Forbidden Druid – Sacred power to tame the trail | 17.09.22

Suspension Platform… Where the magic happens…

At a glance the Druid suspension platform may look a little complicated, but it’s based on a simple linkage driven single pivot design which Forbidden call the ‘Trifecta’. Comprising of three elements the Trifecta suspension design is at the heart of what gives this bike it’s unique character.

The first is the high pivot point which works alongside the rocker between the chainstay and shock to give the Druid a totally rearward axle path. This has the most profound effect on the ride, as it means the wheel gets out of the way, moving up and back in the direction of the force when it hits an edge, as opposed to upwards and forwards like conventional designs.

The second element of the Trifecta design is the Rate Control Linkage, which has enabled the leverage curve to be manipulated to provide a supple start, supportive mid-stroke and a progressive end stroke. An almost perfect leverage curve which when riding allows the shock to be ran with minimal compression damping. This keeps the suspension super supple, complimenting the root hugging traction of the rearward axle path.

The third element to complete the Trifecta is the position of the idler pulley, offsetting it from the main pivot point allowed the engineers to tune the ideal amount of anti-squat at the sag point for increased efficient pedalling, keeping you fresh in the saddle so you can pedal all day long.

So then, let’s cut to the chase, how does it ride?

It descends like it’s possessed!

In descent is where the Druid casts it’s spell and tames the trail! On natural rock and root strewn descents it’s remarkable how the Druid deals with fast square edged hits compared to other bikes. The fully rearward axle path noticeably reduces the decelerative effect of repetitive hits, the only limitation on speed in this scenario will be your braking fingers.

On more manmade flow trails the Druid feels equally at home, the extending wheelbase when fully loaded under compression makes the bike very stable in the centre of a turn. It just hunkers down dropping the BB and centre of gravity, firing you out of the apex at warp speed.

The balanced and easy-going geometry, with a fairly neutral 65.5 degree head angle provides a balance of direct steering whilst being slack enough to match the stability provided by the rear.

The perfectly tuned leverage progressive rate also make you quickly forget you’re riding a 130mm ‘trail bike’ with a true bottomless feel when pushing hard.

Climbs like it’s under a spell

The climbing position is extremely neutral and perfectly balanced, as the 440mm chainstays give you the feeling of never being too far back. With the suspension encouraging little use of the compression dial as it’s so composed under power, which provides superglue like levels of traction on tricky ascents.

The trade off to this is when applying huge amount of torque out of the saddle to clear technical terrain the growth of the rear can be a little disconcerting. The increasing wheelbase adds stability in descent but can transfer your weight rearward just when you need it over the front.

All this means is that you need to time your application of power a little later and smoother, relying more on the Druid’s ability to carry momentum and keep traction as the rear wheel moves backwards over an impact.

The idler works it’s Druid like witchcraft ensuring pedal kickback is very low when pedalling allowing for super efficient riding in the saddle.

So is it better than a VPP?

Hmmm… a tricky one that depends on how you ride and what you want from your bike.

While there are huge benefits to the Forbidden Druid’s Trifecta suspension system, it can be a compromise to some riders.

The rearward axle path has a whopping 26mm of growth at full extension, because of this it can make the bike a little less poppy, but incredibly stable. While it excels in being in contact with the trail, for some riders, this can make sedate trails a little less fun. But it's something that you need to ride and feel how the suspension works for you as a rider, so a demo at Stif is highly recommended!

However in the rough stuff the Druid gives you easy speed compared to a VPP and the freedom to change lines as you feel so planted in fast, rough sections of trail were a VPP may feel a little looser. The way the Druid carries momentum is unreal, let off the brakes and you will certainly gap your mates as the Trifecta only seems to encourage you to ride fast where a VPP can start to make your reach for the anchors.

Some riders would prefer the more engaging ride of the VPP, sacrificing the Druid’s stability for the feeling of keeping you on your toes when you bite off more than you can chew.

Yeah, but that idler must be draggy and Noisy?

Nope… Although most riders imagine the idler system will be an issue, it’s very much like conventional systems were the maintenance of your drive train has more of an effect on these factors. When you spin the cranks freely in a workstand you’ll be hard pushed to find any detectable resistance or noise from the idler.