The Paradox is Banshees contribution to the 29er market. What makes it unique from the rest is that it was based out of the Scirocco frame with its internally ribbed seat and chainstay--making it an incredibly efficient pedal bike.
This is not your typical 29er hardtail. Most 29er hardtails in this price range are steel, comfortable frames that can be matched with a short travel suspension or rigid fork. They flex here and there and deliver a comfortable ride. Well the Paradox is different. It is a hammer with a 5 inch fork up front. It is responsive and aggressive on the rear and slack in the front with a 69 degree head angle and a 5 inch fork. It is design to carve, jump and scoot around singletrack or the pump track. The ‘Paradox’ name is fitting for this flickable 29er. Continue reading →
Weaknesses: Rear tire clearance is weak, not a tapered HT which was changed in V2 I think.
Let me start by clarifying this is a V1 that I have been riding and loving for 3 years I think. It is a very solid bike with amazing capabilities. Tapered was pretty new when this first came out so you cannot really knock the frame for that but the rear tire clearance is not as good as I would like. I usually ride in dryer climates so it was only an issue for me a couple of times. The geo is spot on for a bike that can descend and climb and feels playful. The rear triangle is plenty stiff and feels planted.
Strengths: Light, nimble, versatile, short chainstays, slack head angle, stiff, bargain priced, FUN!!!!
Weaknesses: No 142x12 rear axle; it doesn't taste like bacon
I can usually be a bit of a negative nelly, but I don't have anything bad to say about this frame (the V2 Paradox.) For a sub $600 frame, I think this thing is a home run. (Heck, it would be a home run at twice that price.) The slack head angle, the low BB height and the short chainstays combine to create a fun, fast, flickable, nimble ride.
I've got mine set up with a 140mm fork and I wouldn't go any shorter. I think a 120 fork would be fine, but to really take advantages of the frame's fun factor, I'd go with a 140mm. It took quite a while to dial in the fit (ended up dropping the stem low on the steerer and adding a 780mm wide bar), but once I did, it's been great fun since.
I built this up with parts I had on a Transition Covert 29 and, to be honest, this frame is more fun to ride. Climbs well, descends great, corners great - I'm not sure what else you'd want in a bike. This is truly a do-it-all sort of frame and could, with the right build/parts, do everything from standard XC riding/racing, to all day "trail" rides, to Enduro races. If I would change one thing, I would give it a 142 x 12 rear axle option, but even without it, it rocks.
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Chameleon and a TON of other hardtails, both 26" and 29"
Bike Setup: V2 Paradox frame, Reba 140mm fork, carbon rims laced to Velocity hubs, SRAM 2x9 drivetrain, SLX crankset, KS Lev post, XT brakes, Purgatory 2.3 front and Ground Control 2.1 rear, Niner Flat Top bar 780mm width, FSA 80mm stem
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: August 18, 2013
Strengths: great climbing- little energy required to get up massive hills. confident decending, relativly light
Weaknesses: just a little bit harsh in the back when compared to a steel frame 29er but just a little..
some might not like the uprightness of the bike
great bike, iv ridden a few and this is a keeper, its going to be really hard to find another do it all bike like this one so il be keeping it for a long time.
I purchased a 2011 Banshee paradox as a demo bike from my LBS. The bike itself has been flawless. Overall it is a very beefy and solid hard tail that does not disapoint when climing and rolling over rocks and roots, which seems like most of Mass. I feel like this bike can take anything I will throw at it, from a 4 ft drop to a techy down hill decent. On a negative your limited with rear tire clearence and my 39 year old back does not love a long day of riding. I don't think you will be disapointed with anything Bashee!
a Weekend Warrior
from Barbados, West Indies
Date Reviewed: May 14, 2011
Strengths: Absolutely super stiff frame, great geo, looks fantastic.
Weaknesses: Tyre clearance is a bit tight in the back, would like more clearance to run bigger tyres. It does fit a 2.2" in there just fine, but is to tight in muddy situations.
