Roger's Specialized Demo is an eclectic mix of parts, many of which do not come from some of the obvious mainstream brands. But this does not detract from the quality of the thoroughbred race bike, if anything it adds to its attraction. It also doesn't seem to be slowing Roger down, he has recently been crowned the UK National Downhill Series champion in a domestic race season in which Roger has won all but one of the races he's entered and even then only ending up in second by just 1 second.
This bike also shows the practicality of being a privateer racer with hardwearing parts being used that clearly have been well used on many bikes before this one. I think it's fair to say this bike is not a show bike but it carries its scars well - each one with its own story to tell. Now it even has a National Series title to its name, I would say don't wash it and hang it on the wall but the reality of the situation is that this bike is going to be put back to work being ridden hard by Roger at his next race.
"Pair an irrational appreciation for speed with the unmatched versatility of being able to run a traction-loving 29-inch front wheel and a snappy 27.5-inch rear, and you have the fastest, most capable Demo to date" Specialized.
The suspension on Roger's Demo is handled by SR Suntour. With the SR Suntour RUX DH Fork fitted out front providing 200mm of travel, Roger runs his RUX with a 29" front wheel giving that super tight clearance between the tyre and the bridge of the fork. Settings wise, there is 75 psi of air pressure with 3 spacers fitted. Roger runs 10 clicks of Low-Speed Compression with his High-Speed Compression set fully open. The High-Speed Rebound is set to 2 clicks, along with 26 clicks Low-Speed Rebound. Like many other sponsored riders, Roger rides a Special Cartridge tuned by Suntour in the leg of his RUX fork.
Outback of Roger's Demo is an SR Suntour prototype Coil shock. Roger didn't want to give too many details on the shock itself but he did say he was running 180psi on Piggyback on the shock with 450lb spring. The Shock itself was tuned by Suntour to make it progressive but soft at the beginning of its stroke with 3 clicks of Low-Speed Compression along with 8 clicks of rebound. The High-Speed Compression is adjusted internally and Roger is running a 450lb spring.
Although Roger is not sponsored by Specialized their Demo is his frame of choice. The aluminium frame is set up in a Mullet configuration. Despite not being the tallest guy in the world Roger is running an S3 size frame which is Specialized's medium frame. Due to his height, he has his seat post cut short and as low as he can as it allows him more standover clearance on the bike.
For brakes, there is a set of Shimano's Saint brakes along with front and rear 203mm rotors, although a mixed pair with a Shimano on the front and a Gaffer rotor on the rear. It's not a surprise to see these brakes on Roger's bike. They are solid brakes that are reliable and look like they have lived a rough life from all of the scratches that cover them.
For brake set up, Roger likes his levers to be 0 degrees on the bars. He uses an angle app to make sure they are equally right on both sides. He also likes his brakes to be sharp and sets up the lever so that the bite point is at the middle of the lever's stroke.
When it comes to wheels and tyres, Roger uses E-thirteen LG1DH wheelset. These are a nearly dishless set of wheels with a 30mm internal width on the carbon rim built to take the punishment handed out by World Cup riders. They are obviously a mixed pair of wheels as the front is 29" and the rear is 27.5".
Wrapped around these wheels are a pair of Kenda tyres with Hellkat mounted to the Front wheel running tubeless and at 23 psi with no insert. Out the back is a Kenda Pinner. This is again set up tubeless with 27 psi and a Tannus armour insert fitted inside.
E-thirteen also provides Roger's bars. They are their Race Carbon bar with 30mm rise and a 35mm diameter. Roger cuts his bars down to a width of 760mm. They are finished off with a set of ODI's Classic Elite Flow MTB Lock-On Grips. Holding these to the bike is a Burgtech 50mm direct mount stem.
To reduce pedal kickback, Roger has fitted an O-chain Active Spider to his E-thirteen E13 LG1DH Alloy Cranks. The O-Chain system isolates your feet from the bike especially during braking and reduces the effect of sharp hits. This is a system you see popping up more and more on riders bikes and from speaking to Roger it's something he is really enjoying using. E-thirteen's chain guide and tensioner are left in charge of keeping Roger's chain in place.
At the end of the cranks, Roger is running a set of Shimano's Saint SPD pedals. Roger likes his SPD's set-up to be super tight so that he doesn't accidentally unclip mid-run.
