New Forbidden Druid gets inverted Horst-link high pivot and tweaked geometry

Forbidden updates trail bike’s frame, but it's “evolution not revolution”

Forbidden Druid V2 X0 trail mountain bike

Forbidden has launched the Druid V2, a new version of its 130mm-travel, high-pivot trail bike.


The original Forbidden Druid was launched in 2019 and while the new bike has undergone a fair few changes, Forbidden says the V2 is a case of “evolution not revolution”. 

The Druid V2 has a new frame, with tweaked geometry and suspension kinematics.

The Trifecta suspension, although now using an ‘upside down’ Horst-link design, and One Ride sizing have been carried over from the previous model.

Just like its predecessor, the new Forbidden Druid frame is compatible with 29in wheels and can also be set up as a mullet bike.

It has 130mm of rear-suspension travel and is designed to run a 150mm suspension fork.

The Druid V2 is available in four sizes (S1-S4), all of which feature Forbidden’s One Ride size-specific geometry.

What’s new?

The newly streamlined frame still looks like the original Druid.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

The Forbidden Druid’s frame has been redesigned and while it still looks a lot like the previous Druid, small tweaks to the front and rear triangle have streamlined its silhouette.

The frame hardware has been updated with durability in mind and now features locking collet axles and oversized bearings.

Full-length chainstay protection comes as standard.

Forbidden has refined the tooth profile of the 18-tooth idler sprocket.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

The idler system has also been redesigned. The 18-tooth steel idler sprocket features a refined tooth profile to increase longevity and boost performance with the latest mountain bike drivetrains. The system uses a standard chain length (126 links or less) and is optimised for 52mm and 55mm chain lines.

All four sizes of the Druid V2 can accommodate a 750ml water bottle.

The new trail bike is compatible with a SRAM UDH dropout. This means it can be fitted with SRAM’s direct-mount Eagle Transmission.

Trifecta suspension

The bike is said to have a 100 per cent rearward axle path.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

The Druid V2’s high-pivot suspension system has been overhauled, now using a Horst-link design rather than a single pivot, as its predecessor and the longer-travel Forbidden Dreadnought do.

By swapping to this design, and relocating the idler wheel, Forbidden says it has been able to remove the lower chain guide thanks to increased chain wrap around the chainring.

The high-pivot design is said to give the Druid a 100 per cent rearward axle path, enabling the rear wheel to absorb impacts from the trail without sacrificing forward momentum.

The linkage is said to provide small-bump performance, a supportive mid-stroke and progressive bottom-out.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

As the rear axle moves backwards in compressions, the rear centre of the bike also grows, which should make the Druid feel more stable under heavy impacts.

Forbidden says it uses the Druid’s Rate Control Linkage to tailor the Trifecta suspension further. It claims to have achieved supple small-bump performance with a supportive mid-stroke and a progressive bottom-out.

The aim of all this is to produce a “trail bike that punches way above bikes with more [travel]”.

One Ride geometry

The Forbidden Druid V2 has updated geometry.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

One Ride encapsulates Forbidden’s aim to deliver a consistent ride feel across all its sizes.

By having size-specific front and rear centres, the rider’s weight distribution is identical across sizes, meaning riders of all heights will benefit from the same handling and performance.

The Druid V2’s chainstays grow from 423 to 466mm through the size range. The effective seat tube angle remains consistent too, ensuring taller riders also benefit from a comfortable pedalling position.

Compared to the original Druid, the head angle has been slackened by half a degree (29in configuration). The rear centre has also grown considerably on all sizes, from 438mm to 452mm in size S3, and the reach has been stretched by 15mm across the range.

SizeS1 (MX/29)S2 (MX/29)S3 (MX/29)S4 (MX/29)
Reach (mm)435/440455/460475/480495/500
Stack (mm)614/610627/624641/637654/651
Top tube length (mm)582/581605/604628/627651/650
Seat tube length (mm)400420440470
Seat tube angle (degrees)76.6/7776.6/7776.6/7776.6/77
Head tube length (mm)90105120135
Head tube angle (degrees)64.5/6564.5/6564.5/6564.5/65
Front centre (mm)754781807833
Rear centre (mm)423437452466
Wheelbase (mm)1,1771,2181,2591,299
BB drop-29/-3529/-3529/-3529/-35
BB height332/33732/33732/33732/337

Forbidden Druid V2 spec and pricing

The Forbidden Druid V2 is available in three builds and a frame-only option. Forbidden hasn’t provided full spec lists for the Druid V2 models at the time of publishing.

