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Hey, I know there is already a handful of threads on this, but there really isn't a lot of information on this bike which is weird considering it seems to tick a lot of boxes for me and the people that have tried it do seem to like it a lot. I'm at the point where I've really narrowed down my choices to 3 bikes although I have a loose ranking in my head. I'm thinking Banshee Prime>Knolly Fugitive>Ripmo AF. For the most part my idea is high quality and well specced alu bike that isn't a pig and pedals well, but can handle chunky descents. Unfortunately I don't have the ability to demo these bikes really, but if anyone is near Massachusetts and wants to let me throw a leg over theirs, let me know.

I'm going to go into to detail, but I can provide a summary at the end of this post.

I've been riding mountain bikes only for about a year, but I ride enough and am into it enough where I think I can justify this kind of bike. I currently have an aggressive hardtail (20 ragley blue pig) that I like a lot but beats me up on my favorite trails and an older Enduro bike (17 commencal meta am) which feels small in a medium but is also way more travel than I need and does not pedal well for what I'm looking for. I got it cheap and will probably sell it once I get a different full suspension bike.

I live in Massachusetts so I want a bike that can pedal well, handle a good amount of chunk, be taken to the bike park maybe once a month as a beginner who is just learning to jump and probably won't be abusing it, but still needs something that won't hurt as bad after as the hardtail (which I've still done). Most of the trails around me are pretty rolling, even the ones that have a good amount of descending, there's still climbs thrown in. For my preferences that means I really really want a bike that can climb well without me having to lock the shock out. Also most of the trails around here have lots of fairly low speed/technical bits. That is the one concern I have with the prime. The large has an extremely long wheelbase and long chainstays, so I'm unsure how this will feel. The long chainstays certainly interest me and I like the philosophy of balancing weight towards the center of the bike. However, the HTA, STA, Reach, Stack, and ETT are all literally exactly what I would have chosen if you told me to write down my preferences for a new bike. To a tee and moreso than any of the other bikes I've been looking at. Obviously on paper is different than IRL but worth mentioning.


My main reason for starting this thread is that a LOT of the people I see saying how much they love their banshee bikes are a lot taller and larger than I am, and I also have somewhat unusual proportions so fit can be weird for me. I'm 5'9.5 or 176cm and I weigh just about 155 lbs with gear on. I have a 33 inch inseam. In my experience, mediums often feel either definitely too small on reach and ett or like I could go longer and probably get some benefit. Almost all medium bikes I have ridden feel really short in the stack because of my long legs so It's usually difficult to get a good balance with riser bars and spacers. Also, long legs mean my torso is shorter than most people on a Large, but my wingspan is also longer than my height by a good 2 inches or so which evens me back out. The Banshee seems perfect in all of these ways which is why I'm leaning towards it minus the sheer length of the thing. I've ridden a few of the current bikes with the super steep seat angles in mediums and I love the feeling overall, but the bars just feel way way too close to me seated and I end up touching knee to bar in tight uphill switchbacks. The large ripmo I sat on felt within the range of roominess I prefer. Also, Banshees honesty with seat angles is especially appealing to me because my seat angle can be quite a bit slacker because of the long legs.



Anyway, that's just context. To sum it up:
anyone have more ride reports including the kinds of trails you ride? Any fellow Northeast US people have a Prime and can tell me what you think? What about people who around 5'9ish or lighter folks and riding a large?


Is there anything you wish you knew about the bike before you bought it?

Have you ridden both the prime and a fugitive or ripmo af and care to compare the two?

Also, any input on fork travel if I do go for it? I'm leaning 150mm and run it in the slack position because I'm aiming for around a 65.5 hta. Might even try to get a helm if I can keep it in budget so I can easily adjust travel to experiment. Wondering if the 160 fork is worth it or if it makes it a little too much of a beast for the flatter or more climby stuff.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the novel. I just get really really into bike shopping. I've already done a lot of digging but still want to hear more of what people have to say.
 

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Ive only had my prime for a week so i can't give a full in-depth review, but i can hopefully offer some insight.
I have my XL prime v3 set up with a 160mm fork (for now) which gives around a 65 degree head angle in the Low position. Currently using a 50mm stem and 50mm rise enve m9 bars to get a good amount of extra stack height.
it comes with a large volume spacer in the dpx2, which i removed completely. for your height and description i would still recommend the medium, the XL is much bigger than other XLs, especially in the wheelbase, so the medium will likely follow suit.