I've been riding this bike now since August last year and although it was bought to be a kind of stop gap, toy to play on occasionally until I found a new FS (it will be the Banshee Prime) it has turned into my main ride.
This bike is just super fun, climbs like a scared mountain goat and descends like nobodies business. The short, box stays, that are internally ribbed means it's super stiff and gives instant power transfer, excellent for quick tech moves, both going up and down. Despite the shorts stays and relatively short wheelbase for a 29er, the bike feels super stable.
Now, this frame is rated/targeted as AM and it most certainly is that, but don't cross it of your list if you're maybe looking for a nice XC/light trail bike. Although the frame is a bit heavier than your standard XC frames, the geo is superb and will reshape your thinking as far as XC geo goes.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 14, 2011
Strengths: Great all around geo for fast climbing, descending, cornering, power transfer, ISCG tabs for easy HS\IGH\SS conversion.
Weaknesses: A tad on the heavy side for XC racing, which this frame is very well capable of even if originally intended for AM use. Tire clearance could be better.
This is the 29er HT so far, and the best SS frame thanks to the short chainstays and virtually perfect power transfer, not to mention ease of conversion thanks to the ISCG tabs.
There are lighter, more comfortable frames out there, but if it's solid performance you're after look no further than the Paradox.
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher Rig, Vassago JW, On One Scandal.
Bike Setup: 100mm Manitou Drake forls, SLX crankset, superstarcomponenets SS\notubes flow wheelset, shimano deore m595 hydro brakes, ritchey wcs carbon post, KCNC team issue stem, Element nickewide flat bars.
a Cross Country Rider
from D-Field, MA
Date Reviewed: April 27, 2011
Strengths: Phenomenal Geometry for rugged, hilly, rocky xc riding up or down. Looks great, I love the silver/ orange paint. Laterally stiff as heck, no wimpyness in the frame at all.
Weaknesses: Rear-tire clearance.
Straight up, this is a great no-nonense bike. As I said in the strengths, the geometry is perfect on this bike for the rocky, rough and hilly singletrack of New England. The lower than usual BB makes for great cornering, the slack head angle makes for sure-footed descending. But the real surprise is how well it climbs...really, this bike just calmly claws it's way up the nastiest climbs with ease. You'll be (pleasantly) shocked the first hill you scamper up.
The bike feels solid and stiff (in a good way) in just about every circumstance. Steering is precise and once you pick a line it's unflappable.
The Price is great, it includes two d-hangers and a seat post with QR collar.
If you want to run a front derailler you won't be able to go much bigger than a 2.25 tire in the rear. Which is plenty on a 29er-but I know a lot of folks like fat tire on the back.
If you want an uncompromising, all-purpose, rugged beautiful 29er hard tail for an unbeatable price, This is it-look no further.
Favorite Trail: Hannah Swarton/ Mormon Hollow at Wendell
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Purchased At: Laughing Dog Cyclery
Similar Products Used: Sinister Ridge, Sinister Simon Bar, Inbred, a host of other 29erhard tails and dualies
Bike Setup: Flow rims on Hope Hubs (SpeedDream Built by Dave Thomas!), Manitou Tower Pro 120 w/ Hex axle, basic sram, race face and thompson bits and pieces for the rest
a Weekend Warrior
from East Rutherford, NJ USA
Date Reviewed: June 24, 2010
Strengths: built like a Banshee - stiff and durable
designed around a 120mm fork
accelerates like a rocket
climbs and descends equally well
extremely stable and confidence-inspiring handling
versatile - can be built up in a variety of ways to suit any type of AM/trail riding
tire clearance is pretty good considering the unique design
Weaknesses: 1" more standover would be nice
BB height seems a tad low - but this may not even be a weakness
Limited front derailleur options - SRAM X.9 high-clamp is really the only one that works if you're running fatter tires
I really love this frame. Like the Scirocco and Viento (Banshee's other legendary hardtails), it has super-short chainstays, swept seatstays, and the extruded internal ribbing in the rear end. This unique combination of design features gives Banshee hardtails that magical feel - laterally stiff without being overly harsh. The bike rewards power and just rockets forward with every pedal stroke. I figured the Paradox would climb well owing to the short chainstays alone (16.9" - the same as some 26" bikes!) and it certainly does, but what really blew me away was how well it descended. The stiff frame, 120mm fork (which is plush for a 29er), slack geometry, and 29" wheels made for very stable handling, allowing me to choose more aggressive lines. This bike is made to go fast and hit the corners hard.
