Who Are They?
Forestal are a truly extraordinary bike brand. In the pursuit of setting a new benchmark for bicycle manufacture, Forestal take control of every process involved by designing, engineering, manufacturing and assembling at its proprietary facilities high up in Andorra – where the bikes are also tested to their fullest on some of the best trails in the world.
We got involved with Forestal a couple of years back after seeing a few on the circuit in Europe, and after a chat with Juansi at HQ we were sold on the brand.
Now with UK distribution, a demo fleet in Grizedale, and a full trained work force, we are ready to introduce Forestal to the discerning rider looking for an electric bike with a difference.
Motor / Battery.
All the bikes fit into the "half fat" e-bike category like a Specialized Levo SL, a Transition Relay, a Pivot Shuttle SL or an Orbea Rise. They use Aurora as a battery / motor company which they've designed in conjunction with Bafang to deliver the performance they wanted from their bikes, and provide seamless integration.
The motor gives you 250W with 60Nm of torque, and the battery is 360Wh with an optional range extender on the way for more miles from the 610Wh total capacity.
The battery weighs 1.8kg and cannot be removed for charging off site. It does offer one of the fastest charges out there - an hours charge will get you up to 80% full. If Specialized adopted this policy my electricity bill would be much more manageable at Grizedale with the hire fleet!!
The motor features 400W at peak power and weighs in at 1.95kg which is on par with most other brands offering the lightweight bikes. Most importantly it's pretty much silent which makes it a favourite of ours over the Shimano EP8 which drives us insane with it's rattle!!
The Control Screen.
It's fair to say that Forestal won't be on your horizon if you don't like tech, and the screen and it's integration is on another level of geeking!
With full GPS built into its colour touchscreen, it removes the need for using your phone / bar mounted computer and losing it! The screen uses swipe left and right just like your phone to go through the menu list. There's new functions and features getting introduced all the time to the control panel and these can all be updated to any bike through a computer and a cable.
There's 6 power modes which range from off to "assist me with just the weight of the bike" all the way up to nitro mode! Mode and battery life are colour coded on the bar mounted controller as well as the screen (just like an Orbea).
The assistance feels natural like on a Specialized Levo SL, and as you go up the assistance modes pick up gets quicker as this is what you need when you start to struggle.
All the modes can be tuned in an app to offer you the best solution for how you ride. We find the "Andorran mountain riding" out of the box settings more than adequate for our Lake District rides, but realise not everyone is lucky enough to ride / live here so we can custom tune the modes for you.
Weight / Warranty
Complete bikes come in at 16-18kg dependent on spec, and they offer you a 7 year frame warranty, with the statutory 2 years on all parts / motors / batteries. All spares are kept in the UK just like with a Specialized so any issues are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
The suspension is based around a single pivot (like an Orange or old school Santa Cruz Heckler) with a linkage driven shock, and an asymmetrical shock brace. Not new concepts by any means, but proven ones to just keep working.
Behind the swingarm is their Twin Levity linkage which controls the leverage rate throughout the travel, and that drives the shock which is connected to a Yoke. This offers an endless feel to travel as you push deeper into it, but it does rely on you getting it set up correctly. Without this is can feel a bit wooden in one extreme or too wallowy in another. With 2 suspension geeks on hand in our workshop we make sure it's set properly!
All the frames are carbon, and the BB is high to stop you bashing your cranks / frame on all those Andorran rocks the bike was built to withstand.
Coming in the UK are 3 models; the Cyon, the Siryon and the Hydra. The Cyon is a 150mm rear travel trail bike that you can build up lightweight (16.7kg) or beefy with a fork swap out. The Siryon is an enduro bike with 170mm of travel for bashing through anything you can find. And finally the Hydra is a DH electric bike that is within a niche category all of its own!
Within each model there are 3 specs of bike. The entry level Halo build at £8499 which features a Rockshox Select fork and shock, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, alloy wheels and alloy finishing kit with a dropper post.
The Neon spec is the go to one for us and features SRAM X01 Eagle, a Rockshox Ultimate level fork and shock, Crankbrothers carbon Synthesis wheels, and carbon finishing kit. The Neon spec will set you back £9999.
The top end version is Diode which not only feature a Pearl paint job that is jaw dropping, but a full SRAM X01 AXS drivetrain with dropper, Crankbrothers Synthesis Carbon wheels and Ohlins suspension front and rear. All these top shelf components don't come cheap at £12999, but they literally take your breath away with their sleek curves and sharp attention to detail.
Each spec comes in 3 colours so there's something to suit most people, but if the box isn't quite ticked then there's an option of custom paint for an additional charge.
We have a medium, large and xl at Grizedale to try as this is one that has to be ridden to be enjoyed the most.
It picks up and maintains speed and impulse like no other bike we've ridden, and with careful set up on both the suspension and the motor support in the app, it'll take your breath away just like the paint job does!