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REVIEW

Banshee Titan - Part One

Words Andrew Major
Photos Deniz Merdano (And Noted)
Date Jan 13, 2021
Reading time

Part One

As anyone currently trying to maintain a mountain bike is undoubtedly aware, getting parts can be more than a little tricky. As it turns out, that is true both for riders and for bike brands. Banshee, a company with strong roots here in North Vancouver, was eager to send in one of their V3 KS-Link bikes for review but a slight problem arose because they needed every part they could muster to get paying customers sorted.

As it turns out, the sirens call of a 6" travel full suspension bike with a more centred weight balance than anything I've ridden shy of a DH bike (462mm chainstays, 470mm Reach, 1275mm wheelbase for a size large) was too much to resist. I bribed my Marin Alpine Trail with a fresh bearing kit and proceeded to steal all the parts off of it in order to get a Banshee Titan frame up and running. Even the rear shocks transfer across giving me multiple options to test out with this platform. I've never reviewed a frame-only setup before and it turns out that has some unique challenges.

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No, Banshee Bikes has not started speccing Magura brakes, North Shore Billet stems, Sensus Swayze push-on grips, Fasst Flexx bars, and Suntour forks. This is the build kit off of my Marin Alpine Trail.

The good news is that there is a lot of meat here with both juicy details and one seriously tough chunk that I'm going to have to find some way to marinate and tenderize before I'm going to be able to truly enjoy the bike, namely that very on-trend 77° effective seat tube angle (STA).

Banshee's designer Keith is a truly persnickety stickler for design details so I should note that the 77° effective STA is with a suspension fork with a 577mm axle to crown, the dropouts in the low position, and the saddle at 600mm. It's 76.5° at 700mm, 76.1° at 800mm, and 76.75° where the industry would nominally measure it. Details.

Framing The Titan

Choosing a frame size was a challenge. I'm 5'9" with T-Rex' ape index and Banshee would put me solidly on a medium frame. Even with a relatively tall 635mm Stack, the 445mm Reach and 595mm effective top tube length would have made this the smallest bike I'd ridden in years.

By choosing the large (5'11-6'4" per Banshee) I am failing to test one of my key theories about long chainstays, which is that the more balanced weight distribution delivers a pile of extra stability without the need for the longest rideable front-center and the accompanying super-steep seat tube angle.

In the end, I decided to stick with a large because it's the closest seated fit to my own bike, but that only came down to the STA. If the Titan was sitting closer to a 74.5° effective STA I would have stuck to their recomendation and ridden my first medium full suspension bike in some five years.

Banshee Titan NSMB Deniz Amajor (5).jpg

They had me at 460mm chainstays. I have the short dropouts (452mm) and the long dropouts (462mm) with the longer option currently installed. I'll also try the shorter setup in the name of science.

The Titan and all Banshee V3 frames use an arrangement of two forged and machined sections joined together by dual linkages. This means the alignment of the suspension system should be perfect. After I bolted on the dropouts, the axle slid in so well that I'd give Banshee credit for having at least matched the best-aligned full-suspension frames I've worked on.

I thought it might be polarizing, but like me, everyone who has looked at the frame has been very positive about the appearance of the shock-basket layout. It does limit shocks to some extent, (no Push 11-6, DVO Jade X / Topaz 2, and FAST Fenix) but Keith says the go-to upgrade is an EXT shock and that fits perfectly.

As nice as the welding is around the suspension system and as good as the alignment is, and as much as I love the satin finish, the Titan has a bit of an Ancillotti-factor with the headtube welds. It's not a structural concern but they're a bit bubblegum compared to other premium aluminum frames, and in particular other Banshee V3 frames I've seen in photos. For the record, this isn't something that bothers me in the slightest.

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Frameset looking sexy in satin. The headset cups come factory pressed for easy home builds. Photo: AM

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Weight includes dropouts, hardware, axle, headset cups, seat clamp, and a 205x65 Trunnion Fox Float X2. Photo: AM

The build was truly simple even with the extra step of mounting the dropouts. The headset cups come pressed in from the factory for the competent home mechanic who hasn't invested in a press, and the internal routing is a breeze to set up with zero faffing about with flashlights or dental picks. Nothing quite matches the tube-in-tube action of a carbon Yeti or Santa Cruz, but this is the cleanest, internally-routed, aluminum frame I've cabled. The exit ports are right-sized without requiring massive chunks of plastic to cover them.

A point I'm likely to come back to is that Banshee could use basic bicycle-grade cartridge bearings like everyone else in the industry, but they use excellent quality INA bearings instead. Knolly popularized using high quality bearings (INA as well) when they were making their frames in North America, but to the best of my knowledge, Banshee is the only other brand, aside perhaps from some boutique small builders, shipping frames with bearing sets of this quality. It's something that very few customers are going to notice up front, and maybe even long term, but I think it's a detail worth celebrating.

Trunnioned

I am not a fan of 'onion mount' but it's hard to hate on the way Banshee puts out their Trunnion package; perfect shock alignment thanks to the forged and machined frame members and linkages and large, high quality, bearings tying everything together. I'd wager the Trunnion bearings will still spin nicely after a year of riding, instead of a month, and that the Titan won't eat air shocks.

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Big, high quality, Trunnion mount bearings. Photo: AM

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Super stiff linkage assembly with INA bearings at every pivot point.

The rear forging is an awesome looking girder-style piece that screams high-end aluminum but may also cry out for a fender of some sort. I'm going to leave the tire to toss dirt all over the lower link to see how everything holds up with the high-quality cartridge bearings. The upper linkage is attached to that same rear forging via a pair of positively intimidating clevis pivot brackets; more evidence that the Titan comes by its 9.52lbs weight honestly. I'd still prefer the shock sizes of old, but between making room for metric shocks or running Trunnion, I would put my money on Trunnion if every company went with bigger, better, bearings and a focus on frame alignment.

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The upper and lower links join the two forged and machined frame sections together. Photo: AM

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No shortcuts to save weight or costs. There's a reason the frames last like they do and weigh what they will.

The Marshmallow

Does it seem like during the shortened 2020 Enduro & DH race season a lot of Fox sponsored athletes who were previously all-in on air shocks were suddenly sporting coils? My theory is that the 2021 Float X2, which "CHANGES EVERYTHING" kind of sucks. Sorry. This is despite the new chassis, new damper, new air seals, new shaft finish, and making room for that new independent climb circuit. I'm not an engineer or suspension tech, so maybe I just can't get this shock setup properly. Then again, I've had good riding experience with various levels of Fox's Float X2 air shock in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

The Titan is still a truly capable bike with the X2 installed but as soon as I tried other shocks the bike absolutely came alive. It gave up nothing smashing down Ned's in a straight line and became a much more positive, playful, friendly steed. I've been riding it with an SR Suntour TriAir and the Cane Creek Double Barrel Coil off my Marin and both are a night-and-day improvement over this Fox. I reached out to a fair few folks who are familiar with the current Float X2 and I'm satisfied that this is not an experience specific to the example I've been using. If I was doing the spec on the Titan I would either spec the Fox DPX2 air that comes on the shorter travel versions of the V3 Banshee frames or a RockShox Super Deluxe.

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I had good experiences with 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 Float X2 shocks of multiple levels but I couldn't get this 2021 Performance shock to play really nicely.

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I'm working on a review of the Suntour TriAir shock which is a sleeper hit at 425 USD. It complements the Titan very well. Photo: AM

Having seen so many poorly set up shocks over my years working with mountain bikes, Banshee's shock spec. makes perfect sense to me. Having fewer user adjustments, rather than the six or more adjustments found on the highest-end dampers, keeps it simple and keeps prices down.

Some riders will want the additional adjustments and performance, but the chances of Banshee equipping the 'right' premium shock for even half their potential buyers - at an increased price for their frames - are slim to none. For example, Keith at Banshee mentioned that many discerning customers are choosing to keep their Fox shock as a spare and buying a custom EXT. At 2350 USD for a Titan frameset it's easy to justify a high-end shock (EXT, Ohlins, Formula, etc) and still come in under a lot of frame-only options with inferior dampers.

Getting Up

You may love climbing the Titan. I do not. At least not as the bike currently sits, but that all comes down to the steep seat tube angle, which apparently is something most riders are looking for in a mountain bike, full-suspension or hardtail. I find that from my perch I cannot create much power. Sure, I can spin along in an easy gear all day but that's never been my style of getting up the hill.

I recognize that this Deore build with Bontrager DH tires and a Durolux fork is not a particularly light package and I'm certainly not expecting it to climb like a carbon XC bike. I would just like to be in a position where I can slowly, and comfortably, grind up the climbs instead of that having that perched triathlon-bike feeling 'everyone' seems to be going for these days.

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There are two numbers that folks find surprising with the Banshee V3 frames. The chainstay lengths and the headtube lengths.

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The 130mm headtube | 644mm Stack on this size large frame have me all but slamming my stem with a 25mm rise bar.

The platform pedals nicely with an active shock like the TriAir wide open, in terms of traction and efficiency, even at the deep end of its recommended sag range, (28-32% | 15.5-17.8mm) while the descending performance of the suspension design is also very good .

I'm not someone who minds using a switch on my shock if it means I can optimize my XC and DH experiences with the same bike. I'd prefer that to a long(er) travel bike that's biased towards climbing at the cost of DH performance. I use the trail mode setting (mid-compression) on the TriAir for long, steep, singletrack climbs and the firm setting for pavement, but for short uphill sections the Titan pedals so well it's not worth the effort to reach down.

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If you can look past the super cute pooch, I think this photo does a good job of showing saddle position relative to the bottom bracket. That's a steep STA.

I'm running a 40mm stem with a bar cut to 770mm. I'm used to riding a bike that's a bit big, and I think there is ample room for a larger rider on this frame, but it doesn't feel huge when I'm sitting on it and spinning away. Banshee does also make an XL.

