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  1. #1
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    Steel Poll Bathtub

    So here are the details regarding this little “pole”. I am going to be purchasing a new frame in the not too distant future. I have narrowed my selections down to two choices. I had locked up my decision, but have some last minute doubts. As such I will present both sides of the proverbial coin to you fellow riders and some background information to assist or amuse me in my decision. It’s not all about me though (usually it is), so I will award the most impressive response with a fantastic prize package. Not as good as Mr Craig’s, but whatever.

    Steel Poll Bathtub-sscxwc_raceday_115.jpg

    The background: A tiny bit about your host. If you already know me then I am sorry about your luck. This is going to be my 27th year mountain biking. I began riding full suspension bikes back in ’98 and have not looked back. I favor rough and nasty riding as best represented by the beautiful madness that can be found on the trails in the Pisgah National Forrest. Rugged all day crushers are my favorites and for the most part while I have become a better climber in last five years, I still view ascents as the toll I submit for as crazed a descent as I can find. I earn my turns though as I have never been one much for bike parks or sessioning anything. I favor durability over lightweight as I ride aggressively and I am a bigger guy clocking in at around two bucks +/- with gear.

    In addition, I have a few revered bicycle idiosyncrasies. I prefer simplicity, I have long been a Santa Cruz bicycle fan and I like flat black paint jobs. I think carbon fiber is fine and dandy, but not at the moment for me as a frame material. I also seem to also ride bikes who emanate from a company that begins with the letter “S”. This is my insanity not yours. However, I broke the “S” rule last year when I switched to a Kona for my cyclocross frame. I was sure I would hate it (oy! it was such a deal, I could not pass it up), but it has been quite the opposite.

    It is in my new found enlightenment that a challenger to my beloved “S” and Santa Cruz bikes has a arisen. The Banshee Rune V2 (stats) has caught my attention as of late. In a nutshell, it is almost the same as my initial choice of a new 650b Heckler (stats). It has the same top tube, stand over height and chainstay length. It will accept all of the kit I have set aside for the Heckler without any issues (SRAM XO 1X10 drivetrain, Avid Code R brakes, Reverb seatpost, Rock Shox Pike 160 27.5 Solo Air fork and last but certainly not least my Cane Creek DB Air shock.

    The Banshee possesses some pointed differences that I will condense. It is has a slacker front end by a degree, a longer wheelbase by an inch, 10 more mm of travel and a higher bottom bracket by an inch. Not to mention it uses a KS Link suspension platform which is nearly identical to the VPP system as found on Santa Cruz and Intense bikes. The Heckler in contrast uses a simple single pivot suspension. The Heckler despite its more simple system is a bike I am intimately familiar with having owned four different Santa Cruz single pivot bikes including two previous Hecklers. I like the single pivot design for its simplicity, durability and feel.

    I have however, pedaled a couple of friends Banshee’s around and really liked how they felt as well. They are very stout and accelerate well. I have raved about their particular geometry (steep seat angle/slack front end) before having experienced it initially on a Kona Honzo a couple of years ago. None of my friends who both beat the bejeebus out of their bikes (Banshee Primes, the Rune’s big wheeled brethren) have had any trouble with them regarding the pivots. Last but not least the Rune is available in complete murdered out black on flat black colorway too which I am totally ghey over.

    A few final points. The costs are about the same give or take a couple hundred dollars. I am a long time SC and S bike fan, but that has been shaken up by other horizons in the last year. I know I would like either one, but there is something about extra burl of the Banshee that is appealing to me. That said, even with the extra beef on the Rune the final build on either will be less than a half pound difference.

    What say yee? Fabulous prizes await!!! Let these soothing sounds assist you in your response.




    the going won't get good 'til I'm good and gone

  2. #2
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    Superstitions aside, I think for what you are describing, you'd love the Rune. I have a Spitfire, set up with Pike and CCDBA and ride Pisgah regularly but live further east in Durham. For my purposes (true jack of all trades), the Spitfire is ideal. If I lived in Brevard, I would probably get a Rune.

    Anyhow, my experience with the KS link is that it pedals very well. You will have no issues grinding your way to the top of Black Mountain, Daniel's, Farlow, Bennet, Trace, etc... Descending, the spitfire is inappropriately capable given its travel and I an only imagine the Rune to be more so. I can also confirm that the matte black looks really good.

    In short, I think you'd really enjoy the Rune for your intended purpose. I have nothing but good things to say about Keith and the new generation of Banshee bikes. Post pics if you get one!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by NCBigHit View Post
    Superstitions aside, I think for what you are describing, you'd love the Rune. I have a Spitfire, set up with Pike and CCDBA and ride Pisgah regularly but live further east in Durham. For my purposes (true jack of all trades), the Spitfire is ideal. If I lived in Brevard, I would probably get a Rune.

