It’s always exciting to see a new MTB company emerge, but it gets even more interesting when you find out the people behind the brand have some industry expertise, and they’ve come up with an atypical design for their first bike. Ladies and gentleman, allow me to introduce you to Forbidden Bike Company.

Forbidden is the brainchild of frame designer Owen Pemberton, who spent more than seven years working for Norco before departing last spring. Pemberton teamed up with Alastair Beckett (former product manager for Nukeproof) along with Simon Miller and Trevor Ferrao, creating a small but well-rounded team to launch the company.

After leaving Norco Pemberton took a few months to consider his options, but didn’t want to leave his home in Cumberland, B.C. to work for another company. The time was right to act on his longstanding desire to take the helm himself, so he began designing Forbidden’s first frame.

Forbidden Bike Company, prototype HSP trail bike, front angle

Starting with a clean slate, Pemberton explored different suspension platforms trying to figure out which one he thought would work best for a well-rounded trail bike. He decided the high single pivot concept was the best way to achieve the ride qualities he was looking for, and maintain a lot of design flexibility as well.

The goal with the new frame was to create a versatile trail bike that could be taken anywhere in the world and handle itself on a wide variety of terrain. Cumberland offers a good mix of trails with varying terrain, so naturally Pemberton wanted a bike that would serve him well in his own backyard too. He’s confident they’ve come up with a design that makes climbing easier and descending more fun, and that certainly sounds promising…

After riding his prototype Pemberton said he thinks it climbs better than any trail bike with similar rear travel. Of course the bike also has to thrash downhill sections too, and again Pemberton seemed very pleased with his creation stating it descends better than the travel numbers would suggest.

Forbidden Bike Company, prototype HSP trail bike, rear angle vertical shot

At this point Forbidden is not giving up too many details about the bike, but here’s what we can tell you; First off, it’s obviously a high single pivot suspension platform (you can see that in the pictures, but I was strictly ‘forbidden’ to take any shots that gave away too much detail).

The bike will be a full-carbon framed 29er with 130mm of rear travel, and it’s designed to run a 140-150mm fork. Without revealing any numbers Pemberton says the frame geometry is modern, but does have some unique aspects without going to extremes.

If all goes well, Forbidden is hoping to have their first products available early in 2019. They’ll be starting with frame kits, then working on building complete bikes. Pemberton notes that frame kits seemed like an ideal way to start- since the bike will be a do-it-all type ride, this allows buyers to build it to their personal preferences.

Stay tuned to Bikerumor for more news about Forbidden Bike Company. We’ll share all the finer details as soon as they’re announced, and hints were already dropped that we’ll likely get to ride one of these newcomers once they’re ready to rock. In the meantime, check out their Facebook Page to follow their progress.


  1. that chain/ring looks ready to take a serious hunk out of someone’s wardrobe and/or leg. Not much chain wrap either. Call me skeptical.

    • Yeah the wrap isn’t great, although it is more wrap than some other high pivot/idler bikes have that don’t use a lower guide. Apparently they get away with it, although it has to speed up the wear rate. In terms of total teeth engaged, I think it’s still more than a granny on a triple.

  2. Looks like the pulley is pretty well covered and this design has been in DH for quite a while with no major calamity. All a chain is really going to do is get your shorts greasy if you run into chainrings, cassettes, and disc brakes are all pointy death machines that are trying to chop you legs off.

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