Spotted: Under the Cover of Specialized's Prototype Downhill Bike

Oct 5, 2023 at 11:48
by Matt Beer  
Specialized Demo Prototype

Rumors and theories have circulated amongst the tech keeners about what lay underneath the covers on Specialized's prototype downhill bike for over a year now, but these new photos of Finn Illes' bike in the workstand give a better understanding of the suspension system.

From the visible portions of the frame, only so many possibilities existed given the short link at the top of the seatstay (which looks to be from Specialized's Enduro model) and dropout pivot. The use of a Horst Link was clear, but the cover hid the main pivot location, pull-rod and rocker link that's now visible.

The CNC'd alloy chainstay truss rotates on a massive main pivot near the top of the chainring, pulling on the rod under the bottom bracket, rotating the rocker link around the black bolt in the CNC'd shock basement, rearward of the three smaller silver bolts. This suspension layout isn't a new concept - Ancillotti Cycles have been using a non-Horst link version for years. On a downhill bike, the ability to keep the bike's weight as low and centered as possible is likely one of the main benefits.

It's likely that the axle path is typical of a Horst Link, which is nearly vertical, but moves slightly rearward, then forward significantly.

Further tuning could be easily accomplished by swapping the rocker link or even tweaking the geometry by altering the pull-rod length. On the rocker near the lower shock mount, the number "225" is visible, implying that different shock lengths and travel amounts are being tested.

Specialized Demo Prototype

Loic Bruni has been riding a very similar bike to the one seen here, although there could be more at play there in terms of damping controls since we've seen electronic buttons mounted to his handlebar.

photo

When asked, Specialized remained tight lipped about the frame details and its future, but did say where the frame was made and provided a name for the suspension type; "Under Bottom Bracket" or "UBB".

Here's their official statement on what they have dubbed as "Project Black".

bigquotesWhat you’re seeing at the core of this prototype is the UBB suspension system. This novel linkage system enables us to independently fine-tune key ride dynamics components, including axle path, shock leverage rate, and anti-squat/anti-rise characteristics for braking. This decoupling not only enables us to tune the race bikes for elite riders but also provides us with valuable qualitative and quantitative data.

What most won’t know is that these prototype UBB bikes are 100% handcrafted with precision at our innovation center in Morgan Hill, California. Each carbon tube is hand-rolled by our in-house composite experts. Lugs, linkage, swingarm, and all billet parts are precision CNC machined within the same facility, with the bonding process executed meticulously.

The UBB system has proven to be an extremely effective product development tool for our Ride Dynamics team in influencing the development of recently launched bikes, as well as those that will shape the future of cycling across multiple disciplines. We understand there will be more questions around the UBB suspension system, but we will not be providing further information at this time and will refer you to our Project Black Statement.

Project Black: Specialized relies on feedback from professional athletes in both developing and testing advanced pre-production products in real-world
applications. With this top-level feedback, some of these design elements and products eventually show up in future retail product offerings. We call this Project Black.
Specialized


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Member since Mar 16, 2001
361 articles

246 Comments
  • 310 16
 Still looks sleeker than a production Orange
  • 319 14
 i figured this out a few months ago lol
m.pinkbike.com/forum/listcomments/?threadid=245795
  • 33 0
 ^ smarter than your average bear!
  • 21 0
 @gearbo-x: God, I love Pinkbike
  • 20 19
 @gearbo-x: There wasn't much to figure out DM and Anchillotti were using exactly this technology in 1993
  • 13 5
 1993 calling DM and Anchillotti want their design back
  • 1 1
 Indeed! Isn’t this going to fill with rocks + dirt and so cause all sorts of issues if it goes into production?

That boot they’ve been using has been doing more than hide this resurrection of the 1993 version.

