Banshee Rune on Pinkbike
From Drawings to Reality: Introducing the 2013 Banshee Spitfire V2 — More Mountain Bike Photos
The origin of Banshee Bikes started quite by accident and was more a product of chance then some pre-planned orchestration to start the ultimate bike company. No… in fact the planets aligned themselves in such a way, in 2001, where the market was primed for a bike only Banshee could be the first to produce.
It was a repeat of exactly what had happened decades earlier during the birth of mountian biking and ironically enough the same person who used his expertise and passion back then, would now be thrust into a similar situation again, to find a solution to other companies’ product failures.
We need to go back almost 20 years prior when a much younger Pippin Osborne, working at West Point Cycles, was one of the pioneers participating to push one of the most massive segmentations into the bicycle market - the mountain bike. Although the history of mountain biking can arguably be claimed by a Mr. Gary Fisher of Marin County, USA, pretty much the same thing was happening north of the border in Canada. The major difference was, that an adequate bicycle for Marin County was not up to the task for our extreme Canadian North Shore Mountains. Out of this need for strong, bombproof bicycle parts, came Syncros Applied Technology, a business created by Pippin, which served this need.
Fast-forward to 2001 and we are witness to the same scenario happening again. The current crop of riders are pushing the limits of the products ability to operate at a higher performance threshold then it was designed to - just like before. However, the difference this time is the industry has perpetuated and promoted their bikes using lifetime warranties, and advertising claiming the robustness of their bikes, thusly creating a culture whereby the consumer has certain expectations that a warranty replacement will be given to compensate for any failure, whether self inflicted or not. The problem, however, is in the current environment serious failures are now becoming so common place it’s starting to make serious dents into a company’s margin and they are scrambling to find a solution before it bankrupts them. When your customer is going through a brand new bike every 2 weeks during riding season, and you have guaranteed them a lifetime warranty replacement it becomes painfully apparent something needs to happen. This situation was playing out at Canada’s largest bicycle retailer, Bow Cycle in Calgary, Alberta and it needed a solution fast.
Casey Botman, was a distributor of some of these brands to Bow Cycle and was very well connected in the bicycle industry having come over from Holland with a degree in bicycle mechanics some 30 years earlier. He knew of Bow Cycles’ problems with frames constantly failing and being replaced, and then repeating the same cycle many times over. Having no real out of this cycle, a plan was laid out to have a bicycle produced that was strong enough for the customer who had these chronic failures.
Casey knew of Pippin and approached him with the idea of engineering, and designing this bike. Months later the, as yet un-named, bike was delivered to Bow Cycle, and the solution was a success. Soon, customers were requesting these bikes as a first choice rather then a replacement when their current bike broke and demand took off. Other dealers started to take notice and were inquiring on purchasing them. One thing lead to another and within a year Banshee Bikes was started to serve the dealer demand.
If any one ingredient was missing 5 years ago Banshee Bikes would not be here today, but sometimes things come together in unexpected ways and great things can be created.
For more recent history check out our archived blog here Banshee Bikes Industry Insider