Last week during the grand unveiling of the new Specialized Demo, we had the opportunity to discuss the development of the bike with the engineers, product managers, and industrial designers who designed it.

Also on hand where several of the professional athletes who helped dictate the new geometry, tested the suspension kinematics, and who will ultimately prove just how fast & hard these rigs are capable of being pushed.

Drop past the break to see how their race bikes are kitted out, and how much they weigh!

Aaron Gwin 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_003

We’ll start with Aaron Gwin. The 2x overall champ is sitting within striking distance of winning his 3rd overall in four years, but will be facing stiff competition this weekend.

Aaron Gwin 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_007

Aaron has been working extensively with ODI on a new signature grip, the AG-1. It’s similar in diameter to the popular Ruffian, but has four thin lines to help improve grip, and an integrated plastic locking mechanism on the outside of the bar.


Aaron Gwin 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_004

In addition to being one of the fastest riders on the circuit, Gwin has a reputation for being able to provide excellent suspension feedback, and is a valuable member of Fox’s Racing Application Development program.

Aaron Gwin 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_005

Fox has been teasing this prototype DHX shock with twin tube style construction for over a year, but no further details have emerged since they originally showed the shock off at Interbike last year.

Aaron Gwin 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_006

The previous S-Works Demo had aluminum chain stays, but by moving the entire platform to carbon, Specialized has managed to shave some weight. With the jump to the new 650B wheel size, the stays have grown by 10mm.

Aaron Gwin 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_001

We first peep’d these pedals around Sea Otter, but Aaron has been testing sets since January. At that time, the company was still focused on fine tuning the mechanism, but the heavily machined platform now appears to be much closer to production.

Aaron Gwin 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_002

Out back, the new Demo utilizes a 135mm rear end for improved heel clearance.

Aaron Gwin 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_000

This is the same exact bike and setup that Aaron raced at Windham (sans a washing). On our scale, it came in at 36 lbs 7 oz (16.5 kg).

Troy Brosnan

Troy Brosnan 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_1

Troy Brosnan is a young Aussie on the rise and is also on the verge of clinching the overall. A long time protege of Sam Hill, he finally landed on the top spot of the podium earlier this year.

Troy Brosnan 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_2

Unlike Gwinny, he’s on a full Rockshox/Sram/AVID setup.

Troy Brosnan 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_3

Troy Brosnan 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_4

Both Brosnan and Gwin are running SRAM Guide brakes mated to Code four pot calipers.

Troy Brosnan 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_0

Total weight for Troy’s build is 35 lbs 10 oz (16.1 KG).

Brad Benedict

Brad Benedict 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_2

While Brad Benedict no longer races world cups, his input is instrumental in suspension and platform development.

Ohlins Boxxer Drop in Cartridge_2

What makes his bike particular interesting is the drop-in-Ohlins damper.

Ohlins Boxxer Drop in Cartridge_0

There are two torx heads on the top of the cartridge for adjustment.

Brad Benedict 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_1

So moto.

Ohlins Boxxer Drop in Cartridge_1

And this doesn’t look stock either.

Brad Benedict 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_3

To match the rear, Brad is also running an Ohlins TTX shock.

Brad Benedicts Demo_0

Built in collaboration between Specialized and Ohlins, the shock was tuned specifically for the new Demo.

Brad Benedict 650b Carbon Specialized Demo_0

Weight for Brad’s size large frame is 36 lb 03 oz (16.4 KG).

Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to weigh Mitch Ropelato’s bikes, but it probably slots in right between Brad and Troy’s setup.




  1. Buck: Good thing you said something, I was just about to adjust my Ohlins drop-in fork damper and I would have used the wrong tool!!

  2. @lil Joe I thought they would weigh around that 32-33 lbs too. I can’t be too disappointed my first Demo weighed close to 48 lbs.

  3. @liljoe – i believe Al was referring to a first gen Demo 9 (2004 i think?). those things were tanks and he’s spot on with the weight. they were 48lbs stock. they’ve come a long way!

  4. I have an old 1″ threaded fork that I’d want to run on this. Why get a new fork when I have a perfectly fine one in my garage (after I sand off the rust)?

    I don’t understand why Specialized doesn’t make adapters for that. Always wanting me to use the latest and greatest–and unnecessary–standards. I also have some just-fine square taper Sugino cranks; any word on a PF adapter?

  5. (deleted) those guys are small like horse racing jockeys. Look at Gwin in that top pic, he looks to have a 26″ inseam. Is there a pro DH rider over 5’10”?

  6. Rico may not have heard of Steve Peat, Greg Minaar or Ratboy, I guess. All being small-time racers on the world circuit, that’d be understandable.

  7. @Rico Marcus Pekoll is a horse, along with every single Syndicate rider. There is no preferred body type for DH racing…Brosnan is tiny, but Gwin is a pretty normal bell-curve size dude.

    My mostly stock Demo 8 I is 37.5 lbs. even with coil-sprung Boxxer and superfluous chainstays. Light enough for me…and I would only run “man tires” on a DH bike.

  8. My Summum is an Large Frame, Alloy, no carbon cranks and also 16,4 kg with ability to go under 16 kg (35,3 lbs) steel coil shock and steel coil fork…

    so what?

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