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Dream Builds

Rachid Nayel's Banshee Titan

Photos Deniz Merdano
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Dream Builds digs into the passion projects among our fellow riders. These bikes aren't necessarily the fanciest or newest, but their owners will have chosen each part for a reason, according to a grander vision. Submit your own build (send to us at submissions@nsmb.com) to be considered for inclusion in the series and also, a chance to win product from RideWrap!


The Titan in Rachid's Backyard Pumptrack


Rachid, Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your riding background and some of the bikes you remember fondly.

I am a 38-year-old father of 3 boys aged 3, 4 and 6. I moved to BC from Ottawa in 2007 to date a beautiful woman from North Vancouver. Two years later, we were married and the rest is history. I am an accountant and work for a finance firm in downtown Vancouver. From late 2009 - 2015, I served as treasurer on the board of the NSMBA. During this time, I became intimate with the trail network, the land managers and the intricacies of our riding community. It also gave me an appreciation for all of the work that it takes to maintain our trail network and how important it is to advocate for access.

I've been riding bikes since childhood but really became enthusiastic about it in second year university, around 2002, when I bought a Giant XTC and started riding the trail network in the Gatineau Hills and around Kanata Lakes in the Ottawa region. Just before moving to Vancouver in 2007. My first ride on the North Shore was at the end of September 2007. I was staying in Lynn Valley and had been told that Cove Bikes carried Iron Horse, so I rode down to Cove in the rain to pick up a derailleur hanger and then back up mountain highway to 7th Secret, down 7th to oil can, and out the Baden Powell. I was hooked. In the early 2010's and pre-kids, I would spend 10-15 days riding the Whistler Bike Park. It was fun. Then I discovered the valley trails around 2016 when I picked up a Knolly Endorphin. That was a fun bike.

My most memorable bike was a Transition Preston FR. It was the bike that I learnt to ride Ladies Only on, and that I rode to the first Toonie with, way back in the day when Ilana Wapniarski and Andrew Hewitson ran them.

Looking back on it, the funnest bikes that I've had have been over forked. Where the rear was around 20mm less than the front.


What was the idea behind the Banshee build?

My last dual suspension bike was a 2017 S-works Enduro with coil Ohlins suspension. I wanted something different. That was part of the decision to go with an aluminium over a carbon frame. I very much enjoyed my past experience with coil shocks so the first thing I did when setting up the Titan was switch the rear Fox Float X2 air shock with a Cane Creek Kitsuma coil, with the crazy resale prices of 2020 due to supply constraints, I sold the air shock on Pinkbike and was able to break even on the swap.

I wanted a "big mountain" bike that pedals well. My other bike is a Chromag Primer and I wanted a bike to compliment the hardtail and have enough differentiation to reduce overlap. The bike was therefore built up with some heavy-duty parts, with coil rear shock, Maxxis DH casing tires and a 180mm fork. Then the COVID 19 parts shortage had something to do with it, so I ended up with an Eagle XX1 AXS drivetrain because it was easier to come by than the mechanical X01 or XT drivetrain that I'd originally anticipated. It has held up remarkably well. When it came to handlebars, I wanted to go back to 31.8 handlebars to reduce stiffness, I'd used Race Face SIXC 35 for the previous 5 years and I wanted to try something less stiff. On the recommendation of Brian Earle of NSMBA 5er fame, I picked up a two Terrain Component Industry carbon bars with a 10° back sweep. Currently mounted on both the Titan and the Primer. Very much enjoying the bars.

As for colour scheme, the only brakes rotors available when I bought my Hope Tech3v4s were purple, so I ended up accenting the entire bike in purple, from the hubs to bar ends, to the stem and seat post clamp.


Size Large

How much problem solving were you doing with this build?

The problem for me was back pain on rough trails with the hardtrail. Every time I saw Colin Miller, my physio and former NSMB team rider, for help with my back, he kept telling me to get something with rear suspension before my back fully gave out.

155mm of rear travel solved my problem very effectively. After riding the Titan for a year, I actually ended up with a new problem, the desire for a lighter full suspension bike. So in July 2021, I ordered a Banshee Prime, the 135mm version of the Titan. Same familiar suspension layout, lighter package.


Any area of your riding did you want to improve or complement with your setup?

I was looking for a point-and-shoot setup, I ended up with a bike that is unfazed by big hits and line errors. The added benefit is that it pedals well enough to get to the top of the mountain without an exhausting amount of effort.


Manitou Mezzer Pro at 180mm

Anything else you'd like to add about bikes and or life in general?

