It might be the worst kept secret on the World Cup DH circuit, but Forbidden's high pivot Supernought downhill bike still has a few tricks up its sleeve.
With a season of World Cup racing under its belt, Forbidden’s prototype race bike is finally ready for production. Sporting 205mm of rear wheel travel, the Supernought is designed to be raced at the highest level. But, what makes it really exciting is the range of adjustability built-in to the frame. In that sense, you can make the Supernought anything you want it to be.
Which wheel size to run?
Probably the hottest topic in DH is which wheel size to run. Full 29 or MX? We’ve seen riders like Greg Minnaar and Oisin O’Callaghan roll the big wheels straight into the number one spot, while the likes of Loic Bruni and Jackson Goldstone favour a mixed wheel set-up. Both can clearly win races then. So rather than pinning its colours to a single mast, Forbidden has sensibly made the full carbon Supernought frame compatible with both by using interchangeable dropouts. You just specify which wheel size you want to run when ordering the frame, and Forbidden supplies the correct dropouts.
Need to know
- Full carbon DH frame
- 205mm rear travel
- Four frame sizes: S1 to S4
- MX and 29in wheel compatible
- Proportional chainstay lengths
- Three dropout options
- 148mm hub spacing
- 83mm BB shell
- 49mm headtube
- External rear brake routing
Sizing and geometry
This is where the Supernought starts to blaze its own trail. There are four frame sizes, S1 to S4. Nothing out of the ordinary there. Look closer at the geometry chart though, and things start to get interesting.
First up, all four sizes have genuinely proportional chainstay lengths. That means the rear centre grows proportionally with each jump in frame size to ensure balanced weight distribution across the entire size range. If you’ve read our review of the Druid V2, or our test on the Dreadnought, you’ll understand that the Supernought achieves this by changing the location of the pivot points in the front triangle relative to the BB, not by building four unique rear ends. Smart, right? Forbidden calls this its One Ride concept, because regardless of size, everyone gets a bike that handles the same.
Breaking the mould
But not everyone wants the same weight distribution though, which is why the Supernought also has interchangeable dropouts. There are three sets of dropouts. The zero offset (MX or 29in) are supplied with the frame, then +/-10mm options are available separately. That means the chainstay length on the S3 can go from 450mm to 470mm in a matter of minutes. The 470mm setting will give the rider a more forward weight bias of flatter courses, the 450mm setting a more rearward bias for when it gets steep.
Yes, those chainstay lengths are long, longer, or longest. And because of the rearward axle path they will get even longer at sag. It’s a key part of the design though and you also have the option to change the weight bias further using adjustable headset cups that are compatible with the straight 49mm head tube.
Look at the curves
No Forbidden launch would be complete without a deepdive on suspension dynamics. So take a big breath and let’s get stuck into Forbidden’s V2 Trifecta Suspension Dynamics. The key difference between the Dreadnought (V1 TSD) and the Supernought (V2 TSD) is that the former is a single pivot, the latter is an inverted 4-bar design that was first introduced on the Gen 2 Druid.
Sure, it’s a more complex design, but it also gives Forbidden more wiggle room to manipulate the suspension behaviour. And the key benefit is that it prevents the anti-rise (how much the suspension resists extension under braking) from getting skyhigh when you have 205mm of travel. Like all Forbidden bikes the anti-rise on the Supernought is higher than normal, sporting over 100% at sag, so it will still take a set under braking for improved stability.
The control linkage that manipulates the leverage curve on the Supernought has also been designed to provide better grip, and the wheel path isn’t 100% rearward, the inflection point occurring at around 165mm travel.
Improved chain management
It’s no secret that one of the biggest issues with high pivot idler bikes is the idler itself. More specifically, keeping the chain on the idler. So the Supernought comes with a 18t steel idler as standard. It also gets a next generation Race Guide to help keep the chain exactly where it should be. Ample frame protection has also be employed to help reduce chain noise.
No goofy standards
For a complex design, the Supernought should be easy to build and maintain as there are no non-standard parts. It runs 148mm hub spacing, a threaded 83mm BB shell and straight 49mm headtube for use with reach and angle adjust headsets. Also because the rear brake is routed externally, swapping in old parts should be easy.
Availability and pricing
Initially, Forbidden will only offer the Supernought as a frame kit. It will come in two colour options, Vol. 4 (black) and White Noise. The frame will have a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil shock and retail for £3,999, €4,299, USD $4,299, CAD $5,499.