New Specialized Demo mixes wheel size and geo

Specialized Demo
Demo has three frame sizes and a variety of wheel and geo options (Image credit: Specialized)

Specialized is mixing it up with the new Demo.

The downhill racing frame of choice for current World Champion, Loic Bruni, is now available to customers and has been redesigned with a mixed-wheel size in mind.

During the 2019 downhill racing season, Specialized engineers recognised the benefit of a 29-inch front wheel, in combination with a 27.5-inch rear, on the brand’s most extreme mountain bikes. That concept has now been refined for a customer racing package, with the 2021 model year Demo.

Although retaining its 200mm travel rating, the Demo’s rear suspension linkage has been reworked. It now delivers a more rearward axle path, during its initial stroke, for the purpose of reducing the impact of square-edge hits.

This revised version of the Specialized downhill racing frame features a great deal of geometry adjustment. Riders can experiment with three geometry settings: short, middle and long. Flip chips in the chainstays allow for these riding characteristic alterations.

Horst link suspension plays nicely with both mountain bike wheel sizes 

Horst link suspension plays nicely with both mountain bike wheel sizes  (Image credit: Specialized)

Custom feel for any track

With the Demo in its ‘short’ setting, the bike settles on ideal geometry for running a 27.5-inch rear wheel, prioritising agility for challenging downhill tracks with severely tight off-camber corners.

The Demo’s ‘middle’ setting works with both wheel sizes at the rear, delivering a longer wheelbase for superior high-speed stability over technical root or rock sections when rolling 27.5-inch wheels.

Mount a 29-inch wheel in the rear of Specialized’s new Demo, with the geometry adjustment set to ‘middle’ and you can combine the benefits of better rollover with a slightly trimmed wheelbase and more responsive rear agility.

Demo riders who require the best possible directional stability at speed can opt for the ‘long’ setting, which is recommended only with a 29-inch wheel rolling at the back.

The Specialized Demo Expert features an alloy frame and uses a SRAM GX 7-speed DH drivetrain. RockShox’s Super Deluxe Select Coil manages suspension action at the rear, while a BoXXer Select 29 fork tames terrain upfront. It employs SRAM brakes - in this instance, four-pot Code RS calipers which clamp 222mm rotors up front and 200mm at the rear.

Downhill riders on a more generous budget can opt for the new Demo Race. Upgrades on his premium Demo include Code RSC brakes and an XO1 drivetrain. The Demo Race also uses a low-friction and rapidly engaging. DT Swiss 350 specification hub, at the rear.

Suspension components remain sourced from RockShox with the Demo Race, but feature updated and superior internals. A Super Delux Ultimate coil controls the rear suspension, allowing for external low-speed compression and rebound adjust. Upfront the BoXXer fork is an Ultimate version, with a Charger 2.1 damper and DH DebonAir spring.

Specialized is pricing its new Demo at £2,999 for a frameset. The Demo Expert retails for £4,999 and a Demo Race prices at £6,999. Both of the full builds, ship with a 29-inch front and 27.5-inch rear wheel combination. 

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for, and Cycling News.