The shortest days of the year are here, and that can only mean one thing – internet speculation about the World Cup DH race scene is at an all time high. The list of riders who have announced they'll be on new teams for 2017 continues to grow, a list that at the moment includes Loris Vergier, Troy Brosnan, Luca Shaw, Manon Carpenter, Ruaridh Cunningham, and Reece Wilson among others. We likely won't see official announcements about where those riders will end up until after the new year, which means that deciphering cryptic Instagram and Facebook posts is the best way to get a clearer picture about what next season will bring.
Loic Bruni will still be riding for the Specialized Gravity team in 2017, but that doesn't mean he's free from the rumor mill. The big question surrounding the French phenom is what suspension he'll be running when the season kicks off in Lourdes. Bruni is especially adept at teasing his fans, posting up photos that reveal a little too much of his new bike, only to delete them shortly after, but at the moment all signs point to Öhlins suspension. The photo Bruni posted of his new Specialized Enduro clearly shows Öhlins' pinch bolt thru-axle design, and the yellow rebound knob at the bottom of the lower leg, while a closer look at the barely visible Demo reveals what appears to be the reservoir for Öhlins' TTX 22 coil shock.
This prototype inverted fork was spotted back in 2015, but not much has been heard about it since.
What fork will end up on the front of Bruni's Demo race bike? That's a bit more of a mystery, and although Öhlins did have a prototype inverted fork floating around back in 2015, my money would be on the Swedish company debuting a more traditional design, something akin to a long travel, dual crown version of their RXF 36. At the moment, RockShox and Fox are the major players when it comes to elite level downhill racing but if Bruni does indeed make the switch and starts ending up on the podium aboard Öhlins suspension, expect to see those distinctive yellow springs becoming a more common sight.
Don't forget, though, that this is pure speculation – nothing has been officially announced, which means there's still time for even more rumors to fly.