Likewise, out of the saddle, I am used to standing and cranking on the bar of my Waltworks, which is even longer, so I find the reach comfortable as well. The long chainstays never feel too long going up switchbacks while I think a long front end is more unwieldy.

I'm not taking the whole climbing experience sitting down, and I'll have a thorough update on how I'm making the Titan work for me for part two of my review. I have already installed a Bontrager Verse saddle, with long rails, and I'm looking at dropper post options with setback. I'm planning to over-fork the bike by installing the Manitou Mezzer 180mm which is both a bit longer (axle-to-crown) and rides higher in its travel. Actually, if it weren't for the fact that Banshee recommends only using a single crown fork on this bike,* I think the rear suspension design is good enough that I could easily pair it with an even longer travel dual crown fork. I'll come back to this a little further down because the combination of adjustment available at the rear wheel and the very steep STA cries "MULLET!!!" so loudly that I gave it its own section.

*a dual crown fork voids Banshee's warranty

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I'm intent on making the Titan work for me uphill. For now I'm running a long-railed Bontrager Verse saddle but I'm also looking into offset dropper options. Photo: AM

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There's also going to be a bit of sucking it up and learning to spin rather than grind. The Deore 12spd makes for a 32x52t easy gear so there's lots of range there.

Going Down

I'm a bit fan of the longer rear stays. So much so that I wish Banshee would go full nerd-brand and offer even more options for those of us who would like to try them. And instead of just low and high, let's get a few more height adjustments in there. Heck, they could add super-low and Banshee Scream-high. Options!

Beyond the fact that I'm enjoying the long-long chainstays immensely, I actually don't have a tonne to say about descending on the Banshee Titan at this point. Over a dozen rides, I've been on two forks and three shocks and I've been playing with tires and brakes as well so drawing any conclusions about performance would be premature.

Between the poles of stable and playful, I doubt it's much of a surprise that the Titan is more of a dreadnought than a schooner. I think folks that have ridden V2 Banshees will feel instantly at home as will riders trading in their DH bike for an Enduro machine. I'm not having trouble maneuvering the Titan at slow speeds on uphill or downhill tech, but the long chainstays and ample suspension travel mean the bike is more fun when it can be opened up.

It is my intention to have a lot more to say about sag, suspension setup, and shock spec for part two, but thus far I find that coil or air, I prefer to sit closer to the max recommended sag (32%) as opposed to the min (28%).

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If this was my personal bike I would fashion a little fender. In the name of science I'm going to let it play out and see how the, high-quality, bearings hold up. Photo: AM

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As internal cable routing on aluminum frames goes, Banshee has amongst the cleanest looking and quickest to install on the market. It is not dead silent but I'm working on it.

For a bike that likes to be run with a fair amount of sag, the Titan actually rides quite high in its travel and I'd say the 155mm rear travel is best paired with a 170mm or even 180mm suspension fork. This bike likes to go faster than I do and a Titan owner is going want to focus on getting some big-ass brakes for when the time comes to rein speed in.

I'm surprised Banshee didn't spec. a coil shock because the Titan is so well suited to a spring. If I wasn't testing the Suntour I would happily run the CaneCreek Coil CS shock, off my Marin, without a second thought.

I've always been a little suspicious of rear travel numbers and between the soft initialization and progressive ramp up through the travel, I would say the Titan feels like it has more than 155mm (6") of travel coming down. That's true even running about 30% sag. At the same time, I've ridden other bikes that claim more millimeters but feel like they have less travel.

Most full suspension bikes coming on the market in the last couple of seasons are designed around very high volume air shocks, or coil shocks, with quite a bit of progression through the travel. I don't know if this comes down to specific suspension designs or how companies measure travel, but the Titan is said to work with a range of fork travel from 160-180mm. I'd err towards the larger number when it comes to getting the front/rear suspension balance dialed in, as much for uphill as down. I'm currently running a 170mm Durolux EQ while I finish my review and then I plan to pop the 180mm Manitou Mezzer on the front.

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I've been playing around with a circa 2005 Magura Gustav floating caliper that I've had since that era. No boring bikes!

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Maybe I just have wussy digits, but I think carbon lever blades are a godsend in the winter. No truly-frozen fingers.

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This is an original MT-7 caliper. I bought it used maybe six years ago from my friend Japan-Dan. and it's still working as new.

It hasn't been an issue for me, but one thing to note for the Titan-curious rider is that there is only so much room for seat post insertion and the seat tube lengths are fairly long compared to where other companies have gone with their sizing. This is going to limit dropper post lengths for some riders, especially if they are wanting to run 200mm+ dropper posts.

I have the travel adjustable PNW Rainier IR set at 160mm travel using flat pedals and that gives me just a bit of wiggle room to adjust my saddle lower if needed. If I wanted to go longer travel then a OneUp dropper post would let me run 170mm for certain and maybe even 180mm thanks to the different actuator dimensions.

Born To Mullet?

I just need to track down a 27" wheel and I'll happily be trying the mixed-wheel program with this Titan. The Banshee has two features going for it when it comes to its mullet-ability. First, the high setting on the dropouts is born to compensate for a smaller hoop - where riders will otherwise use the low - and there's also the steep seat angle that will still be in the steep category even with a smaller back wheel.

I'm looking forward to slacking out my climbing position and the excellent suspension characteristics of the Titan should keep me from missing the bigger hoop during technical climbs or on descents. My past mullet experiences have resulted in frustration when the rear wheel fought to roll over square roots and rock hits.

I've been mullet curious - if not #HotForMullet - for a long time now but my hardtail experiences were only okay and the full suspension bikes I've played with were 27" bikes with a longer fork and bigger 29" front wheel added. In the case of the full suspension bikes, this made for a non-optimized climbing position but I think that may come down to the fact the seat tube angles weren't that slack to begin with.

Banshee doesn't have a dedicated mullet bike yet and with the ability to offer extensive dropout options beyond the short and long options they currently have, positioned high or low, they probably don't need to. The big question for an enduro-travel mullet is whether to start with the 27" Rune V3 or the 29" Titan V3 and that's one I'm happy to debate.

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Simple, beefcake, and full of potential beyond short & long and high & low. I'm a huge fan of Banshee's modular dropouts and the potential to offer endless options for the bike nerds out there. Photo: AM

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I can't see myself ever running the high position - steeper STA and higher BB - with dual 29" wheels. It may be the secret to dialing in a mullet setup though.

One other advantage of the Banshee's dropout system, for those doing frame-up builds, is that they still sell dropouts to run the bikes as 142x12 as opposed to 148x12. If you have a nice pair of wheels and a decent build kit that are looking for a new home, any of Banshees V3 bikes should be on your radar. Whether Banshee offers more dropout options in the future or not, the frame-only pricing, and lack of weird standards, is very friendly to an upgrade.

Progressing To Part Two

Between finding my ideal setup with the TriAir and CCDB Coil CS, playing around with fork travel, mulleting the bike, playing with saddle position, trying different cockpit setups, and any other parts testing opportunities that find their way onto the Titan, I am expecting to have a lot more to say about the bike a few months down the road when I wrap my review. I've had a dozen good rides and it's been enough to see the potential of the relationship even if the Banshee and I aren't in love at this point.

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They offer complete bikes, but I think Banshee's V3 frames all best lend themselves to an individual riders imagination.

This modular frame feels right at home with a very modular build and while Banshee offers complete bikes, I think their V3 frames are best suited to imaginative builds. Whether it's min-maxing the highest performance from a 2350 USD | 3250 CAD frameset or transferring over a hodgepodge of parts from another vessel as I've done, I can imagine that there is a lot of very interesting Banshee Titan builds out in the world.

I'm looking forward to playing with this frame for a few more months while I work on the full review. If you're hungry for more right now, you'll find it on Banshee's Titan page

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Comments

cheapondirt
+1 Andrew Major
cheapondirt  - Jan. 12, 2021, 11:39 p.m.

A Banshee would be my #1 choice for a new frame only purchase. Seems like it'd be a joy to build up and pretty good to ride as well.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 7:15 a.m.

Even though it’s a premium over buying a more basic complete (like my Alpine Trail 7), I think there’s still a very strong value argument: price v. design v. quality.

STA aside, the Phantom would already be super high on my list for a personal bike (shorter travel + slack is my personal preference).

Reply

cheapondirt
+1 Andrew Major
cheapondirt  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:52 p.m.

And that's saying something.

It'd be a Rune for me. I had my eye on the V2 when they were clearing those out... Next time!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Mammal
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 11:06 p.m.

Had a decent debate today about whether the Rune or Titan would make for a better long travel mullet. All the V3 models are interesting machines.

Reply

mikeynets
+1 Andrew Major
mikeynets  - Jan. 14, 2021, 7:37 p.m.

Keith @ Banshee has said the best way to approach mullets for Banshee frames is from the 29er platforms. I'm certain he knows more about bikes in general and definitely Banshee bikes than I do, but I have a V3 Spitfire and for my goals, I think using that as a platform for a mullet makes a lot of sense. As bike bike sits now with a 150mm Pike, I'd like a little more stack (moved all parts from an older build, no wiggle room on the steerer tube) and also wouldn't mind the slightly higher BB. Definitely don't need to change anything, but changing things up is fun.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 17, 2021, 12:46 p.m.

I've been sitting on this for a bit as I've been accused in the past of "thinking [I] know more than the person who designed the bike [I'm] riding" which is never my intention. I just like playing with stuff and I'm happy to share what works for me when it works for me

I've looked extensively at the V3 Rune v. this Titan in terms of mulleting the bike and I think either way you're getting a slacker HTA/STA and then the dropouts do give you some room to play with BB height. 

