Forbidden stays true to its values, even if the new Dreadnought looks completely different

Product Overview

Forbidden Dreadnought V2 X0 Ultimate


  • • Tighter pedalling response makes it a better race bike
  • • More support and reduced sag makes it easier to pick up and place accurately on the trail
  • • Can run a really high bar and still load the front tyre
  • • More pop without adding any ping


  • • Won’t get you up the hills as fast as a similar price e-bike
  • • SRAM Maven brakes had intermittent lever feel
  • • Chain needs more TLC to remain smooth
  • • Needs a neat seat stay cable plug


Forbidden’s Dreadnought V2 has even longer chainstays than the original high-pivot enduro sled. And after two days riding it I think it’s the right move


Price as reviewed:


Given the updates to the Druid V2 trail bike and the recently launched Supernought DH bike, it should come as no surprise that version two of Forbidden’s enduro platform – the Dreadnought – also makes the switch from a single-pivot suspension layout to an inverted four-bar design. I’ll get to why that’s important in a minute. And while the latest Dreadnought looks pretty different compared to the original Dreadnought that I tested in 2022, at its core, it’s a surprisingly similar bike. Albeit a better version of itself. So let’s break down the updates to one of the best enduro bikes I’ve ridden.

Geometry and Sizing

Looking at the front end of the Dreadnought, the reach measurement on the size S3 (L) has shrunk a little. The front centre and head angle haven’t changed though, but the stack has increased, which has impacted the reach, shortening it. This a good move on Forbidden’s part, as the front end was too low on the original Dreadnought. It’s also why each size of complete bike has a size-specific handlebar rise.

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

Long, low and fast. Say hello to the next generation Dreadnought

Moving rearward, the chainstay lengths have increased. Yes, that’s chainstay lengths, because each of the four frame sizes, S1 to S4, has genuinely size-specific rear centre measurements. The size L bike that I rode had a 460mm static chainstay that grew more at sag. That puts it squarely in old-school e-bike territory, albeit without the battery and motor loading the front end.

Forbidden Dreadnought V2: Need to Know

  • Version two of the cutting-edge high-pivot idler enduro bike
  • New inverted 4-bar suspension layout delivers true 160mm rear travel
  • Full 29in or MX option, with interchangeable dropouts
  • Geometry designed around 170mm fork travel
  • Increased stack height and size-specific handlebar rises
  • Proportional geometry and frame feel
  • Weight bias adjustment with aftermarket dropouts
  • Improved idler design; quieter and more durable
  • SRAM’s latest AXS T-Type transmission
  • Three builds and a frame-only option
  • GX Select+ build is £7,299, GX Select is £6,599
  • Colours: Bloody Sabbath and Fatty T

Same frame for MX or 29in

The new Dreadnought borrows the interchangeable dropout design from the Supernought DH bike, and their function is twofold. They allow Forbidden to offer a full 29in Dreadnought and a MX version with the exact same frame – no Ziggy link or secondary “chainstay” assembly required. Just swap the dropouts and the weight distribution remains the same for both configurations. The MX version does have a slightly lower BB height and short reach though, as the dropouts do not correct the geometry 100% when swapping from full 29in to MX.

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

Swapouts: Interchangeable dropouts for MX or full 29in

That’s not to say you can’t change the weight distribution of the new Dreadnought though. Forbidden is offering two aftermarket MX dropout options for going shorter or longer with a 27.5in rear wheel, and a longer option for the 29in build. The jump between each dropout option is 10mm.

Upside-down suspension layout

The Dreadnought still uses a high-pivot idler design, but frame travel has increased to 160mm. And Forbidden now measures it vertically, rather than along the axle path, making it all usable travel. Switching to an inverted 4-bar layout means that the Forbidden has more control over the suspension variables, like anti-squat and anti-rise. It also offers more freedom of design, so there are now no overlapping frame members for stones to get stuck in.