Life's short, ride bikes and be happy. Give back when you can, I still try to get out to trail days when family time allows and I regularly donate to local trail associations. In my next phase of life, I'm looking forward to getting on the trails with my boys. With the help of Pat Podolski, through his company Golden Dirt Trails, we built a pump track in our back yard last year, and it's been a great pandemic addition.

I want to thank Ride Wrap for the shuttle guard.



Kitsuma DB Coil



you had me at purple



More hope finishing kit



it would be a shame to lay this bike down and scratch the bar-ends



More purple?






12 O'Clock



Titan has a burly rear-end


no messing around. DH casing on a pedal only machine


size LRG





a rare sight.. Straightline Components from Vancouver Island




you see this



Saddles are the most personal pieces of a bike build



Rachid loves the Look Pedals with SPD cleats

The Bike

Banshee Titan frame (L)
We Are One wheels Convert front/Union rear, i9 Hydra hubs
Manitou Mezzer Pro fork at 180mm
Cane Creek Kitsuma (now with non progressive spring - black)
XX1 AXS drivetrain and carbon crank
Look x track enrage ti pedals

Reverb 175mm dropper (hydraulic)

Hope Tech3v4 brakes
Maxxis Assegai MaxxGrip DD 2.5 f/r
Terrain Components DH bar with 10* back sweep, 810mm length
Straitline stem 50mm

ODI grips
Hope purple bits


Never not smiling!

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+3 Pete Roggeman Deniz Merdano RNAYEL

That is lovely!  And as a fellow Banshee owner (I went with the slightly more pedal friendly Prime) I know how great they ride!


+3 Timer Pete Roggeman Deniz Merdano

Great photography on these dream build articles, well done!


+2 kcy4130 Pete Roggeman

I miss Straitline, loved their massive aggro pedals when they first came out. Are they still going? Not much stock left on the website, not sure if it's pandemic or winding down


+2 grambo Pete Roggeman

I worked next door to Straitline until May 2020. They were going strong at the time. I have visited my old company a few times and Straitline was still there. Thing is bike parts were only a small part of what they do in order to use up excess machine capacity and because they dig bikes. The real money is in stuff like precision machining for the aerospace industry. 


I'll check what's shaking and update this post if I am wrong, but I suspect they are just busy with non-bike related work.


+2 grambo Pete Roggeman

For anyone else curious about those bars, the brand actually appears to be called Terrain Control Industries. Bars look nice! Too bad they don't come in a larger rise option.


+3 grambo DadStillRides Pete Roggeman

That’s my fault, not Deniz, thanks for the correction.

The bar is great and the head tube on the Titan is generous enough that I don’t need more rise.

They actually have the bar on sale for $105 at the moment



+1 Pete Roggeman

I run those bars and can bear witness to how good they feel. Definitely worth a try for those curious about bars with more sweep.


+2 DMVancouver Paul Stuart

I'd like to hear your thoughts on swapping to the linear spring. I'm two rides back on a linear 500lb after a year on an MRP 475-550lb progressive.

Spitfire v2, so not apples to apples, but likely a similar rate curve.



Hey, my experience  with the progressive spring is not a fair benchmark. The spring I had had too high a weight, so I couldn’t achieve full travel or proper sag. From all the forum talk on Mtbr’s Titan thread on how progressive the suspension design is, I decided to go with the linear spring at the right weight.


+2 RNAYEL stiingya

Beautiful build. I’m rocking something very similar and love the bike to death, have had it for about 2 seasons. I took things a similar direction with my second bike but went with the slightly smaller Phantom v3 and built it quite light, and it’s an absolute riot. Perfect little rig for the sanctioned trails here around Bellingham…the Titan proves it’s worth in deeper parts of the woods. 

For better or worse, all of Banshee’s bikes seem to share hardware and even quite a bit of the tubing, so different frames don’t shed as much weight as different build decisions do.


+3 RNAYEL stiingya DancingWithMyself

Yup, the weight of a bike by itself doesn't really dictate how it rides in my opinion, I'd take frame stiffness and efficiency over lightweight (with flex) any day of the week for climbing and descending... this is backed by testing data.

Whilst there are weight differences across the KS2 range due to 3 different tubesets, 2 shock cage thicknesses, rear triangle tubes and links... the focus hasn't been on focused on weight, but more the ride characteristic each delivers.

While ride character can't be written down as an exact number like weight can, it's far more important... yet often overlooked for this very reason. It's not quantifiable unfortunately, and will vary depending on rider weight and ability.


+1 stiingya

Nice to see the designer chime in.

