Forbidden Druid V2 Review: Is A High Pivot Bike For You? [Video]

Words by Jared Erickson


When we first learned Forbidden was launching a new version of their all mountain slaying Druid, we were quite excited. Then when I learned that Worldwide was going to become a dealer for Forbidden, truthfully, I became giddy like a schoolboy who just found out his crush is single. This was a bike and brand that has piqued my interest ever since the first iteration of the Druid came across my path when a customer brought a frame in for us to build up for him. I've ridden high pivot bikes before like the Deviate Claymore which we reviewed, but the shorter travel and design of the Druid has intrigued me for some time now. The unique suspension layout paired with seriously good looks, modern geometry and well thought out details seemed to spell out a great bike, and now this new version promises to improve on the original in many ways. Let's see how it stacks up in the real world, and let's see if the high pivot witchcraft is legit. 

Forbidden Druid V2


The Druid V2 is available in either a full 29" or mixed wheel configuration, and is offered in three build kits plus a frame only option. It utilizes 150mm of front travel and 130mm of rear travel, realized by an inverted four bar high pivot suspension design. Yes that sounds like a lot of technical mumbo jumbo, but in reality the design is essentially a common four bar design that's tweaked and flipped upside down in order to create that rearward axle path. At 5'11", I opted for the full 29er in the S3 size, due to the nature of our local trails. My S3 has a 480mm reach, 65 degree Head Tube Angle and 77 degree Seat Tube Angle.

Druid v2 29

The build is Forbidden's SRAM X0 AXS build featuring, you guessed it, a SRAM X0 transmission, Code Ultimate brakes, RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork, RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Rear Shock, Crankbrothers Synthesis Carbon wheels, and a OneUp dropper post topped with an Ergon SM Pro saddle, my bums favorite. I've swapped out the stock Burgtec cockpit for a 35mm rise Trail One Crockett Carbon bar and 32mm Rockville stem plus a set of Hell's Gate grips, and a Maxxis Assegai EXO+ MaxxGrip tire in the front along with a Maxxis Aggressor Double Down in the rear, instead of the stock EXO and EXO+ tires, respectively. Photos show Crankbrothers' Mallet Trail pedals equipped although I've since swapped back to my Mallet E's for more enduro focused riding.

Forbidden Druid

Other notable details include a threaded bottom bracket, room for a large water bottle in the front triangle, a tool accessory mount underneath the top tube, in-frame storage, integrated chainstay protection, press in headset cups, a standard ISCG 05 bash guard mount, and secured cable ports to keep things quiet and tidy. Essentially, Forbidden went for a no BS approach to their design which thankfully omitted any sort of trendy standards and features. TLDR: No silly headset cable routing or superboost rear ends to see here. Speaking of cables, there are no internal cable guides so you'll want to use some foam tubes on the housings in order to keep them from rattling around inside the frame. On the plus side, this makes for easy setup for riders who prefer a moto-style brake setup. All things considered, the Druid integrates well thought out details that riders have come to expect out of modern mountain bikes.

Forbidden Druid

On Trail Impressions

When it comes down to it, the Druid is one of the most unique and capable bikes I've ridden that claims to have 130mm of rear travel. The Druid has an absolutely insatiable appetite for chunk that pushes you to go faster and take more challenging lines, or totally forgo line choice and completely plow through everything in your path. The balanced geometry combined with the way the bike remains so composed at speed in technical sections really allows the rider to remain centered on top of the bike and change direction or manage the terrain with ease. To say this bike punches way above its travel range would be cliche, but it would also be accurate. Instances where I have felt as though I was limited by the amount of travel or the geometry of the Druid were very rare. With this bike, you are either limited by your tire choice, skill, courage, or a combination of all of the above. 

During my time on this bike, I've been extremely impressed with the Druid in how versatile it is, and how well it manages various trails. While pedaling, the steep seat tube angle really puts you in a great position over the cranks to put the power down, and paired with a higher rise bar it creates a comfortable cockpit setup for all day missions. Versatility-wise, the Druid has continued to surprise me. I've been able to take it out for shuttle laps, bike park days, all day missions with tons of climbing, casual local loops and everything in between. Like I alluded to earlier, the bike really enjoys being pushed hard like an enduro bike, yet it still has that fun trail bike character that rewards your inputs and enjoys boosting off side hits, rocks and roots all while allowing you to hunker down and plow through the chunder when you want to. In many ways, it's one of the best all rounders I've had the pleasure of riding and owning, with only a couple of minor critiques that I'll elaborate on later.

