Forbidden Bikes add another string to their bow with the long travel, high pivot Dreadnought and tease a new athlete signing.
Pete had a chat with Forbidden Bikes’ main man Owen Pemberton to find out more about the new Dreadnought, a 154mm travel, high pivot, full-carbon, 29″ or Mullet-wheeled machine that had its origins pre-Druid.
What was the impetus for offering a long travel bike?
Moar travel = moar fast. In all seriousness, a longer travel platform was always the natural progression for the brand. Interesting fact though, the geo and suspension for this bike were roughed out before the Druid.
Once you made that decision, what happens next?
The process always starts with geometry, closely followed by suspension kinematics. Once those are fully dialled in we start sketching lines, before moving into CAD.
Who’s involved in that process and what do they do?
To varying degrees, everyone in the company is involved in the design process, it’s just most don’t know it. It’s because of this we are building a great team of like-minded riders. That way every trailside conversation becomes a part of the design process and in turn part of the DNA of our bikes.
What did you want to keep from the Druid, and what did you want to change?
As I mentioned the two platforms were actually developed somewhat simultaneously at the start, so both share a lot of the same DNA. We wanted them both to share similar traits in their geometry and suspension characteristics yet both are optimised for their respective uses.
What did you want to achieve with this new bike?
One of the primary goals with the Dreadnought was to get as close to downhill bike confidence as possible, while still making a package that can be pedalled with enough ease to access the gnarliest descents. I know these kinds of claims get thrown around quite often but the Dreadnought really does feel like a stout, bigger travel bike on the descents, just like the Druid, it’s much more than the numbers alone.
Was keeping a similar look and suspension platform important?
It was more important to share certain ride characteristics and also to provide as much part commonality as possible across the two platforms.
Did the Druid platform lend itself well to long travel applications?
Ask anyone who’s ridden a Druid, the suspension action is what blows people’s minds. The high pivot gets all the attention but the real key to the system is our rate control linkage. This is the critical component in making a bike that truly feels bigger than the numbers on paper.
Do any recent component developments affect your design decisions?
I’d hope they all do. We try to keep a keen eye on component developments and stay ahead of the game. That being said, we are careful not to just jump on new trends. We endeavour to properly vet any new development to ensure it fits with our ethos and our collective wants and needs as mountain bikers. Only then will said development make it on to one of our platforms.
What does the prototyping process look like?
As a smaller brand we have to be real with our capabilities and use our ingenuity to test out ideas, often with crudely cobbled together mules. Once we have a design in hand we work with our manufacturing partners to build rideable parts.
How long does it take to get a working prototype in hand?
It would depend on the part in question; for small parts, it can be a number of weeks. For larger parts or completely new platforms, we are talking at least four months to get tyres in the dirt. This timeframe will usually be longer as we insist on very stringent machine testing protocols before we let anyone ride our bikes.
How important are athletes to your product development?
Extremely important. We have an announcement coming soon that should signal our intentions and our commitment to this.
Do you work closely with shock brands or do you do the shock tune development in-house?
The shock manufacturers do the messing around with shim stacks and we test ride their recommendations. It is often a multi-phased, iterative process to find our ideal tune.
How did you know when you’d got everything right?
You just know when it rides right.
Most of them. It’s cliche to say the first ride, but that really is a great feeling. The only thing better than that is meeting a customer on a trail, on one of your bikes, them not knowing who you are, and hearing their pure stoke about their bike. Those truly are my favourite moments!
Where next for Forbidden Bikes?
We’re going racing…
You can check out the Forbidden Bikes Dreadnought on their website here.