Like its 26" predecessor the Scirocco, the Paradox is incredibly versatile. Among the little design details that I really appreciate:
1.) the BB is 73mm, which allows me to forgo 2 unnecessary spacers
2.) 7" rotors are no problem at all (it actually looks like I could fit an 8" rotor in there)
3.) all cables run full housing for smoother operation and better protection from the elements
4.) standard ISCG 05 mount for a chainguide or Hammerschmidt
5.) here's something really unique: there are 2 extra sets of cable guides, one along the seat tube for a telescoping seatpost and one along the downtube for a Hammerschmidt
Just a few small gripes:
I'm 5'10" tall with a 31" true inseam. My medium size Paradox frame gives me about 1" of standover clearance, which is perfectly fine, but one more inch would be nice. Shorter-legged persons might have a problem. The BB height seems a little lower than I would have expected, but if that's one of the factors that accounts for the superb handling of the bike (and it very likely is), then forget I mentioned it. Because the chainstays are so short, the tire ends up being so close to the seat tube that I can't use my favorite Shimano top-pull front derailleur. In fact, the only front derailleur that has worked for me when running fatter tires (WTB Wolverine 2.2" and Stout 2.3") is the SRAM X.9 high-clamp. It's a bit of a trade-off, but one I can totally live with.
In the end, none of the minor issues I mentioned above changes my overall impression - this bike flat-out rocks. I should also mention that the guys at Banshee were really helpful and answered all of my e-mails. I've been a fan of Banshee hardtails for the past 3 years, and the love affair continues with the Paradox.
Similar Products Used: Niner EMD, Banshee Scirocco
Bike Setup: Rock Shox Reba Team Dual Air 29er 120mm fork w/ Maxle Lite
Race Face Atlas FR cranks w/ Wellgo B-27 pedals
Thomson Elite seatpost & X4 stem
Hayes Stroker Ace brakes
Shimano XTR Rapidfire Plus shifters
Shimano Deore XT Shadow mid cage rear derailleur
SRAM X.9 high clamp top-pull front derailleur
Hope Pro II hubs w/ Stan's ZTR Arch rims & WTB Wolverine 2.2 tires
a Weekend Warrior
from Düsseldorf, Germany
Date Reviewed: December 4, 2009
Strengths: - Chassis stiffnes in the BB area: This frame makes pedalling so efficient!!!
- The bend seatstays: They actually work as advertised; they really seem to dampen the trail impact at the rear a bit, i.e. I don't feel as tired after a ride as the bulky stays would suggest on first sight.
- Versatility: The frame has an ISCG05-tab for a chainguide, chain-tensioner (if you want to set the Paradox up as a singlespeed), or a Hammerschidt. Also, the frame has extra cable guides for a adjustable seatpost remote and the Hammerschmidt cable routing.
- Short seatstays: They help me to get through technical section easier.
- Tire clearance: At least regarding width of the the rear triangle)
Weaknesses: - Tire clearance: I run Rampages tires on Gordo rims. This set-up leaves very little tire clearance to the front derailler (a Shimano SLX). See here for a close-up: http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?p=6123659&postcount=20 When things get muddy, the tire starts rubbing on the derailler (both on the lever and the cage).
- Overall width of the seatstays. On downhills when I lean bike my thighs hit againts the upper outward bend of the seatstays. They are quite wide. Just a minor thing, yet I never experienced this with other frames
I really, really enjoy riding this bike!!! It is so stable and efficient. It is flickable, it goes where I want it to go and most important it is reliable: The issue with tire clearance in the mud aside, the bike never let me down so far. On the contrary, I feel encouraged to push myself and try new sections on my trails that I didn't try before. Especially on downhills and blocked technical sections. This is especially great as the Paradox as a hardtail replaces my RIP9 that I've never really gotten into...
