FORESTAL SIRYON LIGHT EMTB REVIEW
Words by Robert Johnston | Action Photos by Sasha Kravtsov
A few years ago, we started to see some rumors and sneak peeks from a new company hailing from the tiny country of Andorra in Europe called Forestal. They timed their inception perfectly to arrive in a world and bike market that was facing unprecedented levels of turmoil and uncertainty but weren’t deterred and released three lightweight and very unique eMTBs spanning eBike light trail, enduro and even downhill. With their own motor system developed with drive unit powerhouses Bafang; their patented Twin Levity suspension design; striking carbon fiber frames with stunning paintwork; and a level of technological integration that matches the best of them, Forestal bikes had our interest well and truly captured. Robert was lucky enough to get some good time on board their Siryon lightweight Enduro eMTB, and it’s safe to say it was a hell of a good time.
• 170mm Twin Levity Suspension
• HTA 64
• STA 77 (effective)
• REACH 488 (Large)
Prices Starting At: $9,700 /£9,499 /€9,699
The Siryon is the middle offering of the three aggressive light eMTBs in the Forestal range, with 170mm travel on both ends and a pair of 29” wheels. Forestal also offers the 150mm travel Cyon Trail eMTB, or the wild Hydra DH eMTB if you’re looking for a self-shuttle downhill bike. All three bikes share the same EonDrive 60 Nm motor; 350 Wh Aurora battery; Smart Dashboard integrated in the top tube, and an Alpha Box carbon fiber frame.
The EonDrive motor was developed in an exclusive partnership between Forestal and electric motor giants Bafang. This collaboration allowed the two companies to share knowledge and work together to develop an impressive 250W motor producing up to 60 Nm torque that tips the scales at just 1.95kg. This weight was achieved thanks to its magnesium shell and use of titanium to reduce the weight of select internal components without compromising strength. To make the EonDrive motor feel as natural as possible, in line with their Active Flow riding concept, Forestal ensured there was a narrow 170mm Q-factor, and a fully decoupled motor when there’s no assistance to minimize drag when the motor is turned off. The motor is designed to be optimally efficient at 80-100rpm, which is fairly typical of most eBikes, and is IP67 rated for waterproofing.
The EonDrive motor is powered by the Forestal and Bafang-developed Aurora battery, with a 350Wh capacity and weight of 1.8kg. This is an integrated battery, requiring removal of the motor before you can remove it from the frame, allowing the frame rigidity to be optimized. The Aurora battery uses fast charge technology to complete a full charge from empty in as little as 90 minutes. Forestal is working on a range extender that they hope to release by the end of the year, which should push total battery capacity up to 610Wh for the longer days in the saddle.
A Smart Dashboard provides the control over the EonDrive motor system on the Forestal, with Wifi, Bluetooth, ANT+, GPS and even 4G connectivity to allow communication with just about every device. The integrated High Definition 3.2” display nestled in the top tube is Transflective, meaning it can perform well in both bright sunlight and in the dark. This display is waterproof and impact resistant, and the touch screen should be usable when wearing gloves.
The Smart Dashboard has an inbuilt navigation system with maps, sensors around the bike to track and log ride data from GPS-fed speed and elevation, through to G-forces and airtime. There’s also the possibility to locate a stolen bike if you’re ever in need. The dashboard can be linked to the Forestal Sync app to store and view ride logs and carry out some other basic functions. Forestal is constantly developing both the app and the Smart Dashboard firmware to improve functionality as time goes on, ensuring customers new and old enjoy the latest in their tech developments.
At the time of writing, there are four power modes for the EonDrive motor system, plus the no assist mode, and a walk mode when the “-” power button is held. These power modes are not currently tuneable, but this should change with future firmware releases. The modes offer a wide spread of assistance, from the Eco mode averaging 145W, through the 220W Sport mode and 334W Race mode to the full-tilt Nitro mode delivering 430W average. A bar-mounted, three button wired controller is currently equipped on the Forestal bikes to turn on the system and control the different power (and walk) modes, with LED indicators to show the mode selected and the battery life. Forestal is working on a new ring style trigger to offer improved ergonomics, which they hope to begin rolling out on MY24 bikes. This will be retrofittable for current customers to upgrade in the future.