When it comes to gears it's another downhill riders favourite the Sram XO DH 7 Speed Groupset with a couple of differences. Instead of a Sram cassette, there is a Box Components Box Two DH 7-Speed 11-24T Cassette. Roger also uses some self-adhesive velcro hooks to give him some extra grip on his gear shifter.
We sat down with Roger Vieira, World cup privateer and now reigning UK National Downhill Series Champion, to talk to him about his opinion on his season and how tough it is to be a privateer on the World Cup circuit. Roger is honestly one of the nicest guys in the pits and his dedication to the sport is unreal.
Congratulations on winning the National DH Series, how do you feel?
Yeah, I feel pretty good. First time winning the series. Well, I started it by winning my first ever National series race which was at round one in Hamsterley, and then I just won the next two and then came second today so yeah, really happy and couldn't be better.
Not the perfect finish but happy with the result today?
Yeah, I rode really well and got a really good time, but Dan Slack was faster and did a better time. So yeah, fair play to him. Obviously, I wanted to win this one as it would’ve been a 100% winning streak for the year but I wasn't the fastest man on the hill today. It is what it is.
So, you're a privateer on the World Cup circuit. How hard is it for you, as a privateer, to compete at that level?
It's really hard. I need to do the driving so we have to drive to events, which can be up to 20 hours. It's really hard with the driving on top of everything and it's just me and my brother. Now my brother is injured so it's just me really. When we get there, we don't have anyone helping us so we need to get on with the mechanical work on the bike, the food, all the stretching and the foam rolling, everything that you can imagine. It just makes it tough.
It sounds tough. If there was one thing you could change about the privateer life what would it be?
The thing that I would really like, if I could choose one thing, would be a mechanic. Like at Lenzerheide I qualified thirty-fourth and then we were up until nine o'clock the night before race day-changing tyres for bikes and stuff. So it's really hard, but we've got to do what we’ve got to do to just make it work.
Your brother Douglas had a big injury this year. How is his recovery going?
So he went down in the first round of the World Cup – he had a big crash, he broke his C2 vertebrae. Luckily he's got all the movement back, and he's alive. He had life-threatening injuries but he's recovering well and already back riding slowly on the bike, and he’s back down the gym getting his strength back. The movement of his neck is still limited and there's not really much strength in it but he's already building that backup. So, yeah, he's on the mend.
Coming from World Cups to the National Series, do you enjoy the difference?
Yeah, I really like it. There’s a lot of pressure in the World Cup and it gets you mentally. I’ve been riding really well at the Nationals, but to take that speed into the World Cup - that is what I struggle with most. In the last round at Lenzerheide, I think I managed to get the formula right of how to perform well. So I'm really looking forward to next season to see how we get on.
It's been a tough year for everybody but being a Brazilian living in the UK, how has the last year been for you? I know you were saying you weren't able to go and visit family at home.
Yeah, it's been tough. We've had the American Continental Championships in Brazil last month and because Brazil was a red list country I couldn't go to race it. But it’s all good. Like, I struggled a lot at the start, but now everyone here kind of knows me already and everyone is friendly with me, which is really nice.
Looking towards next year, are you planning more of the same and back on the World Cup circuit?
Yeah, that's right. Okay, yeah so next year now, I have managed to go part-time at my work as I still have a full-time job. I asked my boss to let me go part-time so I'll have more time to practice and properly focus on the Downhill races. So I will work three days a week and then two days a week I can dedicate fully to training. The plan is to do the full season of the World Cup and any UK round I can fit in that won’t clash with World Cup rounds. So I’m really looking forward to it. Especially after finishing this season in a really good way winning the championship here at the UK Nationals, I'm really looking forward to next season to build on that.
Any thank you's you'd like to give out?
Yeah, I would like to thank all my family, my wife and all my sponsors, the Moore Large race team that supports me and yeah thank you very much to everyone that is behind me and making everything happen. Especially my family who moved from Brazil to the UK, just to live the dream for the last 7 years. It was always my dream to be racing World Cups and they sacrificed basically everything for me to be here, so thank you so much.
Big thanks to Roger for giving us the time to put this together midway through a very busy race weekend for him.