Forbidden Druid

When it comes to living with this bike over the last year, it has been extremely durable, easy to work on and just downright fun to ride. All the pivot hardware is easily manageable and the suspension linkage is easily rebuildable. All of the main bearings are contained in the link which makes things very simple, aside from the two bearings in the chainstay/seatstay junction. I've only had to clean and grease the hardware in the main link once over the course of nearly a year and the bearings were still spinning incredibly smoothly. 

Another notable part of the riding experience of this bike is how quiet it is. The chainstay protector, idler pulley and excellent clutch on the SRAM Transmission does a great job of mitigating any chainslap, and the configurable cable ports do a great job of keeping those pesky cables quiet as well. Like I mentioned before, just make sure those cables have some sort of foam surround on them because if they don't, they will surely alert you of their presence on the trail. All things considered, the thought that Forbidden put into the design and engineering of this bike truly shows day in and day out.

If I were to critique the Druid in any way, I'd say the high pivot can have the tendency to slightly mute the trail, which depending on your riding style, can be either a pro or a con. If you are the type of rider who likes to plow through things and love charging through rocks and roots, this is absolutely the type of bike for you. It truly has the high-pivot chainless feeling of how well the rear suspension works especially on technical trails and square edge hits. If you prefer a bike that has more feedback from the trail and more "poppiness", then you may prefer a different suspension platform. Personally, it took me a few rides to get used to this aspect of the high pivot platform of the Druid but once I did, I came to really enjoy it and found it equally able to pop off of side hits and all the extra credit lines you find on the trail. I ultimately set up my rear shock with a lot of rebound (close to fully open) which is similar to how the riders on the Forbidden Enduro Race Team run their shocks as well. Another small thing to note is certainly the added complexity of the idler pulley. It can create some extra noise if your chain isn't being cared for, but realistically most bikes will make some unwanted sounds in said situations. It's also worth noting that some riders may notice a minor reduction in efficiency with the idler pulley compared to other bikes without it, but depending on your riding style and prefered riding zone, that may or may not matter. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes down to it, this is absolutely one of the most fun, versatile and unique bikes I've had the pleasure of riding. This bike culminates at the intersection of good engineering, style, and design. If you love riding technical trails and you value a bike that is well suited to them, the Druid is absolutely for you.


Forbidden Druid V2

If you are one strange human that would like to read a transcript of the video above, continue reading below!

