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(Review) Forbidden Druid V2 | MTB-MAG.COM

The Forbidden Druid V2 is the trail bike from this Canadian brand that we haven’t talked about in detail here in the magazine yet. 130mm 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 catches the eye: the high pivot point. A solution chosen to avoid the chain pull created by the Trifecta suspension system, an inverted four-bar linkage that gives the rear wheel an initially backwards trajectory.

This kinematics allows the wheel to overcome obstacles by “following them”, that is, copying them better precisely based on the initial trajectory. It’s the same concept that we found with the new one Trek Slash, only this is a trail bike. The Druid is missing the chain guide roller under the front chainring, as SRAM has its new Eagle AXS T-type The drivetrain has solved the problem of chain tension thanks to a front derailleur that holds the chain in place very well without the need for pulleys or chain guides.

The second peculiarity 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-bottom bracket distance of 74cm), reach of 480mm. Nothing special at first glance, except that the values ​​change depending on size to keep the bike proportional regardless of the rider’s height.

What will catch your eye, however, is the length of the rear triangle: a whopping 452 mm in S3 size. Then keep in mind that this value increases as 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

Even on the climb, I would like to distract you from the friction caused by the chainring: By properly oiling the chain, there are no friction noises and we don’t notice any more fatigue when pedaling. What makes the climbs slower than usual on a trail bike with 130 mm travel is the weight measured on our scales at 15.3 kg with pedals. On the other hand, the frame is quite heavy because it was built very stable.

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

Aside from the grams, the Forbidden Druid V2 climbs well precisely because of the long chainstay. The front wheel stays firmly on the ground even on the steepest ramps, while the suspension handles obstacles very well and has plenty of traction. You stay high in the travel, rocking doesn’t play a role and the saddle position helps a lot thanks to the steep angle. In short, you don’t have to do much with your upper body or your center of gravity. Just put watts on the pedals.

Going downhill it feels like a bike with significantly more 130 mm of travel. The suspension responds very well to small bumps and is fairly linear except towards the end of the travel where it becomes very progressive to avoid bottoming out. I used a 30% sag. It’s crazy how capable the rear is at withstanding all types of impacts, especially those in quick succession like rock gardens or roots. Thanks to the backward movement of the wheel, you maintain your speed very well and have no pedal kickback, which means that the chain pull created by the compression of the suspension is effectively canceled.

The long chainstay requires adjustment to the long bike. In fact, while the reach isn’t particularly great, the Druid’s wheelbase is, so you’ll have to get your upper body far forward to give direction to the front end. It’s a more aggressive riding position than usual, but one that is very helpful in the corners and in the slow, technical sections: in fact, I can’t tell you that this bike is difficult to steer in tight corners. Probably because of its overall length and the relative stability that comes with it, I can make nose wheelies much easier.

Another maneuver that requires a different level of commitment from the rider: the bunny hop. Here too, the long rear section prevents the front section from climbing easily (see section on climbing). While I had significant difficulties on the first few rides, over time I got the hang of it and now I no longer have a problem jumping over obstacles. Probably if I get on a shorter trail bike like this Transitional smugglers Now I’m going to turn around.

In short: only on paper it is a trail bike. In reality, it is a mini enduro that suits Finale Ligure style bike park or shuttle days. By building it more or less light, you find either your trail soul or your downhill soul. I have to admit that I was so intrigued by this Forbidden Druid that I asked for a frame that I could build in various configurations. Stay tuned because you will see some great things.

Details Forbidden Druid V2

The shape of the frame is quite angular and modern, with the rear shock absorber running through the seat tube. The cable routing is internal, but not routed. The cables stay in place well thanks to the hardware with screws in which they are routed. Forbidden does away with the much-discussed and hated cable routing in the headset.

Adjusting the sag and checking the O-ring is not easy because the shock absorber is hidden by the frame. The locking lever on the Fox Float X is only needed on long, asphalt climbs. Speaking of suspension, the GX build on test features Fox Performance Elite products that are identical to the Factory Kashima line except for the gold color. The good ones.

In addition to the bottle holder, the frame has a holder for a tool holder under the top tube. Make sure the cables are routed neatly.

Under the seat tube we find a small compartment in which we can store a tube (I show it in the video) and the down tube protector. The chainstay protector is very generous and keeps the bike quiet. Nice seat tube design.

The brakes are SRAM Code Silver and were upgraded by myself and the Swiss dealer with Trickstuff brake pads and Shimano discs. The 800mm Burgtec aluminum handlebars are too stiff for my taste and transmit too much vibration from the ground. I would swap it for a 780mm carbon model in a heartbeat.

Please don’t pay too much attention to the condition of the chain: I had to wet oil it because I rode a lot in snow and mud. I normally use wax, but since I have to return the test bike soon, I skipped the necessary deep cleaning of the gearbox. In any case, the chain is very quiet when lubricated this way, even on the pulley.

In the video I point out that the tire clearance in the rear is rather limited on a 2.4″ Continental. If you drive in muddy areas, you need to install a 2.3-inch steering wheel at the rear to avoid damaging the paint.

Prices and structures on the Forbidden Website.

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