Peppy or plough character is definitely a tough thing to devine from reviews, but is super important. As per my comment above on progressive springs - the Spitfire with 475-550lb felt like a plough, while the 500 linear feels peppy.



This comment has been removed.


Pictures never do justice to how nice these look, or to how long they are :)  A buddy has one and I am always amazed at how composed it is.  Then I see how long it is when my bike is next to it and I wonder how it clears any switchbacks :)


+1 Pete Roggeman

„pedals well enough to get to the top of the mountain without an exhausting amount of effort.“

He must be an absolute animal to say something like that when the bike rolls (can you even use that word?) on Maxxgrip DH casing Assegais front and rear.


+2 Pete Roggeman Timer

I do ok. 

I’ve been averaging 50 minutes to get up the climb trail since mid-July, which I find respectable.



Hey Rachid, I’m curious whether you’re planning to build the prime as an x+1 bike or whether it will replace the titan?

I had a proto prime all those many years ago... maybe the bike/frame I most regret selling



Hi Omar, how’s the East Coast treating you?

To be direct. I will not be selling the Titan in the foreseeable future. I don’t seem myself selling it until We Are One’s longer travel version of the Arrival becomes available, so maybe 3 years from now.

The Prime has been built up for a month now and I’ve had a few rides. It’s fast too, and very composed with its current coil setup, CC Helm coil fork/ Kitsuma coil shock. 

Riding from from home, by Capilano rd, the Prime is faster up to 7th, down thorough expresso and back home. I would attribute some of that speed to the tires (DHF/DHR Exo+ maxxTerra on the prime) in the dry weather.  When I’m riding Cypress or shutting, which is admittedly less frequent than in the past, I’m more comfortable on the Titan. It’s also been a joy to ride on the Sunshine Coast, I try to get over to Roberts Creek when I can, to ride with a friend who has a place there.  

While there is some more overlap than the hardtail/FS combo, I like the options and I fortunately have the space to keep both.



The east coast is… flat. But I made it out to BC this summer for 5 weeks so hoping that will quench my need for vert and tech for while. Wasn’t looking to buy your frame, more curious whether you found the Titan too much bike for the type of riding you enjoy/the shore. But it sounds like both it and the Prime have a place in your heart and home.



I didn't see it as a feeler, I am genuinely happy with both bikes, the Chromag is a bit jealous though.


+1 stiingya

Beauty of a bike Rachid! I used to ride a Prime V2 and loved it, but am now on a Chromag Rootdown and as I am getting close to 50, really feeling the need to get back on a fully. I recently rented a megatower for a week and well...am now have a full on case of newbikitis. I was pretty set on getting a Titan but after riding and climbing on the megatower I think it may be not quite what I'm looking for...and this has me looking at the sexy new Prime V3. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you feel about the extra climbing prowess of the Prime VS the descending prowess.of the Titan and if you could choose one bike...what would it be?

To give you an idea, I live in Cumberland on the island and the trails are pretty tame...fast, tech , flow...but do like to pop over to Forbidden a few times a year, maybe a Whistler/SilverStar trip or two too.

Anyway, as you own both I thought your input could be valuable. Thank you.


+2 pedalhound stiingya

The difference in frame weight is negligible (8.7lbs T vs 8.2lbs P).   I think that a Titan built up with a 160mm fork and the Fox X2 that it ships with would be awesome for your application.

Both frames have a flip chip (see rear triangle pic above), so you can swap the settings as the terrain dictates. It's a 5 minute job that requires removing the rear wheel (for me at least), although, I'm sure that Andrew Major could Jedi some way into flipping the chip while mounted.

You can slap on some lighter/better rolling tires for riding at home and then some DH tires for the bike park, when you're in Silverstar / Whistler.

That being said, the Prime is a great bike but you likely prefer to rent something for your park days.



What does she weigh in at?


+2 grambo Deniz Merdano

It weighs 36.3lbs. Which is less than I had guessed.

Edit: I weighed the bike






Gorgeous hardware and bike, but surely the pumptrack built by Pat is the real dreambuild here?


+1 DanL

Worth every penny. Pat is top notch.



Nice bike and build!!!

My biggest surprise of the write up is that Rachid is also from Ottawa!!!! There are a shocking number of us out here.

The Gats in the 90s. What a neat place to ride bikes in the forest. Looking at TF of the area right now...there's nothing there outside of Camp Fortune bike park (which started after I left). Hopefully Gat trails are just underground. We used to have to ride away from the bike cops in there!!!



I can't pick a favorite picture.  Definitely a good problem to have, but wow...


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