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Exclusive First Look: The All-New 2013 Banshee Rune v2

We're stoked to introduce Banshee's improved Rune v2. It was time to progress, so Banshee went back to the drawing board for something completely new (and completely awesome).

Like all Banshee bikes, the new Rune was "born on the shore." Jon drops in on some Squamish goodness, not far from the North Shore.

At the heart of the new Rune's design is the KS link, which is also used on the Banshee Prime 29er.

Current Banshee owners will rejoice about the new bearing system. We can vouch for Jon's statements about the rear end being more active. It really is a huge improvement over their old VF4B system.

Squish! Here's the KS link in action.

Banshee ripper Lear Miller putting the rear end to the test. It's surprisingly stiff side-to-side, which makes for a more predictable ride that can be pushed even harder.

That's all wheel flex. This rear end is solid.

By eliminating the links between the rear end and the shock, the suspension performance has been improved.

Less DU bushing rotation = less friction, which is a good thing.

The Rune now tracks over the smallest of bumps, improving traction and the overall ride experience.

While the Rune maintains a rearward axle path, they've reduced pedal kickback big time.

Less hangups means more fun. The rearward axle path was greatly appreciated over the rough, rooty, and rocky terrain that we found while testing the bike in Squamish.

Somewhere along the way we've all stepped up our game on trail bikes in the past few years, which is why Banshee felt the need to slacken and lower the bike a bit more.

Aussie shredder Dennis Beare and Jon make quick work of a steep rock roller, an instance where the slacker head angle is nice to have.

Head angle and bottom bracket geometry adjustments can be made by swapping the "flip chips" in the rear dropouts. The dropouts and flip chips will all be anodized and looking pretty for production frames.

Head angles from 65 to 66-degrees and bottom bracket heights of 13.4 to 13.9-inches can be achieved using these in the rear end. The process is very quick and easy.

Dennis and Jon get their trail on...

That's right, Banshee is now also in the 650b game. By simply swapping the dropouts, the frame can accommodate the larger wheel size.

142x12mm? Gotcha covered. 135 quick release? Same thing. 150x12mm? Yeah, they can do that too.

In very little time on the bike, Lear was able move it around with ease. The familiar geometry and improved suspension make for a very playful bike.

Internal "ribs" run the length of the seat and chainstays. The holes shown here are needed during that manufacturing process.

With a new release comes the chance for some general updates as well. The Rune is now fully up to date with current standards.

Dennis has a long and successful history in the gravity racing scene, and his feedback during the testing stage was key to how the new Rune turned out. Here he is ripping the Rune's big-wheeled brother, the Banshee Prime.

As Lear shows, this thing loves to be ridden hard. Welcome to the high-end, high-performance aggressive trail bike market, Banshee!

The 2013 Rune v2 will be available in blue, raw, and black, with the graphics shown here.

For more details about the Rune v2, keep an eye on <u><b><a href="http://www.bansheebikes.com" target="_blank">www.BansheeBikes.com</a></b></u>.

There's a new Banshee Rune on the loose. Major updates to the suspension and a few fine tweaks to the geometry make it bigger, badder, and better than ever before. Take a gander at everything new and exciting in this Vital MTB exclusive, where Banshee shows us a prototype that has been tested for the last eight months.

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