A Legend Reborn: Banshee Legend 29 [PROTOTYPE] Bike Check at Thredbo Cannonball Festival, 2018. Photos and words from mediaman Nick Waygood.
The Banshee Legend has been nothing short of itself for the past decade, constantly being refined as a pure-bred downhill race bike. Earlier this year, Banshee showcased their most recent prototype to fit in with the crowd – a 29 inch wheel version.
Banshee designed this bike around the idea of only being suitable to riders over 6-foot tall, with the frame only being offered in XL size. A 190mm travel downhill race bike, with a 63 degree head angle keeps the bike rolling over the top of rock gardens alongside with the prototype frame design. A hydro-formed top tube saves roughly 350 grams from the overall weight, making it an easy-to-ride race machine. A steeper seat tube then keeps the bike from being too slack.
The pilot of this magnificent, raw-looking beast is Kye from @missinglinkbike, a Banshee importer/mechanic out of Canberra. He’s been riding the Legend since the first prototype was released 10 years ago, and know’s everything there is to know about it.
We caught up with Kye to talk shop about his new rig, and moving from a 650B Legend to the 29er Prototype.
“This thing just holds speed, once it gets going it’s gone! It still handles tight sections of trail, like bunny walk up here at Thredbo. It does feel a bit cumbersome in some tight hairpins, but these days downhill trails are much more open. Which will make 29er downhill bikes more relevant.”
“I reckon I’ll definitely stick with 29ers, at least of downhill. I used to hate on them, but after riding this for a few weeks now I’m blown away by how well it handles. They’re bloody quick, but I reckon riders will really only benefit from 29er downhills if they’re on the taller side.”
Rumour has it, Banshee will be going to production with a Legend frame in a large size, with both 27.5 and 29 inch wheels option. It’s said they’ll be available in February 2019.
Keep your eyes peeled for this speed machine down the Australian Open Cannonball course this weekend.