Get backToThe roots of mountain biking.The Spitfire was designed with both climbing challenging hills as well as slaying downhills in mind. It is faster, cooler, stronger, and lighterThan your buddies bike and will show off itself off at anyTrail youTake itTo. Frame Specifications: SIZES SMALL, MEDIUM, LARGE, EXTRA LARGE TRAVEL 5" TAPERED HEADTUBE STRENGTH AND VERSATILITYTO USE ZERO STACK OR ADJUSTABLE HEADANGLE CUPS AND MORE STEM OPTIONS HYDROFORMED 7005 ALTUBES GU
Strengths: This frame has really exceeded my expectations!!
It was easy to build up. No unexpected snags or complications in the build up process. Could easily have finished it in a night, if I were a single man. Finish quality was good. There was just nothing "weird" about it.
It has exceeded my expecations when it comes to riding. I've only been out 3 times on it. 1 ride was a complete shakedown ride, another was a tuning ride. None of the rides have been intense or long, but they revealed the capability of this frame.
This bike climbs so much better than I'd have ever imagined. I did not expect this at all. It climbs as effortlessly as my hardtail single speed. Or at least it feels that way.
The downhills are a blast. I'm STARTING to get the hang of corner this bike. It feels like the bike "squats" down when cornered correctly, or at least what I perceive as cornering correctly. Instead of dragging the brakes to slow down, if I lean it hard and get my weight back a little, it settles/squats into the corner and really feels like it's on rails.
Hitting obstacles at speed has been interesting. The bike transmits more trail feedback than expected. More than my old 4" travel bike. But the bike is incredibly stable and predictable. There is never any feeling of fighting the bike, or hitting an obstacle (such as a log over) with a tight and tense body position for fear of the bike bucking or getting sideways.
This stability translates into an "effortless" feel of riding the bike. Therefore, the feedback transmitted to the rider is not bothersome or fatiguing. The bike sort of says to the rider "hey there's this stuff on the trail, but I will take care of it, you just hang out and pedal, ok??"
Weaknesses: I have lost traction on a climb here and there. Probably can be remedied with some rider skill or tire selection. Yeah, I'll blame it on the tires....
The predictability of this frame allows me to easily jump, bunnyhop, wheelie, and pivot the bike around on the trail. Downhill log overs that I used to smash into than lose control on the rebound, I now float over and use as a launch to get further down the trail on my line of choice. I feel the bike is going to maintain control so theres no real need to slow down or wonder where I'm going to end up when I hit the obstacle.
The frame also feels very settled when hitting roots and logs at an angle. There is no swap in the rebound or sudden slip out. Therefore I can choose the fastest or smoothest line, instead of having to carve lines to hit everything at a perpendicular angle.
This frame is really easy to ride. It allows me to maximize what little bike skills I have toward the goal of traveling fast down the trail, instead of using skill and energy in an effort to fight to keep the bike on my line.
In short, it's just a lot of fun to ride. And that's why I ride, for fun. I'm really happy with this bike!
Who should buy this bike: People who look for the gnar tech trails to hit, people who want to have fun riding
Who should not buy this bike: weight weenies, hardcore cross country racers, people who are into singlespeed rigids because of their simplicity and connection with the bike
Strengths: Absolutely crushes fast, swoopy descents. Great looking frame (I have the gray ano finish), very stuff and so far super durable. The geometry might not be perfect for everyone, but it's damn good. Capable climber with a 150mm fork and stays stable on loose, fast downhills but still rails corners on twisty stuff
Weaknesses: Bushings have been well-documented. No frame wear issues yet, but bushings had some play (bought used) new ones do require a bit of break-in. Tough to dial the size if you're 5'11". I went with medium and a 65mm stem, but could've easily gone large w/ a 50mm stem. As others have said, any spacers under the stem and that cockpit shrinks fast.
Yes, the bushings are a pain in the ass. No, it's not the lightest bike in the world. Sure, it could have more rear travel and the suspension bobs a bit on grinding climbs (went to a 1x9 and the lack of a granny gear has helped this immensely). But this is absolutely the most fun bike I've ever owned and that cancels out all the little quibbles. The Spitfire corners like crazy, handles the rock gardens and still climbs well enough to keep the spandex crowd in sight. It's a blast and the geometry is perfect for all-day, all-conditions riding. Barring something going awry, my next bike will be another Spitfire.
Strengths: Excellent tracking and handling
Easy self maintenance
Weaknesses: No 12mm axle option
Overall an impressive bike very capable in many situations, with a very obvious bias towards fast single track descents. The bike is a decent climber too although it takes a while to get used to the very slack geometry when heading uphill. However to avoid compromising performance I wouldn't recommend a fork with less than 150mm (or maybe 140mm) of travel as dropping the talas fork on mine to 130 makes the bike feel far too steep and twitchy and increases the chance of pedal strike.
