Specialized Carbon Demo 8 launched at Val di Sole

New downhill frame from the big S

At the Val di Sole world cup this weekend, Specialized officially launched their carbon Demo 8 downhill bike that Sam Hill and Troy Brosnan have been piloting on the circuit.

Carbon is becoming more and more popular when it comes to downhill bikes. With apparent strength increases and a massive bling factor, it was only a matter of time before the big S came out with their offering. Sam Hill and Troy Brosnan have been on the carbon frames since last year’s world championships and the frames are now ready for the public. We’ve spent the last couple of days at the Val di Sole world cup to check them out.

The frame

The new Specialized carbon Demo 8 frame comes in two very similar looking guises: the Team Replica ‘11M’ Carbon and the normal ‘10M’ version. Both frames sport an alloy rear end, but with the team replica frame using a 12x135mm rear axle rather than the 12x150mm rear axle on the normal frame. The only other difference is that the Team Replica frame uses a magnesium link, saving 50g on the alloy link used in the standard carbon frame.

Both frames have the same geometry – a 64 degree head angle, 421mm chainstay and an adjustable BB height down to a super low 338mm – 5mm lower than last year’s bike. To deal with the beating that a downhill frame is put through, the head tube and bottom bracket have bonded alloy inserts so the press fit parts stay as they should do. The 1.5in head tube means angleset compatibility should you want to change things up front.

The detail

Specialized have made it clear that they’re not messing around when it comes to the spec of the Team Replica bike. It’s the first time that the ‘Black Gold’ stanchions have been available to anyone other than Rockshox Blackbox development riders – a pretty big deal – albeit with a very slightly different coating that's more durable for long term riding.

A setup for real racers, the replica bike uses a custom DT Swiss hub with a 9 tooth Microdrive smallest gear. That means a 32 tooth chainring can be used up front to give the same top speed – in turn giving more ground clearance for the low bottom bracket when it comes to the rough stuff. A custom 9 speed SRAM X0 setup with a carbon X0 crankset really does give a pro setup without compromise, as well as the custom Avid X0-Code brakes. A Renthal bar and stem and SDG Storm saddle with special World Champ graphics finish the build off.

Bling to the max – and you’d hope so too for the expected $10,000 price tag!

The Carbon Demo 8

The Carbon Demo 8 is the sensible bike of the pair, coming in at around $7000 - $3000 less than the team replica - and is shod with parts that will still perform to a level higher than most riders would ever push them.

The Rockshox Boxxer RC up front is a proven performer, and the Fox DHX RC4 shock is bang up there too. The 150mm spaced rear end as well as the fork are filled with Specialized hubs, laced to Roval 32 hole DH rims. Custom Avid Elixir 5 brakes are on stopping duty with a Pressfit30 Truvativ Descendant crankset providing the go, through the new Type 2 SRAM X9 mech and 10 speed cassette, with the chain kept in place by the new Gamut P30 chainguide.

We’re going to be swinging a leg over the new Demo in the next couple of days, so keep an eye out for a full test on Bikeradar before the week is out.

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