Tested: forbidden druid
Forbidden Bike Company is named after the Forbidden Plateau which overlooks the owners' home town nestled on the western shores of Vancouver Island BC. An area rich with mountain biking history, wild terrain and surprisingly a year round riding season makes it the perfect location for a new company to develop their first bike, the Druid.
Many brands claim their suspension de has the highly advantageous rearward axle path, or portion of, when in reality the portion the rear wheel actually moves rearward is minimal or just a brief deviation from a axle path that he towards the seat tube thus shortening the rear centre of the bike. The concept of getting that back wheel path moving rearward is to move over obstacles more easily and maintain momentum on the trail instead of getting hooked up on obstacles.
Introducing an idler into the drive train if done poorly adds drag and an additional wear item, get it right and the can be brilliant.
Forbidden druid review – are high pivots just for downhill?
In turn Trifecta offers a high level of control over pedalling and braking forces, a wheel path that gets the wheel back and out of the way and a fit for riders that is unique for every size frame, not a simple task! Initial Impressions We have all read countless adverts for new bikes claiming the world.
They are slacker, longer, more progressive, game changing and never seen before! These are just a few marketing claims that come to mind. So I was really stoked to finally get one onto the trail and see what high pivot witchcraft is all about. The new school geometry positions the rider nicely over the centre of the bike and the actual seat tube angle of 75 degrees size large with mm fork allows this central seating position to be attained by riders of varying seat heights.
The head angle measures in at 66 degrees or Where the geometry gets more interesting, is across the four sizes of frame offered by Forbidden. High quality titanium fixtures are used throughout the frame and the all internal routing can be set up for moto or euro brake orientation easily allowing for forbidden High Point dating mess free cockpit. Each cable routing port cinches down securely holding the brake line or outer firmly in place and reduces the chance of any rattling on the trail, a simple feature but one we wish was used more often.
There is room for a full sized bottle in all four sized frames along with an additional mount on the underside of the Top Tube for a Wolf Tooth B-RAD accessory mount and strap or similar to hold your spares without wrapping straps around the tube.
There is even a small compartment located under the downtube bash protector which I only found when cleaning the bike to send back to the importer which gives access to assist in the internal routing of the dropper and room for quite the stash of spares which I immediately started jamming in. Three 16g Co2 cartridges, multitool with chain breaker, chain links, you get the idea it can carry the heavy little essentials that normally flail around in pockets and bags.
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Looking inside the Druid it is easy to see how much care has gone into the layup of the carbon frame. The high quality uniform compaction of the fibres is evident with no loose ply or sharp edges to note, something not normally looked at but impressive to see in the flesh.
The seat tube tunnel the shock passes through is large and will accommodate a coil or the large air can of the Fox X2. On The Trail Jumping onto a nimble mm trail bike for the first time in a while is pretty refreshing and makes the Druid feel like the perfect bike for all-day escapades. The steep seat tube angle really lets you sit on top of the bike and makes climbing so much more comfortable and you're less likely to sink into the rear travel.
This relates to no noticeable bobbing about and a bike that pedals beautifully in or out of the saddle and keeps the suspension active when climbing on rough climbs. So how does it descend? As the Druid was born in BC and uses a similar suspension de as some of the fastest DH bikes around it is no surprise it comes alive going down hill.
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The most noticeable traits being the momentum it carries over rough terrain, in particular square edged bumps and braking bumps. This is a key factor for the stability it holds through harsh sections. The harder you hit, the deeper it sits into its travel thus greatly increasing the rear centre by up to 26mm.
That means our size Large test bike with its mm rear centre or chainstay length to some extends to mm at full compression.
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The Druid is agile and responsive up the top of its travel and stable when giving it the beans. The Rate Control linkage plays a big role to keeps things supple off the top and firmer towards the end of the stroke. I noticed this most on steep and rough off camber sections of trail when normally the back wheel would step out and lose traction. The Druid held its line and made me feel like I came into the turn too slowly.
I came to learn that this bike rewards being brave and coming in hot! Heading into more flowy trails and jump lines, there is an element of the extending rear centre that does take a bit of getting used to and that is manualling. Because the back of the bike lengthens under compression unlike almost all other suspension des, it does require a greater range of movement to get your weight over that rear wheel and keep the front wheel up.
Throughout the test I found myself braking into turns later, trying new lines and throwing caution to the wind. I even went back to flat pedals to channel my inner Kovarik. I can honestly say this has been the most surprising bike test to date and a bike that needs to be ridden to be understood or appreciated. During this bike test period we had fires, torrential rains, hail, mud, heat and the Druid was faultless, no noise, no loose bolts, nothing but silent fun out on the trails.
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Yes it is quirky and yes there is a bit more drag than the conventional drivetrain but this out performs bikes far bigger on paper and will have you smiling so much more. If ever there was a bike that should not be judged by the amount of travel it has, it's the Druid. Find out the science behind the witchcraft of the Forbidden Bike Company's Druid and how it feels on the trails!
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