Maybe it’s the altitude, the remoteness. Maybe it’s also the harsh climate. A region like Andorra, which at first glance appears to be quite isolated, probably has its very own lessons to teach the people who live there. Learning to get along on their own, if necessary, may be one of them. The small bicycle manufacturer Forestal has its home among the rugged peaks of the Pyrenees. And indeed, a separatist attitude is recognisable about it. This has not, however, done any harm to the first e-bike offspring of the carbon fans.
Think tank with panorama
Nevertheless, let’s stay with Forestal for a moment. On eight floors with a total of 8,000 square metres, the company has built itself a remarkable domicile that completely adopts the in-house approach. Rather untypical in a mini-state that has hardly any industrial sites worth mentioning. Forestal Technology Centre is the name of its think tank, where apparently both are done – thinking and manufacturing. In this respect, Forestal demonstrates a remarkable degree of independence. Laboratory, carbon production, CNC machinery, welding, research and development, production line, dispatch warehouse – Forestal runs everything on its own at its headquarters in Andorra la Vella. Only for the battery and motor has a partner from Asia been brought on board. More about that later.
Something wild for the premiere
The bike with which Forestal is stepping into the bicycle industry is called Siryon. It is a racy enduro e-MTB that offers a lot, but doesn’t want to do all the riding for you. The emphasis is clearly on Enduro and not on the e of electric assistance. Geometry, frame design and suspension system are based on standards that generally apply to enduro bikes, whether with or without a motor. In concrete terms, this means a fairly slack steering angle of 64 degrees in combination with a relatively steep seat angle of 77 degrees and a bottom bracket that is 25 millimetres lower than the axles of the wheels.
This results in a riding characteristic that is consistently oriented towards the way downhill. If the terrain drops sharply in front of you, this bike says: “Let’s go.” Nevertheless, you are not completely lost on the way up. Thanks to the very upright seat tube, you will also make some good progress on the ascent. Especially since the motor does most of the job. The lowered bottom bracket lowers the centre of gravity. Even at high speeds, the bike feels calm and allows you to stay in control at all times. With so much confidence, cornering becomes very smooth. Considering the low bottom bracket drop, you should only make sure that the pedal on the inside of the corner is always in the upper position and does not touch ground unintentionally.
Solid and delicate at the same time
Forestal relies entirely on carbon for the frame. Fibres with different degrees of strength are used in the monocoque construction. Towards the seat tube, the top tube splits into two struts. This looks massive, but also very stable. This part also has recesses for the shock. This gives the Alpha Box frame a delicate appearance. And it works wonderfully as a distinguishing feature.
The single pivot rear triangle ensures riding comfort. Forestal combines it with additional linkages. This system, called Twin Levity, is kept rather simple. Forestal wants to prevent the weight of the entire bike from increasing too much. At the end of the day, the bike weighs 17.4 kilograms, which underlines the sportiness of the Siryon. Twin Levity and the suspension fork from Rockshox each offer 170 millimetres of suspension travel. This guarantees a soft landing, even after a long air time.
Lightweight motor with high-quality components
So frame and chassis score plenty of points. The same applies to the Siryon’s motor. Weighing just 1.95 kilograms, the EonDrive is in the league of the most powerful lightweights. Magnesium for the motor cover, several parts made of titanium inside – that sounds very high-quality. In addition, there is the Q-factor of 170 millimetres. That’s even seven millimetres less than Shimano’s new flagship, the EP8. From this aspect, too, the Siryon comes pretty close to a conventional enduro mountain bike.
Its torque of 60 Newton metres, however, is some way off what Shimano, Bosch, Yamaha and co. bring to the table. Forestal certainly accepts this compromise quite consciously. Savings have to be made at some point so that the EonDrive can be this light.
You can access the assistance in four modes: Eco, Sport, Race and Nitro. If you want to, you can also ride “naturally” at any time and leave the power in the battery. In this mode, the motor is completely disengaged so that no losses occur due to possible friction with the gearbox.
Don’t press “nitro” too often
The capacity of the permanently installed battery, at 350 watt-hours, is also below what some of you might have expected from an enduro e-mountain bike. On the other hand, the low overall weight of the bike makes up for the one or two missing watt-hours. Of course, it’s clear that you won’t be able to chase 100 kilometres in nitro mode over hills and valleys with this configuration. However, thanks to fast-charging technology, the Aurora battery is 80 percent charged within one hour and 24 minutes. Forestal offers additional juice via a range extender. This increases the battery capacity to 700 watt hours and can be attached to the bottle mount. So, the liquid juice has to go somewhere else.
As already indicated at the beginning of the article, the motor and battery are not the sole responsibility of Forestal. Both are the result of a partnership with the manufacturer Bafang. Bafang is well known and well networked in the bicycle industry. The Chinese supply numerous other manufacturers, including De Rosa from Italy and Ettention from Austria. According to Forestal, the cooperation gives them complete freedom and allows them to tailor the development and production of both components to their own needs.
A display you won’t forget
You can read the status of the motor and battery on the corresponding display. This is not located on the handlebars, but is integrated into the frame. On the top of the top tube, a 3.2″ touchscreen leads the way into the world of system queries, navigation, data recording and evaluation, as well as sharing certain information with the rest of the world.
Sounds smart. Called smart, too. Forestal Smart Dashboard, to be precise. The computer shows you everything you know from available devices – and more. You want to know what acceleration forces you have been exposed to in the curves? How long your longest jump took? The Smart Dashboard tells you! In addition, the display is waterproof, shockproof and, according to Forestal, easy to operate even when wearing finger gloves. For communication with other devices, there are interfaces for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ANT+, GPS and 4G.
Pre-order or pre-payment?
Forestal is also taking its own approach to the sale of its premiere. You can only buy them directly from the manufacturer. No big surprise after all this history, is it? Still, it remains remarkable because the first model will be released in a limited edition. There will only be 999 of them. Sales will start on 23 March 2021, at 4 p.m. sharp.
So far, so good. But now it’s going to get interesting again. You determine the price! Well, to a certain extent at least. If you pre-order a model, it will cost you a total of 7,999 Euros. The first 2,000 Euros are for the reservation. You pay the remaining 5,999 later.
You want to save a little? Then pay your Siryon immediately. In that case, the price drops to 7,499 Euros. There are also three other advantages. You can order the frame number of your choice – as long as no one has snatched it away from you beforehand. In addition, you will receive the first bikes to leave the production line – even before all pre-orders. A valuable bonus, especially in these times. Last not least, Forestal adds three complete sets of tyres, which you can order for free over the course of a year. A carte blanche, so to speak, to drift to an unlimited extent. At the end of the day, an exciting approach.
A grey look into the future
Things are likely to remain exciting around Forestal. The next bikes are already announced on their homepage. Apparently, an e-folding bike with 20-inch wheels and a carbon frame by the name of Aryon is in the starting blocks. In addition, the guys and gals from Andorra have announced a trail e-bike called Cyon. Both can only be seen in rough grey outlines so far. However, with the promising subheading “Coming soon”. We’ll stay tuned for you, we promise.
Images: Forestal Group S.L.U.