Introducing the Banshee Prime V3.2, the latest and hopefully best version of the Prime platform using all of Banshee’s most modern attributes. We had Banshee’s flagship 29er enduro bike, the Titan, in for test back in 2020 when it was pretty fresh and found the bike climbed better than it should while remaining composed and nimble on the way down.
The Banshee Prime is the Titan’s little sibling, running 135mm of travel in the rear. With some subtle geometry tweaks, it promises to deliver something a little different. Sitting one rung beneath the Titan in terms of travel, the Prime is Banshee’s ‘all-mountain’ machine. It’s a bike that claims to be able to do it all while putting a smile on the rider’s face, with 29″ wheels, an aluminum frame, and a 140-160mm fork. All-mountain is arguably the most difficult segment to compete in, a niche that’s already full to the brim, so the Prime has a lot to live up to.
Using Banshee’s KS2 linkage, a platform that was new for 2020 and forced the update to all of their bike models, this is a platform that I previously found to be incredibly supple, while surprisingly pedal-efficient. With fully modern aggressive geometry and a little less travel than some of its competitors (or more travel depending which bikes you consider competition), the Prime is one of my favorite types of bikes. That is, aggressive, shorter travel trail rippers. Geometry is adjustable via a flip chip at the dropouts and adjusts the head tube angle between 65º and 65.5º, the seat tube angle between 76.4º and 76.9º, and the BB drop between 22 and 30mm. The Banshee Prime features 450mm-long chainstays and a reach of 470mm in a size large.
Banshee currently only sells bike frames, and that’s how I received the Prime. Frames come with a tapered headset and cups pre-installed, a seatpost clamp, Fox’s new Float X Performance Elite shock, and your choice of dropouts, complete with a spare derailleur hanger and some other small parts. The frame has all the modern specs you’d expect, with the exception of a post-mount brake; the Prime uses the older IS standard. Banshee has made this frame pretty damn flexible since they know people may be building their bike with older parts, and so there are four different dropout options for long/short to accommodate for 29/27,5+ and Boost or non-Boost wheels.
Other details include easy internal cable routing through the front triangle (external on the rear), nice CNC’d cable covers, a threaded BB, 30.9mm seatpost with an average amount of insertion, and a ribbed chainstay protector for keeping things quiet.
The Prime frame uses Banshee’s typical design flair, which I personally love, and is currently available in two colors — anodized black or clear over raw aluminum as seen here. There are three size options: medium, large and extra large. I built this particular frame up with mostly used parts from my Giant Reign 29, and pretty much all of it swapped right over with the exception of the BB. I’ll go more into the build in the full test but the basics are a 160mm fork because overforking is fun, 29″ Reserve wheels, a 180mm OneUp dropper, GX Eagle drivetrain. and four piston SLX brakes on 203mm rotors front and rear.
The Prime retails at $2,599USD for the frame only and is available through dealers in most countries in Europe, North America, Australasia and others. Keep your eyes peeled for the full review in a couple months. I can’t wait to get a leg over this one.