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

An upside-down 4-bar design replaces the single-pivot layout of old

The axle path is no longer 100% rearward, as it comes forward slightly at the end of the 160mm travel. And this may come as a surprise, but Forbidden did NOT use the new suspension layout to kill off the high degree of anti-rise – how much the rear suspension resists extension under braking. It’s a trait that I really liked on the old Dreadnought as it reduces the load transfer onto the fork when you hit the anchors hard, so I’m happy it’s still an integral part of the new design.

>>Read our interview with Owen Pemberton, the man behind Forbidden, where we do a deep dive on the suspension design

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

The RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork pumps out 170mm travel, so 10mm more than the rear

Just like on the old Dreadnought, or an e-bike, I went slightly higher than normal on the fork pressure in the 170mm travel RockShox Zeb Ultimate. Because, let’s face it, this isn’t a normal bike. The overall leverage ratio of the rear suspension has also increased, so at 85kg I was running 220psi on the RockShox Vivid shock. That’s up quite a bit from the 160/170psi I was running on the old bike with a Fox Float X2 shock.


Riding the big bucks build means there’s nothing wanting. From the Carbon Crankbrothers Synthesis wheels, shod with Maxxis tyres, to the Ultimate-level RockShox suspension, the Dreadnought V2 is race-ready straight out of the box. Even the Burgtec grips and finishing kit are all on point.

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

Burgtec finishing kit is a winning choice

I’ve moaned about the slower shifting on SRAM’s new T-Type AXS in the past, but it’s not something that bothered me on the Dreadnought. Probably because it’s an analogue bike, and I can’t accelerate in the same way as an e-bike, even a mid-powered one, and outpace the speed of the shift ramps on the 10-52t cassette.

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

Smooth, silent shifts, even under load with SRAM’s X0 T-type AXS

In fact, my only real complaint with the build kit was that, towards the end of the second day, the new SRAM Maven brakes started to play up. Power was still plentiful, but I noticed variation in the bite point starting to creep into the lever action. Now, whether this was a bleed issue or just accelerated pad wear is hard to say, but I also noticed that the pads were rubbing on the rotors every time I pulled the bike off the uplift. Given the conditions, it wouldn’t surprise me if I had burnt through both sets of brake pads in two days of mostly wet riding.

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

The new SRAM Maven brakes developed a variable bite point

Performance – how it rides

With a day of pedalling and shooting at the Forest of Dean followed by a day of shuttling at BikePark Wales, I had plenty of time to get accustomed to the new Dreadnought V2. On the very first trail I sprinted into, I instantly noticed that my weight bias was too far forward. Yes, I wasn’t accustomed to the longer than normal chainstays. But within a few corners, I had centred myself on the bike and felt right at home. Much in the same way that I could when swapping between the 29in and MX Intense Tracers for our 29in Vs MX video that you can watch here.

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

Fast or tech, the new Dreadnought can handle it all

With the steeper trails at BikePark Wales, I also raised the stem height to give myself a more upright riding position, where the longer chainstays meant that I was still able to load the front end on flatter corners without having to consciously move my weight forward onto the fork. So to answer the question that I posed in the headline of this First Ride… Forbidden clearly hasn’t gone too far by extending the chainstays.


Stay seated and spin, and the old Dreadnought would happily chug its way up anything. Stand up to sprint however, and the suspension would instantly spring into action. On the new Dreadnought the rear suspension feels altogether tighter and more resistant to pedal-induced activity at the shock. It’s what makes it faster out of the gate and less energy sapping when you need to hammer up a short, sharp, rise mid-stage. It’s also what makes the V2 Dreadnought a better enduro race bike than the original.

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

What goes down, must go up! Forbidden has improved the pedalling response

With the steeper seat tube angle and the even longer chainstays, the sit and spin characteristics are improved too. And if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with serious gradient, the RockShox Vivid shock has a lock-out lever that instantly ramps up support in the rear suspension to help keep your weight further forward for grinding up the steepest climbs.


