Troy Brosnan’s Specialized S-Works Demo 8 World Championship bike

We take a look at the Australian's set up in Val di Sole

Troy was one of the hot favourites for the World Championships at Val di Sole this year, but while his race run didn’t quite achieve the top step, his specially built Demo 8 was definitely one of the hottest bikes to roll out of the paddock.

As bikes go, Troy’s mechanic certainly spends a lot of time going over it throughout a weekend, with roughly six hours spent on the bike before it’s ridden and then a further 3-4 hours after each session.

During the weekend Troy can expect his brakes to be bled three times, his suspension to receive a full service, his chain to be replaced and, depending on the track, two to three sets of wheels to be built.

Troy ran Specialized Hillbilly tyres at Val di Sole in 2.5” width. Usually he’d run the 2.3”s, but on the rough Italian track he wanted the extra volume and support offered by the bigger tyres. These were run on 28mm internally wide DT Swiss EX471 alloy rims, at between 26-29psi up front and 30-33psi at the back. These are at a relatively high pressure for his 65kg weight, but Troy doesn’t like the feeling of his tyres moving around on the rim, so higher pressures are used to keep them super stable.

Extra wide tyres for Val di Sole
Extra wide tyres for Val di Sole

While Troy raced on Hillbillys, he did try the older more spiked versions with cut down spikes, but found that there wasn’t enough support in the side spikes so reverted to the latest version of the tyres.

Much like his tyres, Troy’s suspension is run pretty hard at 76psi in the Boxxer fork and 188psi in the Vivid Air shock. The forks had four Bottomless Tokens in them to offer mid-stroke support and the shock was jam-packed with 11 spacers. Troy likes his bike to sit up high into the travel, hence the amount of volume spacers and pressure, however despite his floaty, jump-over-everything style he still manages to bottom the bike out on every run.

While his suspension is run hard, his rebound setting isn’t too fast — if it is set too fast Troy finds that he is more likely to get bucked over the front of the bike when the rear wheel rebounds.

The specially made linkage adds progressivity
The specially made linkage adds progressivity

Complementing the shock set up is the custom gold linkage in his frame (also found on Loic Bruni’s bike). This adds progression to the suspension curve on his medium sized, 16kg bike.

With his smaller frame, Troy runs 740mm bars, some of the narrowest on the circuit. He runs these with a pretty high 38mm rise, while his stem is a 45mm long version with zero rise.

Mounted to the Renthal bars are Renthal grips and SRAM Code brakes. Troy finds these have more modulation than the Guide’s he’s run before and are also more powerful even with sintered pads. He runs them with the levers pretty close to the bar but the bite point mid way through it’s stroke — his mechanic said it’s a tricky bleed to get them like that. On the other end of the brake system are the discs with special Aussie coloured anodized titanium bolts, which look pretty snazzy.

Renthal were a popular choice in the paddock
Renthal were a popular choice in the paddock

As with a number of other pro bikes, in order to reduce friction in the suspension set up his bearings are run without covers or grease — fine if you’ve a full pit set-up, but not something many privateers will be doing.

Troy runs a new bottom bracket each weekend, but to prepare it a drill bit of the same diameter as the crank spindle is spun through for a while to loosen it up. This spins the 36t ring on his SRAM carbon cranks, which drive the 7-speed X01 DH drivetrain.

Unlike the bearings, the HT X2 pedal cleats are replaced regularly to keep Troy’s feet clipped in as tight as possible, as is his preference.

Tom Marvin

Technical Editor, Tech Hub, UK
Tom's been riding for 15 years, and has always chopped and changed bikes as soon as his budget allowed. He's most at home in the big mountains, having spent nigh on 30 weeks riding the Alps, as well as having lived a stone's throw from the Scottish Highlands for 4 years. From 24 hour races such as the infamous Strathpuffer to the Tran Nepal, Tom can occasionally be found racing whatever interesting races he can find.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep and super tech or fast and flowy
  • Current Bikes: Canyon Spectral, Pivot Mach 429SL, Mondraker Vantage R +
  • Dream Bike: Transition Scout
  • Beer of Choice: Gin & tonic
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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