  • Forbidden Druid V2 X0: £8,999/$8,899/€10,599
  • Forbidden Druid V2 GX FX: £7,299/$7,199/€8,599
  • Forbidden Druid V2 GX RS: £6,299/$6,199/€7,499
  • Forbidden Druid V2 frame kit: £3,599/$3,799/€3,999

Forbidden Druid V2 X0 ride impressions

A long wheelbase and chainstay made it great when the trails got twisty.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

Senior technical editor Alex Evans rode Forbidden’s all-new Druid V2 X0 29in wheel trail bike for an afternoon on his local trails in Scotland’s Tweed Valley. These are his initial impressions:

Forbidden Druid V2 X0 setup

The top-spec Druid retails for £8,999/$8,899/€10,599.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

I inflated the rear shock to 205psi, giving 35 per cent sag as per Forbidden’s recommendations. I set the external rebound damping to fully open, low-speed compression damping to +4 clicks from fully open and high-speed compression damping to +4 clicks from fully open.

I inflated the fork to 89psi, set the low-speed compression to +3 clicks from fully open, and fully opened the rebound damping and high-speed compression adjusters.

Forbidden Druid V2 X0 climbing performance

The idler’s location contributed to great uphill performance.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

The Druid’s repositioned, larger idler wheel and lack of lower chain guide means little to no drag or vibrations can be felt through the cranks when putting down the power.

Backpedal and there’s as much (or as little) friction as a standard drivetrain design.

Its suspension kinematics are tuned with the idler wheel’s potion. There’s almost no pedal bob, wether you’re pedalling seated or standing, which meant I didn’t need to engage the shock’s climb lever.

It had very little pedal bob, and little to no friction could be felt through the pedals, a problem sometimes associated with high-pivot bikes.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

Small-bump suspension sensitivity wasn’t affected by the pedalling platform, helping improve comfort and traction.

Thanks to a steep 77-degree seat tube angle, your hips are positioned directly above the bottom bracket, combining with the suspension’s efficiency.

The steep seat tube angle and relatively short (627mm) top tube create a winch and plummet enduro bike feel; the seated climbing position is upright, with most of your weight concentrated through your sit bones.

Forbidden Druid V2 X0 descending performance

Despite long chainstays – that grow as the bike compresses – it was still possible to pop it on the back wheel.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

Downhill, the 480mm reach and 637mm stack, combined with a low-slung 337mm bottom bracket height, give the bike a commanding and confidence-inspiring position.

This creates a neutral and balanced platform; it remains stable and on-line in tough, technical sections, or as speeds increase without needing significant rider inputs.

The chainstay and wheelbase grow as the bike sinks into its suspension’s supportive mid-stroke in turns.

Despite its 130mm travel figure, Forbidden says it rides closer to a 150mm-travel bike.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

This extension increases stability, but it also takes a bit of getting used to. The centre of the bike effectively moves further forward as it compresses, which causes you to lean back instinctively.

Once accustomed, you can drive the front wheel harder and more confidently. If you want to break traction or flick it about, that’s also possible, but it does require more effort compared to shorter bikes.

The frame has a muted and damped feel, no doubt helped by the suspension’s action and impressive Crankbrothers Synthesis wheels.

It felt well damped and absorbent in rough terrain.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

Along with its smooth, plush-feeling rear end, it feels like it has more travel than its headline figure suggests; there’s plenty of grip and control on tap.

Small to medium bumps are eaten up proficiently and it enters its mid-stroke support smoothly, cushioning impacts.

However, set with 35 per cent sag, I tended to use most of its travel frequently, relying on the rear shock’s hydraulic bottom-out.

Performance was improved with slightly less sag.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

Decreasing sag to 29 per cent boosted its mid-stroke performance and reduced how much travel it uses, aiding control.

The Maxxis Assegai front and DHR II rear tyres have suitable tread patterns, but the EXO casing MaxxTerra front is under-gunned for the Druid’s potential. It will limit performance on wetter or gnarlier tracks.

The diminutive 180mm front and rear rotors lacked power and bite; the increased power of 200mm discs would only benefit.

Forbidden Druid V2 X0 early verdict

Thanks to a high pivot location, it rides like a longer-travel bike.
James Vincent / Forbidden Bike Company

The Druid V2’s high pivot gives this 130mm-travel bike plenty of attitude.

Sitting comfortably in the trail bikes category, a lot of people are going to like the stability and confidence the Druid V2 exudes on the descents. Seemingly, the downsides you frequently experience with a high pivot on climbs – such as drivetrain inefficiencies – are non-existent.


With a few spec changes, such as improving the tyres and brake rotors, the Druid V2 should be able to go toe-to-toe with much burlier bikes.