With revised suspension and geometry, the next-gen Forbidden Druid is truly next level.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 10

Forbidden Druid V2


  • • Incredible, direct pedalling but still retains impact swallowing/speed carrying performance
  • • Excellent proportional geometry and frame feel
  • • Can pop and hustle as well as plough
  • • Very well curated equipment mix
  • • Non headset cable routing, bottle space and bolted storage mount


  • • Chain needs more TLC to remain smooth
  • • At 15.2kg (33.5lb) it's heavier than most 130mm bikes
  • • Belly storage is awkward and floods easily


Forbidden’s high-pivot Druid V2 cast a spell on me, and after six months testing I’m still bewitched by it


Price as reviewed:


“Pedals like an XC bike, descends like a DH bike” is a cliche as badly worn as the back tyre on a bike park rental in September. It’s a promise that often stinks as badly as a rental full-face helmet too. However the latest version of Forbidden’s Druid (V2) can genuinely hustle super hard through the pedals while still unleashing unholy speeds across the jankiest terrain. Throw in excellent proportional geometry and frame feel, plus a sweet spot build and the Druid GX FX is a truly outstanding trail bike.  Yes, the high-pivot design adds weight, complexity and a distinctive ride vibe so it won’t be for everyone, but if you crave short-travel trail speed up there with the best full-suspension bikes on the market, read on.

Forbidden Druid V2 need to know

  • Version two of the seminal high-pivot idler trail bike
  • New inverted 4-bar suspension layout delivers 130mm rear travel
  • New geometry and sizing, same 150mm fork travel
  • Fox Performance Elite suspension for ultimate tunability
  • MX (tested) or full 29in wheel options
  • Truly proportional geometry and frame feel
  • SRAM’s latest GX AXS T-Type transmission

And I chose the word ‘outstanding’ deliberately in the intro, because in a world of superbly competent but very similar mid-travel bikes the Druid V2 literally hits differently. In fact, if you’re used to a conventional 130mm travel bike the first couple of rides on the Druid are likely to require a significant reset. Not only in how quickly you exit sections you’re used to stalling in, but also how direct yet traction-rich the pedalling is. The way the Druid V2 syncs these three generally contradictory characteristics so well, just emphasises the standout ride experience even more.

Forbidden Druid V2

MX or full 29in, Forbidden offers you the choice with the Druid V2. Pedals and boots not included

Is it really “witchcraft” that makes the Druid V2 so special?

What exactly is the ‘High Pivot Witchcraft’ Forbidden says is in play here, and is it a spell that will work on you? The rearward axle path, chain-pull isolation of the idler and the 30-35% recommended sag on the Fox Float X shock certainly aren’t unique to Forbidden. Even Trek has climbed back onto the high-pivot bandwagon with its latest Slash enduro bike. Balfa was doing it last century, and Owen Pemberton, the man behind Forbidden, cut his idler teeth on Norco’s high pivot bikes. 

Forbidden Druid V2

Two in one. The asymmetric idler design can be flipped to accommodate two different chain lines

It feels very different the original Druid that mbr reviewed, so what has changed? The key difference with the Druid V2 is that it uses a flipped version of a classic four-bar suspension layout, rather than a single pivot design like on the original Druid. This means Forbidden has been able to fine tune the wheel path and anti-rise (how much the suspension resists extension under braking) for a less weird but still wonderfully different ride result.

Forbidden Druid V2

Turning the classic 4-bar suspension on its head: Forbidden Druid V2 is way better than V1

How does it compare to the Druid V1?

For example, compared to the Druid V1 it still squats and extends as you load the suspension in turns or when applying the rear brake. But the effect is much less pronounced. So while it’s really easy to move around dynamically in the suspension, it doesn’t feel weirdly stretchy mid-turn or harsh when you hit the anchors. The high pivot, rearward axle path still smokes through big impacts and chattery slap in a way that works even the excellent 150mm Fox 36 Grip 2 fork to the very limits of its performance.

Forbidden Druid V2

Rock and roll, the Forbidden Druid V2 carries speed like no other bike

Despite the impression of absorbing impact with the same effectiveness as a longer travel bike when you’re flying across rock fields, blown out roots and braking bumps, you never feel lost in the suspension. Instead, the Float X shock is really flattered by the lack of interference from the chain/pedals in a similar way to gearbox bikes. Fluid shock movement, a slightly pliable frame and extra sag for extension into holes also makes traction exceptional. Add the low BB, longer reach, plus a slacker head angle and the Druid V2 is one hell of a line holder at high speeds, through cross threaded ruts and roots, ugly off cambers or demolished berms. 

Forbidden Druid V2

Internal cable routing that’s securely camped to prevent cable creep and rattle

Does the Druid V2 trick all the modern must-have boxes?

Forbidden has given each of the four frame sizes fully proportional geometry and different composite layups, so you should get the same ride experience whichever size you ride. If you want more roll and less rave, you can get the Druid with a 29er specific control link (chainstays) to correct the geometry for the bigger rear wheel and vice versa. There’s room for a full size bottle, a bolted accessory mount, ISCG tabs, ample rubber frame armour, clamped internal (but not headset) cable routing, 2.6in tyre clearance and a dual position mount for the idler depending on what chainline you’re running. In fact, the detailing is indulgent but practical throughout and the excellent ride feel of the frame itself shouldn’t be overlooked as the grip enriching baseline behind the more in your face innovation.

