Between a paradigm shift in mountain bike wheel sizes, and a gradual evolution in geometry, the landscape of the modern downhill bike is dramatically different than when the last iteration of Specialized’s Demo was introduced.

Working with recently acquired team rider Aaron Gwin and rising star Troy Brosnan, Specialized has created an all new Demo that pays homage to the free hucking and World Cup winning ways of the old 26″ model, but introduces a series of innovations.

Drop past the break for the full run down.

Specialized Demo Carbon 2015 650B_99

The cables are routed internally through the frame. Special emphasis was paid to ensure that they would not rub on the frame or rattle, and full length internal guides makes the whole installation exercise simple.

Specialized Demo Carbon 2015 650B_1010

The new frames utilize Style-Specific-Sizing, or S3. Rather than using the same sizing nomenclature as American Apparel, the frame sizes are now dependent on the riders style – not height.

This was achieved by pushing the reach of the front triangle out, while retaining virtually the same seat mast length across all of the sizes. To summarily compare the new and outgoing model, the new short size is similar to the previous medium, but has 10mm longer chain stays.

2015 Specialized Carbon Demo Geometry

The bikes will be sold in four different frame sizes. To give you an idea of how they fit, Specialized sent over some info on their pro riders preferred setup:

Troy Brosnan (5’7) – rides a medium
Aaron Gwin (5’10) – rides a long as he likes the longer, more stable wheelbase
Mitch Ropelato (5’8) – rides a medium as he likes a tighter, whippy bike
Brad Benedict (6’1) – rides a long in the park and an X-Long for racing

Specialized Demo Carbon 2015 650B_22

Last year, Specialized and Ohlins partnered together to produce the TTX shock, which was exclusively built for the Demo platform. The end goal was to create a product that had enough tunability for a wide array of terrain, without having excess adjustments that fell outside of the optimal performance range.

During the development of this new Demo platform, Specialized again worked with the legendary suspension manufacturer to retune the adjustment range and make some performance updates.

The newly redesigned TTX has a shorter rebound adjuster for easier spring removal, reduced mid-speed compression for more control on initial hits, and increased high speed compression for increased control when “at the limit.”

Specialized Demo Carbon 2015 650B_1212

In a step away from proprietary standards, the new Demo no longer utilizes a shock yoke, which gives riders the ability to run their preferred shock – whatever it may be

The asymmetrical frame design provides unparalleled access to the rear shock, which simplifies the tuning process, and makes it easy to remove the rear shock for service.

Specialized Demo Carbon 2015 650B_44

The idea was born during the process where the engineering team began reimagining the FSR linkage, in order to help lower the center of gravity.

At that time, Senior Design Engineer Jason Chamberlain experimented on paper by dropping all of the pivot points by 3″. The design worked, but the main pivot now coincided with the bottom bracket, so Specialized created a concentric main pivot, and reworked the location of the other pivots and links.

Specialized Demo Carbon 2015 650B_11

This also meant reworking the BB. While commenters often decry the lack of threaded BB on modern bikes in general, according to Specialized, the main reason for going to a BB30 was because of the oversized crank spindle. Having that larger interface provides better stiffness and responsiveness, which is critical for the level this bike will be raced at.

Specialized Demo Carbon 2015 650B_55

While the BB still utilizes the now standard 83mm width, the rear has moved towards the long forgotten 135mmx12. This setup is lighter than the common 150 or 157mm setup and helps reduce unsprung weight.

One disadvantage with this is that using a standard cassette would throw off the chain line, so all models will utilize a 7 speed drivetrain. Specialized helped pioneer the DH specific gearing, and this is an extension of that. Higher end frames will come equipped with the X01 DH group set, while other models will feature a cassette – sans 3 gears.

Specialized Demo Carbon 2015 650B_00

With all the changes to the suspension platform, the left and right stays are not connected, so to keep the same level of stiffness as the previous model, the company has gone to a locking square shaped axle.

Specialized Demo Carbon 2015 650B_66

While nothing can save your derailleur from an errant rock, a forged mount that attaches to the dropout has been included to help keep the derailleur hanger safe.

