Weight: 32.7 pounds
The Banshee Prime is a lot of fun. It devoured terrain and was stable without being ponderous on climbs, and it took every bit of 'oh shit' out of the de- scents on Pucker Up, the most taxing part of our all-mountain test. The stiff, sturdy frame gave testers confidence to catch more air on jumps with sketchy run-ins because the bike felt so stable through the rough stuff.
There's a mixed bag to having an all-mountain worthy 29er; it is a bit heavy, but the weight doesn't drain you massively since the bike rolls along well—yay, wagon wheels. It should also be noted that our model was almost a pound lighter than the pre-production version we tested last June.
To the uninitiated, the Banshee Prime can feel like an armful to manhandle about. Compared to the Tallboy LTc, it felt a bit more tankish and slightly less nimble, but it was still fun and allowed us to get up to the kind of speed where nimble is replaced by rad. It's also worth noting that this bike also man- ualed better than some of our 26-inch test bikes.
The Banshee Prime was even more efficient going up than the early prototype version we tested in June 2012, thanks to a more pedal-friendly le- verage ratio. Banshee also steepened the seat angle from 72 to 74 degrees, tightening the seated pedal stance. Flicking the lever to Trail mode on the Fox Float CTD rear shock did im- prove the pedaling platform while climbing, but we never felt the need to slap it all the way into Climb mode.
The replaceable dropouts—allowing for 142×12, 135 or even 150-millimeter rear ax- les—and adjustable bottom-bracket height are a perfect fit for this all-mountain take on the 29er, allowing everyone to tune the ride to their preferences.
For stylish riders who like to throw their bikes around, a 29er would probably not be the first choice in a bike. But for those who love to charge the rough stuff, the Banshee Prime is a prime candidate.
For more information on the Banshee Prime, go to www.bansheebikes.com