The Paradox is a great tourer. I can not ride it as fast as my Niner Air9. But it really shines on non-competitive all-day rides. It is definitely not as harsh a ride as its looks may suggest.
I might try a Hammerschmidt in the future if I get a good deal on it to avoid the tire clearance issue.
For those who are contemplating getting this frame: Don't contemplate further, get one! It is a great value for a extremly versatile, reliable and FUN!!!! bike. For your info: I'm 198 cm tall and weigh 95 kg ready to roll.
Similar Products Used: How many 29er AM hardtails are there :-) I had a 2008 Niner RIP9 previously and still have a Niner Air9
Bike Setup: XL frame team black/white with reba team 120mm maxle light, Formula K24 180mm front/rear, Salsa Gordo rims with Hope Pro2 hubs, 2 ring set-up (22-36-bash), 90mm stem and all the other necessary bits and pieces.
a Cross Country Rider
from Western Massachusetts, USA
Date Reviewed: October 20, 2009
Strengths: I've been riding my large Paradox on super techy New England singletrack. The frame is simply brilliant and has changed my perspective on XC bikes. I come from a road racing background, and as you might expect, my XC mtb's have tended to be light weight, steep angles, with a stretched-out riding position. Most of my friends ride burly, 30+ pound 6" travel bikes. I always thought slack angled frames were unnecessary unless you were bombing down ski slopes. The Paradox has changed everything! I find myself looking for super chunky lines now! This frame is super flickable, nimble, and carves comers like I've never experienced - it also eats up technical trails. I should have listened to my riding friends when they told me to ditch the XC race bike and get something slacker.
Weaknesses: None really
Amazing 29er hardtail. This frame will change your perspective on what a 29er hardtail is and can do.....for the better. Brilliant frame. A steal for $550 with a seat post, clamp, and extra hanger.
Weaknesses: Not sure if its a weakness but the BB is low 12.25" and the crank will hit stuff if your not careful it but it makes the bike handle awesome
This is my first 29er and i love it the first week i had it i think i rode it every day,the frame is super stiff has no flex when your hammering on it and handles so well. climbing is great even with the 120 fork is doesnt wander much.this bike makes me go faster than i ever could before
cant wait till they make a FS 29er like the Rune
Bike Setup: xl frame orange,120mm reba team 20 male axle, flow rims on hope 2 hubs, slx crank,x-9 shifters derailleur,990 orange cassette,elixir brakes
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 3, 2009
Strengths: Great Geometry for taller guys (I'm 6'6" and ride an XL with 100mm stem and it fits me like a glove)
Very stiff frame
Weaknesses: None so far
This is only my second 29er frame, so I don't have too much to compare to. However compaired to my last frame this bike is a lot stiffer, and the geometry feels tighter at the back, but the cockpit feels more roomy. this is the first bike I have ever ridden that actally feels like it fits me properly, and because of that I feel that I can ride harder for longer without getting as sore. I am falling in love with riding all over again thanks to this bike.
After building several 26" full-suspension bikes and one long-travel 26" hardtail to fill the trail-bike slot in my fleet, I came to the conclusion that I really prefer 29" wheels and hardtails. The frame criteria for my new build was 120mm fork compatibility, weight of 5.5 pounds or less, and $600 ... Read More »
Posted that a week ago, forgot to share the love over here.
Sometimes I think I should have gone for the XL frame looking at these pics, but it still seems to fit!Read More »
looking to jump into the world of 29'ers after trying a few out and liking the feel. I have a choice between these two bikes, and I believe the Scott will be a couple of hundred dollars cheaper as well as available through my LBS (unlike the banshee). I've searched through all the thre ... Read More »
Hey everyone I had a quick question and was looking for some peoples opinions on the Banshee Paradox frame. After seeing all the sweet build ups on here and doing a little research it seems like an awesome idea for me to put one together myself, however I live in FL and it seems that most of these b ... Read More »