    Anyhow, my experience with the KS link is that it pedals very well. You will have no issues grinding your way to the top of Black Mountain, Daniel's, Farlow, Bennet, Trace, etc... Descending, the spitfire is inappropriately capable given its travel and I an only imagine the Rune to be more so. I can also confirm that the matte black looks really good.

    In short, I think you'd really enjoy the Rune for your intended purpose. I have nothing but good things to say about Keith and the new generation of Banshee bikes. Post pics if you get one!
    Damn, many of my favorite rides!!! I love the stuff outta the fish hatchery. I will have mine built them same as yours with a Pike 160 and a DB Air. I have some time still to consider it as the black on black will not be available until April. Send me a message with your info when you are gonna be out there sometime and we can do a ride.
    the going won't get good 'til I'm good and gone

  4. #4
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    For sure. The stuff out of the Hatchery is great. I also really like Picklesimer Fields when it's dry (and open)....the fast open part at the end with all the water bars so too fun. Wish hikers didn't like it so much.

    I'll ping you when I make it out next. When you get your rig, I'd like to drool on it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NCBigHit View Post
    For sure. The stuff out of the Hatchery is great. I also really like Picklesimer Fields when it's dry (and open)....the fast open part at the end with all the water bars so too fun. Wish hikers didn't like it so much.

    I'll ping you when I make it out next. When you get your rig, I'd like to drool on it.

    The loop(s) that I have done the most out the the Fish Hatchery is to take the fire road to the right up to Cove Creek, then dump out back on the main fire road. Take Daniel Ridge up counter clockwise (hike-a-bike at the top) and the down at Farlow. Finally, take the road up to Long Branch and then all the back to the parking lot when it's open. We've rode that combo for years and it is still a blast. Black Mountain is crusher with it's big nasty climbs and descents. Sycamore/Thrift Cove are also big fun. Laurel mountain is rad especially riding it out back skipping Pilot rock for the bigger descent back down the hell you just climbed. Certainly all the stuff at DuPont is great too. Finally, the place I am dying to get back to for a big all day basher is the Wilson's Creek area.

    Drooling? Kinky!
    the going won't get good 'til I'm good and gone

  6. #6
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    Fellow Rune'er here. This is stout and sturdy! I plan on picking up a CCDBACS soon bc the fox CTD isn't cutting it. The bike has a tendency to build a bit heavy IMO but that is fine for thrashing. I have a RS Lyric coil and Azonic Outlaws both of which are not the lightest thing out there.

    Now the next question is are you gonna build it 650B because that is something I would love to give a try but I can't justify the cost. You are gonna love it regardless and I am sure it will give you many years of enjoyment!!

    HOLLA!!!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmxking45 View Post
    Fellow Rune'er here. This is stout and sturdy! I plan on picking up a CCDBACS soon bc the fox CTD isn't cutting it. The bike has a tendency to build a bit heavy IMO but that is fine for thrashing. I have a RS Lyric coil and Azonic Outlaws both of which are not the lightest thing out there.

    Now the next question is are you gonna build it 650B because that is something I would love to give a try but I can't justify the cost. You are gonna love it regardless and I am sure it will give you many years of enjoyment!!

    HOLLA!!!


    Yep, I will be building it (or whatever I build; more on that later...) as a 650b/27.5 bike. I have a full kit ready to go and since I feel like yabbering I will list it here:

    • WTB i23 tubeless ready rims with SRAM hubs...a take off from a Bronson
    • Reverb seat post
    • WTB Volt saddle
    • Rock Shox Pike 160 Solo Air
    • Avid Code R brakes 203/185
    • Saint cranks
    • Raceface Diabolus/DH bottom brakcet
    • Wolf Tooth 30 tooth chain ring
    • MRP AM guide
    • Cane Creek DB Air
    • SRAM XO shifter/rear derailleur
    • SRAM X-9 11-36 cassette with OneUp 42t cog
    • SRAM 1051 chain
    • Raceface Atlas handlebar Orange 785mm and Raceface lock-on grips
    • Thomson 50mm stem
    • Cane Creek 40 Zero Stack headset
    • Time ROC platform pedals


    The above built on a medium frame should put me in the 30-31 lb range. My last bike was 32 lbs and change so no big deal there.

    Other possibilities: I may score a set of XT cranks for not much kale which are slightly less portly compared to the Saints. If I have some money to part with later I plan on building a set of ENVE wheels onto some Hadley hubs I have. I rode a bike with ENVE's and, yes they live up to the hype...maybe not $2500 worth of hype so I will do some wheeling and dealing.

