has all of their high end bikes on display at this years Crankworx and I was one of the chosen few who were first to unleash their 2011 Demo 8 upon Whistler's massive terrain
. Inside you'll find my thoughts on how the completely revised race minded Demo performed, as well as some great audio explaining the how's and why's of the soon to be released bike.Read on...2011 Specialized Demo 8 One
You're looking at the 2011 Specialized Demo 8 One. The black and yellow machine is one level down on the price scale from the deluxe red and white model, but still uses a smart spec like the Boxxer Race fork and SRAM drivetrain. Both models use the same frame, which is also the exact one that the Monster Energy Specialized team rides into battle on the World Cup circuit.
The new Demo has many refinements that set it apart from last years model, one of the biggest being a lower center of gravity. If you compare the previous model to this new 2011 version you'd discover that the shock is sitting lower in the frame and working with the uber low BB height to bring the COG down as much as possible. After two days of shredding this very bike in the Whistler bike park I have to admit that the new Demo is one of the easiest cornering bikes that I've ever been on once the speeds pick up. If you feel that the BB is too low for you, you can rotate an insert within the shock eyelet to raise it slightly. Listen to the audio below for the lowdown.
This eccentric insert, shown in a Vivid Air removed from a different 2011 Demo 8, takes the place of the standard Fox shock bushing and allows BB height and head angle adjustment.
The headtube on the 2011 Demo is 8 mm shorter than last years bike, every little bit counts! If you heard Brendan talk about slammed front ends in yesterdays bike check article you know that he isn't a big fan, but having the shortest possible headtube keeps everyone happy - if you want higher bars, just add some spacers. Have a look at the direct mount stem that Specialized spec'd, low!
Much like my dream woman, the new Demo is thinner but with a wider rear end. 2011 sees the Demo step up to a full width 150 x 12 mm rear end, but heel clearance has increased regardless. The engineers have also made a special effort to reduce the areas for mud to plug up and get caught in. There are less open pockets and clearances actually increase as the mud goes from the upper stays down through the chainstays.
The Demo 8 1 comes with a coil sprung Boxxer Race fork with color matched decals stock.
Geometry chart for all sizes of the 2011 Demo 8, including the new extra-small option.
While some may scoff at only having put in a day and a half of riding on a new bike before putting down my thoughts, a full day riding lifts in the Whistler bike park will quickly ferret out the weaknesses of any bike. My saddle time on the new Demo was spent on anything and everything that the big mountain has to offer, from muddy and technical Garbonzo runs down No Joke and Original Sin, to high speed dashes down the machine built jump trails, the Demo saw it all today.
The faster you go on the 2011 Demo, the faster you'll want to go. The new bike has a great temperament - if you want to boost, the bike will do it, but if you want to stay low and fast, it'll do that as well. I had some of my fastest runs down Whistler's machine built trails after only a few hours on the Demo, but the black and yellow bike loved the rooty gnar of the upper mountain as well. Rider: Mike Levy, Trail: Heart of Darkness, Whistler.
My initial runs on any new and unfamiliar bike are always a bit hesitant, and rightfully so. All too often I've thought that me and a new test sled have hit if off wonderfully, only to be thrown off or at least given a good shake of the head further on during the ride. Its not that the bike is doing anything wrong, just that it didn't do what I expected. That never happened during any of the countless runs that I put in on the 2011 Demo 8 One. No "whoa" moments (ok, maybe one, but it really was my fault
) and no surprises. The bike quickly felt comfortable upon the first sitting, a roomy toptube and low stance making me feel right at home.
The new shock yoke allows Specialized to mount the shock where it simply wasn't possible before - through the tire! This new position not only lowers the center of gravity, but also lets the engineers fine tune the suspension rate exactly to their liking, which is more progressive than previous Demo's. The rearward shock eyelet is rotated 90 degrees and the shock mounting bolt runs vertically, not horizontally. Also notice the Whistler terra firma from doing Garbonzo runs splattered nearly everywhere - This bike got some major vertical today!
Although this new 2011 bike looks vaguely similar to earlier models, it rides like a whole new animal. The faster you go, the more the bike eggs you on to brake later and later. Fast bermed corners on the bike were incredible. I know I've been as quick through them on other bikes, but the Demo had a whole new level of surefootedness through them that felt as if I didn't even need brakes. The level of chassis balance was impressive, traction was never an issue at either end of the bike and I wasn't required to hang off the bike in order to get it to do what I needed. Jumping the bike was interesting in that if I didn't quite have the speed I needed, I could very easily pick the bike up and simply put it where I needed to be. At the opposite end of the speed scale, if I was going to overcook transition all I needed was a bit of body english to keep the tires close to the dirt and find backside. Into the cloud cover higher up on the mountain's more technical trails proved that the Demo handled proper difficult trails in a good manner as well, not that I'd doubted that it couldn't given it's pedigree. By the end of the day I found myself wishing for a 50 lb lighter spring on the Fox shock, but even so the bike felt forgiving on some very unforgiving terrain. Harsh G-outs and rock ledges made it obvious that the rear suspension is more progressive than others.
It looks like Specialized has a winner straight out of the box. As they should, the Demo has progressed of the years step by step to become an incredibly versatile bike that easily handles any terrain. From being a bit of a beast when it was first introduced, the 2011 Demo is now a full on race minded bike that most any rider should feel at home on. I'm looking forward to spending more time on the new bike down the road, but it certainly looks like a promising package. What do you make of the new Demo? Is it going to be on your short list for the upcoming 2011 race season? Tell us below!
Visit the Specialized website
for more details and information.