Forestal builds four more ebikes around its ultra-light EonDrive motor
Squished between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains lies the 16th-smallest country in the world, a gorgeous land-locked microstate covering a third the area of London, called the Principality of Andorra. It's known for its veal and its valleys, for tourism and tax haven status, and for its near-total lack of crime.
It's also the home of a relatively new high-end ebike company called Forestal, figureheaded by French mountain biking legend Cedric Garcia. After debuting with its Syrion enduro ebike last year, Forestal has released a range of four more bikes for 2021 – a trail bike, a downhill beast, and folding and non-folding versions of a city commuter.
All are built with lightweight carbon frames, custom designed around Forestal's own mid-drive electric powertrain. Yes, these are Euro bikes, so they're hobbled to 250-W. But Forestal has designed its EonDrive motor (in conjunction with Bafang) to offer high performance in its own way, keeping it under 2 kg (4.4 lb) using a magnesium casing and titanium components, and very narrow at 170 mm (6.7 in) while putting out a healthy 60 Nm (44.2 lb.ft) of torque at its highest setting. The company claims this qualifies the EonDrive as "the lightest and most compact high-performance motor today."
Unlike some ebike motors, Forestal says this motor completely disengages once you switch it off or reach the EU-mandated top speed governor at 25 km/h (15.5 mph), creating no further noise or friction drag to make your life harder. That'll make the relatively small battery easier to take; the company has designed its own 360-Wh, 52-V battery (again in conjunction with Bafang) that weighs slightly less than the motor and integrates nicely into the frames.
It's not a lot of battery, and it won't offer a ton of range – but if you want more, there's an extra accessory battery you can stick in the bottle cage for another 250 Wh. Forestal is erring on the side of lightweighting here, trying to make ebikes that feel fun and flickable. So it's not loading you up with cells you might not use – indeed, the batteries aren't even removable.
The new bikes also use the same intelligent dash as the Syrion – a next-level, full color, scratch-resistant, all-weather touchscreen system that handles all the usual ebike functions and adds GPS navigation, geolocation and anti-theft features, the ability to record and datalog your rides, an elevation tracker, g-force sensors, heart rate integration, training modes and statistics. It lacks the built-in dashcams found on something like the Greyp 6.1, but it's still bristling with smart technology and it looks much better integrated. Oh, and it'll measure and record your air time when you jump the thing. Mondo.
So let's take a quick look at the new bikes.
The Cyon is the trail bruiser of the range, built to take a beating like the Syrion but to be quicker, more agile and responsive in the smoother stuff. It runs a similar "alpha box" frame to the original Siryon, complete with its "twin levity" single pivot swingarm. The wheels are 29-inchers, and the suspension, brakes, drivetrain and wheels depend on which model you go for, from the €8,299 (about US$10,100) Halo up to the gorgeous, Ohlins-equipped Diode model at €12,599 ($15,370). Forestal's lightweighting regime has kept the Cyon down to just 17 kg (37.5 lb), which is quite a feat.
The Hydra will be close to Cedric Garcia's heart; it's a downhill-focused beast for riders that don't find the enduro or trail bikes hardcore enough. It's specced out for serious downhill riders riding world cup series-level tracks, but with the bonus ability to cruise back up again without troubling your heart rate. Again it's an alpha box frame with twin levity suspension linkage, although this time it uses a coil shock and a full-length asymmetrical fork with 170 and 180 mm of travel respectively, so you can land big jumps with confidence. Again there are different spec levels, with the Halo costing €9,999 ($12,200) and the top-spec Diode coming in at €12,099 ($14,750). The heavier suspension contributes to a slightly higher weight starting at 19.2 kg (42.3 lb), which is still very low for an electric mountain bike.
The Aryon and Aryon SC are a complete departure from the rest of the range. These are urban-focused machines with 20-inch street wheels, carbon belt drives, wireless dropper seat posts, integrated front and rear lighting, tasty built-in fenders and compact commuter frames. The SC is the base model here, coming in at €8,599 ($10,500) with a rigid frame and carbon fork. Annoyingly, no weight figure is specified.
The regular Aryon, on the other hand, is a flagship of sorts for Forestal, adding full, shortish-travel suspension as well as a folding design that tucks away the swingarm, seat post and handlebars very neatly for storage if you're not blessed with a shed to stick it in. The company calls it a crossover, a "mini mountain bike in disguise" that's genuinely capable of off-road shenanigans as well as trundling around town. Then again, it also calls the Aryon "a design and engineering masterpiece" in which "every detail looks like a piece of art ... that could belong to the most exclusive art galleries," so it's clear Forestal isn't the kind of company to go underselling itself. The Aryon sells for €10,399 ($12,700).
These are indeed eye-bleeding prices for bicycles, right up with the cream of two-wheeled European buttock jewelry. There are many motorcycles, and probably the odd car too, that you could buy for less – not to mention a plethora of unrestricted ebikes that would go much farther and faster. But these are premium machines, lightweight and beautiful and festooned with high-spec componentry and smart technology. They look like they're built to handle serious riding and to take a decent beating, and for the right rider they could well be worth the money.
Check out a short video on the Cyon trail bike below.
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