The Pinkbike Podcast: Jason Chamberlain on Developing Demo DH Bikes, Testing with Sam Hill, and 6-Bar Suspension

Mar 17, 2023
by Mike Levy  
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Art by Taj Mihelich


Jason Chamberlain worked as both a suspension engineer and senior design engineer at Specialized for over twenty years, with that time including Horst Link bikes that range from short-travel rigs to pretty much every Demo downhill bike they've ever made. Today's show sees Jason and I dig into what makes the Horst Link layout (AKA four-bar), so versatile, the pros and cons of gearboxes, and if the extra complication of a six-bar design is worth it. We also talk about data acquisition, testing with Sam Hill, who has the longest rocker arm, and the development of Intense's new downhill bike.





THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 173 - JASON CHAMBERLAIN ON DEVELOPING DEMO DH BIKES, TESTING WITH SAM HILL, GEARBOXES, AND 6-BAR SUSPENSION
March 17th, 2023

Explaining the new Intense DH bike.



Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

Subscribe to the podcast via your preferred service (Apple, Spotify, RSS, Megaphone, etc.), or visit the Pinkbike Podcast tag page for the complete list of episodes.



Podcast presented by Intense Cycles
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Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

40 Comments
  • 5 0
 Jason and Mike, great episode. I obviously have feelings on the gearbox that differ from yours. Wink Also, I agree, that Demo that is Jason's favorite was an amazing bike AND a work of art. Some of the best engineering AND industrial design coming together and making an incredible machine.
  • 4 0
 By the way, we've moved over to Megaphone for podcast hosting. Is anyone able to confirm that it's all coming through your various podcast services as usual?
  • 5 0
 It works for me. I wish I could still download it to take with me on rides though.
  • 2 0
 Not yet on Apple..
  • 2 0
 Not in my Spotify feed just yet
  • 1 0
 Not seeing it on spotify @brianpark
  • 1 0
 Working on the BeyondPod app
  • 4 0
 Works on Spotify for me.
  • 1 0
 RSS feed seems to be working fine in Overcast on iOS
  • 1 0
 The most recent episode I see on Google Podcasts is 172, if that's what you're asking.
  • 3 0
 Not arrived on Google podcasts yet
  • 1 0
 Yup, S1 E173 is showing up on Pocketcasts.
  • 1 0
 streaming in the site time how long it will last isn't shown. A bit annoying
  • 1 0
 @DaveE-Trail: yep, I used to download them and listen to them while traveling. It's a shame I can't do this anymore.
  • 1 0
 @DaveE-Trail: Figured out how to download it, click on share, then the download button, then right click on the slider that appears in a new tab and select save audio file as. that worked for me.
  • 1 0
 @Dicko22: Save you a step. Click on the share, right click the download button, and save link as....
  • 2 0
 I love that he calls out the Demo 9 and "X-ray" Demo as his favorites, then mentions shock removal... Big Grin literally the hardest bike, and the easiest bike, to remove the rear shock from.

(if you've never had to remove a rear shock from one of those Demos with the forged basket around the BB, count yourself lucky. but they also still look as good as a modern bike so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
  • 2 0
 At least I learned something from that first one! lol
  • 1 0
 @jason-at-intense: i loved my gen 1 demo 8, but yea, i can't imagine being a WC mechanic having to swap shocks on it Big Grin
  • 3 1
 The funny thing about putting gear boxes on a DH bike is the 7 speed drivetrains with short cage derailleurs work so well and seem so crisp and compact compared to 1x12's on trail bikes. They're where you feel the least downsides of the current technology.
  • 1 0
 The day that E bikes have an integrated gearbox motor is the day that I will buy one. In my mind, that is undoubtedly the future of the market. I've ridden a pinion, love the idea and can appreciate the benefits in the right application... but for every reason Jason said it also kinda sucked.
  • 1 0
 wish I could tell him to bring back the last gen demo before they went 29/mullet. That was peak demo. There's a reason you see so many freeriders on them. Even specialized's own athletes...
  • 2 0
 Thank you for the gearbox discussion. I'd really like a good gearbox, but I'm not going to accept a bad one.
  • 4 1
 Not. 6. Bar.
  • 2 0
 I need my Jedi 29. Really enjoyed this one, Thanks
  • 2 0
 Amazing podcast!! Geeking out hard
  • 1 0
 Glad you enjoyed it.
  • 3 0
 Jason is such a legend!!
  • 2 0
 I always assumed Levy was born with his tattoos.
  • 2 0
 Lone Wolf.
  • 1 0
 Wonder if he has tattoos of controversial bikes and bike parts, like idlers, gear boxes, AMP forks, the 1994 Proflex, the SIingshot, the Allsop Softride, head tube cable routing, front and rear hubs of different widths, Fisher's late 1980's 1.25" headset and the like. That would be epic commitment to the industry if you ask me.
  • 2 0
 @The-Foiling-Optimist: Ive seen Schwinn tattoos on other people that aren’t so cool any longer that’s for sure.
  • 1 0
 @jason-at-intense: Yikes. Schwinn is fascinating as it was a department store brand, then in around 1994 they got serious and sponsored Jeff Lenosky, and I believe both Dave Osato and Jay Miron for BMX, who duly went off and medaled in XGames. Then sometime in the early 2000s they dropped all that and went back to being low end, which it looks like they still are. So for a brief period they were pretty cool, but it sure didn't last as long as a tattoo! - ps I just realized who you are, and you obviously know all the above. (And I'll bet you can guess who I am!)
  • 1 1
 Good interview and thanks for the shout-out and acknowledging gearboxes would be good for e bikes! He seems to be a high pivot fan, surprised Specialized never sold one.
  • 2 0
 The best podcast ever. I wish it would be longer tho
  • 1 0
 You missed your chance to get his feedback in linkage forks, especially since Spesh bought the IP rights for Trust.
  • 1 0
 On apple, with explicit rating. Nice!
  • 1 0
 ZERODE G3 is a new 6 speed Pinion gearbox downhill bike
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