Prime vs. Spitfire.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Prime vs. Spitfire.

    Hey Guys and Gals

    Prime or Spitfire? I ride mostly a mix of cross country/trail/bike park laps. (more trail than bike park, bike park is mostly flow with some chunky rock sections and 4-5' drops at the largest.) ie 1 bike quiver killer

    I just built up a spitfire for my wife this summer and am incredibly impressed with the quality of the frame and how smooth it looks under pedaling loads. I landed with Banshee as she broke her old Trek Fuel EX 9.9 and I was able to swap all her nice 26" parts over into a new frame to get her rolling. Planning on moving her to 650b this winter/ whenever she finally kills of the rest of her 26" parts. I was so impressed with the quality of the frame that I'm thinking a Banshee for my self next season.

    I'm coming off of a 2016 Trek remedy 650b set up 140/150 travel. I really liked the bike but geo was just a smidge short for me. Ive been happy with the 650b wheels but I also love the 29er.

    The geos look so similar between the Spitfire and the Prime that Im having a hard time determining direction. I would be running a 150 fork up front no matter what.

    Some advice on this would be awesome.

    Thanks Yall

  2. #2
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    *subscribing

    I am on a Spitfire myself for 2+ yrs now. Bike rips. I have not ridden a Prime but what I can offer on my Spitfire is that.....I get underbiked on only the most disgusting trails. I live and ride in Pisgah (North Carolina) and we have some chunk for sure. The bike is fun, like irresponsible amounts of fun. If I was buying today, I'd probably go for a Prime though. After toying with some 29ers over the last year and riding my Spitfire definitely at its limits, I'd like to move "up" a bit. I don't at all have a problem with the travel of the Spit, and I think the added "smoothness" of the wagon wheels may help me out in the chunk.

    I've heard folks compare the Rune and Prime in terms of "capability" and that seems fair to me. Again - haven't ridden a Prime, but seems very reasonable it would be a bit more capable than the Spit. Similar geo and travel, bigger wheels to smooth the ride.

    For 2018 I hope to build a new bike. Prime is on the list for sure. There are so many good bikes out there now, makes it a tough call. Good luck to you, look forawrd to seeing other thoughts and replies.

  3. #3
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    I've been on a Spitfire for about a year now. At least for me...its more than enough bike me. I use it for shuttling and bike parks. The geo lets me get away with riding like a complete hack at times. The wheel size has never been an issue for me and really haven't had the desire to go bigger.

    I haven't ridden a Prime...but if it was to be my only bike...I think I'd go with the one that climbs the best...because I think if the Prime is anything like the Spitfire going downhill...descending won't be an issue.

  4. #4
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    $0.02...

    I have time on both, but own a 2017 Prime. I test-rode the previous-gen Spitfire a few times and was impressed, but I wanted to do a little "future-proofing" by going with a bike that could do 27+ or 29 wheels. Here's my take on the two bikes:
    • Climbing - Prime, all the way. The big wheels roll over stuff very well. The Spitfire is no slouch going uphill, but the Prime is better over roots and rocks, ledges, etc. Tight switchbacks aren't an issue, which really surprised me. My previous bike had 26" wheels and a much shorter wheelbase, and the Prime handles the tight turns at least as well.
    • Cornering - It depends. I'm not the world's best berm-blaster, but I do okay. The Spitfire rails turns. The Prime can too, but it requires more rider input. Where the Prime has an edge is when you need to choose your own adventure and go off line around the corner. It handles the sketchy aspects just a little better. In tight turns, the Spitfire wins.
    • Jumps - Spitfire. The Prime jumps fine, but the Spitfire is better at it.
    • Speed - Prime. Once it starts rolling, it just goes and goes. Stay off the brakes and you will be rewarded.
    • Chunder - Prime. The big wheels make it easier to roll over rough terrain.
    • Technical Descents - Depends. If there are steep sections combined with big roots and rocks that require more agility, the Spitfire has an advantage. If it's more about monster-trucking through a section, the Prime is awesome.

    To sum up, if you do a lot of climbing to get to your descents and enjoy long days in the saddle, I'd lean toward the Prime. It's very capable. The Spitfire is "the downhiller's XC bike". It's a party on the DH, but not as good on the up as the Prime. If you're thinking about 27+/29/29+, the Prime is the obvious choice.

