Rhys Verner has continued to climb the ranks on the world stage aboard what many would consider to be a trail bike, nabbing his first Enduro World Cup win in Leogang, Austria back in June of this season. On the final day of Crankworx Whistler 2023, Rhys went on to take second place at the Canadian Enduro National Championship with his Forbidden Druid. The 130mm travel bike is designed for everyday trail riding, but Rhys prefers this over the brand's 150mm slugger, the Dreadnought. With a background in cross-country racing, Rhys says that the 130mm of high-pivot rear wheel suspension works for his needs.
For the Druid to endure long descents, Rhys has installed a stout RockShox Zeb set to 160mm of travel and DH-worthy wheels. On top of choosing a shorter travel bike, he's riding the size medium frame with a 460mm reach, despite measuring in at 180cm tall. Oftentimes, riders of this caliber tend to choose the maneuverability of a shorter wheelbase bike in tight corners over the stability of lengthy frames that give average riders confidence at high speeds.
Scouring over the rest of the bike revealed unique shifting controls and de-badged goodies from SRAM and RockShox.
Rhys and team manager, Mathieu Dupelle, were gracious enough to give me five minutes to squirrel away the bike to photograph after the mid-race pit stop.
DH casing Assegai and DHR II tires are the call for the variable surfaces here in Whistler. A dry summer was mixed up earlier in the week by some much needed showers. A Cushcore Pro insert is installed in the rear tire and set to 26 psi. The front tire rolls at 23 psi.