Maybe with a Rune I would drop the fork travel a little bit whereas with the Titan I'm boosting the fork travel, but again I'd be riding either set up on the same trails. Anyways, an interesting thought exercise. 

If it's any consolation, I've talked to a number of riders with more mullet experience than myself, and consistently the folks who have been happiest with their conversions around here have started with a 27" frame.

sanesh-iyer
+1 Andrew Major
Sanesh Iyer  - Jan. 17, 2021, 12:53 p.m.

I'm going to take a shot in the dark here Andrew and guess people who mullet prefer a 275 platform because of  CS length. A reason to mullet is "nimbleness" and a 275 rear end is typically shorter.

I'm speculating, but I think part of the reason for recommending mullets start with 29er frames is testing (29er forks are longer, which will effect how the bikes are certified) and clearance (tire/frame buzz can happen). Guesses.

Kenny
+1 Andrew Major
Kenny  - Jan. 17, 2021, 3:13 p.m.

I mentioned it below but I also think it's better to start with the 27.5 version largely because even with the dropouts adjustment most bikes these days just cannot afford the reduction in BB height. 

Yeah the total geo change is less when mulleting a 29er since it's only the radius change of the rear, and not the radius change plus the axle to crown change of going 29er front on a 27.5 bike, but I'd rather a higher BB 99% of the time.

I also don't love steep seat tubes, I've been thinking about buying a current model 5010 with the option to mulletize. It would be a 130/130 travel mullet bike with approx 64 degree head angle and 75.5 degree STA. Which sounds like a bike I'd like to ride. Oh yeah.

Spitfire would be good too.

DadStillRides
+1 Andrew Major
DadStillRides  - Jan. 17, 2021, 5:02 p.m.

What fork travel would you go with for a mullet Spitfire, Kenny?

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 18, 2021, 10:29 a.m.

I don’t know about CS length - I prefer longer which is certainly a reason for me to mullet a 29’er (for example RMB Altitude 27 CS Long is the same as 29 CS short). 

I would have thought the 29’er would win based on the smaller geo change (no fork swap as noted) but it’s a great point about BB height. Bikes are so low now that actually bumping up the fork (over-forking without adding travel) could be a feature.

Nordyy
+1 Andrew Major
Nordyy  - Jan. 12, 2021, 11:59 p.m.

I just built one up coming off a Niner Rip 9 RDO and love it

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 7:17 a.m.

You went Titan over Prime coming off the RIP?

Any photos? Curious about the build - specifically tire choice.

Also, what length drop outs did you choose?

Reply

Nordyy
+1 Andrew Major
Nordyy  - Jan. 13, 2021, 2:47 p.m.

Banshee TitanI wanted a bigger travel bike here in AZ it fits my riding style better. I’m running a 29er set up.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 11:07 p.m.

Thanks, but the photo didn't show up. What's the URL for it and I can post it?

Reply

Nordyy
+1 Andrew Major
Nordyy  - Jan. 13, 2021, 2:47 p.m.

I wanted a bigger travel bike here in AZ it fits my riding style better. I’m running a 29er set up.

Reply

AntonyD
+6 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Cam McRae Lynx . DadStillRides DancingWithMyself
Antony Diamantopoulos  - Jan. 13, 2021, 4:05 a.m.

I have a Titan in large size and the same raw aluminium colour for a couple of months now and Andrew's write up reminds me why NSMB is for me the best for bike reviews. 

Frame alligmnet is what had me the first time I put the axle on and easy cable managment is a fact (tip: use a cable foam cover for a dead silent bike).

At 5'11" a find size L to be ok but would consider an XL if a was a bit taller. I like the steep SA but can see a point in Andrew's concern about not being able to put a lot of power down if seated a lot forward.

Currently running a 2020 Fox Float X2 Factory with zero issues, but has a bit of a "dead" filling. Would love to try coil front to back and maybe a mullet setup (i live in a very rocky area so i am a bit worried about 27.5 wheels having a smaller roll over angle).

Thanks for the great write up and being looking forwrd to part 2!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 7:24 a.m.

I had good experiences with the 2020 Floats (just have to keep those seals lubed) and would definitely take one over this 2021.

This TriAir has been a hit for its price (have a Teardown/Review coming) but I’m excited to just get on my CCDB and ride. 

I know they aren’t cool because they’ve been around forever, but I do think performance v purchase price v quality v longevity the CCDB Coil is the value leader on the market. 

Interesting re. sizing as 5’11 still puts you at the shallow end of the predicted size pool for this bike. What length stem you running? How much taller do you think you’d be (6’?) to jump to the XL.

Reply

AntonyD
0
Antony Diamantopoulos  - Jan. 14, 2021, 2:54 a.m.

I have a 35mm length stem, with zero spacers under and a 800mm bar.

I think if i was and inch taller an XL would have been definitely the go to size.

Reply

leon-forfar
0
leon-forfar  - Jan. 15, 2021, 11:11 a.m.

Huh! I've had 2016, 2018,2019, 2020 Float X2s and am now on the 2021 on my trail bike, (as well as 2020 DHX2 and 2021 DHX2 on the DH bike), and I MUCH prefer the 2021 Float X2 and DHX2 to their predecessors. So much more support, while still having all the traction.

Reply

leon-forfar
0
leon-forfar  - Jan. 15, 2021, 11:11 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

Lynx
+5 Vik Banerjee Andrew Major Timer Pete Roggeman Paul Stuart Bogey stiingya
Lynx .  - Jan. 13, 2021, 4:54 a.m.

Andrew, so nice to finally find another who understands my disdaine for silly steep STAs and the why of it. You said and explained it all, so I won't bother to try. 

Really surprised that you went for the Large with that 470mm Reach, can't fathom how someone that's only 5'9" can ride such a big bike, while me, 6'2" would run anywhere from that to about 485mm Reach using 40-50mm stems. I think that you would have been better suited and happy getting the Medium and a 9point8 dropper with the setback head to open up the seated pedaling aspect.

As to how you got your review sample, I think that's how every reviewer should get frames for review, because you're reviewing the frame, not the parts someone happened to choose to hang on it. Then like you have, you try different parts and evaluate it independently of the parts and find out what works/helps it perform good and what doesn't - FOX X2 it would seem.

Will be interesting to hear what you think when you mullet it. I've run 650B 2.8" on my Prime to see what it was like and I definitely didn't get that normal feeling that regular width 650B tyres get compared to 29ers of hanging up on stuff. The one thing it did do was make it more of a monster truck, which it really didn't need any more of for how I like to ride and the terrain we have.

Reply

Vikb
+2 Lynx . Andrew Major Bogey stiingya
Vik Banerjee  - Jan. 13, 2021, 6:20 a.m.

I'm kind of hoping the bike industry would just get to 90 deg STAs soon so that they can then unleash new and improved slacker STAs as features in their up coming bikes. ;-)

Ya maybe 9.8 would provide a setback dropper for review?...assuming the seated reach to the bars still works if you move the saddle 1" backwards.

When I bought my last FS 29er [GG Smash] I had to decide between large with a steep STA and straight dropper or medium with setback dropper and somewhat tamed STA. I went with the later and am glad I did.

FWIW - the Titan looks great and I appreciate all of Banshee's attention to detail. I've spent some time ogling the raw Phantom V3. The long CS and steep STA give me pause though. I do get tempted back to their site though and in a moment of weakness I could see myself undertaking an expensive demo.

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Lynx
0 Vik Banerjee Allen Lloyd Bogey Cr4w jaydubmah stiingya
Lynx .  - Jan. 13, 2021, 6:45 a.m.

The big problem I see is humans innate proclivity to be lazy, so these super steep STAs couple with silly 52t cogs paired to 30t rings help to promote that, along with the mainstream media always featuring DH oriented type riding and bagging on the ups or nice all day XC/Trail epics with maybe some seriously steep ups and downs thrown in, all handled by a single bike. Won't even get started on the damn money grab with the moto-bikes :-\

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AndrewMajor
0 Bogey stiingya
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 7:40 a.m.

I know some folks who really love super steep STAs. They all live at the bottom of mountains and pedal-and-plunge and even more than that they find they create power well in that position.

It’s great there are bikes for them!

I look at a bike like the new Stumpjumper and the geo screams Andrew... wanted to ride one so badly... until I see that ~77* STA. It just seems every company is going that way so now I need to figure out work arounds to make the bikes fit me. Which is why I didn’t shy away from the Titan.

As to cog size. On my Marin I basically never used the 51t cog with my 32t ring. Would have happily ditched it. On the Banshee I’m in it regularly. Same build between the bikes.

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craw
+2 Andrew Major stiingya
Cr4w  - Jan. 13, 2021, 10:32 a.m.

It's pretty clear that steeper ESTA work for some people and not for others. It also makes sense that slacker ESTA in smaller sizes and steeper for the bigger sizes makes sense. Is it so inconceivable that different strokes for different folks?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 12:23 p.m.

In general terms I agree there should be an element of size-specific STAs. But I also know lots of shorter folks who like that straight over the BB action.

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MarcusBrody
0 Andrew Major stiingya
MarcusBrody  - Jan. 14, 2021, 3:35 p.m.

I'm just slightly confused why no company has created an extra long rail saddle. It seems like just a few extra cms of saddle adjustability could prevent a lot of STA complaints on both ends of the spectrum.

AndrewMajor
+2 stiingya DancingWithMyself
Andrew Major  - Jan. 14, 2021, 3:38 p.m.

Seat rails are a weak point if the saddle is pushed rear wards (have seen plenty of bent/broken ones). I think the answer is a flippable seat clamp that can offer offset front and rear.

bogey
-1 stiingya
Bogey  - Jan. 17, 2021, 8:19 a.m.

