Banshee Rune Mk II 2014 Frameset Review

Reviewed by: Essex Herts MTB -
Banshee Rune Mk II 2014 Frameset
We review the Banshee Rune Mk II 2014 Frameset. After riding the Rune for the past 5 months we share our overall impressions on whether this is truly one bike to rule them all.

Banshee Rune Introduction

Banshee Bikes are one of the original North Shore designed Canadian bike companies and are now back in the UK under their own name after several years being forced (by a well known automotive spares and family bicycle retailer) to masquerade as Mythic (don’t ask!). Back in the day - Banshee were well known for building solid frames that were built for abuse and designed not to break even when used for old school style North shore hucking and skinnies. In more recent times mountain biking has evolved and riding is now all about flow whether riding down, up, along or hitting features.

Banshee have also evolved and although still proudly echoing their North Shore heritage now have a range of bikes designed by a Scottish guy - Keith Scott (no joke!) or ‘builttoride’ as he’s known on some of the popular bike web forums. Keith designs bikes for ‘aggressive’ real world riders who are looking for a low hassle, fun ride, that will help progress their riding. The Rune is Banshee’s 160 mm all mountain frame designed as the one bike you can use to ride anything and everything

We’ve been riding the Rune for the past 5 months and share our overall impressions below on whether this is truly one bike to rule them all.

Banshee Rune Mk II 2014 Frameset
"Weight has hovered around the 30-32lbs mark depending on which tyre / wheel combo I’m running"

Banshee Rune Frame Specs

  • 160 mm rear travel
  • Available with choice of Cane Creek Double Barrel Air (with Climb Switch on newer frames) or Fox Float CTD Kashima custom tuned shocks.
  • Made of 7005 hydro formed aluminium.
  • Tapered head tube allows forks between 150-180mm to be used with frame being optimized around a typical 160mm fork.
  • ISCG05 tabs.
  • The Banshee Rune has interchangeable rear drop outs for both 26” wheels (135mm x QR; 142mm x 12mm; or 150mm x 12mm) and 27.5 / 650 B (142mm x 12mm).
  • 3 position changeable geometry – effects bottom bracket heights and seat/head angle; see below for geometry tables.
  • Rear chain and seat stays are ribbed (for his and her pleasure) which helps create a very firm rear end – a defining characteristic of all Banshee frames.
  • KS link suspension – short twin link design – running Ina bearings (the Mk 1 Rune ran a different suspension system – VF4B – and had bushings rather than bearings)
  • Front derailleur comparable
  • Late 2013 and all 2014 Frames now have internal routing for dropper post cables or hoses in the seat tube.
  • Sizes available: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large
  • Colour options for new frames are: Black, Raw (aluminium), and (Kawaski) Green (although, I still think the 2013 fluro-enduro yellow colour that I have is the best!)
  • Banshee are now being imported into the UK by Ison Distribution – one of the major distributors – so are well supported in terms of spares and any warranty issues
  • Warranty is 2 years for the original owner and Banshee also offer lifetime crash replacement.
  • Retail price is c. £1,574.99 (with Cane Creek), and £1,489.99 (with Fox).
  • Full product details are here.

Banshee Rune Mk II 2014 Frameset
"The Banshee Rune has interchangeable rear drop outs for both 26” wheels and 27.5 / 650 B...."

Frame and Suspension Philosophy and Design

  • Keith Scott of Banshee had a few goals in mind when he designed the new version of the Rune...
  • First and foremost – he wanted a stiff and robust frame that would feel solid and flex free when charging up, along and down the trail.
  • Second, he wanted a bike that you could pedal really well so he designed the suspension axle path, anti-squat and leverage ration to respond really well when you put the power down.
  • Thirdly he wanted to provide riders with the maximum versatility, so ensured that the Rune has 3 geometry positions that can be quickly and easily changed to give a very different feel for the rider and used a modular rear drop out system that allows choice of 26 or 27.5 / 650B wheels.
  • Overall though, Keith designed this bike to be capable of doing everything whilst maximizing the fun for the rider.
  • There’s more about the philosophy and design of the Rune available here

Banshee Rune Mk II 2014 Frameset
"The Rune has 3 geometry positions that can be quickly & easily changed to give a very different feel for the rider & uses a modular rear drop out system that allows choice of 26 or 650B wheels"


