This summer I had the pleasure of attending the first ever long travel launch on behalf of Specialized bikes. They chose the world's most renowned gravity place to do this too, Whistler B.C. Over the course of a few days we were introduced to all their gravity bikes and given park time to really get a feel for the bikes. Since this was my first time at a launch with Specialized, I also wanted to get to know the guy behind all their FSR developments and to see why they feel so passionate about FSR bikes.Check out the 2010 Specialized long travel bikes and an interview with Jason Chamberlain inside
,Jason Chamberlain is Specialized's Czar of FSR - yeah it's a catchy little nick name, but he comes by it honestly. This man knows the ins and outs, ups and downs of FSR technology like no other. In between riding the 2010 Demo 8 II and going for a good pedal on the all new Enduro Carbon, we were able to sit down and talk about his role at Specialized bikes and about the new 2010 line up.Tell us about your position at Specialized bikes and how long you have been with the company
I have been with Specialized for 13 years. I started in the test lab breaking things. It gave me a great foundation to learn frame design, because I saw first hand how and why frames do what they do. The flex, the bend and eventually the break (at least in our test lab). Nothing survives the test lab!
Not bad for his first bike.
I then moved into hardtail design and my first full suspension bike is the heralded "monocoque" Enduro, the 2nd generation in 2002. I've been involved in every full suspension design since then. Our team is much bigger now as the company has grown. At this point I've designed more FSR bikes than all my predecessors combined, including Horst Leightner himself. That is why someone recently gave me the nickname "Czar of FSR", and sadly it stuck.At a glance, the 2010 Demo looks similar to the 2009, but after riding both you can tell that there's been changes to the whole set up. Let's go over the changes from the 2009 model and how they'll benefit the end user. Why were these changes made
2010 Demo - you are absolutely correct - at a glance it looks very similar to the prior bikes. But it only takes one ride to realize it is a totally new animal. The biggest change is the BB height. It is one full inch lower than the previous bike. That is what is required to rail corners at World Cup speed. It is a dedicated World Cup race bike. The geometry adjustment is also missing. You run the Monster Team geometry and that's it. Pure, dedicated, fast, race only design.
1.5 inch head set
We also switched to a 1.5 head tube, which allows you to run a semi-integrated head set that reduces to 1-1/8, which all triple clamp forks are, and set you bars lower since you don't have the stack height.
Simply by changing the BB height by 1 inch meant I had to redesign the configuration of every tube and forging to fit and function and keep the FSR performance the same.What's the benefit(s) to working with Sam Hill and Brendan Faircloth
Working with Brendan, Sam, Sean (team manager) and Jacy (mechanic) has been fantastic. We immediately clicked and we're on the same page. We talk before and after every race. Sam and Brendan tried a number of prototypes to be 100% confident on the set up of their race bikes for this season. Ultimately, they run the same 64 deg head tube and short 16.5 chain stays that we've been running for years. The bottom bracket height was the only major revision we did for them. Some minor changes were to the top tube length which we increased by 5 mm on the Medium (Sam) and Large (Brendan), the seat tube angle and position was tweaked so that you can run a non-offset seat post for strength and keep the optimal saddle position at ride height. And the head tube changed to 1.5, as mentioned prior.
The benefits to working with them is we get feedback that ultimately makes a consumer's bikes faster in races. In addition to our own internal powerhouse of riders and developers we now have more people to bounce ideas off and collaborate with. The only way to truly know what is fast is to work with the fastest guys on the planet.
Additional Demo Notes:
-The Demo 8 is fully redesigned and race ready.
-8.0 inches of travel versus 8.4 inches in the past - sits higher in the travel
-Cold forging over CNC for strength - main pivot area, head tube
-Magnesium forged link
-Bearings at the shock pivots - DUs are gone!
-Sub 39lbs out of the box
-135mm with 6mm offset rear ends - team is on prototype 150mm rears.
-The Demo 7 remains unchanged and is the freerider's go to bike
Brendan goofing about:
Besides the redesigned Demo 8, the other big, if not bigger news is the all new S-Works Carbon Enduro. This is a whole new bike too, how long was it in development for
The lead engineer, Jan Talavasek, has been heading up the new Enduro project for nearly 2 years. We're all very excited to see it come to production.This is not the first time you've worked with carbon, how do you feel about the properties and ways that carbon can be manipulated to create pretty amazing bikes
Carbon Fiber is hugely flexible. You can throw out all the rules of aluminum tube design. Carbon can be formed into any shape you like. And the layers can be varied to provide whatever performance you are looking for - weight, strength or stiffness. And you can vary the type of fiber used to refine the design even further. We usually revise the shape and layup between 10 and 20 times before the final product is ready.This is Specialized's flag ship all mountain bike. It's going to be used and abused by both the XC and DH crowds. How do you think it'll fair and how have you made it tough and still remain light and sexy
The bike is very strong. We know people are leary of carbon in extreme conditions, so we built it to meet and exceed their expectations.
S-Works Carbon Enduro Details:
What's new for 2010?
-All new S-Works carbon frame
-Lighter and stiffer
-sub 28 lbs out of the box
-Better standover and seat post adjustment
-20% better stiffness to weight over '09 versions
-Stiffer, stronger tapered head tube and ISCG tabs
-Stiffer, hallow drop outs with beefed up seat stays/ chainstays
-Future Shock E160TA fork
-Command Post seat post
-Fox RP23 rear shock
-Updated Eskar 2.3 tires
-Shimano XT 22/36 cranks with Gamut shift guide
-Wider and lighter bars
-Lighter stems, posts and wheels
Ok enough questions, let's go ride the Enduro on some trails and see how it works
Crew waiting on me to arrive
They call you the Czar of FSR. You work on all the suspension bikes that use this platform at Specialized. Tell us why you and Specialized believe in the FSR suspension platform and how it makes your bikes work so well
The FSR has been proven over the course of 16 years. Structurally, it can be built light and stiff, with a long bearing life. It can also be configured to a variety of objectives. Specialized of course designs to be active and independent. We don't believe the linkage should affect your pedaling stroke or degrade your braking performance. We also want the wheel to be free to track the ground, even when you are seated or standing and putting power to the pedals. This active nature is the only way to keep traction over bumpy terrain, otherwise your wheel skips and you lose traction and likewise your momentum. We get a lot of flack for not being the "new kid on the block" and for not reinventing ourselves. We've been committed to FSR since day one. It is still the best design to deliver on our goals. Even if the patent expired today, we wouldn't leave FSR unless there were a better design.
It was great checking out the new Specialized Long Travel
bikes up in Whistler and getting to know the guys and girls behind the brand too. I'd like to leave you all with pics of the polished and tweaked Big Hit 3 and the SX Trail II, both have been refined for 2010.SX Trail II:
2010 SX Trail II
Big Hit 3:
Picking a trail