In rough ground (rock gardens) the back end can sometimes feel overwhelmed compared to the front despite playing around with shock adjustments. Generally this bike isn't best suited to very rough and rocky downhill style trails due to a lack of plushness in the rear as mentioned by other reviewers.
The stiffness of the frame means it tracks the ground brilliantly and handles very much in a 'point and shoot' style, although this could be improved with a 12mm rear axle. I changed to a 10mm through hub axle conversion and noticed an immediate improvement in the tracking of the rear end, almost a necessary upgrade!
Maintenance of bushings and pivots is relatively simple, all it requires is a decent grease gun and with regular re-greasing I haven't noticed any wear or development of play in the bushings.
All in all a very impressive bike and a capable AM rig that can be built up light enough to handle long days. Just consider using a 10mm axle in the quick release and don't expect it to excel in the rough stuff (although it can handle it adequately).
Similar Products Used: Marin attack trail
Bike Setup: 2010 Fox 36 talas
Mavic XM819 on Hope pro2 hubs
Hope V2 brakes
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: July 18, 2012
Strengths: Build quality and finisihing is superb (I'm using the raw version). Easy to control in technical trail especially descending and dropping. The manuverability are great.
Weaknesses: The lingkage feels more to "dw link" and there are slight bobbing in the rear stay when you pedalling in "slow motion" in a rocky / bumpy terrain (especially when ascending).
Spity is an aggresive bikes. It just not quite suitable for "slowers". If you like to some speed in a XC, Trail or even AM terrain then you may choose this bike. The rear suspension is "slightly under" comparing to Giant Maestro or Spez FSR suspension system.
a Weekend Warrior
from Jakarta, Indonesia
Date Reviewed: August 10, 2011
Strengths: Great durability, best geometry, low cost maintenance.
Weaknesses: Close to zero rear shock (RP23). Take sometime to get used to it'ss geometry.
Best balance between climbing and slaying downhill. Really nice for an epic all mountain trip. Durable as banshee. It's ride so lightly. My only let down is having >1m drop off or jump, it felt like the bike is a bit nervous (nervous? yeah, that's the best word for describing, haha).
Bike Setup: X0+X9, SR Charger Pro, Elixir CR, Revelation dual air 150mm Tapered.
a Weekend Warrior
from Hood River, Oregon
Date Reviewed: June 3, 2011
Strengths: All mountain 6". Rides uphill in a comfortable way, Descends like a banshee. Truly wails on the descent. Mine is 30 lbs. with flat pedals and this combination of Fox RP23 & Talas 32 makes it perfect for all round riding including small to medium sized jumps.
Weaknesses: I did'nt like the stock tires and switched to Nevegal 2.35's, plus the seat was too hard for me and I switched to a WTB Pure V
One bike to do it all: uphill, downhill, jumping.
Check Bike mag 2011 reviews "The bible" issue, the Spitfire killed it!
If you are a XC spandex wearing type rider it may not be your cup of tea. The Spitfire favors the all round baggy shorted mudslingin', air seeking biker.
The best this for me is durability. My crew ride several times a week and right thruough the rainy dark winter in the Northwest. The Spitfire has held up without a single bearing or bushing or weld fail. I love it.
Bike Setup: Large Spitfire in ano grey with RS Revelation tapered 150mm up front with 20mm TA, DT Swiss rims and hubs, gravity dropper, Easton DH carbon bars, XO components.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: February 22, 2011
Strengths: - Zero pedal bob when peddling uphill seated. Absolutely zero movement on the RP23, even with the pro pedal turned off!
- Slack head tube angle makes it very stable when going downhill. Confidence booster!
- Perfect frame for gnarly single trails where you need to cycle uphill before blasting down the downhills!
Weaknesses: None! Really. I am trying to think of a weakness, but can't come out with one.
Great bike. Truly great for my type of trails and riding. The rear shock is very progressive. It takes a LOT to get even 80-90% travel. I have not been able to bottom it out yet. I am running close to 30% sag because of this.
You will love the geometry of this bike. Mine is raw. Very nice indeed.
Just keep in mind that due to the very slack head tube angle, if you have any spacers below the stem, the cockpit is going to greatly reduced. So if between sizes, go for one frame size up.
Strengths: Very Stiff frame, Low BB, slack head angle, good pedleability, uninterupted seat tube, low standover, fast handling on the down hills. This bike is awesome and gets lots of compliments on the trail. Coming from a pitch pro, this bike doesn't dissapoint in terms of nimbleness and handleability.