ladies and gentlemen today we are here
to talk about a bike that I am
personally very excited about and one
that I have been riding for the past few
months as well and that bike is the
forbidden Druid V2 let's jump right into
it forbidden is a little Bike Company
you may or may not heard of by now
they've been around for about four or 5
years and they hail from a little town
called Cumberland on Vancouver Island up
in British Columbia a place where the be
flows like wine they are actually named
after the Forbidden Plateau which is
right near the headquarters there and
where they do a lot of their riding so
it makes sense that these bikes are
after after
that so without further Ado let's jump
into the details on this sweet Steed so
for a quick overview of the Forbidden
Druid V2 the Druid is available with
29in wheels or a mixed wheel setup 130
mm of rear travel paired with 150 mm
Fork the suspension platform is a
inverted four bar suspension platform
with the idler pulley which makes it
that high pivot platform it's got a 65°
head tube angle and a 77° seat tube
angle reach numbers are looking like 440
on the S1 460 mm on the S2 480 mm on the
S3 and 500 mm on the S4 if you would
like to see all of the geometry numbers
on these bikes go ahead and pause your
screen now some details that I really
like on the Druid That You Don't See on
every single bike these days are the
down tube storage compartment the
accessory mount underneath the top tube
secured cable routing threaded bottom
bracket udh standard boost spacing and
you can fit a large water bottle inside
the frame oh I like that yeah me too but
enough about the little details let's
talk about how this thing rides on the
trail first let's talk about how this
bike climbs I mean first you would
really think like oh it's a high pivot
bike probably isn't going to climb that
great uh due to the added complexity of
the design and the idler pulley and all
that but you'd actually be wrong this
bike climbs astonishingly well you know
the design and inherently not being very
good at pedaling but it actually is very
good at climbing I actually had a really
good experience on this bike climbing
because it has a really nice and steep
seat tube angle and the stack on the
front end actually really puts you in a
nice balanced comfortable routing
position which um you know you'd be
surprised it's kind of hard to find
these days that said also it's really
good on technical climbs I've noticed
that even um out of the saddle mashing
on the pedals it is almost Dam near
impossible to get this thing to lose
grip on the rear tire and basically
chalk it up to how incredible the
suspension is these days or the design
itself but regardless this thing has
absolute loads of traction on technical
climbs especially Rocky and Rudy stuff
and even loose stuff so that is really
nice and um something that you really
don't expect from you know a bike like
this these days when it comes to the
actual fun part going down the trail um
this bike absolutely shines a lot of
bikes these days you hear people saying
like it actually you know punches above
its travel number and I would say that
that is actually 100% accurate while
being you know maybe somewhat cliche
this bike when you point it downhill in
Rocky and Rudy sections it absolutely
has an insatiable appetite for that kind
of riding it loves rocks and roots and
chunky riding and it pushes you to go
even faster which is I mean super fun
this bike is one of my favorite bikes
I've ever ridden by far what did he say
I was saying when you point it downhill
it feels like an endro bike you know
when you get into those tighter sections
of the trail you can really still
maneuver and Corner this thing and it's
still you know able to be uh you know
maneuvered around the trail and pop up
and over rocks and all sorts of things
even though it's not the poppiest
platform it still has a lot of juice in
those sections but like I said this is
one of the best bikes um I've probably
ever ridden because not only is it so
capable in the downhills but it's like I
said also super balanced the way that
the high pivot just eats up the chunk it
allows you to really just stay composed
and on top of the bike as opposed to L
bikes where you might get you know
bucked forward under braking or over
technical sections it really can stay
super composed while riding this thing
just based on the platform itself like I
said we uh been doing a lot of riding on
this thing over the last few months I
actually just got back from a trip to
Italy with this bike a little over a
month ago where we did about a little
over 70,000 ft of descending over 6 days
so I really got to kind of put this bike
through its paces and see what it's all
about and I came away from that trip
even more impressed with this bike than
I was beforehand and um durability has
been amazing it's a carbon fiber bike on
that trip we rode a trail called the pet
de San Martino which had these basically
basketball size rocks that were flying
up and hitting the frame and you know
the type of rock that would fly up and
hit your leg and you think you just
broke your leg but this thing was
getting absolutely annihilated by those
rocks and it has nothing but a couple of
chips to show for it so that's pretty
impressive I'm super Stu on how this
bike has been durability wise and just
to live with in general um all of the
hardware on the suspension pivots is on
one side makes it super easy to just
tighten everything and get it dialed
straight away unlike some other bikes
where you might have to maybe take some
out of the shock and get it to sit into
its travel for you to access all of the
pivot bolts nothing of that going on
here it's super easy to live with I've
been loving this bike and I've honestly
been recommending it to everybody I've
been talking to about it so there you go
that's pretty much the gist on my
experience with the new Druid V2 in the
real world right now you might be asking
yourself is this bike for me uh well a
couple things go into that question
really where you do most of your riding
do you have a lot of technical descents
with roots and rocks um and all that
good stuff with also you know steeper
riding and riding that has more
descending if you live in an area that's
maybe a little flatter and you don't
have a ton of technical descending then
maybe this bike isn't for you and you
would you know maybe favor something
with a little bit less travel or maybe
something that has a little more of a
platform that favors those kind of areas
but you know for me personally I have
been super into this bike and it's
really been serving me serving me well
over the last few months well that
pretty much wraps this one up if you
enjoyed this video please share it with
a friend who might also be interested in
the Forbidden Druid thank you so much
for watching we really do appreciate it
like subscribe share with a friend we'll
see you in the next one cheerio

May 15, 2024

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