[Review] Forbidden Druid V2

The Forbidden Druid V2 is the trail bike from this Canadian brand that we haven’t talked about in depth here in the mag, until now. 130mm of travel at the rear, 150mm at the front, full carbon frame and 29-inch wheels, but with the option to choose it in mullet configuration. There are two features that make it special, one of which immediately jumps out at you: the high pivot. A solution chosen to obviate the chain pull given by the Trifecta suspension system, an inverted foour bar linkage designed to give the rear wheel a trajectory that initially goes backwards.


This kinematics allows the wheel to overcome obstacles by “going along with them,” that is, copying them better precisely because of the initial trajectory. It is the same concept we found on the new Trek Slash, only this is a trail bike. The Druid lacks the chain idler under the front chainring, since SRAM, with its new Eagle AXS T-Type drivetrain, has solved the chain tension problem thanks to a derailleur that keeps it in place it very well without the need for idlers or chain guides.

The second special feature concerns the geometry.

Geometry Forbidden Druid V2

Head angle of 65°, saddle angle of 77° in size S3, i.e. the one in the test (I am 179cm tall and have a saddle-BB distance of 74cm), reach of 480mm. Nothing special at first glance, except that the values change according to size to keep the bike proportionate regardless of rider height.

What should jump out at you, however, is the length of the rear triangle: a whopping 452mm in S3 size. Then consider that this value becomes larger when the suspension works, and here we have a special feature that, together with the High Pivot, makes the Druid V2 unique.

Forbidden Druid V2 on the trail

Beginning with the climb, I’ll take your mind off the friction given by the chainring right away: by oiling the chain well, there are no rubbing noises, nor do we notice more fatigue when pedaling. What makes the climbs slower than usual, for a trail bike with 130mm rear travel, is the 15.3kg weight with pedals measured on our scale. Then again, the frame is quite heavy, since it was built to be very sturdy.

I changed the wheels and tires that were mounted on the test bike that the Swiss distributor sent me, saving a good 930 grams (I discuss this in the video). Note that at the rear I mounted a Continental Kryptotal enduro tire that weighs about 1200 grams. The 800mm wide aluminum handlebar, saddle and crankset are all points that could be improved in terms of weight.

Grams aside, the Forbidden Druid V2 climbs nicely precisely because of the long chainstay. The front end stays planted to the ground even on the steepest ramps, while the suspension copies obstacles very well and has tons of traction. You stay high in travel, bobbing is irrelevant and the saddle position helps a lot, thanks to the steep angle. In a nutshell, you don’t have to do much with your torso or center of gravity. Just put watts on the pedals.

Downhill it feels like a bike with much more 130mm of travel. The suspension is very responsive to small bumps and quite linear, except toward the end of travel where it becomes very progressive so as to avoid bottom outs. I used 30% sag. It’s crazy how capable the rear end is on all kinds of impacts, especially those in rapid sequence like rock gardens or roots. Thanks to the backwards trajectory of the wheel, you keep your speed very well and have zero pedal kickback, i.e., the chain pull given by the compression of the suspension is effectively cancelled.

The long chainstay requires you to adapt to the long bike. In fact, while the reach is not particularly long, the Druid’s wheelbase is, so you have to put your torso well forward to give directionality to the front end. It’s a more aggressive riding position than usual, but one that helps a lot in the turns and in the slow-technical bits: in fact, I can’t tell you that this bike is difficult to turn in tight corners. Probably because of its overall length, and the relative stability that comes with it, I can do nose wheelies much easier.

Another maneuver that requires a different rider commitment: the bunny hop. Again, the long rear triangle prevents the front end from climbing easily (see the part about climbing). If during the first rides I had distinct difficulties, as time went by I got the hang of it and now I have no problem bunnyhopping over obstacles. Probably if I get on a shorter trail bike like the Transition Smuggler now I will flip over.

In short, this is a trail bike only on paper. In reality it’s a mini enduro that would fit during bike park or shuttle days Finale Ligure-style. By building it more or less lightly you are either going to find its trail soul or its downhill soul. I must admit that I was fascinated by this Forbidden Druid, so much so that I asked for a frame to build in different configurations. Stay tuned because you are going to see some great things.

Details Forbidden Druid V2

The shape of the frame are quite angular and modern, with the rear shock going through the seat tube. The cable routing is internal but not routed. Cables stay well in place thanks to hardware with screws in which to run them. Forbidden forgoes the much-discussed and hated cable routing in the headset.

Adjusting the sag, and checking the o-ring, is not easy because the shock is hidden by the frame. The lock out lever on the Fox Float X is only needed on long paved climbs. Speaking of suspension, the GX build in the test has Fox Performance Elite products, which are identical to the Factory Kashima line, gold coloring aside. Good ones.

In addition to the bottle cage, the frame has an attachment for a tool holder under the top tube. Note the clean cable routing.

Under the seat tube we find a small compartment where we can put an inner tube (I show it in the video), as well as the downtube guard. The chainstay protection is very generous and keeps the bike quiet. Nice design of the seat tube.

The brakes are SRAM Code Silver, upgraded by me and the Swiss distributor with Trickstuff pads and Shimano discs. The Burgtec aluminum, 800mm handlebar is too stiff and transmits too much vibration from the ground for my taste. I would change it immediately for a 780mm carbon one.

Please don’t pay too much attention to the condition of the chain: I had to put wet oil on it because I rode a lot in snow and mud. I usually use wax, but since I have to return the test bike soon, I didn’t do the necessary deep cleaning job of the transmission. In any case, lubricated like this the chain is very quiet, even on the idler.

In the video I point out that the tyre clearance in the rear triangle is rather cramped with a 2.4″ Continental. If you are riding in muddy areas, you will need to fit a 2.3″ in the rear to avoid ruining the paint.

Prices and builds on the Forbidden website.

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