Weaknesses: There are a few weaknesses that I have found with my small frame. One is my 2011 160mm van rc2 fit low compression knob would not clear my bottom tube when running a zero stack cane creek lower cup. I had to run the external cup slackening the bike out a little more. I didn't have this problem when I tried an 55rc3 ti and an 09 lyrik u-turn coil, just be aware you could have issues with the zero stack and using certain forks on the small frame. Also the bike does bob a little when you use the small chainring, I solved that problem by taking off the small chain ring and just running it 1x9.
Despite a few issues with the fork not clearing the bottom tube and a little bob when using the smaller chain ring this bike is awesome! I love the way it handles on the down hills. On the up hills, it peddles a lot better than my pitch pro. You can set this bike up quite a few different ways depending on your riding style.
Next setup I would like to try a 150mm revelation rlt ti and a 1x10 33 11-36 drivetrain setup on this bike just to see how it feels with a lighter air fork and a 10 speed setup. I'm knocking the overall rating from a 5 to a 4 because of my fork clearance issue, but I suspect this problem is only on the small frame and it doesn't have the issue with all forks.
a Weekend Warrior
from Fernie, BC
Date Reviewed: December 21, 2010
Strengths: Super fun bike, steep seat angle is a big plus in climbing, slack headangle makes it a blast on the DH's. Not meant as a big drop, jump bike though (the Rune is for that) more of a dh'ers XC/trail bike. The low bb allows it to rail corners with confidence, but extra rider skill and coordination is required to reduce pedal strikes - takes a bit of getting used to - once you learn to ride it though the benefit is awesome. Contrary to what was mentioned previously the TT is very generous for the seat tube height - the XL frame has an 20" seat tube and a 25.2" tt which is over 1/2" longer than say an XL SC Blur LTc...
Comes with spare bushings and an extra derailleur hangar included. Full length cable housing is a plus, as well as cable guides for remote for adj. travel posts.
Tire clearance is respectable, I'm running 2.4 Conti Trail Kings - no issues.
Weaknesses: It is a little overweight, but who cares - it isn't a whippy flexy race bike, it is a fun all day ripper that is super stiff and solid. The bushing system has it's plusses and negatives too, it is easy and reasonable to replace the pivots, but in super muddy areas maintenance is required more often. Also setting up a grease gun for the grease gun injector ports requires trial and error - it would be nice if a grease gun was supplied.
A really fun, unique ride, revolutionary geometry that is getting noticed by other companies for 2011.
A solid performer built by a small rider owned company that goes out of their way to support those who ride their bikes and thinks outside the box.
I've ridden this bike all over the Kootenays as well as Moab and Sedona and it is a blast!
Similar Products Used: Banshee Pyre, SC Blur LT, LT2 carbon, Yeti 575, Ibis Mojo - none of these are really similar though, only in the travel, geometry is way different - Spifire is way more 'relaxed' on the dh's
Bike Setup: Revelation Team 150mm, I9 enduro wheels, XTR drivetrain, KS i950, Formula RX brakes.
a Cross Country Rider
from BC, Canada
Date Reviewed: December 21, 2010
Strengths: Very comfortable geometry for long all day rides. Great pedal efficiency. Antisquat helps a lot when climbing steeps, as does the great seat angle. Slack head angle is great for riding down steeps. Low BB gives amazing feeling at speed. The frame is very stiff, which helps a lot when you put the power down, and in cornering or rough sections.
Banshee customer service is top notch. I got to speak directly with the designer, who helped me with all my questions when choosing to buy the bike.
Weaknesses: Not the plushest 5" travel bike, but this is an advantage in some respects. I like the firm feel most of the time as it is efficient and works well when riding hard, but I do occasionally feel some extra plushness on the downs would be nice. Bushings require regular maintenance.
I have really enjoyed this frame, more than expected, as I was not a big fan of Banshee before due to old reputation of heavy frames. This bike has really changed my opinion, and is the best all day all mountain bike I have ever ridden. It climbs very efficiently, the geometry is great, with a long top tube, seat angle is excellent for climbing and comfortable for long stretches in the saddle, it is also easy to get behind the seat on steep descents due to the fairly steep angle. The slack head angle means that you do not feel like you are in danger of going over the bars on steep sections like some bikes I have ridden. The bushings do require a bit more maintenance work than regular bearings, but seem to be working just fine so far.
Riding this bike always puts a smile on my face, and I have never once felt like the bike was really limiting me. The harder you ride it, the better it seems to handle. I'd highly recommend trying one.
Strengths: Great looking, erm..........can't think of many positives at the moment. Oh, decent price.