I’m up there in height @ 195cm and find that super steep STAs are a hindrance to making power. Good thing that most bikes that are listed at 76-78 degrees seem to fall to 73-75 at my seat height because of the slack actual STAs. 74-75 is my sweet spot for powering steep climbs while keeping the front end tracking. Steeper than that and I feel like I’m tiptoeing up climbs. For more rolling terrain, like Galbraith, a steep seat angle fells absolutely terrible because fork is weighted too heavily. 

Years of road and TT riding have taught me that I cannot generate power with such a steep STA. On a TT bike, the steep STA is only usable because you’re finding a balance between power and aerodynamics. 

I almost feel that the industry knows this so they publish steep STAs in geo charts only to have them fall in a more balanced range when the saddle is at climbing height.

jaydubmah
+5 Timer 4Runner1 Mammal whateverbr0 stiingya
jaydubmah  - Jan. 13, 2021, 10:03 p.m.

That's a pretty broad brush you're wielding there Lynx assuming that people who enjoy bikes with super-steep STA's and big cassettes are "lazy".

There are places in the world where the terrain works great for big cassettes and big rides. Personally, I think it's great that we've got all these choices.

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AndrewMajor
-1 stiingya
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 7:34 a.m.

Yeah, now you know why I’ve had offset droppers eating my brain!

I could easily still fit this frame with 25mm to 35mm setback. Whether that comes down to me being used to V2 or there size chart is a bit skewered is going to come down to an individual rider’s take I think.

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stiingya
0
stiingya  - April 6, 2021, 3:43 p.m.

Sorry for those who struggle with steeper STA's the last couple of years. BUT for all of us taller peeps who have struggled with stupidly slack STA's on L and XL FS bikes our whole adult lives it is about time everyone else have STA struggles! :)

For real though it was great that you blogged your experience. SO many people just spit venom when a STA/Geo doesn't exactly suit their needs without looking into how they could adapt...

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AndrewMajor
0 Lynx . stiingya
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 7:32 a.m.

So my Walt V2 has a 1cm longer Reach and a slacker STA but a large amount so this bike both feels smaller and is smaller to the machine I’m best acquainted with. 

I could definitely ride a large still even with a much slacker STA, just based on personal preference and what I’m used to but I would have been keen to trying the medium with a 50mm stem and wider bar.

I’m excited to sort out a 27” wheel to try. I think it will do good things with the HTA and STA here for me. I’m not really worried about hanging up the wheel on this bike - the suspension is great.

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andrewbikeguide
+2 Andrew Major stiingya
AndrewR  - Jan. 13, 2021, 10:14 a.m.

One has to be careful (which I know you know) when comparing STA on a HT to a FS. The FS STA naturally becomes effectively slacker at sag.

If you organise the set back head from 9point8 I have a 175 x 31.6 9point8 Fall line you can borrow for the test (workshop emergency spare) as I am curious to discuss the results too.

At 188 cm/ 84 cm inseam/ 798 mm saddle top to centre BB seat tube length, on a 2020 Norco Sight, I personally think that the 77º STA (and the size specific long chain stays) is the best thing that has happened to an XL 150-170 mm travel FS bike, an evolution that is right up there with the invention of the dropper post. In fact I ride it more than I ride my 2020 Optic mainly because of the better position the STA puts me in for seated technical climbing (the Optic has the saddle rails further forward (and a 5mm shorter stem) to get the same effective cockpit/ reach).

I think I might have found my next aluminium frame and for all those that are going to point out the frame set cost it is still cheaper than sourcing a Geometron/ Nocilai or RAAW Madonna V2 which were the current options until this frame was released.

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AndrewMajor
-1 stiingya
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 12:25 p.m.

Yes, this is precisely why bikes like the Honzo ESD and Marin El Roy and Chromag Doctshawk blow my mind. I can’t pedal those STAs on an FS bike never mind a hardtail where they’re steeper with Sag.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 11:10 p.m.

*Removed due to incorrect info*

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sanesh-iyer
+1 Andrew Major
Sanesh Iyer  - Jan. 14, 2021, 7:19 a.m.

Is it 30.9 or 31.6? Geo chart says 31.6

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 14, 2021, 7:47 a.m.

You are correct, sorry. In my mind I had pulled my seat post across from the Marin; however, I did swap it out.

pete@nsmb.com
+3 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian cheapondirt
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:15 a.m.

I made a comment down below, but yes, frame tests are interesting for different reasons than complete builds. Depends in large part on the reader: for some of you, your next bike will be chosen based on brand or model or price (or what your LBS has in stock) whereas others will always want to start with a frame and go from there - or port parts over from one frame to another. 

From our side, building frames up allows us to test multiple components at once and control that part of the process, but it's also a lot more work and organization. Equal list of pros and cons.

We'll continue to primarily test complete builds due to simplicity, but we'll also look for frame test opportunities - and it's good to know they're appreciated.

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sanesh-iyer
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Sanesh Iyer  - Jan. 13, 2021, 5:15 a.m.

I had a hard time finding a size too. Eventually I settled on a medium, which is certainly shorter than my Chromag (which is borderline too large for me).  I've ridden bikes as large as the large and know they're too big for me. Tough call though. 

I'll be able to put the long stay shorter reach theory to the test.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 7:41 a.m.

Cool, Titan over Prime (or Phantom?)

What dropouts did you go with?

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sanesh-iyer
+3 Andrew Major Cr4w jaydubmah
Sanesh Iyer  - Jan. 13, 2021, 7:51 a.m.

Short. I'll probably buy some long ones to try out too, I kinda regret not ordering both off the bat but this was supposed to be a budget build and that's failing to be the case (I can't help it if I like to buy parts that last forever). 

I wanted a brawler to complement my Chromag. It's been a long time since I owned a bike with more than 120mm of travel and I had a few big crashes this year pushing my limits with no margin for error. I figure this is my two bike fleet. 

I do love my steep STAs, spinning gear, and road bike pedalling position. I live far from mountains and ride from home (VGH to the shore or Coquitlam or the coast). I don't think I'm that slow and lazy either. While I remember a day of 32/36 being revolutionarily easy 1x, my rides are WAY with more vert now and I enjoy my 32/46. Titan will be 32/52. But my use case is perhaps unique.

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denomerdano
+2 Andrew Major Sanesh Iyer
Deniz Merdano  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:03 a.m.

You are a pedaling beast Sanesh! 

Excited for your squishy bike!

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AndrewMajor
0 Sanesh Iyer stiingya
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:31 a.m.

There’s personal preference, physiology, and then also what we’re used to - Chromag has fairly steep STAs to very steep STAs for hardtails given they get steeper with sag. 

I recognize I’m more of a masher than a spinner and I’m okay with that.

All that said, have to argue re. “the road bike pedaling position.” The majority of road bikes put you in a position relative the BB that I would prefer.

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sanesh-iyer
+1 Andrew Major
Sanesh Iyer  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:40 a.m.

Totally. My 2012 Slayer had a 75 STA so like... Honestly I spent so much time on that bike as a guide, during puberty, that it certainly affected how I prefer my bike fit now. 

Interesting. I'm going to have to take some time to take some photos and videos of myself riding from the side, I have a hard time visualizing it. I know the upper body position that feels best climbing but the leg mechanics I don't have a great sense of other than "feel".

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AndrewMajor
0 Sanesh Iyer stiingya
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:32 a.m.

I went long to start as that matches up with my hardtail but I need to try the short as, well, this definitely isn’t a hardtail!

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sanesh-iyer
+1 Andrew Major
Sanesh Iyer  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:46 a.m.

Yeah. The medium titan has a 12mm longer wheelbase than my Chromag despite the shorter reach. Like 35mm stay length increase. Definitely a different bike. 

Honestly when I bought my Chromag I wasn't that discerning. I just wanted an aggressive 29er hardtail and bought the Chromag that was in stock. I wanted a medium but ended up with an M/L and had no say in colour due to inventory. It ended up being beautiful and, dare I say it, game changing bike for me. I put a 34 on it because I couldn't afford a 36. I'm almost sad to ride another bike.

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AndrewMajor
0 Sanesh Iyer stiingya
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:57 a.m.

I’m the same way with my V2. Can’t ride rigid all the time (body just can’t) but it’s almost unfair to other bikes because that bike is just right. 

Very nice problem to have mind you! Both the having a bike that I really love and the having multiple rigs to choose from.

craw
+1 Mammal
Cr4w  - Jan. 13, 2021, 10:28 a.m.

Hang on hang on. VGH to Coquitlam? I'm trying to imagine riding from here to Eagle, doing a full climb-descent and back. Wow. Nice.

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sanesh-iyer
+2 Cr4w Andrew Major
Sanesh Iyer  - Jan. 13, 2021, 10:53 a.m.

Burke usually. Gotta do more than one up and down to make the haul worth it.  I'm carless and have time/riding is a priority. Night lights and good clothes are key, especially in winter, but even then I'm fully packless (frame bag life). 

I used to take transit, but COVID shut that down and I discovered that riding was the same time anyways. Fitness caught up quick even though I ride a desk for my day job. There's a few other car-free care-free people I met over the course the season, which was a really pleasant upside to an otherwise disaster of a year. Join us. 

It's really satisfying to ride from home. If you can deal with the tire and drivetrain wear it's well worth it.

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craw
0
Cr4w  - Jan. 13, 2021, 12:07 p.m.

Burke is even further! What route do you take from VGH to Burke?

AndrewMajor
+1 Mammal
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 12:27 p.m.

Damn. Feeling so lazy suddenly. 

Can’t even complain about not having time... there’s always lights.

sanesh-iyer
+1 Andrew Major
Sanesh Iyer  - Jan. 13, 2021, 2:33 p.m.

Admittedly  Burke is a weekend adventure, not after work so it takes plenty of time and I usually stop for a beer. I've always just followed Google maps which ends up being a pretty boring ride through neighborhoods with no bikelanes after adanac. Would love a better suggestion that doesn't involve an SFU summit

Morox
+2 Andrew Major Mammal
Brian Moreaux  - Jan. 13, 2021, 2:51 p.m.

