The Yamaha Banshee is one of the most iconic machines that’s ever been made. With its twin cylinder engine and dual head pipes, the Banshee has a reputation for being the machine to take to the dunes. In other words, people love it, especially the head of our Purchasing Department, Jeremy. This Banshee is his baby, and is full of the passion he had for dune riding and Banshee buildin’ as a young adult. He purchased this ’98 Banshee as a barn find, so we threw everything we could at it to make it the ultimate dune machine Jeremey knew it could be. Follow along with the video and article to see how our barn Banshee turned out!

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Chassis and Suspension

Before we started building on our Banshee, we decided to strip it down. We started by taking it to the garage and taking it down to the frame. With the stock exhaust and heel guards removed, we were able to get a better look at the state of our barn Banshee and see that there were a few extra frame pieces. We wanted to clean up the machine and make room for the aftermarket accessories coming down the pike, so we ground the extra pieces off. Now clean and exposed, the frame was ready to be powder coated. We opted for a black finish to play into our retro vision for the machine.

With the Banshee still torn down, we shifted our focus from its looks to its riding capabilities. We knew we wanted to make updates to the motor, and the current power output made for a jumpy front end anyway, so we made a few specific modifications. Like many other Banshee owners, these mods focused on adding some length and width to the machine’s chassis.

First, we added a 6 inch over swingarm kit to lengthen the rear end. Up front, we installed an a-arm kit from Lone Star: +1”, +2” with Elka shocks. Our chassis upgrades were rounded out with the Tusk Adjustable Width Racing Axle to keep our machine stable with its wider stance. Now that our rear end, front end, and wheel bases were stretched, we were ready to make some more improvements to our Banshee.

Engine

To make our Banshee the ultimate dune machine, the engine needed some serious adjustments. From the air box to the carburetor, we fleshed out our machine.

Air Box

Another area most Banshee owners focus on is the air box. Stock, the air box is often choked up and air flow to the engine is limited. To counter this and really open up the air box, we removed the entire unit and replaced it with Uni Clamp-On Air Filters.

This setup worked great for us and allowed our machine to breathe, but there were other mods to the stock air box that we considered. Some people prefer to drill holes in the stock system and insert vents that regulate the entrance of sand and other particulates, but we found that the machine worked best for us with the completely open system. That being said, keep in mind that with more intake comes more exhaust, so a new exhaust system may be in order. For ours, we went with the FMF Gold Series Pipe and Power Core II Silencer.

Carburetor

To keep the Banshee high functioning, but still stylish, we refreshed our carburetor by replacing it with a model from the Lectron. The 34mm option is larger than the Banshee’s stock 28mm, which feeds the motor more fuel. That’s one benefit, but the real crowning glory of the Lectron carburetor is that it’s self-adjusting. One of the major annoyances with a two stroke is that anytime you make an upgrade, you have to adjust your jets. That annoyance disappears with the Lectron carburetor. The ease of use is a night and day difference when compared to the stock, and that alone makes the carburetor well worth the investment.

Power

The next issue to tackle on our build was power. We wanted more power (who doesn’t?), but we wanted that power to be steady, reliable, and not so much that our Banshee couldn’t run on pump-gas. It’s a fine line to walk, but Hot Rods made it easy by hooking us up with a 4 mm Stroker Kit.

We adapted the kit by adding a Vertex Piston and Gasket Kit, which just helped to broaden the power curve and give the Banshee a little more torque.

With these updates, the build finally started coming together, and our Banshee started looking more like the ultimate dune machine. We wanted to make sure it ran like that as long as possible, too. To protect our significant upgrades to the motor, we opted to run Evans Waterless Coolant through our CV4 Radiator Hose Kit. The coolant eliminates steam and the risk of over boiling, and helps prevent corrosion within the internals of the motor. This gave us the peace of mind that our engine investments would be well protected and last for many rides to come.

Clutch

Now that our Banshee had more power, we had to give some attention to a different accessory: the clutch. Our new Stroker kit would put a lot of pressure on the stock components, so we scrapped that set up and added the Billet Clutch Case with Lockout System from Mod Quad.

The first part of the kit, the clutch case, boasts a full billet aluminum construction, making it significantly stronger than stock and especially capable of handling that extra pressure. Featuring a tricked-out cover with a see-through lens that lets you see the oil flowing, the clutch case offers a sleek finish that plays into the retro feel of our Banshee.

The lockout system is the second facet of the Mod Quad kit, but is just as important as it helps prevent clutch slippage. The system works with centrifugal force to apply pressure to the clutch pack, a great addition for our Banshee and the high-powered riding it’s going to be doing. That last thing we want is for our clutch to burn out prematurely, so this Mod Quad kit was definitely the right precaution to take.

To top the engine upgrades off, we added a Magura clutch. Their kit offered a noticeably easier clutch pull than the stock, and finished off the black and chrome look of our engine components.

Controls

Next up on the list of improvements were some new controls. We turned to ODI, and set our Banshee up with some new handlebars and grips. The ODI bars in the ATV Race Bend was the perfect fit for us. For the grips, we chose the lock-on model because of their slip-free performance and no hassle installation.

Drive

For the drive components on our Banshee, we wanted something durable with a little flash. Primary Drive did the trick. Their Gold X-Ring Chain is all the right parts speed and style, and their front steel and rear aluminum sprocket perfectly compliment the chain and our Banshee’s retro look.