Forbidden Druid V2

The Fox Float X shock is tuned to perfection on the Druid V2

Do the long chainstays not hold you back?

With the MX wheel format you can still hip or whip it round turns faster than you’d expect for a bike with a 450mm-plus rear centre that extends under compression. Yes, you’ve got to push through that same pillowy smoothness to find pop and push on rollers, or flick the lever over on the shock to get a physically solid sprint feel. So if you want a rally-car-tight suspension response, don’t get the Druid.

Forbidden Druid V2

It’s not a schralp machine, but the Druid V2 still rails turns

The rear wheel connection and relatively long back end means it’s definitely not a mullet shralp specialist like the Specialized Status either. Size specific seat post drop is ample at 180mm on a size S3 but the ‘internal storage’ accessed from below the belly is a dirty, damp, easily flooded, hard to get to dungeon when compared to systems like SWAT on the Specialized Stumpy Evo or Glovebox on the Santa Cruz TallboyMore surprising, for an Idler bike, is the instant pedal engagement and uninterrupted drive when you do get on the power that makes pedalling a totally positive experience for a 15kg bike with an extra cog in the system as well. 

Does the idler negatively impact climbing?

The way the rear suspension compresses and extends like it is on a gimbal without affecting pedalling can feel weird at first, but it’s a gift on technical climbs. Because just as you expect the back wheel to stutter and stall on high torque step ups, it simply rolls up and over without hesitation. It is so good in that regard, that even when I’ve been running a Schwalbe Rock Razor semi-slick for extra rolling speed and slip-steeze, the consistent connection has repeatedly left bikes with better tyres spinning out behind me. The shorter, easier to spin 165mm crankarms also contribute to the unstoppable e-mtb feel and help keep feet off the floor even with deep sag on an already low BB height.

Forbidden Druid V2

Top kit includes: SRAM GX drivetrain, One Up dropper and Crankbrothers alloy wheels

How does the Druid V2 compare to other trail bikes?

Forbidden was smart enough to launch the new Druid onto the front of SRAM’s T-Type wave, so you’re getting the latest GX AXS here, complete with neat tucked in battery and an alloy chainset. ‘Cool’ brands like OneUp and Burgtec sit alongside sweetspot picks like the Fox Performance Elite suspension and Amaury Pierron’s allegedly favoured Crankbrothers’ alloy rims on Industry Nine hubs with classic Maxxis rubber including a reinforced EXO+ rear casing. Sure 15kg is heavy compared to 150/130mm bikes like the Mondraker Raze (13.4kg in similar spec) or Santa Cruz Hightower (14.2kg) but the excellent Merida OneForty 6000 is the same weight and pricing so the Druid V2 is still decent for a small, R&D heavy brand. 

Forbidden Druid V2

Underestimate the Forbidden Druid V2 at your peril


Now if this is reading more like a eulogy than a review, then I’m not going to apologise because it’s hard to overstate how much I’m a fan of this bike. I fully accept not everyone will fall under the Druid’s spell though. As someone who normally loves a very ‘clean’ feeling, light bike I’m surprised how much I’ve accepted the extra weight and chain grumble (particularly if it’s not kept very clean and well lubed). So if you’re not as into the Druid's comically trophy truck ability to charge down or claw up almost anything as I’ve become, then look elsewhere as there are lots of more traditional short travel bikes to choose from. Just don’t write off the Forbidden without trying it, as it stands out from everything else I've tested in how much it seems to rejoice in riding technical trails, rather than how well it hides your snacks. 


Frame :Druid V2 full carbon
Frame travel :130mm
Shock :Fox Float X Performance Elite
Fork :Fox 36 Float Performance Elite GRIP2 
Fork travel :150mm
Hubs :Industry Nine 1/1 110/148mm
Rims :CrankBrothers Synthesis Enduro Alloy
Front tyre :Maxxis Assegai 3C EXO 29x2.5in
Rear tyre :Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C EXO+ 27.5x2.4in
Chainset :SRAM GX AXS 32T, 165mm
Shifter :SRAM GX AXS 12-speed
Derailleur :SRAM GX AXS T-Type
Cassette :SRAM XG-1275 10-52T
Brakes :SRAM Code Stealth Silver 
Rotors :180/180mm
Handlebar :Burgtec Ride Wide Enduro Alloy 800mm
Stem :Burgtec MK3 Enduro 42.5mm
Seat post :OneUp 180mm
Saddle :Fizik Terra Alpaca X5
Sizes :S1, S2, S3, S4
Weight :15.2kg (33.5lb) Size S3
Contact :forbiddenbike.com
Size tested :S3
Rider height:180cm
Head angle :64.5º
Seat angle :76.6º
Effective SA :76.6º
BB height :332mm
Chainstay :452mm
Front centre :807mm
Wheelbase :1,259mm
Down tube:753mm
Seat tube:440mm
Top tube :628mm
Reach :475mm