Sanesh: I'm too lazy to even look up the distances you're referring to. Good on you man, glad to hear there's more bike in your life these days.

Morox
0
Brian Moreaux  - Jan. 13, 2021, 2:51 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

Gbergevin
+1 Andrew Major
Gbergevin  - Jan. 14, 2021, 5:38 a.m.

I remember running 32/32 on 8 speed 1X, in the mountains. I stood up a lot, and I pushed a lot... Another example of how great modern bikes have become. I'm only 35, and the change in my mountain bike career has been incredible.

I was thinking about a Phantom pretty hard when I bought my Knolly... I liked the shorter rear end on the Knolly, which is sort of not fashionable, but I'm currently ripping mostly tight, flatter trails. No regrets, it handles fantastically on our crappy flat corners and has plenty of composure when I find something frightening to through it into.

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Timmigrant
+2 Sanesh Iyer boomforeal
Tim Coleman  - Jan. 15, 2021, 12:21 a.m.

Sanesh, I think your best bet would be Central Valley Greenway from Science World (or St. Augustines) all the way to Lougheed Mall. Separated bike path down Lougheed Highway to Colony Farms. Then take the Poco Trail all the way up to David Ave. East on David, then up Oxford. Top of Oxford is a trail, take that then across the river out to Pioneer Park. Up Marguerite Street to the trail on the right up to Coast Meridian. Then up to Harper. 

It might be a longer distance, but that whole route has minimal stops, lots of gravel, separated routes, and might be faster with less stop and go. It also has minimal elevation gain until you get to Burke.

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Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Jan. 13, 2021, 5:17 a.m.

I’ve always liked banshee bikes. I wish they would update the darkside with a bit more reach, I would definitely put it on my shopping list if that were the case.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 7:43 a.m.

I think - aside from being specifically a “single crown only” bike the Titan largely replaces the Darkside.

That said, the Legend DH can take a dropper post and has a fairly efficient suspension layout, so slap an 11-51t on one of those and ride!

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boomforeal
+1 Andrew Major
boomforeal  - Jan. 13, 2021, 5:32 a.m.

having had to switch my riding style after moving away from the shore and knowing your proclivity for singlespeeding i can appreciate why you're not feeling the super-steep STA

building up a frame-only to make the review happen, very much appreciated. i'd be curious how banshee felt about this approach?

my prototype banshee prime is still the mountain bike i have the fondest memories of. but the weight of that thing mixed with riding with people much fitter than me induced me to replace it with something both lighter and longer travel. i wish i hadn't sold it though

i love everything about this review -- and still have pt. 2 to look forward to! awesome work andrew, thank you

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AndrewMajor
+1 boomforeal
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 7:50 a.m.

Thank you!

I think a Prime or Phantom (STAs aside) fits my personal riding style, but if you’re going to test one Banshee the Titan is the Shore bike (plus, all my parts moved over). 

As I understand it Banshee was all-in on the frame-only review but Pete sets all that up so I’ll ask him if he has any feedback. It’s a bit of a PIA on the reviewers end but I think - and maybe my bias is showing - reviewing a frame with all your own parts is a good way to do it. 

I’d certainly be interested in reading frame-only reviews from my favourite test writers.

And yeah, I feel it with the fitter riders on lighter bikes. Heavy build, relatively beefy frame, 155mm/170mm travel, steep STA, and dad-bod have me getting nowhere fast on this thing. Sure having fun though!

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Kenny
+2 Andrew Major DadStillRides
Kenny  - Jan. 14, 2021, 4:39 a.m.

I've wondered about a mullet spitfire. I know banshee note their preference is to mullet the 29er frames since there's less geo change, but as someone not terribly enamored with either steep STA's nor low bottom brackets, it has been a thought. 

I found my 2019 rootdown to be very uncomfortable when seated except on anything that was not a super steep uphill grade (76 STA before fork sag). My ripmo AF is borderline at 76. My mulleted chameleon with 29er dropouts is more like 71 or 72 and yeah I need to pay attention on the steepest climbing sections but its overall a more manageable situation for me.

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 boomforeal
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:12 a.m.

Hi Omar,

As Andrew said, Banshee was keen on the frame only review idea - it actually started with them and for a reason that won't surprise you: like the rest of the industry they are carefully watching their supply chain and it can be hit and miss. It's even trickier for smaller brands who usually aren't at the head of the delivery pack for certain vendors. So, they presented us with the choice of taking delivery on a frame in the short term or potentially waiting for a complete build (or not being able to get the right size/build combination). Andrew was keen to use it as a test bed rather than start with a complete bike and replace parts bit by bit to do the same thing. So it was a winning prospect all around.

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boomforeal
+1 Andrew Major
boomforeal  - Jan. 13, 2021, 9:09 a.m.

thanks pete

i would imagine most companies would rather have a full bike reviewed vs. a frame built up by the reviewer as it provides them with more control over the aspects the reviewer's experience and that's more likely how consumers are purchasing their stuff. i guess i'm not surprised that banshee was keen on a frame-only review as they seem more likely to sell framesets than most/larger companies -- and especially given the issues you noted

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AndrewMajor
+9 Sanesh Iyer jaydubmah olaa Timer goose8 4Runner1 Lynx . DMVancouver DancingWithMyself
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 12:29 p.m.

On the other hand, send a frame only and you don’t have to read comments about DT 370 hub spec on your 8k bike! Hahaha

(Nb. A general comment. Banshee isn’t guilty of this offence to the best of my knowledge)

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Wapti
+1 Andrew Major
Wapti  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:18 a.m.

Looking forward to the TriAir review. When I was building my Banshee Prime I opted for a Durolux fork after reading your review and the TriAir was on sale at the time so I picked that up too. So far it's been a very good shock, especially as it was ~$400 new.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 4:25 p.m.

Cheers! It’s not mind blowing or anything but it’s a super solid option for the price. I’m very happy with it and I think almost any rider would be.

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Timer
+1 Andrew Major
Timer  - Jan. 14, 2021, 5:12 a.m.

Did you happen to ride a DVO Topaz at some point?  That and the TriAir obviously share some parts, so i would be curious how they compare.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 14, 2021, 7:45 a.m.

I’ve ridden a Topaz on a few bikes but not the Titan. 

I’d say they’re unsurprisingly similar despite the Topaz using a bladder v. the TriAir’s IFP.

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Kelownarider
+1 Andrew Major
Kelownarider  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:30 a.m.

Just built up a Phantom v3 in raw. I struggled with the routing a bit, then realized taking the shock out makes it way easier. Also route the cables before installing the fork.  

Have both dropouts, running the short ones. Feels nicely balanced, but looking forward to trying the longer ones too. Seated, the cockpit is cramped. Maybe something I just need to get used to.  I tried a 55m stem instead of the 40mm stem, but that sucked. Now going to try a smaller fork 120mm vs the 140mm, and also try a riser bar rolled forward a bit.

The magic of this bike is it so adjustable. There just isn't one thing for everyone. 

Oh, and I get asked about weight lots with it. 8lb frame. My complete is right at 30 lbs with pedals, magic mary, hans dampf tires no inserts.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 9:26 a.m.

How tall are you and what size did you go with? 

Phantom is intriguing. Sort of carries forward the legacy of the Process 111 in my mind (best Kona ever but not very well understood?)

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Kelownarider
+1 Andrew Major
Kelownarider  - Jan. 13, 2021, 9:45 a.m.

It's definitely a 'second bike' kind of bike. Just something different, lively, and fun in places my big bike isn't (but also not as fun in places my big bike is) 

6 feet. Size large. Top tube is just 620mm. Banshee says I could even be a medium, but that is a seated tt length of 592mm!

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 4:33 p.m.

Sweet. Definitely let me know once you have tried the long dropouts. Curious to compare notes.

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WalrusRider
+1 Andrew Major
WalrusRider  - Jan. 13, 2021, 9:22 a.m.

I'd love to try one of these Titans. I've been looking real hard at a Banshee Paradox for my next hardtail build.

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rwalters
+2 Cam McRae Andrew Major
Ryan Walters  - Jan. 13, 2021, 9:53 a.m.

Interesting thoughts on the 2021 X2 Float Andrew. I have experience on a 2018 and the 2021 version - and I did find the 2021 took a while to figure out. On my Enduro, I found the recommended baseline compression settings to be way too aggressive. Like you said, the shock kinda sucked. After much tuning, I found the shock works great with very few clicks of compression. I also found the rebound to be a bit on the strong side. Compared to recommended settings, I'm running most of the dials pretty wide open. The shock works great now, BTW.

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xy9ine
+1 Andrew Major
Perry Schebel  - Jan. 13, 2021, 11:46 a.m.

love my 2021 x2. base tune is on the aggressive side for sure; i run a bit lighter as well. it's spectacular when things get fast (for me, anyways) & chunky.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 12:33 p.m.

Interesting Perry. You’re one of two people I talked to who LOVE IT. Lots of “Marshmellow” comments. A couple folks who’ve already ditched them.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 12:32 p.m.

Interesting. 

Ryan, have you tried any other shocks in that frame to compare?

It’s not like I didn’t put time in with the Float X2 or that it was unrideable, but, I am certainly happier with the other shocks I’m riding. 

I am going to reinstall it with the Mezzer which rides higher/firmer for a second point of comparison.

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rwalters
+1 Andrew Major
Ryan Walters  - Jan. 14, 2021, 7:39 a.m.

On the Enduro, I've only run the 2021 X2.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 14, 2021, 7:44 a.m.

Would be curious to read your feedback on other shocks if you have the chance. SuperDeluxe + MegNeg is apparently quite amazing on that bike which makes me think a good coil shock would be too.

