Banshee Bikes interview


Banshee Bikes and BC Suspension


BC Suspension Photos by Caitlin Wilkinson

Banshee bikes surely needs no introduction, as a brand that has been around since 2000 and has produced some standout bikes along the way like their Legend downhill bike. Keen on staying small and focusing on the quality of their product rather than the quantity sold, their business model is set up a little differently to many.

As we welcomed the Banshee Phantom trail ripper in to test – supplied by BC Suspension – we figured it’d be worthwhile diving in to see how they operate and why they choose to do things a little differently. We reached out to Keith Scott – the owner and designer at Banshee – as well as Ben Davies at BC Suspension, to learn about what they’ve got going on, and found their set up interesting enough to share.


TLW: Hey Keith, could you please start off with giving us a little introduction to yourself and Banshee Bikes?

Keith Scott (KS): Hey, I’m Keith Scott from Edinburgh (originally Glasgow), Scotland. I’ve been part owner and the designer of all Banshee bikes since 2007. I spent a couple of summers during Uni living in Vancouver and working for Banshee as an intern, before assuming the role of designer after getting my masters in mechanical engineering, and sort of reinventing and updating the brand and assuming part ownership.

From that point on my sole focus has been designing bikes that I personally want to ride, and thankfully that translates well to bikes that our customers enjoy riding, giving us an incredibly loyal base of repeat customers which is gradually expanding.

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TLW: What is the banshee difference? And what does the brand aim to do differently from others?

KS: We are a small company (there were just 2 of us for years, myself and co-owner Jay MacNeil, but now we are up to 5 globally). We all live and breathe bikes. Unlike many brands, our goal isn’t heavy marketing, fast expansion and making money. Instead we focus on being a small sustainable company who focuses less on margins and fancy marketing, and more on the product itself. The product is everything to us, our frames generally sell themselves once people get to ride them.

The result of this is that our bikes are by many brands standards, far too expensive to manufacture because I refuse to take the cheap or easy route. All our tubes are custom hydroformed to give optimal strength and stiffness profiles for each frame. All our frames use 3D forgings instead of CNC’d parts because this results in them being ~10% stronger for the same design due to the grain alignment of the alloy. We use better alloys, a top-quality small-scale factory (to which we have full access and control of), don’t just buy off the shelf frame parts, but instead, we choose to sweat the details.

To afford to offer this while still offering competitive frame prices is achieved by running really lean… small team, all working from home or the factory, no big fancy HQ (unless you count the shed in my back garden), no museum, no fancy coffee bar, no loans, no shareholders,  anything corporate and expensive like that.

It’s all about the performance of our frames. We don’t follow the hype (notice how the long reach low stack thing is quickly reversing?), and we don’t rely on big marketing budgets to sell our frames. We just focus on making real bikes for real riders.

TLW: What are some of the standout features offered across your range of bikes?

KS: I have spent a lot of time, research, testing and development on every detail of all of our frames.

But I guess the standout feature of our full suspension frames is how we build a 3D forged cage around the shock that supports the linkage in a single structure that isolates the loads from the rest of the front triangle while ensuring great alignment. When combined with our ultra-low friction pivot assemblies and quality bearings this all translates to better traction and a better ride.

For hardtails we are renowned for our alloy frames with built in vertical compliance through carefully engineered yokes and dropouts developed with FEA simulations that give a softer ride quality similar to steel over sharp hits, but with the lateral stiffness and light weight of alloy for a more efficient and fun ride.

You can read more about it here:

TLW: How can potential customers purchase a Banshee bike?

KS: Banshee sells through our official network of trusted dealers, which can be found here:

TLW: Why have you chosen to operate this way opposed to the D2C model?

KS: We see huge value in working with quality dealers, as they can really improve the whole experience for a customer versus a direct-sale model. A good dealer will help customers with many things including frame fit, demo rides, bike setup, and offer them ongoing support in the form of knowledgeable servicing etc… It’s worth supporting your local bike shop!

The shops also work with us to provide great feedback, and promotion for the brand at a local level, which is invaluable for a small brand like us.

Banshee Bikes

TLW: How key are the retailers that you choose to partner with and their relationship in this process?

KS: Oh, it’s vital we work with the right kind of people at the right kind of shop. Ben at BC Suspension is a great example of the sort of independent shop we love to work alongside, he rides hard, builds local trails, and has crazy passion for the sport and dedication to his customers.

I like to work with small independent bike shops run by like-minded passionate riders. Not only because they are nicer to work with, but because they offer superior service to our customers with far better firsthand knowledge of our product. Our dealers represent Banshee when they sell a customer a frame, or a sweet custom build, they are our face and personality when they do this, so we must have similar values and ethos.

I’ve rejected several approaches from significant shop chains promising big sales numbers, as normally the first thing they ask is… what’s in it for us, what’s our margin? They tend to care more about profit potential than the product, and generally don’t know their customers personally or go above and beyond for them. Their customers simply don’t receive the same level of service and our customers would lose out… trust me, we partnered with a company like this years ago and quickly learned our lesson.

Like everything at Banshee, we try and make the experience for our customers as positive as possible, from interaction with the shop, to the quality of the ride, and ongoing support.

