YES! NSMB tech deep dives are truly awesome. Aside from deep-dive bike reviews, which are often few and far between (as they should be, if the person is actually riding the bike for a long time), these sorts of tech articles keep me a loyal daily reader.
I had to use the Jagwire foam solution, which was the same that shipped with my old aluminum Sentinel too. To Andrew's point, aluminum bikes still don't see to have cable rattle sorted...my Titan was loud too until I used the foam tubing, which isn't all that fun to install after the initial build.
Where'd that tense talk crop up in the Titan review, or have you gotten other hate mail off the comment boards? I shared that I've had a different experience with mine and apparently misinterpreted the seat angle in the geo chart, which you corrected me on, but didn't see any genuine arguing in those comments. As someone who religiously reads and thoroughly appreciates your reviews, I hope I didn't come across as unappreciative or combative.
Calling our "unimaginative asshole fanboys who can't read a geo chart" implies something pretty dramatic, which would be a bummer, especially as it sounds like it has tainted your opinion of the bike (but also *might* be an entertaining read)
Awesome, detailed review as always. I ran a DVO Topaz for a bit on a Knolly, and with that shock I was a little skeptical of whether I'd really make use of the all tunability with the air spring. It ended up being that adding bands to the negative chamber helped me really dial in that bike in a way that typical compression adjustments wouldn't have been able to do. Really nice feature IMO!
Do you really think there's less case to be made for inserts on carbon rims? I've always run inserts not because of aluminum rim fragility, but because they've let me get away with running Exo+ tires and not getting flats. I ask because I just picked up some Nobl wheels, but was on the fence about inserts and ended up deciding to try Tannus.
Awesome review! The honesty around the Thunder pants is particularly appreciated. While I'm all for high-end ski and backpacking outerwear, going full 7Mesh on MTB gear is a tough idea for me to get behind. It's not that I don't believe that the Skypilot truly is an incredible jacket, but its more the fact that I generally keep riding a lot of steep and gnarly stuff even in winter (Seattle area), and crashes happen. I've ripped up cheaper rain jackets and such, and the idea of tearing an elbow off of my new 7Mesh jacket is just too emotionally trying.
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!
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.
Been meaning to try some Patagonia shorts, on top of making well-made stuff their sustainability practices are the best in the business. If you haven't tried them, I'd highly recommend Abit Gear shorts - 2 cuts for big or skinny butts, well designed and zippered pockets, and no obnoxious logos or colors. They're designed by a guy who used to head up Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance here in the Seattle area, turns out having shorts designed by a longtime mountain biker yields great results.
Surprised you guys have liked the e.13 tires so much, especially for where you live. I'm in Seattle and found them terrifying - once you exceed a certain lean angle they tend to let go very suddenly, and grip has been pretty lackluster on wet roots and rocks. Had a few too many close calls on those (or in several cases, unexpected crashes) and went back to Magic Marys, no issues.
Those cable crimps look genius - where does a north american buy them? Your link is to a British site.
I have a Huck Norris in the rear tire of my Sentinel and while it doesn't provide the damping benefit that the Cush Core does (which is very real by my experience), it's nice piece of mind for unexpected rock hits at high speed. Where Huck Norris and Cush Core (and the million other options popping up) all seem to differ is in the amount of difference in "feel" or damping that they provide, and I can confidently say that Cush Core provides the most of that, whereas Huck Norris provides the least.
The amount of support that Cush Core provides when cornering super hard is really awesome. Some people like them as an excuse to be able to run ridiculously low tire pressure, but I think any tire feels like crap at less than 17-18 PSI even with an insert. The Cush Core on my DH bike has saved rims several times riding in the Whistler Bike Park, but ultimately it's an insurance policy - I know that I destroy wheels in the bike park, so its worth it. On my trail bike, the weight isn't worth it, so I run a more bare bones option (Huck Norris) that can still give me a better shot at my wheel/tire surviving unexpected circumstances.
How have you found the 12 speed option to compare to 11 speed? I have GX Eagle on my Sentinel, and its performance has degraded VERY quickly...I'm thinking about ditching it entirely and either upgrading to X01 Eagle or going back to 11-speed. Thoughts?
Interesting to hear that you guys have liked the TRS line so much - I took the plunge and bought LG1r front and rear for my DH bike and TRSr for the front of my trail bike, and really didn't get along with them. The LG1 tires were an epic disaster, and I ended up completely ruining both tires after 5 days at Whistler despite running Huck Norris. The sidewalls were way too thin/flimsy for a proper downhill tire. Even with the super sticky "R" rubber, the front tire was incredibly unpredictable on hard, wet surfaces, and I had my worst crash in years running the LG1r front tire and coming off of the old rock drop on Dirt Merchant. The second I hit the rock the tire completely let loose with no warning at all - something I've never experienced despite riding that trail in the wet probably 100 times. Smoked a brand new 100% helmet and literally every piece of clothing I was wearing except my shoes.
I'll admit that both tires are pretty good in the dry/loose, but they are way too square in my opinion, which leads to a vague and unpredictable feeling at hard lean angles on harder surfaces. Not to mention, the side knobs wear crazy fast because they're almost always in contact with the ground, also hurting rolling resistance.
These semi-slicks look much more promising given the rounder profile, and could be an excellent dry season option here in the PNW assuming they roll as quickly as I'd imagine.
Yep I saw your line there - seems some others may have missed it though and been caught with a knee-jerk reaction to the title. I in no way meant that as a jab at your writing, you covered the bases.
e-bikes work for some and not for others. I'm in the latter camp, but I also understand people wanting to use them. I happen to also think that they pose a massive risk to sustainable access rights for the mountain bike community, but I will try to stay as objective as possible here.
Full transparency, I am an instructor for Evergreen here in Washington. I do not pretend to represent the organization's views nor do I have a right to claim that I do, but I am fully on board with the legislation that they have been supporting, especially given our local climate here in WA.
Mountain biking has been exploding here in recent years, and Evergreen has been at the forefront of the construction of new world-class trails. For those of you that have ridden or heard of the trails on Tiger Mountain just outside of Seattle, Evergreen is the sole reason those exceptional trails exist in the form that they do today.
We are fortunate to have places like Tiger that are on DNR land. We are also fortunate to have places like Tokul, Galbraith, and others that are on privately owned (or leased) logging land. Access to the privately owned land can be precarious, and that is the primary reason that I think we need to take this e-bike debate with a slow, steady hand. Call me paranoid, but I can imagine land owners who have granted access to horses and bikes in the past seeing other trail systems grappling with e-bikes, and shuttering trail access to their trails entirely for not wanting to deal with the grey area.
I think the title of the article may be a bit inflammatory, and is probably the cause of a lot of these negative comments that appear not to understand the article or what has actually been done. e-bikes are not banned by the legislation - they must be given permission by land managers to be ridden. If land managers do not want to open their doors to e-bikes, that is their choice. While that sucks for e-bike riders, it protects the access rights of other trail users while we grapple with this introduction of new motorized bikes out onto the trails.