  • I built the Rune up using a Fox 36 Float 160mm fork; a 1 x 10 transmission (with 32T chainring and 11-36 cassette); and a KS Lev dropper post.
  • I’ve run various wheel and tyre combinations on the Banshee depending on what and where I was riding.
  • Overall weight has hovered around the 30-32lbs mark depending on which tyre / wheel combo I’m running.
  • A sub-30 lbs enduro race bike is realistically achievable if you have the money!
  • I have been running the Rune as a 26er but one of the good things about the frame is that you can also run it with 27.5 / 650B wheels by simply swapping out the rear drops outs.
  • I went with the Cane Creek Double Barrel Air (CCDBA) shock and started out with the recommended base settings before slowly tweaking these to get the feel I wanted for the type of riding I was doing.
  • Don’t be put off by the supposed complexity of this shock. Banshee and Cane Creek have done their homework. The Base settings are a great starting point from which it’s straightforward to use the included Field Tuning guide and tool, to figure out how to make small adjustments to get the shock feeling ‘just how you like it’. ¼ to ½ turns are all you need to do to make a difference on the trail, so go slow and steady to figure it out.
  • For reference – I weigh it at 85kg in full riding kit, ran 180 PSI of pressure to get the recommended sag of 17mm; and used the recommended base settings with an additional ½ turn less of high speed rebound, to give a little bit more pop off jumps.
  • The frame comes with one set of drop outs- you need to specify at the time of purchase which size and axle configuration you want – but you can also buy additional drop outs.
  • I’ve run the Rune in all three geometry settings before settling on low (for Bike Park fun) and mid (for everything else) as my preferred set up.

Banshee Rune Mk II 2014 Frameset
"The Rune climbs surprisingly well even with a fixed 160mm fork up front..."

Ride Report - Going Up

  • The combination of the KS link suspension and CCDBA does an amazing job of generating loads of traction but also seems to help drive the bike forward; put some force into your pedalling and the Rune responds with a confident surge that encourages you onwards (and upwards) far better than I had expected.
  • Even with the relatively slack geometry, I didn’t feel the need to over exaggerate my position on the bike to compensate for front wheel wander even on steep climbs. A travel adjust fork would clearly help if you plan to do lots of steep climbing but the Rune climbs surprisingly well even with a fixed 160mm fork up front.
  • The Rune is confident climber due to the tidy geometry. In particular the effective seat tube angle, effective top tube length and chainstays do a good job of keeping you centred on the bike.
  • Mellower fire road climbs are managed easily on the Rune by adapting a ‘let’s winch up’ seated position, but once you got used to the feel of the frame even tight uphill switchback corners, like the ones on the 1st climb at Glentress – can be ‘attacked’ and cleared easily.
  • It’s unlikely you’ll get any Strava (uphill) KOMs on the Rune due to the weight and relatively slack geometry but that said that’s not the primary aim of bikes like the Rune and for it’s class, it is surprisingly good on the ups.
  • Seated there’s very little shock bob but this does increases as you stand up. Its is not excessive but I’d be keen to try the CCDBA with the Climb Switch(that is now available form the newer 2014 frames) Or maybe the Fox Float CTD to see if this helps give a firmer, less bobby, platform for out of the saddle power climbing.
  • Climbing in the super slack setting is a bit more of a handful in terms of front wheel wandering.

Banshee Rune Mk II 2014 Frameset
"The stiff chassis, encourages you to get the power down..."

Ride Report - Going Along

  • Once the trail flattens out the Rune continues to encourage you to ride hard and fast. The stiff chassis, encourages you to get the power down.
  • This is particularly true in the mid and high geometry settings, and even more so when you ride with lighter wheels and tyres.
  • Again, the centred feeling and relatively low bottom bracket height (in all 3 geo settings) helps create a feeling of being not just ‘in the bike’ but also’ in the trail’; this in turn encourages you to hit even relatively flat sections of trail with a bit of aggression and speed; certainly I’ve found my Strava times improving even on relatively flat trails.
  • Generally the faster the trail the better the Rune feels.
  • Mid-travel suspension support and feel is really good.
  • The super slack, low geometry setting, can be a bit too slack for extended flatter trail riding; that said, a quick change to the mid or even high geometry setting and adding some lighter trail riding wheels and tyres creates a surprisingly eager trail riding machine.

Banshee Rune Mk II 2014 Frameset
"Generally the faster the trail the better the Rune feels..."