    Finally, as my original post says I am/was torn between a Rune and a Heckler. The wild card (Banshee pun-intended) now are the rumors of Santa Cruz releasing an all new Nomad in a 27.5 iteration with 160mm+ travel and aggressive geometry in April. The Rune I want, the black on black, is back-ordered until then anyway. So I am interested to see what unfolds as I am otherwise sold on a Rune.
    the going won't get good 'til I'm good and gone

  8. #8
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    Steel Poll Bathtub

    Quote Originally Posted by HELLBELLY View Post


    Yep, I will be building it (or whatever I build; more on that later...) as a 650b/27.5 bike. I have a full kit ready to go and since I feel like yabbering I will list it here:

    • WTB i23 tubeless ready rims with SRAM hubs...a take off from a Bronson
    • Reverb seat post
    • WTB Volt saddle
    • Rock Shox Pike 160 Solo Air
    • Avid Code R brakes 203/185
    • Saint cranks
    • Raceface Diabolus/DH bottom brakcet
    • Wolf Tooth 30 tooth chain ring
    • MRP AM guide
    • Cane Creek DB Air
    • SRAM XO shifter/rear derailleur
    • SRAM X-9 11-36 cassette with OneUp 42t cog
    • SRAM 1051 chain
    • Raceface Atlas handlebar Orange 785mm and Raceface lock-on grips
    • Thomson 50mm stem
    • Cane Creek 40 Zero Stack headset
    • Time ROC platform pedals


    The above built on a medium frame should put me in the 30-31 lb range. My last bike was 32 lbs and change so no big deal there.

    Other possibilities: I may score a set of XT cranks for not much kale which are slightly less portly compared to the Saints. If I have some money to part with later I plan on building a set of ENVE wheels onto some Hadley hubs I have. I rode a bike with ENVE's and, yes they live up to the hype...maybe not $2500 worth of hype so I will do some wheeling and dealing.

    Finally, as my original post says I am/was torn between a Rune and a Heckler. The wild card (Banshee pun-intended) now are the rumors of Santa Cruz releasing an all new Nomad in a 27.5 iteration with 160mm+ travel and aggressive geometry in April. The Rune I want, the black on black, is back-ordered until then anyway. So I am interested to see what unfolds as I am otherwise sold on a Rune.
    Can't wait to see another rune with enve rims. Are you certain it could withstand the abuse?


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mik8yu View Post
    Can't wait to see another rune with enve rims. Are you certain it could withstand the abuse?


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    Well, ENVE has a 5 year warranty which is longer than anyone out there for a set of rims. They have DH riders beating the crap out of them without any catastrophic failures other than some spokes breaking. I will build them up with 32h rims and Hadley hubs which are nearly indestructible. The ride on the set I took a spin on is ridiculously good. They are light, but it's their stiffness and acceleration that will blow your mind. I am a pretty discerning rider and I care little for hype. They are noticeably better than anything I have ever pedaled. I wish they did not cost so damn much. We'll see.
    the going won't get good 'til I'm good and gone

  10. #10
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    Steel Poll Bathtub

    Quote Originally Posted by HELLBELLY View Post
    Well, ENVE has a 5 year warranty which is longer than anyone out there for a set of rims. They have DH riders beating the crap out of them without any catastrophic failures other than some spokes breaking. I will build them up with 32h rims and Hadley hubs which are nearly indestructible. The ride on the set I took a spin on is ridiculously good. They are light, but it's their stiffness and acceleration that will blow your mind. I am a pretty discerning rider and I care little for hype. They are noticeably better than anything I have ever pedaled. I wish they did not cost so damn much. We'll see.
    One day I will build a set of those! Some black on black hotness for your viewing pleasure!




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  11. #11
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    Looking good. What size is that? The black and gold looks pimp. Mine will be black (pike included) everything except for the orange bars. I might toss this sticker on someplace to go with the Halloween esthetic.
    the going won't get good 'til I'm good and gone

  12. #12
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    Steel Poll Bathtub

    It's a 26er. Not convinced I could push the 650b yet. That is one scary sticker btw.


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  13. #13
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    What size is it as in small, medium, etc? In regards to 27.5 wheels, if there was one person who was skeptical over changing wheel sizes, you found them with me. I despised every 29'er I ever tried. This started back in '00 and I demoed everything from crazy expensive to cheap ones dialed for my "fit". They always felt like I was on barstool after being over-served. Maybe at 5'9" with short legs it just was not going to be a match. This changed only a couple of years ago when I first rode a Kona Honzo. It has the geometry to allow wagon wheels to perform at their max (like a monster truck/steamroller) without feeling like a twitchy XC rig. The Banshee has nearly the same geometry.

    The geometry is key. Combined with a larger wheel format you get a killer bike. I was impressed with the added benefits of going to the 27.5 format certainly because of the better roll-over/traction, higher speed and better maintaining of momentum. However, most importantly the handling of the bikes I rode were not effected in any perceivable way with the bigger wheels. I had no problem getting the bikes up to speed, they climbed great and managed to catch me off guard with the amount of speed I could carry with them. Test out a similar bike with bigger wheels when a demo rolls through. Or give old a-holes like me the finger when you rip by
    .
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  14. #14
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    Steel Poll Bathtub

    It's a small. Toptube feels a bit longer compared to my old bike. But for some reason maneuvering is not a problem at all. Love the versatility re: 650b on rune. Always a fall back if I should be sold one day. Hmm


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