Loic Bruni's New Demo 29er

Jun 1, 2017
by Vernon Felton  
Loic Bruni s New Specialized Demo 29

Is Loic Bruni on a 29er? There hasn't been an official announcement, but the writing is on the wall—Loic's Facebook wall (see image below)—and in the pits. Photographer, Dave Trumpore snapped these shots of Bruni's Demo and the details say it all.

Loic 29

The only questions remaining are (1) How many of his Specialized teammates are going the 29 Demo route and (2) Whether or not Specialized has a 29er-specific Demo frame in the works. We have no definitive answer to the first question, but the second question is easier to tackle: What we're seeing here with Bruni's Demo looks more like the ever-popular "Make 29er wheels fit onto our 27.5 frame" approach. That said, if there is a single company that would welcome the big wheels on their gravity bikes, it has to be Specialized. These guys have been chomping on the 29er bit for some time.

Specialized was one of the last hold-outs on 27.5, largely because they beat everyone else to the punch on building a long-travel 29er that didn't suck (that'd be the Enduro 29, way the hell back in 2013). The company was also adamant that 29er wheels simply offered more advantages to riders than 27.5. The market, however, wasn't having any of that "nonsense". Specialized complied with a host of 27.5-wheeled bikes. And yet...here we are today. Watching company after company rush to roll out wagon-wheel downhill bikes. Go figure.

Loic Bruni s New Specialized Demo 29
Exhibit A: a Specialized teammate's 27.5 fork
Loic Bruni s New Specialized Demo 29
Exhibit B: Bruni's fork. Notice the much lower drop-out position.

Loic Bruni s New Specialized Demo 29
Exhibit C: Check out that stretched out rear end, lengthened to fit the larger wheel diameter.

Loic Bruni s New Specialized Demo 29

A few questions remain: How much of an impact will the growing raft of 29er DH bikes actually have on results at Fort Bill and, in later races, the overall season results? Will certain courses favor big wheels? Will they make sense for every rider—even shorter riders? Time will tell.


120 Comments

  • 79 2
 With all the custom stuff Spec. has done for riders in the past, that rear triangle extension is a bit of a let-down.