I bought the Prime as a bike that would serve as more of a trail/all mountain bike, with plans to buy a titan for more gnarly trails. In the week i've had it i've ridden it 75 miles, 14000 ft of climbing (when you get a new bike all you want to do is ride!), mostly fire road climbing, with some singletrack climbs. my descents range from steep and flowy with jumps and big rock rolls, to steep and raw, rocky, natural.

So far, it has surprised me in how capable it is. On fireroad climbs, it climbs very comfortably and quietly, almost no movement until you get to some rocks or roots. it's not going to win races but i keep up with xc dudes so far. singletrack climbing takes a bit more effort, the long wheelbase and long chain stays are noticeable on tighter trails, but there is plenty of grip in the rear for scrambling up root beds. when riding flatter/traverse trails, the bike is not super eager on it's own but putting in some body language makes it more fun, and the bike has plenty of pop to double up trail features. where the bike really surprised me was on rougher, steeper descents. it feels planted, but not overly glued, and feels great hitting bigger jumps, although you definitely notice the weight of the bike in the air, as it's not as easy to whip around as something carbon or whatever. a particular double black that i love riding on bigger bikes feels easy on this thing, it holds its line very well in steep loose stuff. however i feel that i can lose the front wheel in tighter corners if i don't put enough weight on it.
The bike is immensely stiff, and feels very solid when landing jumps. It doesn't erase the trail like some other bikes can tend to do, but its not jarring or anything, just sort of reminds you that there are, indeed, large rocks on the trail. That being said, i definitely have found it's upper limit a couple of times so far, and have wondered how the titan would fit in a quiver including the prime.

All that being said, i wouldn't call it an "easy" bike to ride, and for someone who has only been riding a year, im not sure it'll be the best option. I have demo'd the Ripmo AF and i did not get along with it as it felt too much like a big trail bike, while i'd say the prime feels more like an enduro bike in disguise, but still not a full-blown enduro bike. I would consider even racing the prime on a less-rocky course. From what i've heard about the north eastern trails (tight, rocky tech, slower?), i would maybe consider the ripmo AF (if you can find one lol), as it sounds better suited to your riding and it's definitely well-loved in the community. I love my prime and i dont think i'll replace it any time soon, but it is definitely a lot of bike if your trails are more tight and twisting than steep and fast.

hopefully that helps a bit! feel free to pm me or respond with any questions.

Edit; i realized i should have added some of the bikes i had before the prime.
Hightower LT, Stumpjumper Evo (which i couldnt get rid of quick enough), Evil Wreckoning (with a -1.5 angleset)
 

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I can help to some degree. I’ve owned the Titan and V3Prime, I had two Ripmos (the plastic ones, not AF) and am currently on a Fugitive.

However, I’m in the southwest and have zero experience on the trails you’re describing.

The three bikes are similar on paper, but ride differently. Fitment will be significantly different if you’re particular. The Banshee is the biggest bike with a wheelbase and stack to match. Excellent suspension kinematics. It’s a rad, beautiful bike.

The Ibis and the Knolly are more similar, even sizing-wise. The Knolly has a very low stack height. The Ibis is snappier, but the Knolly is probably a better technical climber.
 

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I’m a big dude on a large, so I can’t help with all your questions. I did want to chime in to mention that the length fork you run, and the height you fun your bars will greatly influence the Prime’s technical climbing ability. I’m running a 150 and have zero issues with the front wheel wandering. At first I hade a 30mm riser and did notice i had to fight a little harder to keep the front end down. Once i swapped to a 15mm rise that problem went away.

The wheelbase has never held me back in technical sections. The balance is amazing and makes techy sections easier for me. As an added bonus you can more easily roost the turns and throw tail whips all over the place.

I think the Prime is an excellent technical climber, and great bike. I’m very happy with mine. It’s better built then the Ripmo AF (which felt like a toy to me). Knollys are rock solid, just not as pedally IMO. If you’re not in a hurry i hear Canfield is going to announce a 140mm 29er before years end. They’re known for short chain stays, and an excellent pedal platform.
 

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I'm thinking Banshee Prime>Knolly Fugitive>Ripmo AF. For the most part my idea is high quality and well specced alu bike that isn't a pig and pedals well, but can handle chunky descents.

I live in Massachusetts so I want a bike that can pedal well, handle a good amount of chunk, be taken to the bike park maybe once a month as a beginner who is just learning to jump and probably won't be abusing it, but still needs something that won't hurt as bad after as the hardtail (which I've still done).
I was considering the same three bikes and had only ridden a Ripmo V1 at the time. I liked the Ripmo suspension and knew the Banshee would be similar but more progressive and slightly slacker. If I remember correctly the Prime is the lightest frame of the bunch and with the good aesthetics and all black paint it was a done deal.

