Sea Otter: Banshee Prime (and Spitfire)

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You may not immediately recognise the Banshee name. That’s because (due to Halfords owning the name ‘Banshee’) they go by ‘Mythic’ in the UK. Nevertheless, they’re a pretty British-friendly company. The marketing guy is English and the designer is Scottish and lives in Edinburgh. We covered this briefly in our 29er roundup but reckon it’s worth a more in-depth look.

Anyway, Banshee was proudly showing off its new 29er bike, the Prime, and reminded us about its ‘ideal for the UK’ 26in bike, the Spitfire.

Prototype Banshee Prime in 'proto-raw' finish

The Banshee Prime is a 5in/130mm true all-mountain 29er. Featuring full bearings on all the pivots, a 150×12 or 135QR back end and a 67.5° head angle (that they reckon is a 66.5° 26in equivalent) the bike is designed to go everywhere the small wheelers go.


Big head tube for any fork combo

The bike will come in M, L and XL sizes and will be out Spring 2012 (once its 74 test riders have finished evaluating it.)

The bike also had some prototype 29er things on it, like this first prototype Manitou Tower fork – 140mm.

Those logos look printed out and stuck on, that's how prototype they are.


Non drive side, showing the chunky back and and linkages.


...and these Geax Sturdy 29 x 2.3in tyres


Some nice machining going on there.


Changeable dropouts for 135 or 150mm hubs



Direct mount front mech for more all-mountain use, or a direct mount chain guide for more extreme stuff.

And here’s the Spitfire. It’s a 66-67°/74° mismatched travel bike designed for 160mm fork up front and 127mm out back. It’s already got some of the Calderdale riders salivating.


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (2)

    Seems every UK mountain bike website says “The Spitfire could be the ideal UK bike”, they are sold for a good price (Freeborn/Mythic), they match the current vogue for mismatched travel, look great and the designer lives in Edinburgh yet somehow I have yet to see a test of one in the UK.

    Any chance of remedying the situation? I like the look, I like the idea, but have yet to hear any real world assessments of one in the UK.

    That prime could almost tempt me to go back to a full susser

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