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rwalters
0
Ryan Walters  - Jan. 17, 2021, 6:45 p.m.

Man, I did a ride on Friday in which I forced myself to pay close attention to what the back end was doing. If the X2 is a bad shock, then the Enduro is even more impressive than I thought. The shock feels pretty amazing to me. As lame as it sounds, I think a huge improvement for 2021 is the bottom-out bumper (as far as I know, it's new for 2021). It's designed to provide a very controlled, progressive end of stroke, along with the bottom-out cup that captures it. It's so effective, I think you really have to think of it as part of the spring now. It seems to accomplish what some other suspension does with hydraulic bottom out circuits - in a much simpler package. I love how this shock and frame play together. I find that I adjust the HSR a click or two depending on ambient temperature.

My settings for reference (170mm travel bike, 205x60 trunnion - base FOX tune is "light" compression and "medium" rebound).

250psi, 2 tokens (max)

HSC - 6 out from closed

LSC - 11 out

HSR - 5 out

LSR - 8 out

(I guess my settings weren't quite "wide open", but they are pretty light I think).

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xy9ine
+1 Ryan Walters
Perry Schebel  - Jan. 18, 2021, 3:55 p.m.

have to mirror what you said - the end stroke / bottom out aspect of this shock is impressive (and perhaps skews my overall impression a bit). i'm running shorter travel (140mm meta tr), but this combo sucks up the "this is going to hurt" big hits so effectively i've yet to want for more travel (granted i've not had this bike in the park yet).

martin
+2 Lynx . Andrew Major
Martin  - Jan. 13, 2021, 10:01 a.m.

Nice review, thanks Andrew! Frame-only reviews are a rarity but I think it's really good to see for people like me who buy a frameset. It's easier to check the construction quality and alignment when you get to build the bike yourself, and things that are important for longevity and long term trouble-free ownership in my opinion.

The Banshee Titan would have been on my short list if it didn't have a Trunnion mount as I have two 230x60/65 shocks. Maybe Cascade will come up with a non trunnion link at some point 😅 (not a chance haha).       Anyway this would almost bump the price of the Titan to what I could get a new shock for. If the alignment is good like the one you have, then maybe trunnion would be a non issue. They seem to have got this right with the one piece bb junction/ shock mount!

My current Meta AM has a 76.5 STA and I have my saddle slammed forward so probably closer to 77-77.5. It seems to work perfectly for me so I guess it depends of one's body proportions. With slacker STA I get knee pain and I've never felt that since riding 75-76.5 STA. For me this is good but I can see how it would not work for others. I don't know how much would be too much, but I think that I have found my sweet spot at 77-77.5.

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araz
+2 Lynx . Andrew Major
araz  - Jan. 13, 2021, 10:03 a.m.

I just built up a Phantom and am loving it so far. I've been riding for a decade plus, but tend to long term monogamous bike relationships, so I don't have tons of experience on a lot of different bikes like many of the folks here. That said, a couple of my thoughts --

This is my first time building up from frame only purchase, and I have to say that it's pretty addictive. Maybe not the cheapest way to go in the end, but very satisfying. Having the modular dropouts and being able to use my old non-boost hubs and Banshee's reasonable price point made it a pretty easy decision.

I'm coming from a bike with pretty old school xc geo. I find the Banshee's geo to be very intuitive and I haven't had a hard time adjusting. Obviously the slacker front is way more stable. I was concerned about the steeper seat tube and thought I'd be slamming the seat back to get closer to my old bikes seated position (I'm 6' on a large, old bike was an XL '16 RM Element) but I've actually found myself scooting the seat a little forward of center. More comfortable pedaling than my old bike on everything except for smooth flats and on the road. I'm coming off a knee surgery this fall, so it's tough to gauge relative power on the pedals. I also find that minor hand and shoulder issues I had before are all but gone. I've only got a handful of rides in, so things might change as I spend more time and play with positioning a bit and recover my riding fitness. Overall I'm really happy with the bike.

Anyway, looking forward to part 2 Andrew.

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Bikes
+2 Andrew Major Tim Coleman
Bikes  - Jan. 13, 2021, 10:29 a.m.

New poster here.  Love the site, and I'm looking forward to this series.

One thing, long CS move static weight bias forward, not rearward as the second paragraph states (in your defense you clean it up later with regards to weight distribution).  I like long CS's.  Current bike has 462mm and never had an issue with it.  Really looking at getting a Titan as it seems like Sultan with much better front end geometry.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 4:30 p.m.

Yes! Will fix thanks.  

All the folks I’ve talked to who think 460mm is too long for the application have never ridden any bike with a rear centre that long. I’m all about personal preference but I did get here by trying bikes with super short rear ends as well.

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morgan-heater
+1 Andrew Major
Morgan Heater  - Jan. 14, 2021, 9:52 a.m.

Manualling and jumps are much more challenging on long chainstays. The difference between my hard-tail (417) and my fs @ 455 is pretty notable. Not to mention my bmx bike, which basically doesn't actually have chainstays. My FS bike is much easier to corner on MTB specific trails, but not always easier on jank. Way easier to pedal up a hill though.

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DancingWithMyself
+2 Lynx . Mammal
MuscogeeMasher  - Jan. 13, 2021, 11:06 a.m.

I think the people favoring the reviewing of the frame-only vs a complete bike are actually just frustrated with reviewers' proclivity to spend too much time reviewing the parts vis-a-vis the frame - and I couldn't agree more.  This site does a good job, but the subconscious frustration carries over.  

Also, amen on the STA's.  Instead of basing model differences solely on travel or wheel size, brands need to incorporate geometry.  For example, 29er 140mm rear bikes with rolling-terrain geometry and wench-and-plummet geometry are completely different bikes.  But, will probably be a long time before we see this in the marketplace because, as a group, we're not informed enough to support this sort of offering.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Lynx .
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 2:50 p.m.

I can see it either way. I’ve had great bikes for review that were only okay because of spec choices (brakes are a big one, tires, etc) and it becomes impossible to divorce the review of the bike from the spec choice without changing the part out - and how many things can you change before it’s really just a frame review?!

Anyways, it’s a rhetorical question because the formula is a bit different in every situation. It’s way more work to do a frame only test but it also means not having to force myself to go out and ride a bike with crappy brakes...

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babyzhendo
+2 AndrewR Lynx .
babyzhendo  - Jan. 13, 2021, 1:19 p.m.

I've been riding a Titan for about 14-15 months at this point, meaning 2 winters and a COVID summer full of riding. I came from a Transition Sentinel, and I had a hard time figuring out which size to get in the Titan, but at 6'1, I was running a large Sentinel which was a full 15mm longer in reach than the Titan. Ultimately, after some back-and-forth with Michael at Banshee, I settled on the large with a 50mm stem, and it has been perfect. I honestly don't understand why you'd want to run drops longer than the 'short' 452mm unless you were on the XL (Banshee agreed with me on this thought), but I guess you can do as you wish for the sake of testing!

It's interesting that you're having trouble finding a comfortable climbing position, because I found it very easy. Perhaps it's because you've gone up in sizing too far - the shorter reach may have tempted you into a bigger bike if you didn't consider the stack height, and if your legs aren't long enough for the admittedly slightly long seat tube (IMO), you're likely running a steeper effective STA by having to keep your post slammed. I'm running a 170mm post, about 1.5" of post showing before the collar, and this bike is one of the more comfortable that I've used from a climbing perspective. The weight is the main drawback on that front, but I can drop the hammer no problem.

FWIW, I 100% agree with you on the stock X2, and mine was the supposedly slightly worse 2020 version. I couldn't get it to feel good (always dead), so bit the bullet on an EXT Storia and it's been a total game-changer for the bike. It left my old 2019 36 GRIP2 feeling otugunned, so I'm now running an Ohlins RXF36 m.2 at 170mm extension. The Ohlins has a longer A2C than Fox or Rockshox, so my bike is a bit slacker in STA and HA, and reach slightly shorter.

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moraucf
+2 Andrew Major Lynx .
moraucf  - Jan. 13, 2021, 1:30 p.m.

I can second the experience of going from 2020 X2 to EXT Storia and it being a surprising to me game-changer, to the point where I wouldn't want to ride without a damper that works this well (exaggerating but we all know the feeling). 

Running a mara pro on my other bike and it gets close to Storia, enough that I'd argue its the Value/Performance leader but Storia is still a bit more controlled.

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moraucf
0
moraucf  - Jan. 13, 2021, 1:30 p.m.

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AndrewMajor
0 Lynx . stiingya
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 2:54 p.m.

So, the seat tube angle (and the saddle position relative the BB) is the same on every size at the same saddle height. I.E. a smaller size wouldn’t change my saddle position at all.

One of the nice things about the Banshee geo chart is they show effective seat tube angles for multiple saddle heights.

Example: 77* at 600mm saddle height - on all sizes.

I absolutely took Stack into account when choosing a frame size and would go large again unless if the STA was notably slacker, as noted.

I’m on the long dropouts as that makes the rear centre ~ the same as my custom hardtail so it seemed like a good starting point.

Cheers,

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babyzhendo
0
babyzhendo  - Jan. 13, 2021, 4:32 p.m.

Ah, fair play on the geo chart - I admittedly didn't realize that Banshee had gotten that detailed with it. Love that transparency from them. 

In thinking about your response, it does raise an interesting question around seat tube angles. While I agree that the seat tube angle is steep in my experience, I wouldn't categorize it as too steep (like my Chromag that was borderline unrideable on flat ground), but perhaps that's because I'm running a longer post. Based on the fact you're running a shorter stack post than I am, at 10mm less post travel, I'd guess I'm running close to ~50mm more exposed post in Banshee's geo terms, meaning that my seat angle is likely 0.25* slacker than yours. 

