First Ride: 2021 Forbidden Dreadnought – Ready for Anything –

Just about two years ago Forbidden entered the mountain bike world with the
Druid, a 130mm trail bike that used a high single pivot suspension design, complete with an idler pulley.

Now it’s time for the follow-up act. Meet the Dreadnought. If you’re not familiar, a dreadnought is a class of battleship that emerged in the early 20th century. These ships had as many big guns and armor as possible, and were built for ocean domination. It’s hard to come up with a bike name that hasn’t been used, one of the reasons we often see companies just resorting to using travel numbers, but I’m a fan of this bike’s name – it seems fitting for what it’s designed to do.

Forbidden Dreadnought Details

• Wheelsize: 29″ or mixed via Ziggy link
• Travel: 154mm rear / 170mm front
• Carbon frame
• 63.5° head angle
• Chainstay length: 450mm (size L)
Weight: 34 lb / 15.4kg (As shown, size L)
• Sizes: S – XL
• Price: $6,499 USD as shown.
Frame with EXT Storia: $4,049 / Frame with Push ElevenSix: $4,249 USD

Moving from ships to mountain bikes, this Dreadnought has 29” wheels, 154mm of rear travel and a 170mm fork. For riders interested in going the mixed wheel size route, Forbidden offer the Ziggy link, a replacement lower link that’s used to adapt the bike’s geometry to a 27.5” rear wheel.

What’s the Dreadnought for? Well, Forbidden have purposely refrained from putting it in any one category. It’s a mountain bike, and if riders want to use it as a longer travel trail bike they can do that, just as easily as they could do an enduro race or hit up a bike park on it.

Frame Only… For Now

At the moment, you can only purchase the Dreadnought as a frame only, with either a Push Eleven Six or an EXT Storia coil shock. Color options are stealth or Deep Space 9, which is a glossy two tone black and blue. Those fancy shocks do bump the price up, and it’ll cost $4,049 with the EXT shock, or $4,249 USD for the Push.

Eventually, you’ll be able to get the frame with a Float X2 shock, which will put the price at $3,499 USD.

This bike shown here is the XT complete, which will be priced at $6,499 when it’s available sometime in the second quarter of the year. An SLX complete will also be added later in the summer.

Frame Details

The frame shape closely resembles that of the Druid, but this one has been tested to standards usually reserved for DH bikes, and it’s even dual crown compatible. There’s chainslap protection on the seatstay, internal cable routing through the top tube, and room for a full size water bottle inside the front triangle.

There a cute little read fender, accessory mounting bolts under the top tube, and a bash guard / chain guide. Chain guides with lower guides aren’t as common these days, but that’s something of a necessity due to the idler pulley design – it help keep the chain wrapped around the chainring, and prevents it from bouncing off.


Let’s take a quick run through of the key geometry numbers. There’s a 63.5-degree head angle, a 484mm reach on a size large, and a 450mm rear center, also on a large. Forbidden changes the rear center length depending on the frame size in order to preserve the same level of balance for all rider heights. This is done with the shape of the front triangle – instead of using multiple swingarms, they’re able to move the bottom bracket position to lengthen the front center.

There are a total of 4 sizes, from small to XL, which have reach numbers ranging from 440 to 506 millimeters, and a rear center length of 422 to 464mm. The effective seat tube angle measures 76-degrees across the board, and the actual seat tube angle gets steeper on the larger sizes, to help make sure taller riders don’t end up too far over the rear wheel.

Suspension Design

The Dreadnought uses a high single pivot suspension design, which creates an axle path that’s rearward throughout the entirety of the travel. According to Owen Pemberton, the bike’s designer, that means the motion of the rear wheel closely mimics that of the fork. So instead of having the rear wheel go slightly backwards and then forwards, it moves back, away from whatever bump it’s encountering. The leverage curve is progressive, with a fairly steep rate change at the end of the stroke that provides plenty of bottom-out resistance no matter if an air or coil shock is used.

Anti-squat sits around 115-120% at sag in order, and then drops off as it goes further into its travel. Those number were chosen to keep suspension calm during pedaling, even during out of the saddle efforts where a rider’s weight shifts forward.

Ride Impressions

How’s the Dreadnought ride? Well, it’s not really a big, lumbering battleship like the name might imply. It feels big but not lazy, and it’s easy to carry good speed through rough sections, with a nice ramp up at the end of the travel that makes harsh bottom outs nearly impossible. I’ve been running 32% sag, and Forbidden says it’s possible to go all the way to 38% sag without adversely affecting the performance.

As slower speeds it feels pretty normal and neutral – it’s at higher speeds in rougher terrain that it feels like something different. There’s so much stability, and it you can really carve into turns without losing traction. Bikes with this suspension design tend to be a little less poppy, and that’s the case here, but by running fairly quick rebound I’ve been able to reduce that trait, and even on manmade jump trails it’s been a good time.

If I had more time I’d likely toss on a higher rise bar, and maybe hunt down a longer travel dropper post to get that seat all the way out of the way in the steeps, but that’s really it. Unfortunately I need to send this bike back relatively soon, but we’ll work on getting one in for a longer term review to really dig into its strengths and weaknesses.