It's interesting the variation in how much commitment each company seems to have to 29" wheels. Seems like some are lukewram, and simply make a couple adapters, other, all the way in.
  • 38 0
 definitely not an ideal frame for jerry-rigging before a race
  • 9 0
 Some might have been caught a little off guard and have to adapt on the fly to keep their teams competitive. The newer bikes might be short-term fixes in an attempt to keep up with the early developers from other companies.
  • 43 3
 Loic said that he didn't like the bike and he will stick to 27.5 wheels
  • 35 2
 @enrico650:
Actually Loic said that he feels the 29ers are an advantage on the current tracks because they make it too easy.
He yearns for hardcore tracks even.the 29ers.will struggle greatly on.
Go to Vital for a better angle on all this.
  • 7 1
 Yeah kind of a let down for sure. Wasn't Specialized one of the earlier big companies to say 29er was the way and 27.5 was dumb? Then I remember them walking back on that b/c so many people were on the 27.5 train. Was kind of hoping for a ground 29er build.
  • 20 0
 @dhx42: Yes, their initial plan was to stick to 26 and 29, but then the market slapped them in the face. Can't really fault them for that. They had to respond to demand.
  • 24 2
 Considering the amount of testing Loic and his mechanic do, and the ability and willingness of Specialized to create one off and custom equipment for the team in house and on short notice, I would imagine this is a well thought out and dialed effort. The extension might just be the easiest and smartest way to go about the task at hand.
  • 3 0
 @denomerdano: I don't get that comment from Loic, shouldn't 29ers be better on harder core tracks given they smooth it out... never rode one so I have no idea, perhaps 27.5 would be better if the track was nothing but tighter turns, but even then i'm not so sure.
  • 8 0
 Hey if it works it works. No need to mold an entire new swingarm if a little aluminum widget gets you what you need.
  • 5 2
 @denomerdano: You need to read before you comment.
He said that he didn't like it because the bike wasn't fun.
  • 1 1
 @davetrumpore: There should not be any doubt that they didnt try an alloy version prior to this.
  • 5 2
 It's a massive bodge!!!
  • 10 6
 @denomerdano: Flawed logic by Bruni. 29ers will just excel more the rougher and harder the courses get. Tight turning is not an issue on a 29er. He even confirms that in the interview.
  • 3 0
 @davetrumpore: Agreed. The simplest (and best) solution isn't necessarily the most elegant one.
  • 4 2
 @enrico650:
I understand what he means, you don't.
It is not about the specialized 29er he doesnt like, he doesn't like the 29er on WC tracks. BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO GOOD.
But again, you get what you get from his interview which btw I did not reqd but listened on Vital
  • 3 1
 @app-uncture:
He is too hardcore.. He wants it to be difficult. For everybody.
  • 5 3
 @enrico650: he is paid to go fast and win races. If he wants it all to be fun then he is in the wrong job
  • 2 2
 @enrico650: I heard the interview on Vital too. Something doesn't add up. I'm not 100% convinced this wasn't a troll on his part. That or this and his IG account is now loicbruni29 and he's posted pic of bike and fork. Dude seems to like to get cheeky. Either he's just having fun with the questions, which I'm sure are getting old at this point for WC racers or this is fake news. One thing is for sure one of the stories he's shared (either to PB or Vital) is a troll to get us talking.
  • 2 0
 @enrico650: yeppers, from what I heard through the grapevine too today is that he doesn't like the 29 and still gonna race the 27.5 this season.
  • 2 0
 @enrico650: From Vital's interview (3.30), he's not able to go any faster on the cobble together 29er Demo.
  • 3 0
 @chrismac70: Dude, ANY job one does should be fun, otherwise, why do it? Other than obvious reasons of not being homeless and dying of hunger and thirst, but that's surviving, not living, right?!?! Wink
  • 1 0
 But its Prototype .
  • 49 1
 That rear dropout extension looks getto AF!
  • 14 0
 and seems a little fragile, I think
  • 3 0
 @djzatorze: Seems or is? No mechanical engineer just bolts something on, crosses their fingers and hopes for the best. To do so would jeopardize their professional standing.
  • 25 0
 where is @protour when you need him.
  • 3 0
 Super Sketchy! Hope the bike stays in one piece for loic's sake!
  • 10 0
 [flips switch]
[adjusts volume]
[slight feedback]
"PROTOUR... Paging PROTOUR... Your presence has been requested."
  • 1 0
 @CaptainSnappy: ha you've got a lot of faith in bike engineers.
How many products come out and defy what you've said entirely?
  • 26 2
 He did an Interview with Vital and stated he won't ride the 29er Demo on sunday...
  • 8 6
 I think Loic's taking the piss - I'd be willing to bet we see him on big wheels come race day.
  • 10 2
 Loic seems very confused in his thoughts. On the one hand he says he doesn't like the direction the sport is going with 29ers and is losing his appetite for racing and on the other hand says "once I have 29ers I hope I will be able to go fast and have fun". It sounds more like Spec haven't got him a 29er race ready and up to standard and he is frustrated to have to play catch up and possibly lose a small advantage (and he's had sop little testing time he can't know for sure if it is an advantage or not which must be playing on his mind)...
  • 9 3
 @BeardlessMarinRider: If i made my living going fast on a bicycle, i'd sure as shit want the fastest thing out there. His paycheck comes down to crossing the finish line first. If courses are getting easier and 29'ers are the best option then it sounds like homeboy wants to pass on a paycheck because Ratboy gets loose.... on a 29'er
  • 3 2
 @BeardlessMarinRider: I had the same thoughts listening to Loic (who I admire as a rider). Reading between the lines a little I think there may be something to the notion that he is frustrated by not having a solid 29" option and not enough testing time. If I understand him correctly I think he's maybe not necessarily against 29ers, they've just come along at a time when there are a lot of other things the athletes are frustrated by and the 29ers are just adding to the frustration. A lot of things are going on and changing but not in the way that the riders would like.
I'm much more liberal than Loic on the whole matter but I'm not the one living it.
