Banshee Bikes Phantom 29er Full Suspension


The Phantom is Banshee’s 100mm travel 29er prototype. Designed around the KS link platform, it sports an adjustable 67/68 degree head angle, a 13 to 13.5? adjustable BB height, and a 120mm fork. Ride it up, ride it down, ride it hard.


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[Nov 12, 2015]
Weekend Warrior


Great suspension.
Capable on both ends of the spectrum--high speed and slow tech, climbs and depends great.
Versatile--multiple ways to set up the bike.
Stiff, stiff, stiff frame.


Water bottle placement: I hate to be that guy, but yes, I really wish there was on inside the front triangle. Being from the Pacific NW, in winter that bottle placement will simply not work, so I’ll have to go back to wearing a small pack on almost every ride.

Frame weight: Not an exact number, but I know frame+shock+headset+seat clamp+rear axle was just above 8 pounds. Not terrible, but if it was lighter, I would not complain.

With both of the above complaints, I like the frame so much I wouldn’t want to change either if it meant a decrease in either suspension performance or frame stiffness, both of which contribute to the awesome confidence inspiring nature of the bike.

Background: Me: 6’3”, 200ish pounds trail rider. Not the fastest guy, nor do I like to huck off things. Just like to put miles on trails whenever I can. Phantom’s my 4th 29er full-suspension bike (Pivot Mach 429, Intense Tracer 29, and Spec Epic Carbon Comp in that order)
While I loved the Epic, I was looking for something a little more trail oriented, and pounced on deal. I had started to ‘EVO’ the Epic (wider tires, bars, short stem, Pike @ 120mm), so nearly every part was able to be transferred right over to the Phantom.
Long story short, I love, love, love this frame. Its pretty much exactly what I had been looking/hoping for when purchasing. It be clear, its not a straight replacement for an Epic at all, which should be obvious, but this is the internet after all… It does a lot of things well out on the trail! It climbs technical sections like a goat, descends like a bike with more than 4 inches of travel, and pedals well everywhere I’ve had it. The bike kills technical trail, both up AND down. I knew the bike would be killer at speeds, but I’ve been blown away at how well it works in tight, slow technical sections of singletrack. The Tracer 29er had had a similar wheelbase and really struggled in the same situations, but the Phantom’s a freaking champ. Outside of firewood climbs, I’m preferring the Phantom to everything else I’ve ridden. According to Strava, I’m faster most everywhere on it as well. The only times where I’m slower comes from sections where I’m missing the big ring that the Epic had as opposed to the 30t chainring I’m running on the Phantom.

Because of the confidence it inspires, Its already gotten me into a couple crashes because I was inspired to try sections of the trail that are outside of my comfort zone, or go harder than I would have previously. At the same time, its bailed me out of a couple moments on trail where I got in over my head, but was able to ride it out. This was especially helpful in a 50-mile race towards the end when I was tried and off my game. When at speed, the geometry really helps one hold a line, but I’ve found its been easy to to adjust/find new line when needed. You’re never thinking you’re on a bike with a crapload of travel, but the travel available provides traction and control, and gives the me a good amount of feedback. I will say that suspension and tire set-up are paramount to getting everything ‘right.’

Banshee did a great job of providing a frame with a ton of adjustability. Run an FD or not—your choice. The geo clips in the back are not just a gimmick. Most of my time has been in the middle setting, which I’ve loved, but noted some issues for me climbing tight switchbacks, so recently, I’ve played around with the ‘high’ setting, and with no adjustment on my part, I found myself cleaning the same sections… so its nice to see that the clips actually ‘do’ something. I don’t know if I’m ever fast or bold enough to utilize the low/slack setting. There’s also the dropouts if you need a different axle setup as well… Love options!

Bottom Line:
This is the favorite FS frame I’ve ever owned. Can’t imagine wanting much more out of any frame. Since I bought it used, I’d love to pick up some stickers or t-shirts or something to show off the Banshee love. This spring it will be going with me to Nepal on a 2 week trip, and know it will serve me well for the trip and for the future to come. I got no problems running this in local XC races for fun, and backcountry epics, and everything in between. If you’re looking for a frame that can do a little of everything, and do it well, the Phantom deserves some serious consideration!

[Dec 06, 2014]
All Mountain Rider


Sharp handling and very maneuverable but with the brilliant roll over and stability of big wheels. Riding position feels very planted and "in" the bike.

Short travel means that everything feels taught and responsive but ramps up nicely to control the chunkier stuff. Short travel and big wheels make uphill much more pleasant than longer travel bikes but you don't lose anything on the downs.


Erm, maybe a bit heavy if that kind of thing really bothers you, but no more so than other bikes of it's class.

You constantly have to explain to people on trails that short travel bikes can be ridden hard if they are designed properly. Lots of people seem very stuck in the "more travel makes me better" and "105mm is XC only" lines of thought. This bike, and other like it, will show you how wrong that idea is.

An outstanding, rough, tough, brawling trail bike. For some reason everything just feels more fun on this bike. It handles better than any 26 or 650b bike designed for trail/AM/Enduro I have ridden because the big wheels necessitate a steeper head angle and allow for sharp handling. This means that the front wheel doesn't flop around like 26/650b bikes but retains the ability to go downhill just as hard. And if you think 29er aren't nimble go and ride one of these and be prepared to have all of your preconceptions destroyed.

The 29er equivalent of a 140-160mm "enduro" bike (you know, a normal mountain bike) but with more real world usability. If you ride hard and rarely ride huge drops then I strongly recommend this bike, if you regularly do more than 4-5ft drops then you may want more travel.

Don't dismiss it because of the travel, it really isn't an XC bike at all.

Similar Products Used:

Banshee Spitfire
Santa Cruz Heckler
On One Codeine
Banshee Prime
Kona Process 111

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