We also added a TM Design Works Chain Slider and Chain Block to correspond with the new drive system (not to mention anything is better than the stock nylon rollers). Some Tusk Brake Rotors, Brake Lines, and Brake Pads were the final touches to pull the new drive system together.

Cosmetic

Like we said before, we knew what we wanted this machine to look like from the beginning. Once we finally had the rest of the machine built, we had a blast putting the cosmetic pieces together. For the front, we added the attention-grabbing Tusk Front Bumper. Not only does it protect our front end from any rocks or debris, it also compliments the Mod Quad Front Grill we installed. For the plastics, we opted to keep it old school and stick with the original OE yellow color, along with a custom set of graphics from Attach Graphics. Some final touches like the Factory Effex Seat Cover and Cascade Stator Cover were just the TLC our Banshee needed to take it to the next level.

Tires

With the chassis, engine, controls, drive system, and cosmetics all figured out, we just needed to make one more decision: what tires would we run? Luckily, our decision was easy, and we got with the company Skat-Trak to pick out the best tires for our Banshee. Skat-Trak tires are unlike any others on the market. Their sand paddles are made from buffed-down carcasses of other tires, where the paddles are then casted on. This makes the tires unbelievably lightweight and incredibly durable, and with the Mohawk and Hauler tires on the front and rear, our Banshee was officially the ultimate dune machine we foresaw from the beginning.

The Wrap-Up

And with that, our machine was built. From the ground up, it’s packed full of thoughtful upgrades, and we’re going to have a blast ripping it in the summer months to come.

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Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a barn Banshee you’re inspired to build on now? Anything else we should’ve put on ours? Let us know in the comments below!

Parts Available at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC

Odi 7/8″ Handlebars Modquad Thumb Throttle Lever Moquad Handlebar Clamp
Odi 7/8 Modquad Thumb Throttle Lever Moquad Handlebar Clamp
ODI ATV Lock-On Grips Tusk Front Steel Braided Brake Line Tusk Rear Steel Braided Brake Line
ODI ATV Lock-On Grips Tusk Front Steel Braided Brake Line Tusk Rear Steel Braided Brake Line
Lone Star Billet Brake Line Clamps Tusk Sintered Metal Brake Pad Tusk Comp Series Aluminum Front Bumper
Lone Star Billet Brake Line Clamps Tusk Sintered Metal Brake Pad Tusk Comp Series Aluminum Front Bumper
Tusk Comp Series Nerf Bar Vertex Piston Kit Magura Hydraulic Clutch
Tusk Comp Series Nerf Bar Vertex Piston Kit Magura Hydraulic Clutch
Modquad Lockout Clutch Cover Set Hot Rods Bottom End Kit with Stroker Crankshaft Lectron Adjustable Power Jet Carburetor Kit
Modquad Lockout Clutch Cover Set Hot Rods Bottom End Kit with Stroker Crankshaft

Lectron Adjustable Power Jet Carburetor Kit
Modquad Stator Cover Pro Design Cool Head w/ Domes Pro Design Cool Head Optional Domes
Modquad Stator Cover Pro Design Cool Head w/ Domes Pro Design Cool Head Optional Domes
FMF Gold Series Fatty Torque Pipe FMF Power Core II Silencer Modquad Exhaust Hangers
FMF Gold Series Fatty Torque Pipe FMF Power Core II Silencer Modquad Exhaust Hangers
Primary Drive Front Sprocket Primary Drive Rear Sprocket Primary Drive Gold X-Ring Chain
Primary Drive Front Sprocket Primary Drive Rear Sprocket Primary Drive Gold X-Ring Chain
T.M. Designworks Chain Slider T.M. Designworks Chain Guide Uni Air Filter
T.M. Designworks Chain Slider T.M. Designworks Chain Guide Uni Air Filter
Modquad Rear Brake Pedal Modquad Shift Lever Tusk Adjustable Width Racing Axle
Modquad Rear Brake Pedal Modquad Shift Lever Tusk Adjustable Width Racing Axle
Lone Star Micro-Lite Front Wheel Hubs Lone Star Micro-Lite Rear Wheel Hubs Lone Star Sprocket Hub
Lone Star Micro-Lite Front Wheel Hubs Lone Star Micro-Lite Rear Wheel Hubs Lone Star Sprocket Hub
Evans Powersports Waterless Coolant Modquad Front Grill w/ Holes CV4 Radiator Hose Kit
Evans Powersports Waterless Coolant Modquad Front Grill w/ Holes CV4 Radiator Hose Kit
V-Force 4 Reed Cage Modquad Reed Spacers Tusk Billet Aluminum Gas Cap
V-Force 4 Reed Cage Modquad Reed Spacers Tusk Billet Aluminum Gas Cap
Attack Graphics Decal Kit Factory Effex All Grip Seat Cover Outerwears Shockwears Shock Covers
Attack Graphics Decal Kit Factory Effex All Grip Seat Cover Outerwears Shockwears Shock Covers
Lone Star Sport A-Arms +2″ Wide, +1″ Forward Gloss Black Lone Star Rear Swing Arm Douglas .125 Wheels
Lone Star Sport A-Arms Lone Star Rear Swing Arm Douglas .125 Wheels
Skat-Trak Mohawk Tires Skat-Trak Smooth-Buff Tires
Skat-Trak Mohawk Tires Skat-Trak Smooth-Buff Tires