You can learn more about Banshee Bikes at their website.

BC Suspension


TLW: Hey Ben, can you please give us a little intro to yourself and your business BC suspension?

Ben Davies (BD): Hey, I’m Ben Davies, also from the West Coast of Scotland (Dunoon) but currently residing in Grantown-on-spey in the Cairngorm National Park, which has been my home for around 18 years now!

I own and run BC Suspension – a business which is dedicated to high-end Mountain Bikes and specialises in Suspension Service, repair and upgrades.

We are continually growing what brands we support, but aim to be Scotland’s Premier Suspension Service and Set-up Guys, as well as retailing a select portfolio of brands for retail. By slimming down our retail brands, and working directly with the brands where we can, we can offer a far better range of parts and support for those brands. Hopefully different brands you don’t see in every other shop!

BC Suspension Grew from deep within Basecamp Bikes Workshop for over 10 years, but became its own entity in 2022 when Basecamp Bikes owner Lindsay Carruthers moved on from the bike trade after almost 20 years.

Personally I have been involved in the Workshop side of Bike Shops and the bike trade since 1999, working in and running many workshops throughout the UK and as far abroad as New Zealand.

TLW: How long have you been working with Banshee, and how did it come about?

Ben Davies (BD): Basecamp Bikes started working with Banshee Bikes shortly after I first started at BC Bikes (around 2012 I think?) and it’s been a brand we have loved and supported since then! BC Bikes was expanding at that point and we had always had our eyes on Banshee Bikes, the timing worked, the feeling was mutual so we got involved.

It was great when Keith decided to start Banshee Bikes UK around 4 years ago (I think?) and gave us the opportunity to work directly with them and give each other the support we needed to build the brand’s exposure back up again, after it was sadly neglected by the previous distributor.

When BC Bikes was changing and BC Suspension was becoming its own entity, being involved with Banshee Bikes was a no-brainer. We knew each other well by then and what services we could provide each other with, going forward. I wasn’t interested in stocking multiple brands, but more interested in properly supporting one great brand and building the exposure of both Banshee Bikes and BC Suspension as much as possible.

BC Suspension

TLW: What do you offer customers looking to buy a Banshee bike?

BD: The main thing we offer is a full range of Demo Bikes. We have a demo bike for every model (Bar the Legend DH Bike) built and in store for people to come and see and ride for themselves!

We spread the size range out over the models so can generally cater for most people’s needs/wants.

Alongside Banshee, we believe this is the best way to represent the brand. Having shiny bikes on the shop floor is all good and well, but you don’t know what the bike can do or what the fit is like until you sit on it and ride it.

You really won’t know what a bike is like from a geometry sheet (stop doing it) – you can get an idea, but ultimately until you see and ride the bike you won’t be right.

Banshee Bikes also do not come as complete bikes – we source the frame and then build them up for our customers – so they are a custom built MTB. We have some set build kits that offer great value for money and use components that we use ourselves so we know they work well.

So the bike can be fully customised for the customer – components, colours, sizes etc can all be tweaked. This ensures that from day one you have the bike that YOU are looking for and that works for YOU.

We also find many people have parts already, so that adds to the custom approach and can keep the cost down. Also having a budget in mind with maybe one or two key components. That way, we can do everything possible to meet those needs.

Our demo bikes have various different builds, but are always builds we can replicate so the customer can try various different parts out also.

And trust me, we have tried almost every conceivable combination of suspension brand / model / travel, and wheel size ourselves, so we know what works best and can advise what will suit the customers needs best!

TLW: What benefits does working with Banshee provide to you as a small business, do you find the frame only and custom build only options more beneficial?

BD: Flexibility, transparency and no BS are the greatest points!

Things sadly lacking from the majority of bike trade currently.

It’s amazing to speak directly with Keith and know what is going on at Banshee – we are always having a back and forth with ideas and can help each other out understanding how this crazy trade is moving and where it may go next.

Also it makes any customer support very quick and easy when needed.

We can then pass this on to the customer, so they know they are in the best hands from day one.

I think I waffled on enough about custom builds above, haha! But yes, having your bike the way you want it from day one can’t be beaten? Why buy a bike that you know will need parts changed before you leave the shop….

TLW: Why do you offer banshee as a brand over others? What do you feel they allow you to offer the customer that other brands may not?

BD: For all the reasons I have already mentioned, but to summarise:

  • Ultimately we believe they are one of the best bike brands and the best quality bikes currently on the market – and at a great price!
  • No marketing BS – Banshee will design the bikes they want to ride themselves with the geometry and spec that they want. They don’t feel the need (and never have) to follow Bike Trade trends or redesign things to sell the next best thing (redesign a bike purely so it has a bottle cage for example, it has happened…)
  • If there is a worthy update to make they will do it, not just redesign a bike for no real reason.
  • Banshee Bikes are also a great Scottish/UK bike: Plenty of tyre/mud clearance; quality well-sized bearings and linkage parts. They will stand up to the abuse they get given in this country.
  • And we can offer great bikes at a great price that can be totally unique – What isn’t to love about that?

You can learn more about BC Suspension at their website.


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