The Good: Extremely versatile, relatively light, suspension is well-tuned, very stiff, did I mention versatile?
The Bad: In the short travel mode, the suspension isn't as lively as it could be. Also in the 5'' travel mode, the frame feels more slack, (harder to manual and bunnyhop,) which is kind of backwards.
Where do I start? First of all, the Wildcard has two travel modes. (127 and 165mm) This feature is esstially what makes this bike so versatile. The frame is built around anywhere from a 5 to a 7'' travel fork. The frame also has ISCG 05 tabs, and 1.5'' headtube, and front derailleur routing.
My personal setup includes a Fox DHX air shock, Fox Talas 36 fork, Mavic Crossmax SX wheels, and a 1x8 drivetrain. The suspension, wheels, and drivetrain that you choose will have a higher-than-average influence on the bike. Let's start with suspension: I believe that an air shock is the best fit for this frame, The versatility, light weight, and pedaling platform make me wonder why anybody would would run a coil shock on this bike. For a fork, I'd highly suggest a travel-adjust fork to match the adjustability of the rear suspension. Being able to lower the front end for trail rides and dirt jumping, then raise it to take advantage of the downhills, is a huge factor in the versatility of this bike. Next, the wheels: I won't go into detail, but a set of wheels that is relatively light, but bash-worthy will make your wildcard a much more efficient climber that won't feel under-gunned on the downhills. Finally, the drivetrain. A 2x or 1x10 is a good choice for this frame. I simply run a 1x8 drivetrain due to the lighter weight, tearrain where I live, and the added challenge haha. Anyways, a versatile suspension kit, wheelset, and drivetrain are essential in achieving the purpose of the Wildcard.
On a recent trip to Whistler, I was lucky enough to ride three disciplines in three days. Though three different bikes would be a perfect option for the situation, I found my Wildcard more than capable in each discipline. (DH at the Bike park, DJs at the airdome and river jumps, and a prolonged trail ride at the lost lake trail network.)
Downhill: With the fork and frame at full travel and set to plusher-than-normal, the Wildcard felt capable on every trail, but was most at home on trails like A-line, Dirt merchant, and Freight train. In the 6.5'' travel mode, the suspension was lively and responded well to consecutive hits on the more technical trails. On the aforementioned ''flow'' trails, the bike railed corners and jumped with both stability and liveliness. It should be noted that I never bottomed out my suspension, but am only a skinny teenager at 145lbs. I should mention that if lots of downhill and bike park riding is in the cards, this bike wouldn't be an ideal choice.
Dirt Jumping: The wildcard feels the most comfortable in mid-air. Of the three aforementioned disciplines, the Wildcard is the best at dirt jumping. (Though that's not to discount it's strength in the other two styles of riding.) With the suspension slightly stiffened up, the fork lowered, and the frame in short travel mode, the bike takes to the air with grace. The suspension is well tuned and the bike doesn't feel too slack or spread out, as it boosts off of any lip with excellence. The bikes relatively low weight and standover make it easy to trick, (for a longish-travel full suspension bike.) The stiff frame is appreciated in speed conservation, and when trying to pump over rollers or a set-up jump.
Trail Riding: Coming from a hardtail, I must say that the Wildcard climbs surprisingly well. With the fork lowered and the steep (68 degree) head-tube angle, the front wheel rarely wanders on steep climbs. With the shock pumped up slightly higher than average and propedal engaged, (an important feature.) The suspension system doesn't bob during seated pedaling, and only bobs slightly during out-of-the-saddle climbs. In summary, my fairly light (33lbs) setup climbs certainly well enough so that you can access even the most remote of descents.
Like I've already mentioned, the Banshee Wildcard is a versatile frame that can be complimented even further by a lightweight but tough parts kit. It does the job of three bikes more than capably and is certainly cheaper. Rider knowledge is also necessary in order to make the most out of the bike, The right shock and tire pressures really help the Wildcard excel. All of these factors make a truly unique, do-it-all bike for the downhill and jump lover that still has to pedal.