I had the pleasure of visiting Forestal to check out their facilities in Andorra, meet with their team of passionate riders, and get an initial ride on the Siryon on the local trails which helped to develop their range of light eMTBs. Their facilities were impressive, with the design and R&D of all components happening in-house; a paint shop that was efficiently producing their full range of stunning paint jobs; and sister brand Production Privee’s development center with some seriously impressive tech and stunning bikes to admire in the flesh. But forget all of the expensive machinery and facilities, it was the people making it happen that really stood out to me. The passion and energy inside the walls of the former car showroom in the middle of an Andorran city was there to be felt, and it had me excited to put some time on their bikes to see the result of that passion.
We began with a pedal up to the top of Vallnord bikepark, then proceeded to ride down a freshly groomed freeride trail with some fairly large hits straight out the gate. Right away, I was extremely impressed by just how natural the Siryon felt, even with the initial setup that had only been a quick setting of sag and a total punt at compression and rebound settings. It was immediately apparent that the Forestal needed to be treated more like an analog enduro bike than a full fat eBike when riding, but we’d managed to eat up some battery life quickly and I was left wondering how it’d fare back on my home trails. The comfort levels that I’d quickly reached exposed the spec flaw that was consistent between the test bike in Andorra and the Diode model I received for the long-term testing back at home – the Panaracer tires. Even with pressures that were higher than I’d ideally run, they greatly lacked the support required to support the hard charging that the Siryon encourages, and I proceeded to rip the rear tire off of the rim on a freshly groomed berm for the first time in a couple of years after only about 20 minutes of riding the bike.
Back on home soil, I decided to give these Panaracer tires a second chance, with immediate regrets. They may just be the worst tires of their kind that I’ve used in recent times. Thankfully I had a set of the excellent Continental Kryptotal Enduro tires on hand to quickly fix the issue, adding a good chunk of weight in the process but giving the support and grip that the Siryon deserves. Originally I’d defaulted to my go-to 30% sag on the shock shaft, but it turned out to be a mistake. At 30%, the Siryon tended to wallow a little, and it had an extreme effect on the bottom bracket height, which led to numerous pedal strikes on the initial portion of the first ride. I was concerned that upping the air pressure to reduce the sag to 25% would reduce the traction that’s vital in the Scottish winter conditions, but much to my relief the bike was instantly improved all-around when the setup was tweaked to this.
The climbing position on the Siryon is not ultra upright and centered, with the 77 degree effective seat tube angle quickly beginning to feel slacker up at my long-legged seat height thanks to the much slacker actual seat tube angle, measuring in at roughly 75.5 degrees for my saddle height. I pushed the saddle to the furthest forward position I could and ended up in a relatively comfortable spot to balance rear wheel traction and front wheel weighting. Unfortunately the size Large is only spec’d with a 150mm Reverb AXS, which worked brilliantly but failed to open up the descending space to feel completely confident on the way down, with a whopping 100mm of post hanging out of the frame to achieve my saddle height. The insertion depth on this large size is sufficient enough to fully slam a 240mm travel OneUp dropper, so it’d be great to see longer options for prospective customers here.
The EonDrive motor impressed me, with a relatively natural feeling in the Eco or Sport modes, though certainly more noticeable than the likes of the TQ system. There’s a surprising amount of “grunt” in Race and especially Nitro modes that give you the ability to tackle climbs that I’d typically require at least a mid setting on a full power motor to ascend. The motor has no perceivable resistance when switched off, whether that be at low speeds riding like a “normal” bike, or above the speed cut out when you’re sprinting on the descents. This means you can happily ride mellower climbs as if on a regular bike, and only kick the assistance in for the steeper or more technical climbs. Using the Siryon this way, your effective range can be massive, and it proved to me the way I could get the most enjoyment out of the Siryon.
Of course, you can also go “full gas” and burn the 360Wh battery in quick time by utilizing the full 60Nm torque of the motor with the Race or Nitro modes. I tried and failed to keep up with some “all-boost” riders on full power eMTB’s, but when things were slightly more relaxed and everyone was riding in eco or mid-power modes, the Siryon was happy to hang, albeit with some more of my own power to help it along at times. On one “ecocentric” social ride with a group of full-power riders, I was able to keep up in the Forestal’s Eco mode quite happily, though it was evident that I was pedaling with a little more intent. Even so, battery consumption was fairly even across the board, which I found quite impressive, and on the technical descents there was no doubting the Forestal was the easier and more fun bike to ride. It will be interesting to see how the EonDrive system stacks up when the range extender is made available. Having the option to get battery capacity close to full-power eMTB’s could be a real game changer for riders who’ve only got the room for one bike in their life, giving the possibility of just about hanging onto full power riders on one day, and having an analogue bike competitor on the next.
On these descents, the Siryon simply rides like an enduro bike. A very, very good one at that, ranking up there with the best analogue bikes. It’s agile and maneuverable enough to pop and play and hit any line you desire on the descent, yet sure footed enough to rip flat out rough and gnarly terrain. The geometry has an excellent balance to it overall, with that mid-length rear end ensuring there’s ample weighting on the front wheel to mitigate the need to actively push through the bars on flat turns. This is achieved without producing a heavy feeling front end that demands a big effort to get off the ground. The motor weight is felt only when you need to get the bike airborne with your own muscle, but otherwise the Siryon rides as if there’s no motor there at all, with the weight in between your feet only increasing the stability of the bike when it gets super gnarly. I was very surprised to read the scales when I gave it the weigh-in, as I’d been expecting a figure a couple of kilos lighter thanks to its agile trail mannerisms.