  5. #5
    FM
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    I went from a Rune>Prime>Prime>Spritfire>Rune. They've all had pretty similar builds that hit <30lbs while being up for whistler trips and epic XC too. Meanwhile owning some other complimentary bikes.

    Obviously super happy with all the Banshees I've owned!

    If I had to own one bike for everything, it would be the Spitfire w/ 160mm fork, wide 27.5 carbon rims, minions, a Float x2 or something similar. Done. The spitfire always felt good at everything. Owning multiple bikes, specialized for different riding styles was the only reason I moved on.

    I believe a lot of it comes down to height. The Prime was awesome for long days, it had cruise missile stability at speed. At 5'-9"/175cm I find 29'ers need to have a wheelbase of 45.5" or less, longer than that and I find them somewhat unresponsive while cornering or jumping. YMMV especially for taller peeps with more leverage on their wheels. The wheelbase ends up being a result of geometry + travel, so I'm getting along better with shorter travel slack 29'ers like the Evil Following (****ing incredible bike, by the way). These days I take the Following for trail ride duties, and the Rune if there's going be be significant air time or black diamond action. The Spitfire essentially split the difference perfectly.

    my .02c.

  6. #6
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    OP did you ever make any moves on this? What's teh latest?

    Bringing this thread back up because of a personal situation, if you don't mind a bit of a hijack. I cracked my second Spitfire and am now weighing options actually on the Rune or the Prime, given's Keith's historical opine of if you keep cracking Spitfires, get a Rune or Prime....

    No bikepark riding for me, just nasty Pisgah trails day in and day out. First Spitfire lasted 18mo in this environment, second one lasted 12. Likely I am riding more and more like a hack, idk...

    I am leaning toward a Prime frame, obviously new wheels and fork, but then moving my drivetrain/brakes/shock (Fox X2) over. My biggest holdout on the Prime is worried about playfulness. My riding style is definitely not plow or monstertruck. I love corners and flicks and jumps. So that has me leaning to the Rune. Can anyone offer your experience on the playfulness of Prime vs. Rune?

    All of my rides include quite a bit of climbing. Local loop is 9mi/2k feet. A lot of 3-4k ft days. So that has me wanting Prime. Plus me and my buddies tend to chase each other a lot and the Prime may let me go a bit faster on our fall line super chunk trails which would be fun....FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.

    Thanks for any thoughts.

    Because I know you're interested:
    Prime vs. Spitfire.-img_20180414_081619.jpgPrime vs. Spitfire.-img_20180414_081702.jpg

  7. #7
    FM
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    Damn dude! That's a bummer.

    I think you'd be happy with either bike. It's really just the wheelsize debate. I prefer the Rune for jumping (not my strength) but the Prime was better for longer rides & bigger climbs. Both bikes were great everywhere. I feel my height drives my wheelsize preferences- I have taller friends who are completely happy jumping bigger wheels.
    Curious to see which way you go.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM View Post
    Damn dude! That's a bummer.

    I think you'd be happy with either bike. It's really just the wheelsize debate. I prefer the Rune for jumping (not my strength) but the Prime was better for longer rides & bigger climbs. Both bikes were great everywhere. I feel my height drives my wheelsize preferences- I have taller friends who are completely happy jumping bigger wheels.
    Curious to see which way you go.
    Ahhh right on. That's the question right, buy the bike that accentuates your already strong points or the other way around. I will say based on a weekend of Rune vs Prime spitballing in my head, I am leaning toward the big wheels. We'll see what I hear back from Banshee this week on options. Love the brand, fully intend to stay on one if at all feasible....

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  9. #9
    FM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post

    No bikepark riding for me, just nasty Pisgah trails day in and day out.
    Reread your post... I think you'll be stoked on the Prime. The roll-over of the bigger wheels is really sweet, for both covering distance and rolling steep tech too.

    The bike park type stuff- machine built flow trails and lippy jumps- is where I prefer the smaller wheels.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM View Post
    Reread your post... I think you'll be stoked on the Prime. The roll-over of the bigger wheels is really sweet, for both covering distance and rolling steep tech too.

