Not everyone wants to join a tribe. Not everyone wants to own five different versions of the same bike in 10mm travel increments. Maybe we don’t all want to ride the same bike as half of the lift line. How do we as mountain bikers escape the monotony that has plagued our sport? A small uprising out of Cumberland, BC called Forbidden Bike Company thinks they have the answer – Lets have a little bit of Witchcraft instead.
What kind of witchcraft exactly? High Pivot witchcraft. Forbidden Bike Company have entered the hotly contested aggressive 29er market with their flagship model the Druid. Deciding to target the ‘one bike to do it all’ crowd the Druid is a 130mm travel, 66 degree head angle, corner destroying monster. What jumps out at you when first looking at the Druid is the high idler pulley, which has moved off of World Cup racetracks and onto the modern short travel trail bike and damn does it look good. There is a substantial amount of techno babble available online as to the benefits of the high pivot. It slices, it dices, it even moves up and down, but here is the highly shortened version of it. The high pivot allows the bike to have a rearward axle path. This means that the bike doesn’t get hung up over square edges, it also grows on large impacts, and deep in corners. This gives you the mountain bike holy trinity, stability, momentum, and confidence.
The Druid is currently only available as a frameset. Included in the box is a rear axle, spare hanger (all of the other brands should be paying attention here), as well as the Fox DPX2 rear shock. The finish on the frame is stunning – All of the graphics are painted under the clear coat so there will be no peeling or fading. Carrying on with the commitment to quality all of the pivot hardware and bolts on the Druid frame are titanium. Forbidden definitely have not cut any corners with the construction of this frame.
Being a frameset I was able to spec the Druid as I saw fit. The first change that I made which I think made the bike better suited to the steeper terrain of the South Island was to spec the build with a 160mm fork. Forbidden does recommend the Druid be run with a 140 or 150mm fork but I feel for the riding that I do slackening out the head angle the extra half a degree and slightly raising the bottom bracket makes the Druid much more confident in the steep and deep.
Then after running the stock DPX2 for a few rides the second change I decided to make was to change out the air shock for the Fox DHX2 coil. This was more of a personal choice than a necessity as the Druid performed superbly with the air shock but I have a penchant for coils, and for my style of riding I felt that it really opened up the travel on the Druid – Allowing the frame to feel like a substantially bigger bike. The suspension platform is fantastic and keeps the Druid feeling lively and poppy especially with the coil. Definitely a winning combination.
Riding the druid I instantly felt comfortable. Coming from another super aggressive short travel 29er in the Evil Following MB, I can really appreciate what Forbidden is trying to achieve with the Druid. It is a bike for when you’re sick of trying to choose which bike to bring. It is just as happy smacking out laps at the bike park as it is at your local trail network. Constantly composed the Druid begs to be abused. It wants you to take it out when your mates are reaching for their big 160mm bushpig 29ers. It also wants you to know that if you decide that next weekend you need to go put in some serious km’s that you don’t need to sweat it – you’ll be comfortable on the climbs and blow your mates doors off on the downs.
Throw out all the marketing jargon you want. It’s a quiver killer. It’s a jack of all trades. I’ll do you one better. The Forbidden Bike Company Druid is a Mountain Bikers mountain bike. Take it mountain biking. You will be stoked.
Full Build Specs
Frame – Forbidden Druid Large
Forks – Custom Fox Factory 36
Shock – Fox DHX2 Coil
Drivetrain – SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS
Cranks – Hope Evo
Seatpost – Fox Transfer
Dropper post lever – PNW The loam lever
Seat – Chromag Trailmaster
Rims – DT Swiss HX531
Hubs – Hadley
Tyres – Front – Maxxis Assegai 29 x 2.5WT / Rear – Maxxis Dissector 29 x 2.4WT with Cushcore
Valves – Peatys
Brakes – Hope Tech 3 E4
Rotors – F 220mm / R 200mm Braking S3 Batfly
Bars – One Up Carbon 35mm
Stem – One Up EDC with EDC tool
Pedals – One Up Aluminium
Chainguide – E13 LG1
Grips – DMR Deathgrip