Dream Ride: Jonathan Van Appelen’s Custom Painted ‘Marble Red’ Forbidden Druid

Photography: Jonathan Duncan

We love seeing the wild builds you cook up around our frames and when something truly exceptional pops up that catches our attention, it also deserves some further investigation. Case in point, this stunning no-expense-spared custom painted Druid, belonging to Jonathan Van Appelon from the Comox Valley, right here on Vancouver Island. To find out more, we reached out to the brains behind this stunning build to dig into the story behind the masterpiece...





Additional Info



Druid w/ Ziggy Link

Size Large custom painted in marble effect candy apple red with Specialized Zee bottle cage.

Rear Shock


Eleven Six

Aggressive trail tune,  550lb spring



Mezzer Pro

150mm, 41mm offset Custom painted


Chris King



Handlebar & Stem


Skywire and Copperhead

800mm wide, 25mm rise, 35mm stem length both bronze - Uncut







MT7 Pro

MT7 Pro lever, MT7 Pro calipers



203mm front + rear




Rear Derailleur













Bottom Bracket

Chris King














Front Wheel

We Are One

Union 29

I9 Hydra Hubs, black with Cushcore XC insert

Rear Wheel

We Are One

Union 27.5

I9 Hydra Hubs, black with Cushcore Pro insert

Front Tyre



29 x 2.50, EXO, 3C Max Terra

Rear Tyre


Minion DHR 2

27.5 x 2.4, EXO, 3C Max Terra


SQ Lab





Seatpost Lever




It's all in the details...

The marble effect is achieved using a chemical process that dispurses the [red] top coat of paint and leaves beautiful black veins of paint from the undercoat.

The marble effect is achieved using a chemical process that dispurses the [red] top coat of paint and leaves beautiful black veins of paint from the undercoat.

The candy red with metallic bronze accents are seen all across this bike and really make it pop!

Everything matches perfectly, including the bling Deity cockpit. 

The colour-matched Manitou Mezzer fork, We Are One wheels, and custom tuned Push ElevenSix shock should go some way to show Jonathan’s intent with this build.

Custom from tip to toe, just check the attention to detail on the Mezzer fork decals.

Kamloops’ finest We Are One hoops are laced to I9 Hydra hubs and finished off with fresh Maxxis rubber.

With several tunes on offer for both the Druid and Dreadnought, it’s safe to say that Push knows a thing or two about custom. 

Magura MT7's handling the stopping duties.

Chris King buzz...

Jon has gone for the party in the back approach. Ziggy equiped. 



FBC: First things first, you’ve created a truly stunning bike here, but what made you choose a Druid and what helped seal the deal?

Jonathan: I took one out for a demo last summer and destroyed my Stava times. That's when I knew this was my bike. Also having Forbidden [Bike Co.] only ten minutes away from my house has been amazing.

Did you always have the intention to take the custom paint route?

No, I had originally put my name down for a Cosmic Eggplant frame, but with supply and demand due to the pandemic, it was quicker to buy a black frame and paint it.

How did you determine the creative direction for the colours and finish, and was there something that inspired you?

I've always loved the bronze colour that Deity [Components] uses for its components while also looking at classic cars for inspiration for a main colour that would compliment the bronze.

Can you tell us a bit more about the craftsmanship, the time it took and those responsible for bringing this masterpiece to life?

Well, with it being a Forbidden product, the craftsmanship is on another level anyway. The [custom] process started in August 2020 with the frame being sent away for paint and custom decals. This was done by Matt Paziuk from Legandary Paint and Body. Then the team at Beaufort Cycles took charge of acquiring the parts and assembling the Druid.

What kind of a reception has the bike received from onlookers?

A lot to say the least! Every bike shop in town that I've gone to has been blown away by the build quality and finish. Bike wash areas and parking lots are now a solid half hour to leave because everyone wants to talk about the Druid.

Let’s dig into the spec. What was the impetus behind the Push ElevenSix shock and had you considered other boutique options?

Ryan from Beaufort Cycles had suggested it to me and at first, I was hesitant due to its price tag, but once I tried out a Druid (that had one installed) and did some research, I was convinced. I will always have one on my bike from now on.

The Manitou Mezzer is gaining a cult following, but what made you choose this fork over mainstays like the RockShox Lyrik or Fox 36?

Again it was Ryan (from Beaufort Cycles) that suggested it to me. I did some research and liked what I was seeing with regards to its tunability, lightness, and stiffness. Also everyone has a RockShox or Fox fork and I wanted to try something different.

Did you always plan to paint the forks and apply the same creative direction, as you did the frame, and did you do anything else to the forks?

I was going to leave the stickers and finish stock, but once I saw the finished frame, I knew I had to give the fork the same love.

The We Are One wheels are another nice addition and it’s great to see another Canadian brand in the mix. What made you choose Kamloops’ finest over all the other reputable carbon rim brands out there?

I have been following We Are One for quite some time and love their products and business model. Also being made in Canada was a huge bonus.

From the bling dampers to the carbon hoops and Chris King parts to the, dare we say, rather sensible XT drivetrain. Why not XTR or AXS?

I’m not a sponsored rider and as such thought putting that money into some other part of the build was more important. Also the weight reduction to XTR was not worth the price bump. I've had XT products on my bikes since I first started riding way back in the early 2000's

And Magura brakes, another choice that’s left of center and similarly gaining popularity, but still not as commonplace as others; why these and not a mainstay braking system? There’s a pattern here...

Ya, there is. I didn't want to do a cookie cutter build with this Druid. I always wanted to do my own take when it was being built. I had Magura's on my last bike and loved the power and modulation that came with them. The last thing I want when I'm flying down a trail is to not have full confidence in my brakes, and I do with Magura's.

How would you describe your riding style, local trails and how did this impact your component selection?

I was out of the riding scene for over 10 years and about a year and a half ago I moved up to the Comox Valley and decided to get back into it for fitness. It soon consumed me and now I have all the gear, two bikes, and a car specifically for biking. My riding style is continually evolving. I'm getting faster and bolder every ride and I know this new Druid will be up to the task of pushing me even further. My local trails are the Cumberland Forest and a few other sweet spots in the central island. There's usually a good amount of mud/ thick dirt which can bind up and damage components so I wanted to go with strong and durable parts that were up to the task.

Thanks for your time and hope you have as much fun riding your Druid as you did piecing it together, but we have one last question. What’s next?

Well the Druid is done. But...my downhill bike could use an upgrade next year.

Now that's one happy camper!

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