Don't worry about climbing, I set a PR up a frequented road climb out of the saddle and mashing the pedals only to realize the shock was open at the top. Also great on the tech climbs but I am running 150mm fork. Honestly can't imagine needing more travel, handles everything I need but I was coming off a Smuggler V1 (R115mm/F130mm) so I like to feel a little of the trail beneath me. My local trail system is very rough and I never wish I went with more travel.

I was most concerned about the long chainstays but I only ever noticed it when I went of a drop, timing was just a but different but I got used to it after the first ride. It has the most front wheel traction of any bike I've owned which I attribute to the long chainstays and it handles tight corners better than my old bike that was 2in shorter. I also have a XL.
 

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i can only speak based on my titan which is a tad bit larger than the prime you’d be riding. a large with a 40mm stem feels pretty much identical in seated pedaling position and reach than my large hd5 i was running with a 35mm stem (the only reason i mention this is because you liked the large ripmo which is pretty much exactly the same as the hd5). the bike does not feel long while seated, and actually doesn’t really look long either. most of the extra length that you will notice is behind you, which i was nervous about for tight twisty stuff as well, but have found that it corners so much more intuitively than a bike with shorter chainstays. on the off chance that i ride a trail with switchbacks so tight that i’m needing to track stand to make the turn, i haven’t found this bike to be any less manageable than one with stays 25mm shorter. i had the same concerns as you but so far i have only noticed the benefits of larger stays and none of the negatives surrounding them. as far as sizing, i am 5’10.5” and on a large and wouldn’t want to size down. a lot of dudes in the titan thread are going with banshees size specific guide though, i believe there’s even a dude in there who’s 6’ running a medium. if i went with the dealer advice i should be on a medium but like i said the large fits great and it’s what i’m used to. i think you could get away with either size and be very happy. don’t discount stem length either. if your trails are super tight and twisty and slow a medium might be the way to go with a 50-60mm stem rather than a large with a super short one.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I’m a big dude on a large, so I can’t help with all your questions. I did want to chime in to mention that the length fork you run, and the height you fun your bars will greatly influence the Prime’s technical climbing ability. I’m running a 150 and have zero issues with the front wheel wandering. At first I hade a 30mm riser and did notice i had to fight a little harder to keep the front end down. Once i swapped to a 15mm rise that problem went away.

The wheelbase has never held me back in technical sections. The balance is amazing and makes techy sections easier for me. As an added bonus you can more easily roost the turns and throw tail whips all over the place.

I think the Prime is an excellent technical climber, and great bike. I’m very happy with mine. It’s better built then the Ripmo AF (which felt like a toy to me). Knollys are rock solid, just not as pedally IMO. If you’re not in a hurry i hear Canfield is going to announce a 140mm 29er before years end. They’re known for short chain stays, and an excellent pedal platform.
Of course the Canfield trail bike was announced today. Since I made this thread and read people's comments I decided the Prime was the bike for me and literally a day after I decided the one bike that could possibly get me to change my mind was announced. It looks like it would be pretty ideal for what I'm describing and is well specced for the price. Not my favorite thing ever aesthetically and no water bottle inside the frame, but oh well. I also would be buying mostly on blind faith because at least you guys who have ridden a prime can tell me your thoughts. I have nothing to go off of with the Tilt other than that I've heard CBF is amazing which I don't doubt.

Geo on the Tilt is actually similar to my hardtail as well with the 425mm chainstays. My decision is basically down to chainstay length/wheelbase at this point as from what I can tell I'll probably be happy with how either bike pedals. I'm just trying to make up my mind if I want something that's theoretically more maneuverable or if I should leave that to my hardtail and have the Prime. Point being, it seems like the Canfield is more on the fun pop around side and the Prime is maybe slightly more biased towards speed and stability and maybe edges towards enduro ever so slightly moreso. I'm still somewhat leaning towards the Prime but those of you who have told me to get something shorter in wheelbase and with shorter chainstays are probably right. If I only had whatever bike I buy next and no others, I'd definitely be wise to listen to your advice. Having two bikes that are pretty versatile but have more clearly delineated "attitudes" also sounds like it would work for me though.

I'm still waiting on my LBS to get back to me on a build price for a prime so that may be my deciding factor. If one bike ends up being a few hundred cheaper I may as well just go with that since I'll probably really appreciate either.
 
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