I agree that the tracks should get harder, like holy-shit-can-I-even-get-down-this-let-alone-get-down-fast hard. If they got that right I think the margins between the two wheel sizes would diminish and as Loic hopes it would be a matter of which you feel comfortable (less likely to die) on.
  • 9 0
 @BeardlessMarinRider: I remember an interview Loic did before Lourdes where his response to the 29er questions was that he didn't like the move to 29ers because once the whole field is on them there will be little effect to the overall results, those at the top will still be at the top, and everyone will be more or less in the same positions. He said something like the bikes go faster so they'll just crash harder. Brendan Fairclough had a similar opinion.
  • 9 3
 @arden0: He did say that. However, that attitude is BS to a degree. That attitude towards tech would have us still riding rim brakes, skinny wheels, no suspension, 110mm stems, crap tires, etc. etc. Improvement in all those areas, big or small, help us go faster and in more control that before. I can ride bigger, more tech, jump larger, and go faster now at 42 than when I was 22 because of bike tech improvements.
In my humble opinion I would have more respect for him for just flat out saying 'I don't like 29....period" instead of the whole "what happens when all the other riders get them?" All sports involving equipment have that kind of progress, one person gets it, tiny advantage (real or imagined) and then the rest catch up. On to the next minor improvement.
  • 10 9
 Loic, ride a rigid or stfu. I really like his rifing style,but im over his bullshit.
  • 9 6
 Loic is a bit confused cause he still doesn't understand the relationship between employer and employee. pretty sure in the coming days he will fully understand that concept. If not, follow the advice loic, obey your master
  • 5 2
 @Benito-Camelas: "Master"? Last I checked he is free to race bikes for a living or not. Free to chose to sign a contract with any bike company willing to pay him (Specialized currently). I am 100% positive IF he wins consistently with ANY wheels size he chooses, Specialized with support him without questions as long as he is on the podium. However, if everyone is switching to the 29" wheels and he is not winning, guess what? They will encourage him to race 29" wheels on THEIR products they pay him to race. The 'master' comment is bullshit. He can walk away tonight without anything but maybe a breach of contract $$ penalty. Nobody has enslaved him to anything. He races BIKES for a living..something most of us only dream of. He will be just fine.
  • 7 5
 @bman33: Racing is not what you think it is, it's marketing at its best. loic's job is selling bikes, brakes, tires, shorts, underwear or whatever. so if his employer wants to sell 26 alloy frames again, guess what? loic will ride on a 26 alloy frame, in return for money of course.
  • 4 1
 @Benito-Camelas: I know exactly what it is. I raced semi-pro a few years and have been in the industry off and on since the early 1990's. My university degree is in Marketing. I get it 100%. Yes, his job is to showcase and sell products. ZERO wrong with that. However, your analogy to 'master' is what I am calling out. Currently Specialized makes and sells 27.5" bikes. They want to sell those....If he is beating everyone with that size, regardless of what the competition is riding...he will be free to ride 27.5. They will continue to test all sorts of other tech (wheel size included). But to say they are forcing him to ride 29" is laughable. 29" wheel may not be a slopestyle wheel size choice or a Rampage choice. However, a larger wheel rolls over things easier than a smaller one. Period. None of us fanboys on Pinkbike can deny physics. "Fun" is a subjective thing. Loic is a great racer and usually a chill guy. He is being a bit of a whiner right now.
  • 3 1
 @arden0: based on that logic we better go back to handrails or even fully ridged as that suspension only makes you go faster and make crashes hurt more
  • 1 1
 @bman33: no they will tell him to race the 29er or no new contract.
  • 3 0
 @chrismac70: And he has a choice in your exact scenario. So how is that being enslaved? Is Specialized in the wrong? They are his employer, he signed on to whatever the contract says. IF that contract says "Loic will race a 29" wheel" then yes, he is in breach of contract he willingly signed and they will either let him go or not sign a new one if he is still winning on bikes they currently make and he is creating sales. He isn't being 'forced' to race anything. Right now Specialized has no production 29" DH...I am pretty sure that is on the way. Therefore they want to sell the remaining 27.5 they have while developing. Trek appears to either spent the money on new molds -OR- hand created custom molds for the handful of 29" DH bikes they have now. At this point, Specialized wants Loic to win on what they have ...ESPECIALLY if its 27.5 against the comps 29"
  • 2 0
 Forget all this "master" nonsense. Loic is whinging about being given a sub standard 29er with no testing time but doesn't realise that is the source of his frustration and is blaming everything and everyone else under the sun instead
  • 1 0
 @chrismac70: Loicgic.
  • 2 0
 @chrismac70: Haha yeah beach cruisers with canti-brakes only because speed is scary and it hurts more when you fall! I was just trying to reconcile Loic's feelings on 29ers, based on what I've heard him say, and knowing that he had a serious crash last year, and that his team's 29er seems more rushed than some others I can see his point of view. Personally I love new bike tech, so bring on all the 29er coverage!
  • 1 1
 @chrismac70: based on your logic we will go on 31 then 33... People still need fun bikes I dont see where hardtail is any fun on my local trails.
  • 3 0
 @pyrrhon: What is the problem If development in 29" wheels leads us to 31 then 33? I waited today to see the first 29ers come down the hill. First man on 29 was Danny Hart, guess what? Biggest and deepest whip of all the smaller wheels that went before him. Try it before you knock it.
  • 23 0
 I'm waiting for a 26" rig with comments yeah I'm going to double the 29r brake bumps
  • 22 0
 Oh god that dropout extension looks terrifying. Stay safe Loic!
  • 11 1
 this industry is pure madness: "These guys have been chomping on the 29er bit for some time. Specialized was one of the last hold-outs on 27.5".