My take, anyway.
  • 19 2
 @gearbo-x: we know, you announced that on each and every mtb forum
  • 6 1
 @vemegen: I saw it. Super thirsty
  • 1 0
 That’s one hell of a dangler to smash.
  • 15 6
 @shredddr: that's what your mom said last night. She was right.
  • 6 3
 @ThatOneGuyInTheComments: my mother is deceased. hope you had fun.
  • 2 2
 @vemegen: only Vital and here bro..Heaven knows you don't post anything too real or factual on NSMB. you know what happened last time
  • 5 7
 @shredddr: I was thinking so. It was like heaven when we got started.
  • 1 0
 @vemegen: seriously. Super proud
  • 282 10
 We thought they were hiding something interesting, but they were really just hiding the fact that it’s ugly. Well played
  • 23 1
 I usually like the aesthetic of lugs. But that is lugly. So F’in lugly it’s flugly.
  • 5 0
 Ancillotti needs to make a beautiful polished aluminum version of this Specialized (which is quite reminiscent of Ancillotti’s “Pull Shock” suspension configuration...but the Specialized has an extra 4-bar linkage and Horst pivot).
  • 3 0
 I’ve never related to a bike so much!
  • 1 0
 Specialized tell us you made another Horst link without telling us you made another Horst link.
  • 128 36
 Put the cover back on. That thing is an over complicated monstrosity.
  • 33 1
 Bud do you remember the demo 9's? Or Yeti 303? OR Sacren's current DH bike?
  • 44 0
 Laughs in Nicolai Nucleon.
  • 4 7
 @NorCalNomad: I had a demo 9. it was much more simple than this complicated monstrosity.
  • 13 2
 I don't envy the girls you've met...
  • 8 5
 @NorCalNomad: Saracen's new bike is like a useless rude goldberg machine. All that links just to still have a (multiple) linkage driven single pivot.
  • 6 6
 Its not that complicated. If you count its a 6 bar design similar to the commencal supreme. Just a different layout and more closer to the ground.
  • 16 0
 is it any more complicated than the production demo (or enduro), tho? still a standard horst link 4 bar with a separately actuated shock (via pull bar & lever). isolating the pull shaft from the upper swing link (the demo design) may provide added tuning advantages / flexibility as well, not to mention the lowered cg.

aesthetics are of course subjective, but i think this bike looks badass. would love to see this platform make it's way to the enduro (in a refined iteration).
  • 5 2
 @malca: To be fair, multi-links driving the shock is used by lots of companies to fine tune antisquat, antirise, leverage, etc. Just look at the current Enduro - it's "just" a horst link, but a lot of the performance is driven by the design of the rocker and 2 shock links.

Evil's DELTA system is just as complicated as Saracen if you want to compare another single pivot.
  • 2 4
 @xy9ine: I think this linkage design and he resulting kinematics won't do go for pedaling bikes. I would love to rid this only for DH.
  • 4 0
 Seems to be working well although
  • 3 1
 Not at all.
  • 12 2
 The Saracen and the Commencal aren't single pivots and they aren't horst link. The Evil Delta is a linkage driven single pivot, because if you pull out all the links the axle still swings around the main pivot. The new Enduro and the Demo are linkage driven 4 bars, because when you pull out all the moto links the axle is still dictated by the four bar design. With the Saracen and Commencals, all six bars affect the axle path and if you pull out any one of them the whole thing falls apart.
  • 8 2
 jump off the vanity train. this is also a proto
  • 2 0
 @NorCalNomad: lol yeah, i had a demo 9, it had a whole extra triangle!
  • 1 1
 @danstonQ: That's truly funny!
  • 2 0
 If anything it’s probably LESS complicated than the current demo or enduro
  • 5 0
 I know... it s far more important to have a pretty dh bike than a fast one...
  • 3 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: they also mention 6-bar in this article about the Saracen, but to me looks like a solid chainstay connects main pivot and rear axle, making axle path a perfect arch around said main pivot, and the rest going on decouples braking and shock actuation
  • 1 0
 this isnt any more complicated than current demo/enduro. it is uglier tho.
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: how is the Saracen not a single pivot (or split pivot if you want to look at the axle connection)?
  • 2 0
 @bogey: It is a single pivot. Not sure why anyone is arguing its not.
  • 1 0
 @bogey: Yeah fair play, it's definitely a single pivot axle path. I forgot the Saracen was a different design that the Commencal or an old Felt Equilink. My bad.
  • 3 0
 @bogey:
I'm not sure why anyone thinks a link driven single pivot or split pivot is a bad thing. To all you armchair engineers crying "OMG IT SUX, ITS SINGLE PIVOT" can I remind you that some of the biggest teams with the most wins ran and still run single/split pivot. Trek and Devinci to name two very big and obvious ones.
  • 3 1
 @notthatfast: Split pivot and single pivot are different beasts. Typically, split pivot bikes, like 4-bar bikes, are able to be tuned with much more reasonable antirise curves which provide independence between braking forces and suspension behavior. Single pivot designs without an axle between the chainstay and seatstay cannot provide this and are subject to higher antirise and corresponding brake jack. This is not necessarily a bad thing if you are a racer type with clear braking points and good brake discipline - higher antirise can help preserve bike geometry and provider faster handling at the expense of outright suspension performance. But I'd argue that most people benefit from decoupling braking forces and suspension performance via additional pivot or moving the instant center (or both) in the suspension travel.