As with the other bikes in the Forestal range, the Siryon frame is constructed with their Alpha Box monocoque carbon fiber manufacturing method. The carbon fiber layup is a blend of high and intermediate modulus materials, giving tailored stiffness and strength properties around the different areas of the frame. The bearings are “Direct In-mold”, meaning they are pressed into precisely manufactured bearing seats to minimize weight, rather than using steel inserts. Combining their tailored carbon fiber layup with quality details like the bearings, the weight was kept down to 2.4kg for the medium sized frame.
The frame features ample room for a large water bottle in the front triangle, nestled just above the Rosenberger charging port for the Aurora battery. Cables are routed through the headset, with internal routing for the duration of brake, dropper and gear cables (when running a mechanical groupset) to ensure a clean look. The rear brake is mounted to a post 180 mount, and the derailleur is mounted to a SRAM UDH hanger. There’s an inbuilt fender in the rear triangle to prevent the Twin Levity link bearings from direct mud attack; a generous rubber downtube guard and sleek rubber monostay protector, and a cleanly integrated plastic motor guard with holes to allow heat to escape. The headset features a Blocklock to protect the headset routed cables, with a wide 150° turning radius to minimize the impact when riding. There’s also a rubber protector on the underside of the downtube up at the head tube area to add further protection to the frame in case the knock block is broken in a crash. The top tube has a cutout for the shock to sit in, making sag setting easy, and the location of the lockout lever on the shock makes it convenient to access on the fly. Rounding out a packed features list is a neatly integrated upper chain guide to keep the chain in place.
The patented suspension platform – named Twin Levity – was developed by Forestal to take the best elements of a number of different designs and combine them. Twin Levity is a linkage driven single pivot system, with the shock driven by a series of links that allowed Forestal to obtain the leverage ratio progression that they desired. This linkage design has its kinematic tuned to each frame size to give the same weight balance, and is paired with custom tuned shocks to deliver what Forestal considers to be the ultimate suspension performance.
The key numbers on the size large tested are an Anti Rise (brake squat) figure that sits around 105% at sag and falls slightly through the travel, and Anti squat (pedaling efficiency) that’s quite consistent through the gear range at roughly 110% at sag. The leverage ratio is highly progressive initially and has a smooth curve towards a linear portion in the last 40mm of travel, which should work harmoniously with the natural ramp up of an air shock. The overall progression sits at 32%, but a large chunk of this progression happens before sag, which should give a very sensitive initial stroke and more predictable characteristic later in the travel. Setting sag up correctly is vital, and Forestal recommends 25-27% sag on the shock shaft to get the best out of the Siryon. It’s important to remember that because of the leverage ratio progression through the travel, this 25% at the shaft is more like 30% at the rear wheel.
The Siryon is the enduro eMTB in the Forestal range, so was given geometry figures that are designed to blend descending capability with climbing performance and agility for the tighter trail sections. The Siryon is offered in sizes Small to XL, but carries the same dual 29” wheels through the size range and so may not suit the smallest riders. Constant through this size range are the 64 degree head angle; 77 degree effective seat tube angle (measured at the headset line), and 25 mm bottom bracket drop. Reach figures stretch from 428 mm to 508 mm, and Stack heights go from 612 mm to 639 mm, with the large size tested coming in at 488 mm and 625 mm respectively. Rear end lengths go from 436mm on Small and Medium up to 446mm on Large and XL to improve weight balance. The size large has a 465mm seat tube length, and a wheelbase that totals 1284mm.
Forestal currently offers the Siryon in a choice of three build specs: Halo, Neon and Diode. The frame, drive system and electronics are the same regardless of the build selected, with the components and paint job being the differences between them. The paintwork is all hand crafted in their facility in Andorra, with a hand-applied pinstripe and paint fade that means each Siryon is unique, and each spec level has at least three paint jobs to choose from.