Weaknesses: Seat angle is far too steep (74deg with a sagged 140 fork)for a bike wanting to be an aggresive trail warrior and its akin like riding a unicycle at times. Pedal strike is a big issue. Too short in the top tube for the given seat tube length. Lots of pedal feedback.
Could be a great bike but is trying to be too many things. Slack head angle works well going down but the lack of bottom bracket height and resulting pedal strike means you have to find other ways of keeping your speed up. Its also nervous over bigger jumps and drops. A feeling of being on the bike rather than in it. So not the great descender it wants to be. Turn in can be slow in techy sections and it gets flustered over small rock gardens and multiple roots. High speed berms are great fun though to be fair and that low bottom bracket comes into play- it does hinder everywhere else though.
Steep seat angle puts you in a good position for climbing but then the slack head angle is working against you and the front wanders everywhere. Traction is very good though. A little more cockpit room would be a bonus for each given frame size.
Slightly heavy construction, lack of plushness and again that seat angle which makes long sustained peddling uncomfortable- pushing you further back in the saddle, rules it out as a great long distance all day XC bike.
So, in short, it tries to do everything but fails on most fronts.
Lose half a pound frame weight, 2 degrees off the seat angle, raise the BB by an inch, tweek the rear suspension to dial out the bob and add an extra inch in the top tube and it could be a cracker. Until then its more a Misfire than Spitfire.
Similar Products Used: Orange 5, Santa Cruz Heckler, Turner 5 spot, Yeti 575
Bike Setup: Magura Thor MT140AM, XT 1x9 drivetrain, Formula The One brakes, KS dropper post, Azonic 760mm bars, Hope wheelset, Kenda Blue Groove 2.3 DTC
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: November 1, 2010
Strengths: Pedals great for a 5" bike
Slack and low, which makes descending fast a lot of fun
Pivots are easy to maintain and cheap to replace
Stiff frame gives confidence when riding hard
Great customer service (I got to speak to the designer directly)
Weaknesses: Bushings need a bit of looking after, but only takes 5 minutes every few weeks.
I really love riding this bike. I never feel that it is holding me back or makes me nervous at speed, it feels very natural to ride. It pedals really well and is very comfy for all day rides. It might not be the plushest bike I have ever ridden, but it feels a lot more efficient, and fun. I went off carbon frames when one of mine failed badly, and have to admit that this frame feels much stiffer than I expected, and rides amazingly. I'm considering keeping this bike for another year, which is very rare for me.
Similar Products Used: Yeti 575 carbon
Bike Setup: Fox Float 36, and the stuff left over from my old bike.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 9, 2010
Strengths: Best geometry i've ridden yet. Very easy to get behind the seat, seems like the bike does it for you if you stand and lean back. The handling is superb, the bike carves and corners like soft cheese. Suspension stays high in the travel, is progressive, and i've yet to bottom out. Pedals and climbs very well for a 5" bike. Fit and finish are superb. Banshee provides a seat post, collar, pivots and bushings w the purchase. Tapered head tube really seems to help firm up the front end. ISCG tabs are nice, stinger works w a 24t granny. This bike is stiff as coffin nails. Uses bushings w grease ports instead of bearings.
Weaknesses: Bit of pedal feedback and brake jack. If your coming from an old school 4 bar setup you'll notice both. Steep geometry setting is not really an option unless you like running the rp23 on full time to drown out the pedal feedback/chain growth.
Banshee has really outdone themselves with this bike. Its not perfect by any means but its a great compromise of a well mannered 5" bike that can climb, descend, and pedal as good as any i've ridden. The suspension is consistent and handles everything I can throw at it. I went from an '06 Turner 5 spot to this with some concerns and the banshee seems to do everything better, except for the brake jack. Which i'll glady take over the counter steer and squat issues found on the 5 spot. So far the bushings seem to be just as durable and care free as the Turners. If your in the market for a 5" travel bike i'd give it a serious look. Its easily the most fun i've had on a bike in a long time.
Bike Setup: 150mm float qr15, banshee headset and post.
a Weekend Warrior
from North Vancouver, BC. Canada
Date Reviewed: August 4, 2010
Strengths: This bike pedals incredibly well, when you stomp on it it launches forward like a rocket. Climbing is not an issue, it goes up technical single track no problem, it climbs like a billie goat. I have looked for the "pedal feedback" that others have talked about, but really can't feel anything out of the norm (running a 24/36 combo).
The slack angles allow this bike to descend like a little DH bike, it is quick and nimble while feeling bottomless in it's travel.
The weight is very reasonable, my complete bike comes in at 30lbs, with a solid build.
Weaknesses: No bottle holder. (hahahahaha)
This is a great all mountain bike, it goes down the mountain as well as it goes up it.