. then go out and ride the damn thing.

Straight out of the box the finish of the Rune was striking. Then it hits you the thought that has gone into the design the balanced use of CNC’d sections and hydro formed tubing to provide strength and stiffness where it’s needed in order to give it that Banshee feel whilst keeping the weight down. The attention to detail on the little things like cable routing also showed, especially when building it up.

Time to go ride!

As soon as I jumped on the bike it felt instantly comfortable and inspired confidence to hit things straight from the off.

Gettng a feel for the new rig

After having the Rune little over a month all I can say is good things, playing around with the bike on the Welsh hillsides the bike has done nothing but impress. It rails the corners and tracks magnificently due to the characteristic short stiff rear end whilst still being able to handle the rough stuff and big hits when needed. Needles to say this all comes with the added benefits that it can be pedalled uphill! Time to go explore I hear.

Just wanted to say great work guys all the hard work has paid off.

22 Pride.