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Forbidden Bike Co. Conjures Up New Frame & Inverted 4-bar Linkage for Druid V2 Trail Bike

Forbidden’s flagship trail bike, the Druid, has been significantly revised for 2023 with an entirely new frame design. The obvious change to the Druid V2 is that new inverted four-bar linkage. But what your eye won’t see right away is the subtly updated geometry, new frame hardware, and revised suspension kinematics. There were plenty of things Forbidden liked about the original Druid, so despite the rear end looking quite different, most of the V2’s revisions are fine adjustments that they claim will simply make a good thing even better.
Forbidden Druid V2, cornering
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Forbidden Druid V2 carbon trail mountain bike

The Druid is what Forbidden calls “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”’, as its Trifecta suspension platform is designed to ride like it has more travel than it actually does. Rear wheel travel remains at 130mm for the Druid V2, but Forbidden has made key tweaks to the new frame to increase the bike’s overall performance… all without losing the ride qualities the original Druid offered.

What’s new?

The V2’s most apparent change is the new rear end, which now employs an inverted four-bar linkage. Forbidden wanted to eliminate the Druid V1’s lower chain guide, and the new suspension layout increases chain wrap around the chain ring enough to do without it.

A new 18t steel idler pulley is equipped with a solid lube bearing, and has a refined tooth profile to ensure longevity and compatibility with newer drivetrains (like SRAM’s T-Type transmission). A modular mount system makes the idler perfectly compatible with either 52mm or 55mm chainlines.

Full 29er or mullet setups are both OK on the new frame, but if you wish to go with mixed wheels, it’s no longer just a matter of adding a Ziggy Link anymore – that’s Forbidden’s adapter link to convert their previous frames to mixed wheels. For this Druid V2, Forbidden is producing aftermarket chainstays to adjust for the mullet setup.

Pricing for the optional chainstays has not yet been provided.

Frame Tech Details & Key Specs

The X0 build kit (the only kit we have details on at this point) will be sold with a 150mm fork, paired to the 130mm rear travel making this a pretty burly trail bike.  

The new Druid frame came in a bit lighter than the outgoing version, but instead of saving a few grams Forbidden took the opportunity to beef up the V2’s frame hardware. Tucked in between the front triangle’s pivots, the new forged Rate Control link uses a bearing-in-rocker design, with locking collet axles and oversized bearings for improved stiffness and durability.

With a company founder hailing from Europe but living in Canada, it’s no surprise Forbidden makes sure their frames offer internal cable routing that works equally well regardless of what side you run your brakes on. The cable port covers and guides pinch the cables/hoses to prevent rattling.

To protect your frame, the Druid V2 includes molded chainstay & seatstay guards, plus rubberized upper and lower downtube protectors. The Forbidden Druid V2 also offers a downtube storage compartment, which has been updated to allow tool-free access to your snacks or ride essentials.

Trail Suspension Updates

all c. Forbidden, action & lifestyle photos by Liam Wallace

The Druid’s suspension was always designed to provide solid traction, playful pop, and a surprising ability to gobble up rougher terrain. For the Druid V2, Forbidden has increased the linkage’s leverage rate to better serve a wide range of rider weights. They’ve straightened the initial leverage curve to improve sensitivity, maintained a supportive mid-stroke that will still absorb repeated bumps well, and increased end-stroke ramp-up to offer the bottomless feeling the Druid is known for.

The V2’s idler pulley was also repositioned. And the bike uses a new V2 Rate Control linkage which provides increased small bump sensitivity, better traction, more mid-stroke support, better bottom-out resistance, and both improved pedaling and braking characteristics.  

To ensure solid braking the Druid V2’s anti-rise has been tuned to start off with enough support to maintain the bike’s geometry under braking, but drop off when the rear wheel gets deep into its travel. This allows the rear wheel to remain more active over rough terrain, optimizing traction under hard braking.  

Anti-squat has also been adjusted similarly, dropping off when the bike dips deep into its travel. At the sag point the Druid V2 offers stability for efficient pedaling, but as the bike compresses its idler pulley position reduces pedal feedback further than the Druid V1 frames.   

Trail Geometry, updated

With the Druid V2 comes Forbidden’s new frame sizing scheme. Their frames will no longer be referred to as S/M/L/XL, but rather S1-S4. With low standover heights and seat masts across the board, riders can choose their frame size based on reach preference and/or riding style. Rider size doesn’t specifically determine ideal frame size – but the range covers riders from 5’2” to 6’6”.

The Forbidden Druid V2 has stretched out up front, with 29er models now offering 15mm more reach than the V1. Stack heights have come up by 4mm, while the BB has dropped by 2.5mm. As for angles, the V2’s head tube is 0.5° slacker and the seat mast is 1.5° steeper than the outgoing frame. Now if you go for a mullet setup the V2’s reach increases by 10mm, stack height goes up by 5mm, and the BB drops 7.5mm. The head tube slackens out by a full degree, and the seat mast gets 1° steeper (vs. the Druid V1 29er).

Forbidden’s geometry seeks to find a balance between stability and agility, for all riders. Firm believers in size-specific rear-end lengths, their chainstays grow proportionally for each frame size. Riders of any height can enjoy a balanced ride with their body weight centered between the wheels, optimizing traction and control.

Forbidden Druid V2 – Pricing, Availability & Options

There are three build kits coming for the Druid V2, but only the range-topping X0 build is available now – the other builds will be coming within the next few months. Druid V2 frames are available in two colors: Spruce Almighty and Star Dust.

Druid X0 (XO AXS T-Type): $8899 USD

We do have pricing, but no further info on the following build options:

Druid GX FX – $7199

Druid GX RS – $6199

Druid frameset – $3799

Here’s a look at the Star Dust color option; the complete bike above shows the Spruce Almighty paint job.

Forbidden has also updated their lifetime limited frame warranty, so any bikes sold from October 2022 onward will be covered against defects in workmanship or materials for life (to the original owner only). Forbidden also offers a crash replacement program in case you inflict serious damage to your frame.


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1 year ago

Seeing that the built bikes show the new SRAM transmission drivetrain and the frame only shows SRAM’s UDH, this should quiet some of the folks that went off(and are still going off) about SRAM getting to “proprietary” when the new drivetrains were reviled.

1 year ago
Reply to  Exodux

^too “proprietary” ^revealed sorry for the typo’s

1 year ago

For such a complex system that’s a very good looking bike imo. The lines balance up and it manages to look simpler than it is which can’t be easy.

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