With the idler and lower chain guide, the Dreadnought is never going to be as efficient to pedal around as a conventional race bike, even if Forbidden has worked hard to mitigate drag within the system. Thankfully, the payoff for the additional complexity comes on the descents. Sure, I could talk about the reduced pedal kickback, high anti-rise, or the variable rate progression and their associated impact on the ride quality of the new Dreadnought, but taken in isolation they don’t really make a lot of sense. Taken together however, they bring an overall sense of calmness to the Dreadnought. Dare I say it, it’s almost as placid as an e-bike on the descents.

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

On square-edge hits the Dreadnought feels unstoppable

As such, blasting through Rim Dinger at BikePark Wales didn’t phase it one bit. And even though I could still feel the rapid succession of rocks under my wheels, the way that the Dreadnought maintained speed over those repeated square-edge hits was what impressed me most.

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

The new Dreadnought is more poppy and playful than the original

The new Dreadnought is less of a plough than the old bike though. With less sag and more support, it’s easier to pump for speed when you can’t pedal. These combined traits also make the V2 Dreadnought easier to pick up when you want to change lines, and it makes the bike way more predictable on jumps where the lip really compresses the rear suspension hard before take off.

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

Flat, slippery turns have never been easier to navigate

But not every enduro trail is littered with rocks and jumps, so I rode some fast, flatter trails at BikePark Wales too. And this is where the longer rear centre really pays off, as it helped me keep the front tyre loaded without constantly having to move my weight around. Which, in itself, can be really fatiguing, and more difficult to time and anticipate when tired.

2024 Forbidden Dreadnought V2

Not crazy about the Bloody Sabbath finish? How about Fatty T instead?


I really liked the original Dreadnought, primarily because it allowed me to ride faster without ever feeling like I was out of control. The new version retains that unshakable confidence but sprinkles in more liveliness so the bike feels more dynamic on less dynamic terrain. It also pedals better, which is a massive bonus for racing. Being V2, it’s also a more refined design. Sure, the 460mm chainstay will automatically erase it from some rider’s wish list, but this number should not be looked at in isolation. With the higher front end your weight automatically shifts rearward to centre you on the bike, while simultaneously putting you in a more commanding riding position. In that respect, the Dreadnought V2 doesn’t feel like any other bike I’ve ridden, other than the V1. Swimming against the tide is never easy, but Forbidden is clearly making progress. The bike still takes a set under heavy braking and isn’t going to be as efficient to pedal all day, everyday, as a bike without an idler, but then there aren’t many other bikes that carry speed as effortlessly as the Dreadnought. You have to choose your battles, right? And Forbidden seems to be fighting the good fight. 


Frame :Dreadnought V2 full carbon
Frame travel :160mm
Shock :RockShox Vivid Ultimate
Fork:RockShox Zeb Ultimate
Fork travel :170mm
Hubs :Industry Nine Hydra 110/148mm
Rims :Crankbrothers Synthesis 11 Carbon
Tyre F:Maxxis Assegai 3C EXO+ 29x2.5in
Tyre R:Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C DD 29x2.4in
Chainset :SRAM X0 AXS 32T, 165mm
Shifter :SRAM X0 AXS 12-speed
Derailleur :SRAM X0 AXS T-Type
Cassette :SRAM XG-1295 10-52T
Brakes :SRAM Maven Stealth Silver
Rotors :200/200mm
Bar :Burgtec RW Enduro 800mm
Stem :Burgtec MK3 Enduro 42.5mm
Seat post :OneUp 180mm
Saddle :Fizik Terra Alpaca X5
Sizes :S1, S2, S3, S4
Claimed weight :16.2kg (35.71lb) Size S3
Claimed geometry :29in
Size ridden :S3
Rider height :180cm
Head angle :63.5º
Seat angle :77.5º
Effective SA :77.5º
BB height :347mm
Chainstay :460mm
Front centre :829mm
Wheelbase :1,289mm
Down tube :753mm
Seat tube :440mm
Top tube (horizontal) :617mm
Reach :475mm
Stack :642mm