Perhaps it's a stupid thought, so feel free to call me on it if half-baked, but it strikes me that someone riding a medium would almost always have less seatpost extension than someone on a large, at least the way that Banshee measures it, and same for medium vs. small. By that logic, maybe it would have made more sense for there to be a slight STA difference between each frame size, versus keeping things constant?

Anyways, really appreciate your critical look at the bike, curious how you find things in pt. 2!

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AndrewMajor
-1 stiingya
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 4:44 p.m.

I’ve long been a proponent of size specific STAs as the folks I know who most appreciate steep STAs are tall and the folks I know who dislike them are short(er). There’s of course plenty of folks who don't care and great for them.

I do know a number of short(er), usually pedal and plunge, riders who prefer steeper STAs now bc as well though.

So maybe a matrix where the bigger the size the steeper the post gets and the more XC oriented a bike gets the slacker the post goes. 

I would love to try a rear offset post. My custom hardtail has a longer Reach and much longer effective top tube so I’m not concerned about the bike feeling bigger & likewise, my bar is in a similar position to my Marin (just less spacers underneath) because I like a fairly high bar. 

It’s going to be interesting (slacker STA, slacker HTA, shorter Reach, longer effective too tube) to try the mullet setup.

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DogVet
+2 Andrew Major jaydubmah
Hugo Williamson  - Jan. 14, 2021, 2:08 a.m.

Maybe comfort on a steep seat tube angled bike is related to length of femur as a proportion of total leg length? A short femur length being happier on a steeper STA.

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Jcmonty
+1 Andrew Major
Jcmonty  - Jan. 13, 2021, 3:13 p.m.

I recently picked up a Banshee Paradox V3 XL (hardtail) frame to build up. Obviously, way different bikes, but some of the geo numbers are close with the biggest difference (besides it being a hardtail) being chainstay length and WB. I just wanted to comment on fit as it may relevant: I am 6'1, ~33" inseam - for reference:

I have a oneup 210 v2.1 dropper, and I barely make it work at the full 210mm. There is close to 15mm of exposed post from the top for the seattube to collar, and that's with max insertion. 210mm feels a tad bit overextended at some points(maybe 5-10mm max), but I haven't adjusted the travel as of yet.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Lynx .
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 4:47 p.m.

It kills me, as a single speeder, that the company with the best modular dropouts around, on their FS bikes, didn’t A) put them on their hardtail and B) make them sliding for the application.

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Morox
+1 Andrew Major
Brian Moreaux  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:04 p.m.

I hadn’t thought of this Andrew! On the one hand simplicity is a feature I look for in a hardtail so I can understand the decision to forego the swap-able dropouts on the Paradox. You bring up an excellent point about the missed potential for running single speed as a casualty of that decision. My DMR trailstar has that option and it’s rad.

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Jcmonty
0
Jcmonty  - Jan. 14, 2021, 7:59 a.m.

Though I am not too interested in single speeding this bike, I would have been interested having adjustable chainstay lengths to try out.  They are fairly short given the other dimensions.  Still a blast though!

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KWerby
+1 Andrew Major
KWerby  - Jan. 13, 2021, 4:35 p.m.

I built up a Titan and have been riding it for the last couple months (all on the north shore) now after riding a large 2016 V2 Spitfire for the last few years. I'm 6' tall and have a long inseam and long arms, short torso and went with a large and a 50mm stem. The bike fits me perfect and feels like I'm seated in the bike as opposed to on top of it. The Spitfire always felt a bit small but with the geo numbers on the Titan I could tell right away that it was going to be a better fit. I also decided to go with the short dropouts as I figured the chain stays were already long enough. I thought about waiting out until spring for the Raaw Madonna but didn't want to wait. 

As for the Float X2, it definitely feels a little on the soft side but once the bike gets up to speed I find it sits well in the travel and don't find big hits to be harsh. I'm on the lighter side and am running the sag at approx 17mm, can't remember exactly what my rebound and compression settings are at but pretty sure they are more on the open side. The shock seemed to be the one common negative theme in all the reviews I read before making the purchase but so far it seems to be working well for me. 

I actually like the steep seat tube and have been going back and forth flipping the chips between low and high. There's a massive difference in pedalling ability with the chips in the high setting and in the low setting the bike just devours steep chunder! And whichever setting, I find the climb switch is also very noticeable. I was really picky with the build kit I went with to try and shave some weight and the bike comes in around 32 lbs, which seems pretty respectable in today's world of beefy enduro bikes. It's a bit more effort to get the bike up the Fromme climbing trail compared to the whippy Spitfire but coming back down the Titan is pure joy! Although some days I think the bike is conspiring to kill me as it really doesn't want you to touch the brakes. I couldn't be happier with the bike and in the raw aluminum it's a head turner and I like the fact there's not many of them around.

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Morox
0
Brian Moreaux  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:48 p.m.

I wonder if reducing the air pressure/spring rate and maybe adding some compression damping would result in an even better ride for you?

I only say that because 17mm is less sag than recommended by Banshee and the frame is pretty progressive

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KWerby
0
KWerby  - Jan. 13, 2021, 9:07 p.m.

The recommended sag is 15.5mm - 17.8mm for the Titan. I’ve experimented some and the 17mm sag seems to work well for me. So far I’m pretty happy with the set up I’m running.

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Morox
0
Brian Moreaux  - Jan. 13, 2021, 10:50 p.m.

Ah! My bad, misquoting the sag recommendations. Cheers

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Morox
+1 Andrew Major
Brian Moreaux  - Jan. 13, 2021, 8:35 p.m.

Great write-up thanks Andrew.

The two issues I have with my Rune V3 are:

1) the seatpost insertion is shallow, I have a fair amount of seatpost showing with my 150mm OneUp post in as far as she’ll go. This is on a medium frame. I would be really bummed not to be able to drop that seat fully out of the way if my local trails had a lot of steep slabs like in Squamish or the steep moves you have  on the shore. I’m not sure if this would be remedied with a size large frame? At 5’10”  I’m between sizes.

2) the noise of the internal cables is kind of noticeable, really only when crushing through chunder which this bike loves to do. The Rune is super quiet otherwise and I run Onyx hubs so any little noise is extra noticeable. I’m excited to try the foam cable wrap suggested above and would be interested in any other suggestions. Have been toying with idea of the STFU system to really achieve outer-space level quietude. Definitely falling down the silent bike rabbit hole.

Besides those two middling issues I just love this bike. It really is a one bike solution for me from park, local Southern Oregon trails, trips to BC and even the odd bike-packing trip. I feel like this new crop of longer travel bikes with steeper STAs makes for the do-everything bike we were promised back when Mark Weir was doing the Hell Ride on the Santa Cruz VPFree. I’ll consider myself lucky that the steep STA makes me feel stronger on climbs than I ever have.

Regarding the coil, I’m super tempted to pull the trigger on a Storia or the CCDB, currently running a 2020 Float X2 which will be out for service soon. Do you know if can expect a typical local shop will be able to service these shocks? I’ve had air suspension pretty much exclusively for the last 10+ years and I just don’t know much about coil shock service in general, much less for these boutique brands.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Vik Banerjee
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 11:19 p.m.

Thanks!

Most shops aren't going to service a CCDB or a Storia - most don't service rear shock dampers as it is really - but the products are certainly supported throughout North America and your preferred local shop will be able to send them in for service if you don't want to take care of the booking. 

The CCDB Coil has been around for 15 years this year. It's crazy how many parts from my first one over a decade ago are still compatible with shocks being sold today. 

The reason I tried so hard to separate my own experience 

Hope that is helpful!

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Vikb
+1 Andrew Major
Vik Banerjee  - Jan. 14, 2021, 6:08 a.m.

I just boxed up my GF's DPX2 and sent it to Vorsprung for a full service. Shocks are easy to ship.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2021, 11:19 p.m.

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giebelhaus
+3 Andrew Major Brian Moreaux stiingya
Alex Giebelhaus  - Jan. 14, 2021, 8:20 a.m.

Hey Brian,

I've been on a titan since mid October. Completely agree about the cable routing. I ordered STFU and it isn't compatible with the titan. One of the dampers got sucked into my spokes and when I reached out to STFU they first claimed I installed them improperly (I didn't) and then later said its not compatible with Banshees. I figured I'd let you know since if you order it it takes a couple months to arrive from Wuhan.

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Morox
+1 stiingya
Brian Moreaux  - Jan. 14, 2021, 6:40 p.m.

Damn Alex that’s a good info and you probably saved me some $ and possibly a long walk out.  Did you end up breaking spokes?  

Sounds like you’re super stoked with all aspects of your STFU experience. ;)

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Lynx
+4 Sanesh Iyer Vik Banerjee olaa Bogey
Lynx .  - Jan. 14, 2021, 4:35 a.m.

Making a "new" reply here with regards to the statement most make about tri-athletes and steep STAs.

Those who don't know any better or who don't actually look too close and study the overall body geometry, miss it, but the upright seated position of MTB riders on steep STA bikes is nothing like that of a tri-athlete on a steep STA bikel. They (tris) can still produce power because of the fact that they aren't sat upright like a bolt, but are instead are bent/folded over, giving the same effective hip angle as someone sitting upright on a slacker STA bike.

If you look at the hip angles of an MTBer  sat on a modern bike with steep STA vs a TriAthlete sat on a bike with the same steep STA, you will clearly and easily se the huge difference. You can then from there do some research and learn that the world record weights for seated leg press vs standing squats, is twice as much for the seated leg press. If you then look at the hip angles and body geometry, you will see that the positions look very similar to those on a bike, depending on what STA you have and how much saddle to bar drop you use.

The argument is sometimes brought up that the "XC Pros" don't seem to be having any trouble with the modern steeper STAs, but no one looks to compare the saddle to bar drop and effective hip angle achieved  by this. Take a look at this stuff to get educated and understand body dynamics and mechanics.

