Forbidden’s mossy green Druid trail bike turned heads when it debuted in 2019 not only for its jet-like aesthetics and high-idler pulley, but because of its 100% rearward axle path.
Today, they’ve released the Dreadnought, a 154mm travel enduro bike with the same suspension layout. Leading the big bike, named after a battleship, is a 170mm fork.
The high-pivot suspension is said to be smooth over square-edge hits and the idler pulley system separates drivetrain forces from the suspension. Forbidden says that “only with a fully rearward axle path can the movement of the rear wheel come close to following that of the front wheel.” The extended rear wheel should also provide more stability as the bike gets deeper in its travel.
The kinematics in the Dreadnought are made for a supportive mid-stroke and sucking up big hits deep through the stroke, while ramping up at the end for a bottomless feel. The Dreadnought has been tuned for efficiency as well, by offsetting the pulley for the right amount of anti-squat. Forbidden says that unlike non-idler pulley bikes, they can achieve better anti-squat with “virtually no pedal kickback.”
Geometry is of course a part of the Dreadnought’s formula, but not without departing from current treads and providing their own take on geometry. “By only increasing frame reach, stability at speed is improved at the detriment of lower speed handling. At Forbidden we chose a more measured approach where we have achieved the same end goal through a combination of head angle reduction, moderate reach increase (used in conjunction with a shorter stem), and rear-center increase.”
In short, Forbidden has gone with a fairly long reach (462mm in medium), short seat tube lengths for maximum dropper post travel, steep(ish) STAs, a 63.5° HTA, size specific chainstay lengths, low standover heights, and a long wheelbase – 1,244mm for a size M.
The rear triangle is longer by 14mm on each size, starting with a 422mm length on size S.
Frame details and compatibility on the Dreadnought include size-specific tubing profiles, mullet compatibility with the Ziggy link, a threaded bottom bracket, and Boost spacing.
The Dreadnoughts are not inexpensive, but for a boutique carbon fiber bike brand, they’re not out of this world either. A frameset with a Fox X2 costs $3,500. A complete Shimano SLX build costs $5,350 and a complete XT build costs $6,500.
Currently the Dreadnought is available as a frame only in either the Stealth or Deep Space Nine colors, with a shock from either EXT or Push Industries. A third colorway dubbed Nerds that comes with a Fox X2 will be available with completes in late spring along with the XT build. All models and builds are expected to be available by the fall. See their website for more information.