The Banshee Pyre demo bikes at Interbike were built up in a sort of “beefy trail” kind of way, with twin-and-bash chainsets and through-axle Manitou Minute forks. With more travel at the front than at the back, and a rear end that majors on pedalling and “snap” more than trail-hoovering plushness, the overall effect is a bit like riding a big-forked hardtail only more capable and more comfortable. You find yourself leading with the fork, relying on the back end to take care of itself and taking advantage of the taut feel to chuck the bike around a bit.Banshee is a Canadian brand that, for tedious trademark reasons, is known as Mythic in the UK. The bikes are the same, though. It made its name (er, names) with frames leaning towards the burlier end of the spectrum, but the Pyre is a more XC/trail-oriented beast. It’s got 4.5in of travel at the back, and is designed to run a 4-5in travel fork according to taste.
For a relatively svelte bike (the tubing is all fairly slimline and the claimed frame weight is 5lb), the Pyre feels pretty stiff – the short-link rear suspension setup is probably helping here. It all encourages you to give it some welly, and the handling is assured. Set up like this, the Pyre would be an excellent trail centre bike, and with a shorter fork wouldn’t be embarrassed on the race track.