yet, they are struggling to follow the the other companies when it is about downhill 29er
  • 11 2
 Grabbing popcorn now.......
  • 2 1
 and a beer
  • 4 1
 @peterguns: Good call!
  • 7 2
 the reason no one wants 29" is because, most bike riders are here to have fun, not just go fast. for me 29" just iron out the trail and make it boring. 27.5" gives a fun and poppy bike that is nimble and keeps you on your toes.

but I can see why downhillers have it as the whole point of racing is to be the fastest down a hill. and 29ers are.
  • 9 2
 Wasn't loci calling the people on 29ers basically b&!?)@" like less than a month ago.
  • 4 3
 This is fake news
  • 3 0
 29er skill amplifier. saying that once all dust settles it will be like EWS where some ride 29 some 27.5 .Although I think that depend on tracks staying varied .people comparing f1 to dh have hit the nail on the head you can be the best driver in the world but if you drive for Manor you don't win Mercedes or Farrari then yeah you do .I've watch that for 28 years most of the time since Senna like watching paint dry.5 years ago I start watching DH I'm thinking this is great any one of the last twenty riders (in the mens)could win .Hope it stays that way.
  • 3 0
 So, 650b is faster than 26". Team X starts to ride 650b, cause it's faster. Everyone else follows team X and suddenly the race is all about skill, not what wheels you're riding with. A year or two goes by and BOOM, team X starts riding 29" wheels and beats 650b. As you might expect, everyone else follows team X and like before, the race is all about skill AGAIN.

See where this is going? #36er
  • 2 0
 105 inch monowheel, never OTB ever again.
  • 5 0
 HE WONT RIDE IT !!! watch the vtal MTB intervieuw . he prefers it rougher on 27.5
  • 1 0
 That's what she said.
  • 2 0
 To me this stuff is genius the thought of being able to own 2 awesome bikes just by making a few changes(albeit major & expensive) and I have a smaller wheeled park/freeride weapon & a big wheeled race missle yes it'll be costly but maybe one of the manufactures(Commencal)will sell complete packages with everything needed to make up this 2 bikes from 1 front triangle Trek(can't stand them)says they're only using 1 front triangle everything else bolts to it & it kinda looks like Specialized might be trying to go like that also???? This would be something good and just because it is good it'll never happen!
  • 3 1
 I think loic means that he does not want a wheel size to make the track even easier. He wants a track so radical that even 29 will have trouble with it. But there a simple truth, 29 wheels will make any track easier (faster). UCI please ban 27,5 and 29. Lets go back to cap dail
  • 7 3
 Sorry loic no more fun for you. That is if you pay attention to what the PB crowd has to say about it.
  • 15 3
 You can look at it two ways:

1. Racing at this level is not about fun, but your way of making a living, so you better be competitive. You have a job to do first. Clock in, get it done, and if riding a 29er isn't fun, then after work get on your 16-inch pit bike (the smaller the wheels, the more fun) and do your thing. We all have to do some variation of this, right?

