As someone who has been happily riding the oft overlooked middle sibling in Banshee's range, the Prime for a couple of months this is interesting and to be honest I broadly agree based on my experience. I ummed and ahhed between all three bikes (along with a fair few other bikes from other brands) and came to the conclusion that the Prime was the right one for me and the mix of riding I do/plan to do. Based on the info I could glean from the internet the Prime is a shorter travel Titan rather then a longer travel Phantom.
My local riding (after work) is flatter, twistier but still quite rough. The riding I do quite regularly at weekends i.e. normal "UK" riding which can mean flow trails, tight steep techy singletrack, all the way to open wider but much rougher tracks, sometimes all in the same ride. I also have plans to get back to the Bike Park (Wales) and over the channel for some big alpine descents. So the Phantom was likely not enough bike and the Titan maybe a bit much?
- Noise...I found the cable rattle a bit annoying but 2 things that have helped for me are retrofitting tiny pipe lagging stuff (cut lengthways and slide onto already fitted cables/hoses and secure with a wrap of elec tape) and adding cable ties double wrapped around the cable/hose and pulled tight so you can tension the cable in the frame much like Andrews elec tape method.
-Shock, the Prime comes with a DPX2 rather than the X2, I'm pretty happy with the DPX2 but i did need to swap the middling volume reducer for a smaller one, so I got a bit more air volume. The back end felt a bit constipated wouldn't give up it's last 3rd of travel with the pressure needed to get the prescribed shock sag. The fact that both bikes ride nicely with coil shocks shows that a bigger air volume is nice match to the suspension kinematics. There will definitely be a coil shock in the future, likely Marzocchi Bomber CR to match the fork.
-Bearings, no issues after a couple of months that have gone from dry and dusty to very wet and muddy and then back to dry and dusty. I'm not a jet washer of bikes and I have fashioned a rear fender using the open source template and an old "buttfender" which was just the right size and material.
- Drop out position, I have tried both, the lower and slacker is my favourite, probably not surprising. I haven't tried the longer drop outs, don't really feel the need to.
- Mullet - Might try it, I have a wheel I can steal for a ride or 2.
- Climbing - climbing is drama free. Though I admit to reaching for the 3 position lockout lever (I flip it to Medium) for smooth gravel or tarmac climbs.
- Descending - Great fun, very playful, confidence inspiring whilst not a plow bike.