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Vikb
+3 Lynx . 4Runner1 Bogey
Vik Banerjee  - Jan. 14, 2021, 6:10 a.m.

The other thing about steep STAs I don't understand is you can easily slide up your saddle several inches for those brief uber steep climbs to get an "effective" STA that's a lot steeper than your normal riding position. You can't slide backwards off the back of the saddle to do the opposite. So it would seem to me a middle of the road STA for the normal riding position makes sense since that gives you a useful range of adjustment.

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Lynx
+2 Andrew Major 4Runner1
Lynx .  - Jan. 14, 2021, 7:27 a.m.

I think people have forgotten that you're allowed to use the entire length of the saddle, you paid for the entire thing, seriously :-) For the avg rider, we don't encounter super steep stuff that requires a STA over 75* and if and when we do, it's not normally a long section and as said, just scoot forward - I'd wager that not more 5% of MTBers worldwide have access, or easy access to the type & steepness of trails NSMB riders do.

Fact of the matter is, the only real reason for these silly steep STAs is to try and keep the seated cockpit within a reasonable size, to try and help weight the front, while making the Reach too long for a given size - we now have size Medium frames with Reaches longer than XLs from just a few years ago, which if you were riding XC and wanted to be stretched out and put those hips into a powerful angle to really put the power down, would make sense.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that there are some XLs with Reaches of 500-525mm, that's fantastic for who should really be riding an XL frame, you know, people over 6'5"> instead of having to run 120mm> stems to get a bike to fit without going custom. Now maybe XL bikes are truly XL, as personally I don't think of myself as "XL height" at only 6'2",  but that's just me and maybe we need real XXL sizes.

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bogey
+1 stiingya
Bogey  - Jan. 17, 2021, 10:08 p.m.

For me at 6’5” tall, Santa Cruz has nailed their sizing. I’m on their XXLs and love the sizing. I’m truly in the XXL for clothing which just makes sense. The reach, stack and STA of my Hightower 2 is spot on for my height. They seems to have found an great balance so that the front end stays planted on all but the very steepest climbs, the STA is slack enough that I can put power down well, and the reach/stack combo gives me a balanced riding position. 

I’m eager to try Specialized’s S6 sizing which is their XXL whether they want to admit it or not. It looks to be a touch bigger than SC’s XXL so I’m curious to see if I’ve finally reached my limit and have bikes that are truly big enough.

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moraucf
+3 Andrew Major jaydubmah stiingya
moraucf  - Jan. 14, 2021, 3:23 p.m.

Not sure we will ever have a one-size fits all approach because I could make the opposite argument for my situation haha. 

My bike has a 77 degree STA and due to a variety of factors (most of my riding is climb/plunge, cleats in shoes pushed back, SQLab saddle with rearward seating position) I wish it was another degree or 2 steeper. 

Droppers with forward offset with >150mm of drop do not exist right now either.

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AndrewMajor
+1 stiingya
Andrew Major  - Jan. 14, 2021, 3:43 p.m.

I’m shocked no company has produced a post with a reversible +/-25mm offset head option, or even 35mm offset option. It would solve fit questions in both directions, as you noted.

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sanesh-iyer
+1 Andrew Major
Sanesh Iyer  - Jan. 14, 2021, 3:45 p.m.

The trade off of stack height, insertion length, durability, and offset is probably a tough one.

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stiingya
0
stiingya  - April 6, 2021, 4:01 p.m.

I wouldn't say it's exactly the same. But when on a steep climb a mountain biker "usually" pulls their upper body lower and gets a little more of the hip angle back.

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icullis
+1 Andrew Major
icullis  - Jan. 14, 2021, 8:50 a.m.

Hi Andrew,

Slightly different question...I was wondering about your front brake combination and how it works? Does the combination of a modern lever/gustav caliper make for a powerful brake?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 14, 2021, 12:06 p.m.

It works great once set up but, as it ever was with Gustav brakes, setting the floating caliper to run drag free-enough for non-DH riding is an exercise in patience.

This in an old caliper I’ve had since new and I had a nerdy moment where I just had to try hooking it up. 

Where back in the day I could make a strong argument for the Gustav v. it’s contemporaries the Magura 4-piston calipers don’t really give up anything performance wise while being lighter and easier to setup so I’ll switch back when time allows.

Any opportunity to bike nerd right!?

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DadStillRides
+2 Andrew Major stiingya
DadStillRides  - Jan. 14, 2021, 1:10 p.m.

Great write up! I have been on a V2 spitfire since 2014 and have liked it enough that my next bike will also likely be a Banshee. Really interested to hear more about the mullet discussion between the 27.5 and 29 options, since I would like to try mullet on the next rig. I prefer shorter chainstays (at least I think I do) for the tighter and (unfortunately) often slower riding where I currently live on Lake Superior's North shore, so all things equal I'd be more likely to go with another Spitfire than the Prime.. though I wouldn't want to have to drop to less than a 150mm fork in order to come up with functional geo.

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Carmel
+2 Andrew Major stiingya
Carmel  - Jan. 15, 2021, 2:14 a.m.

Andrew,
your reviews usually spark a very interesting (and dangerous) discussion as is the case here! Now I'm very close to swapping my Smash for one of these, thanks.
Always wanted to try a CCDB as well, bikernerding and such.

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AndrewMajor
+1 stiingya
Andrew Major  - Jan. 15, 2021, 5:54 a.m.

Smash works great with a CCDB coil! Either mode.

Can you put the Gnarvana rear end on yours? Love their modular design - wish they had adjustable dropouts too though.

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Carmel
+1 stiingya
Carmel  - Jan. 15, 2021, 6:35 a.m.

I have one of the very last alu frames, so unfortunately no. They used too offer aluminium chainstay kits too, but not too easy to get a hold of in Europe (same goes for the frames).

A friend just bought a Manitou Revox Pro shock for very cheap, maybe I'll play around with that if I get the chance.

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Carmel
0
Carmel  - Jan. 15, 2021, 2:14 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

M.
0
Marky Bu  - Jan. 18, 2021, 1:56 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

bullit
+1 stiingya
bullit  - Feb. 8, 2021, 2:28 p.m.

Hi Andrew ,what presssure are you using on the TrAir? ,i have a Medium ( i´m 1.70m and 73 kilos) with a DVO Topaz T3 and running 150 psi and have to run the rebound wide open so can´t use the 17% sag witch is bothering me. And how many spacer you using on the positive chamber?

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AndrewMajor
+1 stiingya
Andrew Major  - Feb. 8, 2021, 8:57 p.m.

17% sag is really low. I'm currently running ~28%.

As to air pressure, the TriAir shares a number of physical components with the Topaz; however, it's a very different shock with the air-backed IFP instead of a bladder damper so I don't know how well settings translate between the two. For what it's worth, in the main chamber I'm running 205psi and I have three spacers in the +ve and I'm ~190lbs.

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bullit
+1 Andrew Major
bullit  - March 8, 2021, 1:01 p.m.

I mean 17mm and not %, sorry ,using two spcers on the positive chamber and 145 psi for the 17mm sag

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Howsyourdad
+1 Andrew Major
Howsyourdad  - March 8, 2021, 4:32 a.m.

Hi, the picture when you talk about the high and low settings of the chainstays. Is that in the high setting?  Great in depth review, many thanks.

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AndrewMajor
+1 stiingya
Andrew Major  - March 9, 2021, 11:56 a.m.

No, I'm running the low setting, and actually, even with the bike set up as a mullet, I'm still running the low setting!

Low meaning that the bike sits lower (slacker HTA and STA by ~0.5°) not that the dropout itself is lower in the mount.

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Howsyourdad
+1 stiingya
Howsyourdad  - March 10, 2021, 12:09 a.m.

Gotcha, thanks!

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WalrusRider
+2 Andrew Major stiingya
WalrusRider  - March 9, 2021, 9:56 a.m.

I JUST bought a new plastic fantastic bike. Why does the Banshee Titan still keep calling my name?!

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AndrewMajor
+1 stiingya
Andrew Major  - March 9, 2021, 11:59 a.m.

Hahaha. I have had more than a couple of messages to this effect. The Titan really seems to capture folk's attention - on the trail too.

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sanesh-iyer
+1 stiingya
Sanesh Iyer  - March 9, 2021, 12:18 p.m.

My Titan (size Medium w/ 445 reach, short dropouts, 29in wheels). I'm also 5'9" with long arms, the Reach on my other bikes is 463. I run a 50mm stem and 800mm bar. I went medium because I've ridden long travel 29ers with 470 reach and I find them unweildy with my dimensions.

So, the short form review after about 1 month, I really like it. It does not get hung up on square edge hits, so it really gobbles up the trail, great traction. It does feel bottomless, I'm sure I've reached the bottom but the progressive suspension and hydraulic bumper maintain great composure in the deep stroke. The long stays take some getting used to, I find (compared to my Chromag), I have to focus on sitting and spinning up tech climbs to keep the rear wheel weighted. I use the climb switch because I have it, but if I could have a do-over I'd get an Arma with an adjustable hydraulic bottom out bumper because the bike pedals so well while seated. It's not a cross country bike, but there's no undue bob either. Descending, I feel like I'm in a centred and balanced position on the bike, and like I'm not over-weighting the front wheel, which is really confidence inspiring in steeper terrain and during g'outs and landings. Pumping through corners took some work, rebalancing my hardtail brain, but I feel I've got it figured out now.
Trails that I usually ride at slower speeds on my hardtail (Crippler, Bookwus, etc.) I now find myself looking for faster lines. My favourite part of the bike is how it helps you stay in a centred body position, and remains composed when you're getting yourself into trouble.

Shoutouts to Banshee; Aziz at Dunbar; and Alex, Jake, Ken, and Rick at Lynn Valley Bikes for helping me get a bike together in these partsless times.

Sanesh's Titan

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