Ride Report - Going Down

  • As soon as the trail starts to descend the Rune comes alive and the fun factor goes off the chart.
  • It’s difficult to tell whether it’s the frame or the shock but in combination I can safely say that the Rune is the best descending 160mm bike I’ve ever ridden, particularly when set up in the slack setting
  • The slight weight penalty couple with the undoubted stiffness of the frame means that it feels amazingly planted when ploughing through rocks gardens, rooty sections and chunder – a bit like a full on DH sled
  • But the Rune is far more agile when you want to flick, bump and air your way down the hill
  • The balanced rider position also means that slow speed, more technical, descending feels controlled and assured.
  • The suspension feels progressive, supportive and bottomless; there are no negative side effects from braking even when barrelling into tight tech corners.
  • Nothing – the Rune is an absolute animal that eats technical and fast descents for breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper and still leaves you wanting more.

Ride Report - Going in the Air

  • The nicely balanced feel of the Rune also translates well when it’s time to get both wheels off the ground.
  • The bike feels planted and stiff on the run in to jumps which gives you a lot of pre-take off confidence.
  • Once airborne the Rune is nicely stable in the air – it’s fairly neutral feeling (good from my perspective) – a bit like my DH rig – but with more agility.
  • Landings are soaked up really well – the shock and the suspension ramp up working really well together to give you confidence to focus on the trail ahead.
  • Slower speed drops are also taken care of with consummate ease.
  • It also felt really good riding some of the skinny, North Shore, sections we encountered at Dalbeattie in the summer.
  • The relatively long wheelbase – that helps give some of the stability – makes the Rune a bit more of a handful on ‘dirt jump’ style take offs compared to some of the other bikes in this class – but I’m not sure riding rhythm sections is really what the Rune is all about.

Banshee Rune Mk II 2014 Frameset
"The shock and the suspension ramp up working really well together
to give you confidence to focus on the trail ahead..."

Easy to Live With?

  • So far the Rune Mk II has been super easy to live with and is still running well.
  • All bolts have remained tight and there have been no annoying squeaks or noises coming from any of the pivots.
  • All pivot and shock bolts are easily accessible and all have torque values marked on them – a small thing, but something that’s really useful for those of us who like to tinker and maker sure everything is set up ‘just right’.
  • The paint has proved pretty robust. Only suffering some noticeable scuffing on the drive side chainstay near the bottom bracket, an area I’ve subsequently taped up. The frame still looks good after 5 months of hard use.
  • Cable routing is pretty well thought through and I’ve had no issues with ghost shifting and cables are easy to replace.
  • Changing the geometry is a 10 minute job and really makes a difference to the feel of the bike in the 3 different settings: the low setting turns the rune into a min-DH sled; high turns it into a remarkable eager trail riding machine; and mid offers a half way house (in a good way) that is great when you’re riding bigger all mountain type terrain.
  • Another small thing but you also get a 2nd derailleur hanger with the frame. It really annoys me that this isn’t he case with all companies, and I’m pleased that unlike some other bike companies who use similar CNC’d drop outs as Banshee do, that this is a replaceable item.
  • The only problem I’ve had is the small retaining bolt on drive side of the rear axle seized and then snapped. This hasn’t prevented me riding but a wee bit annoying and am waiting for a replacement to arrive.

Banshee Rune Mk II 2014 Frameset
"Changing the geometry is a 10 minute job and really makes a difference to the feel of the bike..."

Test Info

  • Purchased – from Bike Active at Stanstead Abbots.
  • Size tested – Large.
  • Tested – August to December 2013.
  • Riding – Bit of everything. Trail to full on DHing. Including up to 6 hour all mountain epics.
  • Where – Epping; Forest of Dean; Malvern; 7 Stanes; Stainburn; Surrey Hills.
  • Similar bikes used and abused: Orange 5; Orange Patriot; Intense 6.6; Kona DAWG; Specialized Enduro; Santa Cruz Nomad; Specialized Pitch; Specialized SX Trail; Trek Scratch Air.

Final Thoughts

The Banshee Rune Mk II is a truly great frame that builds into an absolutely amazing bike. It’s bit heavier than some of more enduro racing orientated bikes in the 150-160mm travel category but this translates to a feeling that you can hit any downhill section as hard and as fast as you want to and the Rune will see you right.

On top of that the price is good; the design and build quality of the frame is top notch; and Banshee are run by a decent bunch of guys who stand behind their products and are accessible to the biking community.

Ultimately, every time I ride the Rune I’m left with a massive smile on my face and a clear reminder of how much fun mountain biking can be. If needs must, I’d be quite happy to have the Banshee Rune as my one bike to rule them all!

Find out more about the Banshee Rune Mk II here .