Other small details include aluminum fittings throughout the frame for the bearings, custom teflon seal to prevent water from entering the pivots, and the use of larger bearings throughout. According to Specialized, the new oversized hardware has helped reduce friction by almost a third.

Specialized Demo Carbon 2015 650B_1313

In addition to Specialized Red, the Demo will be available in this stunning black and yellow two tone, plus a black and green version.

Specialized Demo Carbon 2015 650B_1414

The yellow Ohlin coils are exclusviely made for the TTX shock and are available in 24 lb increments, rather than leaps of 50, so owners will never find themselves compromising because they are inbetween coils.

Specialized Demo Carbon 2015 650B_1111

Prices are still undecided, but the frames will begin shipping in January. The top of the line S-Works model will have full carbon contraction. This helps shave roughly a pound over the previous model, which had an aluminum rear (and at least one other stay). A more affordable option with a carbon front end and alloy rear will also be made available.

The previous 26″ aluminum model is being replaced with a 650B version, that looks virtually identical, but features  an updated geometry borrowed from the new asymmetric Demo.

We have bike checks with almost the entire Specialized DH Race Team, plus actual weights for their race bikes, and a few more products to discuss in the next few days. Not to mention some actual ride time on the new beast, so stay tuned for more information.

Special thanks to the entire product and marketing team at Specialized for taking the time to answer all of our questions.




  1. Couple bits of curious on this one. Are there bearings or bushings for the concentric pivot? Given that it is a concentric pivot, does it have the same brake jack predispositions that the Lawwill design that Schwinn, Yet, and Rotec used? Outside of those, good bit of ID.

  2. Correct, The swingarm/chainstay pivot, location of the axle and brake all dictate the difference between FSR and a single pivot design.

    This is still a FSR design regardless of the exact location of the forward swingarm pivot.

  3. This also means considerably less time spent pulling the shock off, swapping the spring for the one I need for this race, putting the spring back on and finding the yoke / eyelet / thru bolt magic place where everything lines up three times a day…YAY!! Unbolt rear eyelet, unscrew spring collar, drop the spring perch, pull the spring, reverse the procedure, ride it like ya stole it!

  4. For those that bash Specialized for just being a marketing company and never coming up with its own ideas, here is yet another example of some pretty cool engineering.

  5. Saris, you missed some changes from my original post. If you’re going to fix stuff we point out, you should really do it all before you delete our comments when we’re trying to help you out.

    “Size-Specific-Sizing” still needs changed to “Style-Specific-Sizing”

    “forge ten” still needs change to “forgotten”

  6. Unsure if it mitigates brake jack as the Lawwill design had a forward and lower chainstay pivot too. Really the only real difference is the location of the seatstay pivot.

  7. Seeing this frame, I wonder how much cheaper is this frame compared to the equivalent Santa Cruz, or even compared to an aluminium Santa Cruz. In DH, suspension system comes first, material comes second. Either this is much cheaper or it’s just another Specialized product that only not informed people will purchase.

  8. Is this the first mountain bike with an Ohlins shock? I hope this trend continues, Ohlins makes really nice stuff. Would love to see them expand into the bike market with more products. They could easily make a fork that would blow away anything else out there.

  9. Lol.
    135? Rather than 142? Or more to the point the reason for wider hubs on dh bikes is lack of dishing.. Less un-sprung weight?

    7 Speeds – using srams specific rear hub driver. Huh.

    Forged connector to protect the mech hanger? Mech +rock = bent mech hanger is the best possible outcome. Mech+rock+enforced mech hanger = broken £80 mech.

    Some serious BS going on. Like the paint job though =]

  10. The new Demo got 2nd and 3rd at Windham, right? Still got beat by the V10 but 2 podiums in the same event isn’t a bad start at all. Wait till their riders get more acquainted with this new design.

  11. What is the weight of the Demo I (Satin Black/Charcoal)?

    What makes this bike better than the Trek Session 88? Trek Has better shifters and drivetrain but is about $800 more. So please let me know. especially the weight! Thanks

What do you think?