When Banshee Bikes decided they wanted to create a downhill bike, they went about it in a little different way than most companies. They did internal prototyping and then created a small program that offered ~50 riders the opportunity to be part of their feedback program. The result they were looking to achieve was to help create a well balanced downhill bike that met the needs of a downhill racer. This allowed them to try out a few things before rushing to make production bikes. They’ve changed quite a bit on the Mark two (MK II) and they certainly learned a thing or two from the Mark one (MK I).
[Banshee Legend MK2 Gallery] [Banshee Legend MK2 Review]
Read the full Banshee Legend MK2 review we’ve posted online
Banshee decided to offer some updated packaging on the Legend MK2. It certainly makes you feel a bit warmer inside about your purchase when you receive special packaging. They don’t want you to think this any ‘ol “run of the mill” bike.
Legend MK2 Changes:
At first glance you might think that the MK 2 is the same as the MK 1, but it seems almost every part on the bike was refined in some way.
(click to enlarge)
Specifications wise the MK2 still has a 1.5″ headtube, 30.9mm seat post, ISCG-05 chainguide tabs, 83mm crankset, 150x12mm rear wheel, and a 9.5 x 3″ shock.
Perhaps one of he biggest changes to the MK2 over the MK 1 is that these new pivots no loner use bushings but big INA cartridge bearings. The axles are now titanium as well. On our MK1 legend we found that the bushing system required more servicing compared to the MK2’s bearing system, especially if you ride in wet conditions. The MK2 system is better in just about every way from a functional standpoint. The low speed sensitivity is improved with this design and is a more set and forget design. After some time on the MK2 the bearings are still as smooth as day one.
The MK2 front and rear triangle sections have seen some changes as well. Banshee refined the tubing and designed some different CNC/forging where it was needed. They’ve also increased clearance for chainguides. The MK2 uses ISCG-05 tabs that are welded securely to the main front triangle. The “canoe” section around the shock is now forged as well. There are lots of little updates on every portion of the MK2 frame compared to the MK1.
The MK2 has one travel setting (8”) opposed to the MK1 that had two travel settings. The shock dials are easy to get to and they used 22.2mm shock hardware which helps make spring swapping easy. The MK2 also has a modified lower shock bolt that is accessible from the non-drive side but it is partially hidden by the rear swingarm bridge.
The MK2 linkage also saw some machining refinements as well as adjustments to their shape to give the MK2 a more linear shock curve. The axle path that these new links offer means that the system isn’t quite as rearward in the initial travel. This was done to help reduce chain stretch and pedal kickback, but still allows the rear wheel to get out of the way when a square edge comes along.
The MK2 also takes a Maxle axle like the MK1. They currently include the SRAM Maxle-lite option that doesn’t maintain the same diameter throughout the axle like most other axles or the original Maxle. We opted to use an older Maxle (non lite version) in our build for some security on the road.
We talked to Keith Scott at Eurobike about the Maxle vs Maxle Light vs standard axle and he mentioned that they’re working on a titanium axle option as well though that they want to include in the future instead of the Maxle-lite. See a spy shot of it below from Eurobike that we caught a glimpse of.
The geometry was also updated with the MK2. You can check out the comparison between the two in the geometry table below.
Our build consists of a full Shimano Saint gruppo. The whole system just works well together in a durable package.
The Legend has a 1.5” head tube. This lets you run lots of combinations from the Cane Creek AngleSet to a more standard 1.5 flush mount setup like we are here (e.13 zero stack cups). Additionally, you could also run an external 1.5” cup setup. This gives the user tons of flexibility to tweak ride height and head angle.
Up front we went with a 2010 Rock Shox Boxxer World Cup. This fork offers improved chassis stiffness over the previous Boxxer. The World Cup is a very lightweight fork and has a lot of tuning options to experiment with. Initially our Boxxer wasn’t working as great as we liked. The adjustment knobs didn’t have as pronounced affect on the ride as we wanted and there was some stiction in the system but after we got SRAM to take a look at it, it’s been much better ever since.
In the rear we bolted up a Cane Creek Double Barrel to our Legend. The Double Barrel offers lots of tunability (LSC, HSC, LSR, HSR) through their four external adjusters. We also tested it with a FOX RC4 as well. Both were good performers on this bike and we had no major issues with the performance of either of these fine shocks.
The Saint brakes offer tons of power. You don’t have to worry about not being able to stop quick enough with these brakes. They let you transform your riding style by allowing you to brake later in a given scenario with confidence.
Saint’s shifting is crisp and clean. The system gives positive feedback on each gear change. The shadow derailleur tucks cleanly away from rocks and obstacles. The derailleur we’ve noticed does make a little bit more noise than the competition but outside of that it performs impeccably well.
We bolted up a some Chromag goodies to our Legend MK2. A Lynx saddle, Director stem, and a Fubar OSX handlebar. Chromag offers a different look than most other components and they’ve got lots of options to pick from. Their products have always been solid performers for us.
Banshee started offering seatposts with some of their bikes. This is the same as a “Praxys” seatpost and it worked quite nicely for us.
The cranks have been stellar as well. Shimano’s Saint cranks have always been known for their durability and strength and these new cranks take it up another notch. If you’re running a taco-style chainguide like we are here you’ll have no quarrel with these cranks. If you’ve got a bash-ring type setup, we’d suggest that you make sure you get a Saint compatible bashring, as their chainring tab thickness is wider than most cranksets and can create a gap in-between the bash ring and the chain ring.
The e.thirteen LG1+ and the 38t guidering work as expected. No issues with it and there are lots of options to pick from color wise. They offer a wide gear range on their chainrings (32-40t in single tooth increments).
We used the Point One Racing Podium pedals on this build. They are some sweet pedals that offer tons of ground clearance in a very clean reliable package. You can’t get these in Red, but you can get them in black or a raw finish.
For wheel duties we opted to try out the new Crank Brothers Opium Wheels. Out of the box they’re tubeless compatible, stiff, and are pretty looking to boot. They do use proprietary parts but all are accessible through Crank Brothers. Some refinements have been made to the Crank Brothers wheels since their initial debut and these have been issue free for us (some dings in the rims however). If you’re thinking about using a 21t cassette on these wheels, we found that there wasn’t enough clearance for the chain to sit on the cassette cog without partially contacting the hub spoke flange. You need to run at least a 23t big cog in our experience. Additionally some other cassettes for us wouldn’t work (SRAM PG1050 10spd) as there isnt’ a big enough clearance space to allow the cassette to recess into the freehub shell without contacting the tall spoke flanges. You can learn more about the Opium’s in the preview we did on them some time ago.
Tire duties were handled by the Continental Der Kaiser’s. Impressive tires to say the least. The “black-chili” rubber compound they use is quite sticky and offers impressive grip on all surfaces. In addition to decent mud shedding, they roll decently well considering their large volume and they’ve got a good tread pattern that works in a variety of conditions quite well. The sidewalls didn’t feel quite as firm as say a Maxxis in our experience so we opted to run a little bit more air pressure. The 2.5” tires also have a pretty wide footprint and they have a good secure feeling to them.
|Banshee||Large Legend MK2 frame only||
|Banshee||Banshee Seat Post Collar||
|Cane Creek||9.5 x 3 Double Barrel||
|FOX||9.5 x 3 RC4||
|SRAM||Maxle-lite 150mm x 12mm||
Stay tuned for or full review on the Legend MK II early next year.