2. Or you can entertain the remote possibility that riding on 29-inch wheels can also be a blast.
  • 3 2
 Haha.. So true
  • 9 6
 @TheR: Never understood the 29 ain't fun or playful.. Are guys seeing the amount of fun Kirt Voreis is having on his niner via Instagram?? He's doing everything pb commenters said couldn't be on the 29..The new crop is a different breed and a blast..
  • 3 2
 @bohns1: I've only ridden 29ers on a couple occasions, and I didn't notice much difference beyond some obstacles were slightly easier and the overall riding was slightly faster.
  • 2 0
 @TheR: yep! Allows me to Cover more ground with less effort all while still having a blast!
  • 1 0
 No one need worry about 29er DH bikes making 27.5 bikes obsolete because they are and have been winning in EWS for a while now even in the company of bigger wheel .As for downhill the season hasn't​ hardly started.And the funniest thing is if Minaar or Hart are in the top three we still won't have a clue cos they would anyway brilliant ha.
  • 1 0
 But wait, Specialized had 29er versions of their Enduro, Stumpjumper FSR, Camber, and Epic forever. If anything, they should have already have a 29er Demo sketch or design in their backpocket, ready to spring it on everyone in DH before anyone else did...quite a head scratcher.
  • 1 0
 They may have tonnes of sketches but nothing in carbon. They are the master of 29er but hell they screw up this time.
  • 1 0
 Lol, it looks like Specialized are way late to the 29er party and are now desperately trying to keep up. Seriously? Just slapping on a bit of carbon to extend the rear end and lowering the fork dropouts just to "make it fit".
  • 3 0
 @Loicbruni29 is his instagram name, not a hashtag.

I'm curious to see if Finn will be on the big wheels given his size.
  • 3 0
 i doubt it at this stage, maybe further down the line when 29ers have actually been thought out a bit more and proper frames designed to fit the big wheels.
  • 1 0
 How much affect will they have? Well we won't really know what is genuinely faster this weekend as likely all the podium threats will be on one. But it will be hyped big time when the wagon wheels take the cake.
  • 6 3
 Adapt or get left behind.
  • 5 1
 Hack or Bodge?
  • 4 1
 lol, that picture should be on the Dirt Shed Show tomorrow.
  • 3 1
 Hodge
  • 2 0
 Massive bodge.
  • 1 0
 Bock, also the sound it makes when that dropout extension snaps...
  • 3 0
 That rear end I think it's gonna break...
  • 2 0
 Now that the company i like tests 29ers i can safely say that i think they're cool and better.
  • 2 1
 Loic is such a hype/yes man...hate on 29'ers was cool, so he was all about the hate...now he's seen other riders do well, he's saying that 29'ers aint that bad...
  • 1 0
 Just give the c@nt tighter clothes, then you don't have to worry about gaining fractions via crazy bike mods. The mountain bike industry is so f*cked up.
  • 3 1
 Shouldn't it be called the Demo 89er?
  • 2 0
 That drop out is bush league at best.
  • 3 0
 Yaaawwwwwwn
  • 1 0
 He just said he won't be riding it this weekend: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP_rfE440N8&t=0s
  • 1 0
 Funny as hell, the 'Innovate or Die!" company is once again playing the wait and follow.
  • 3 1
 Will be interesting to see where about on track his rear wheel tears out.
  • 1 0
 I'd be asking for a new clause in my contract saying if I'm permanently injured if that extension fails you pay me my current salary for life.
  • 2 0
 That "stretched out rear end" looks sketchy AF!
  • 1 0
 FS: 2016 Norco Aurum Carbon
  • 1 0
 COTD!!!!
  • 2 1
 I'm a little scared of exhibit C
  • 2 1
 Nothin like a dirty knob up your ass!
  • 5 6
 I got my first 29er last week and I have to say I felt super comfortable and faster compare to my 27,5" bike... Just saying... Smile
  • 3 4
 So they guy who makes a living on racing is complaining about it being made easier? Next....

THEY GAVE ME A FASTER CAR AND A STRAIGHTER COURSE.
  • 1 2
 29ers will be the end of Downhill!!!!! May as well bring back skin suits and removing the peak on your helmet............
  • 1 2
 Nice Xfusion 650b lowers on the Ohlins 650b fork.
  • 6 9
 That is a beautiful rig!
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