All of the build specs feature a carbon fiber Praxis crank, with 160mm on S/M and 165mm length on L/XL sizes. There’s Forestal’s own Oxydon C carbon fiber bars with a 31.8mm clamp, 15mm rise and unique 4-degree upsweep and 6 degree backsweep; which are clamped by a 45mm long Oxydon alloy stem. The “entry level” Halo build retails for $9,700 / £9,499 / €9,699 with a mid-tier RockShox suspension package; GX Eagle mechanical drivetrain; Magura MT5 brakeset and Crankbrothers Synthesis Alloy wheels. The Neon build retails for $11,900 / £10,999 / €11,799, with the top tier RockShox suspension package; XO1 Eagle mechanical groupset; Magura MT7 brakes and Crankbrothers Synthesis Carbon E7 wheels.
The top spec Diode build is a real “no holds barred” selection of components, with a frankly impressive $14,800 / £13,999 / €14,899 price tag. The suspension duties are handled by Ohlins, with their RFX36 M.2 fork in 170mm travel leading the charge, paired with a TTX Air rear shock. There’s a Crankbrothers Synthesis Carbon E11 wheelset with Industry Nine 1/1 hubs, which were wrapped in a Panaracer tire combo as standard, which didn’t prove to be up to the task. Most builds will now be shipping with a Maxxis Minion DHF/ HRII EXO Maxterra combo, which I’d still suggest are considerably lacking in durability and grip for a bike of this caliber. The brakes fitted are by Italian company Braking, with their CNC-machined Incas 2.0 2-piston stoppers grabbing onto a 203mm front and 180mm rear rotor. The drivetrain is the excellent SRAM XO1 AXS Eagle, with the 10-50t rainbow cassette, which is paired to the Reverb AXS dropper in 150mm on the large size. This build tips the scales at a claimed 18.3kg (40.3 lbs) for the medium size, but once a more appropriate Continental Kryptotal Enduro tire package was fitted to my size large, the weight climbed to 19kg (41.9lbs).
Forestal offers a 7-year frame warranty for their Siryon which can be transfered owner-to-owner, and 2 years on the paintwork and electrical components including motor and battery. If the customer has an issue that is not covered by warranty, Forestal has their “Rewind Programme” where they can receive special pricing on a replacement unit.
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
Frame: Alpha Box Carbon | 170mm
Fork: Ohlins RFX36 M.2 | 170mm
Shock: Ohlins TTX Air | 230x65mm
Motor: Forestal EonDrive | 250W | 60Nm | 1.95kg
Battery: Forestal Aurora Performance | 350Wh | Integrated | Rapid Charge | 1.8kg
Display: Forestal Smart Dashboard | Touchscreen | 3.2” HD Transflective Display
Remote: Forestal Smart Trigger | 3 Buttons | Wired | Battery and Mode LEDs
Brakes: Braking Incas 2.0, 200F/180R rotors
Handlebar: Forestal Oxydon Carbon | 800mm| 15mm Rise
Stem: Forestal Oxydon | 31.8mm clamp | 45mm Length
Headset: Acros Integrated | Internal cable routing | Blocklock 150°
Seatpost: Rockshox Reverb AXS | S: 125mm, M/L: 150mm, XL: 170mm
Saddle: Fizik Aidon X3 E-MTB
Wheels: Crankbrothers Synthesis Carbon E11
Front tire: Panaracer Romero HO 3Comp | 29″ x 2.4″
Rear tire: Panaracer Aliso HO 3Comp | 29″ x 2.4″
Cassette: SRAM XG 1299 | Rainbow | 10-50T
Cranks: Praxis Carbon | 170mm Q-Factor | S/M: 160mm, L/XL: 165mm
Shifter: SRAM Eagle AXS Controller | 12s
Derailleur: SRAM X01 Eagle AXS | 12s
Powerful lightweight motor
Battery can drain fast
Eye watering price tag
Braking brakes weren’t for me
LEAVE A COMMENT | WIN FREE STUFF
Want to win some free schwag? Leave a comment and vote up the most thoughtful comments and each month we’ll pick a winner. The person with the smartest and most helpful replies will earn some sweet new gear. Join the Pack and get the latest news and read the latest reviews on the top mountain and electric mountain bikes.