The chassis is stiff in the right ways, but when combined with the Crank Brothers Synthesis carbon wheels there was still a healthy amount of compliance to make the ice-like off-camber roots and rocks of the Tweed Valley manageable. The Siryon did expose the reduced torsional stiffness of the Ohlins RFX36 fork compared with the 38mm stanchion fork you may expect on such a machine, but this was only notable in the hardest of compressions and I’d still happily run the RFX36 if it were my bike. This was likely due to the sheer composure of the rest of the bike, which eggs you to push harder and harder, offering up unbelievable composure through big hits.
The Siryon proved to be put together well, with only a minor loosening of a couple of the linkage bolts during testing. However, the complexity of the compact Twin Levity linkage arrangement does lead to some concerns when it gets extra muddy, and also for loose rocks being thrown off of the rear wheel. There’s a shelf in the middle of the links where items can collect, and when the rear end compresses, they are squashed down into the frame. Mud is then squeezed out to the sides of the links, but with a bit of bad luck a mid-size rock could be trapped under the link and potentially cause damage. This didn’t end up happening during my testing, but it’s certainly not impossible. If it were my bike for the longest term, I’d be looking to fashion an extra mudguard to span the gap on the top of the links and reduce the chance of mud or rock ingress.
Forestal have made a seriously luxurious looking bike with their Siryon. The aesthetics of the chunky mono-stays aren’t for everyone, but I think it looks great. What’s undeniable is the stunning paint jobs, and the neatly integrated touch screen top tube display. The Smart Remote on the bar is not the most ergonomic controller: the buttons are hard to feel when gloved and require more force than some competitors, especially notable when holding pressed for the walk assistance for any extended periods. Their new remote felt considerably better in Andorra during my factory visit, so it’ll be a welcome upgrade when they manage to release it.
I had an issue with the bike that I believe to have been due to the controller, in which I couldn’t spark the Siryon into life no matter what I tried. Forestal supplied me with a replacement battery and controller to ensure I could get it quickly fixed, so I replaced both simultaneously for the quickest fix. It involved pulling the full machine apart, so I got a really good look inside and feel for how everything is put together. It’s safe to say that there are no obvious corners cut, with the inside of the carbon frame looking tidy and everything bolting together with a reassuring tolerance. The internal headset routing may cause some complaints, but when working on the bike it was pleasantly easy to deal with, thanks to split spacers and ample wiggle room in everything to reassemble it without too much duress. I’d suggest the Forestal has a build quality that matches its price tag.
The “all conditions” touch screen wasn’t quite so Scottish winter friendly, with heavy rain, snow and mud…lots and lots of mud…all making the operation of the screen more difficult. When the screen was unlocked, water and ice on the screen could operate the screen on their own at times too. That said, when conditions were a little less apocalyptic, the Forestal screen was a pleasure to use, giving the impression of a quality smartphone with responsive touch and good definition. Some of the menus and commands were a little confusing initially, but much like any tech, once you figure out how the commands have been programmed you can get along with it well. If i’m honest though, my typical riding renders this impressive display unit quite useless, with my eyes on the trail and surroundings instead of fixated on the top tube. I’d typically dial the brightness of the screen down to a minimum and only take a rare glance at my speed or the battery level, relying on the bar-mounted remote to determine the mode I was in. I don’t speak for all riders though, and many will appreciate the Siryon for its high-tech feel.
The Braking Incas 2.0 brakes fitted to my top-spec Siryon Diode were very interesting indeed. There’s no denying that they look the part, with an exotic aesthetic. When it came to their performance though, I wasn’t convinced that they were quite up there with the best. They utilize a strong lever return spring, which you have to overcome every time you pull the brakes, producing more hand fatigue on longer descents. They did have great consistency and heat management though, with no hint of overheating or pumping up on the steepest sustained descents I could find. The lever blade began to squeak and feel a little rough mid way through the test, which was frustrating but didn’t lead to any further issues.
Otherwise, I was quite familiar with the rest of the spec already, and it all proved to work very well. Though you’d hope so for that insane price tag. Would I personally choose the Diode build, dreaming that I was in a world where I had the kind of money to buy it? The AXS kit is a real treat, and the Ohlins suspension stellar, but I’d be inclined to drop to the Neon build personally. You’ll still get a fantastic suspension package, wheelset (albeit with slightly worse hubs) and brakes, and save a good chunk of cash in the process. But there’s no denying that the Diode build is killer too if you demand the absolute best.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Forestal Siryon is phenomenal. If your riding buddies don’t demand that you need a full power eMTB, and you’ve got the money to pay to play, then it’s a seriously impressive bit of kit that I would highly recommend. When the range extender hits the market the capability in use will only grow, though you’ll be pushing the weight of some full power eMTBs when it is added. Unfortunately, the price tag is high enough that I don’t expect me, nor the vast majority of my buddies would be able to buy one, but if you can then you’re in for a real treat. And with the passionate team at Forestal working hard behind the scenes to further improve their bikes and upgrade their existing tech, you can expect big things to come.
Price: $14,800 / £13,999 / €14,899