Banshee Paradox 27.5+ converted Review


Frame: 2014 Banshee Paradox (L)
Fork: MRP Stage 29 @130mm
Wheels: Dt Swiss 350 hubs- WTB i35 ASYM 32h 27.5 rims-WheelsmithDB14 spokes
Tires: F- WTB Bridger 3.0 R- WTB Trailblazer 2.8- (tubeless)
Seatpost: Thomson Elite
Brakes: Shimano BL-M615
Bars: Gravity 777
Stem: Race Face Respond 60mm

Weight as ridden: 27pounds

Trail type: Varied peidmont singletrack
Trail Condition: Dry Hardpack

I love the idea of the hard tail - the original, authentic mountain bike, the low-maintenance trusty steed. The Paradox looks to be built for a doomsday epic- thick square stays, butted tubes, raw finish and substantial head badge are a formidable presence, even amongst many other bikes. The frame minces no words in giving proper trail feedback as the internally ribbed stays deliver an exceptionally taught ride...but make no mistake, the ride isnt uncomfortable by any means, the stiffness lends itself to the bike being extremely accurate and controllable. The bike thrives on deliberate line choices, hard carves and hard acceleration. It responds to every input with staggering return.  Intended for 29" wheels the Paradox with its short chain stays and snug geometry offers a ride that belies the lore about big wheels. 26" fans will hardly notice the extra inches, as none of the negative wagon wheel traits are made evident by this well angled platform.

When I originally got the bike I decided that it would be set up single speed, however, with vertical dropouts- I would have to get creative. Luckily this iteration of the Paradox includes some very convenient ISCG05 tabs. The tabs allowed for installation of a Black Spire Stinger chain tensioner for an extremely neat SS setup. For gearing I am running a very reasonable 33x19.  In addition to going against the grain with the single speed setup, I wanted to diversify my collection of bikes. After adding another 29" trail bike by Banshee, I felt that having two regular 29ers would make things boring. So I did what anyone should do and converted it to 27.5+. I chose WTB across the board, with the exception of hubs. Immediately I was blown away by how much this improved the fun factor of this bike if that were even possible. Acceleration was even more responsive and the extra meat on the tires made it even more forgiving of daring line choice. The stiff frame accompanied with the absurd traction of the fatter tires makes for rollercoaster-like turning and bobcat-like climbing. Most people would accuse the wide rim, fat tire combination of being slow rolling or clumsy in turning. While on paper, this notion holds true, the real experience proves the opposite. With somewhat educated tire pressure choice accompanied by tubeless setup, the rolling resistance or lack therof is astounding. I found myself setting records and PR's with minimal effort. Most importantly I found my grin pointed ear to ear with little to no effort as well.

So there it is. A match made in heaven. Banshee absolutely nails the hard tail and the plus size wheel and tire combo fully seals the deal.