    The bike park type stuff- machine built flow trails and lippy jumps- is where I prefer the smaller wheels.
    Yep, fully decided to go this route. Just waiting for Banshee to get back to me. Demo'd an Ibis Ripmo today and it was fantastic. Sold me on the wagon wheels.

    I am trying to figure out what setup to go with. I was running a 160 on my 2016 Spitfire in low, with about 10mm of spacers under the stem. I'm trying to figure with reach and stack numbers what I may expect on the 160mm fork on Prime in low. Guessing I'll slam the stem and see how it goes. Rambling more than anything! Haha

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  11. #11
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    Iím considering a new banshee bike this fall and am torn between the spitfire and prime. I also live and ride in Pisgah and would be interested to hear your thoughts on these two bikes. Iím on a Kona Process 111 now and feel a little underbiked at times on the chunkier stuff. Would be nice to have something that climbed a bit better too. I was hoping for a bottle cage as well but you canít have everything!

  12. #12
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    I'd be thinking that angle of attack vs greater travel would benefit more for all the square edge stuff, rocks etc that Pisgah is so well known for. Hard to say though as I'm a 29er fan, don't seem to be able to find all the downsides some complain about, just all the benefits, but I'm more of a keep the tyres close to the ground, ride rocky, rooty, tech.

    Quote Originally Posted by slsl123 View Post
    Iím considering a new banshee bike this fall and am torn between the spitfire and prime. I also live and ride in Pisgah and would be interested to hear your thoughts on these two bikes. Iím on a Kona Process 111 now and feel a little underbiked at times on the chunkier stuff. Would be nice to have something that climbed a bit better too. I was hoping for a bottle cage as well but you canít have everything!
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    You're doing mtbr wrong, you're supposed to get increasingly offended by the implications that you're doing ANYTHING wrong.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by slsl123 View Post
    Iím considering a new banshee bike this fall and am torn between the spitfire and prime. I also live and ride in Pisgah and would be interested to hear your thoughts on these two bikes. Iím on a Kona Process 111 now and feel a little underbiked at times on the chunkier stuff. Would be nice to have something that climbed a bit better too. I was hoping for a bottle cage as well but you canít have everything!
    I also ride in Pisgah and the Prime handles all the rocks and roots just fine. I feel that the bike can handle a lot more than I am able to give it. It climbs really well too-able to clean pressley to hickory on it, unlike most of my past bikes. I am around 6í3Ē so the 29inch wheels are a good fit. I run a bottle cage on the underside of the downtube and have gotten used to it but it does pick up a lot of mud.

  14. #14
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    That cracked Spitfire is well horrific. Thought mine failed badly, but had that snapped you could literally have died.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by slsl123 View Post
    Iím considering a new banshee bike this fall and am torn between the spitfire and prime. I also live and ride in Pisgah and would be interested to hear your thoughts on these two bikes. Iím on a Kona Process 111 now and feel a little underbiked at times on the chunkier stuff. Would be nice to have something that climbed a bit better too. I was hoping for a bottle cage as well but you canít have everything!
    I ended up going Prime. Built it in May. It rips. Rides so well in Pisgah. Have done up to 60mi days on it and WANT MOAR.

    Truth be told I think the Spitfire was more fun. Cornering, manuvering , that bike will forever be etched in my hall of fame. If I didn't live in the chunk, I'd still have one. The Prime is great though and I don't doubt my decision for a second. It's the right tool for the job.

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  16. #16
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    Also switched from a (cracked) Spitfire to a Prime. Both XL, I'm 6'2", and prefer the added stability and rolling momentum of the 29'er, primary on long rides in the Rocky Mountains.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the responses guys. Sounds like the Prime may be the better tool for the job. Although I recognize and appreciate the benefits of the big wheels sometimes they feel awkward to me especially when trying to hop or manual or negotiate switchbacks. (Might be my crappy technique or the geometry of my Kona?) Hoping the spitfire may be an improvement in all these areas. Iím not looking for the fastest bike that gets me down to the bottom first but the one that is the most fun to pop off every rock, root and drop on the way down. If the Prime can do these things as well as the Spitfire Iíll go with the Prime.

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