The ultimate high-pivot party bike
I feel I should start this review with a couple of small confessions. Firstly, until I sat down to write this, I didn’t know any of the Forbidden Dreadnought’s measurements or geometry numbers. Secondly, I’ve never pedaled the Dreadnought up a hill. Never. Zero climbs to date.
Now before any of the highly-informed, over-researched readers out there start foaming at the mouth, let me explain. If you really want to read six pages of the Dreadnought’s geometry analysis and suspension leverages, you’ll find that sort of thing ad nauseam online, if you so desire. This is not the place.
For me, there’s a lot more to a bike than numbers and graphs, and when Forbidden first released the Dreadnought it received more publicity and detailed analysis than a new V8 Supercar release. And for good reason: the Dreadnought is at the cutting edge of what the industry can currently provide.
Sometimes a frame just speaks to you, and as soon I saw the Dreadnought, everything about it felt right: the look, the design, its versatility, and I knew I had to have one. There was no need for numbers!
When I buy a bike, I buy a large frame, plain and simple. I run with the blind faith that the brand will engineer its models to the general size requirements of someone my height. I’ll admit this has sometimes led me astray, but Forbidden has absolutely nailed its sizing – hopping on the large felt perfect. In fact, of all the different bikes I’ve owned in recent years, the Dreadnought was the most comfortable and intuitive fit.
Now to address the ‘no pedaling’ bit. As soon as I laid eyes on the Dreadnought, it started to whisper “park bike, park bike”. The more I looked, the louder the whisper grew, so that’s what I built – a dirty, single-purpose, bike park weapon.
Starting from the front I opted for the Fox 38 180mm fork, which is actually 10mm above Forbidden’s recommended spec. However it still fits within their maximum axle-to-crown measurement, so I felt confident. The stem is a 40mm Title, holding a Chromag BSA Carbon handlebar, and finished off with some Sunday Best Death Grips.
Braking duties are handled by a set of Hope E4 brakes, including a Mono6ti caliper on the front, because why not? These are paired with 220mm Braking rotors front and rear.
For the wheels, I went with the mixed-size mullet option, lacing the stunning We Are One Union carbon rims onto Hadley hubs. The mullet conversion was easy, thanks to Forbidden’s Ziggy link (an aftermarket linkage), which tweaked the Dreadnought’s geometry so that I could get my ‘Mississippi mud flap’ party on. For the rear suspension I settled on the new Fox DHX2 coil shock, and for propulsion I went all out with a homebuilt SRAM AXS 7-speed DH drivetrain.
Dropper post? I flagged it in favour of a Title post, and the icing on the cake is a Chromag Trailmaster Limited black saddle.
All of that adds up to a bike that does its sole purpose – all day park laps – exceptionally well. I’m fortunate to live in an area of the country that has an abundant supply of lift-accessed riding, and as spring arrived and the lifts started turning, I headed out and upwards to see how the party bike rode.
I was not disappointed. My first impression was that I felt perfectly centered in the bike on steep and rough terrain, which is a feeling that’s usually reserved for DH race bikes.
Input is immediate. Changing lines in the middle of a chute is a move made with absolute confidence. From the steepest chunder to high-speed rocky straights, the Dreadnought just wants more.
The mullet set-up makes cornering a smile-inducing breeze; in fact, braking late into corners rewards you with a sensation of traction that I’ve never felt from a bike. The Forbidden hunkers down, keeping the rear wheel planted exactly where you want it to be.
The Dreadnought is also deathly silent. The designers have given their attention to precisely the areas it’s needed in regards to cable management and chain slap, and as a result, this thing is scary quiet.
Unfortunately, due to the single-use nature of my build, I can’t tell you how the Dreadnought climbs. But if it’s even a third as good as it descends, I won’t be disappointed.
I’ve seen these bikes built up for everything, from enduro and downhill race machines, to your do-it-all daily trail bikes, and that speaks to the kind of bike that the Dreadnought really is. It’s a party bike that just wants to have fun. Deciding the type of party you want to have is just the beginning.
Words Nick Kemp
Images Neil Kerr