Both of the "obvious ones" you pointed out are split pivot designs.
  • 1 0
 @KJP1230:
I feel like most people's objection to single pivot is that the axle path rotates around a fixed point, in which case split pivot IS a single pivot layout.
And this sort of exemplifies my point - most of the people complaining about it don't actually understand it well enough to form a well informed opinion.

Let's also not forget that most of the 'on trend' high pivot designs are a single pivot layout. Forbidden, Deviate etc.
  • 1 0
 @notthatfast: The difference between a Split Pivot and a single-pivot is that the split pivot places the brake on the seatstay, like a four-bar, rather than on the chainstay, like a single-pivot. This allows the brake jack (brake squat, brake anti-rise ... whatever you want to call it) to be controlled independently.

Not that there's anything single-pivot about this Specialized design. The axle is not attached to the swingarm; it is controlled via a linkage. It's a four-bar system with separate linkages for the wheel and for the shock. The addition of the shock link does not make it a six-bar, as some have said above: "X-bar" refers to the elements that dictate the movement of the rear wheel. Designers can add a separate linkage for the shock, a floating brake, etc., but those don't change the elements moving the rear wheel and, therefore, don't change the linkage classification.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R:
I'm very aware of that, I was addressing the folks in the room complaining about all the "complicated" looking pivots on the single-pivot Saracen bike.
  • 2 0
 @notthatfast: Fair enough. The current Saracen prototype is, as you noted, a Split Pivot, which is both a single-pivot with a floating brake (the seatstays and primary link act as the floating mechanism), and a "trivial case" four-bar with zero offset between the axle and one of the pivots - plus an extra link to control the shock, of course.

I prefer to describe it as a Horst four-bar with zero offset at the chainstay pivot, but some folks have trouble getting their heads around that; if people prefer to call it a single-pivot with a floating brake, that's fine, but it's important to note the equivalence of these concepts in the case of a Split Pivot configuration when the brake is not attached to the chainstay.

The vertical link dropping down from the middle of primary link made me think it was a six-bar when I first saw it, like the old Felt Equilink and the new Commencal Supreme v5. More links aren't necessarily better, but it's fun when bike companies get weird, so it was disappointing to find out the Saracen was less exotic.
  • 1 0
 @notthatfast: True, but not anymore. Forbidden has moved to an "inverted 4-bar" design, which is essentially a high-pivot version of the current specialized enduro layout (multi-link driven, upside-down horst). In a video about the release of the bike, they were clear that this was because they wanted to tune out more pedal kickback while also lowering anti rise.

I suspect we'll see more and more high pivot designs combined with split pivot/4-bar/6-bar designs.
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: Wasn't talking about the new proto Saracen, was talking about their current production one.
  • 1 0
 @notthatfast: let’s not let facts get in the way of knowledge assumed.
  • 35 4
 Full review tomorrow then?
  • 24 0
 100% handcrafted with cnc machined lugs. I Can’t imagine the blisters they’d get running the cnc mill by hand.

Describing a bike as hand crafted is weird marketing because technically all bikes are ‘handcrafted’ except the parts that are milled, forged, extruded etc.
  • 13 0
 I assume they used CAD to design it, Cardboard Aided Design.
  • 24 0
 Seems like that lower link will get REALLY close to the ground under compression, or is that just me?

Hope its sturdy on the production model.
  • 23 2
 who said anything about production? this thing was made to win races
  • 10 2
 @mariomtblt: every demo ever
  • 9 0
 I am also afraid of the lower link extending down far enough beyond the chainring itself and then hitting a rock. That will be disaster, but I think that extension can only happen past the shock compression limit, which wont happen and, therefore, the disaster likely won't happen. Also, these guys are taking the bikes to the limit and if it works for them then it will work beyond good for us mortals.
  • 14 1
 @mariomtblt: aren't there UCI rules that bikes used in sanctioned races have to eventually be available as a production variant of some sort?
  • 6 1
 @KJP1230: the rules around that are kinda loose, transition and frameworks have ridden many bikes that never made it to production for example
  • 31 0
 @KJP1230, no, that rule only applies to the road bike side of things - mountain bikes don't fall under the same regulation. At least that was the case the last time I checked.
  • 1 0
 that pull bar definitely gonna take some heavy hits from riders if it ever sees production.
  • 2 0
 @mariomtblt: which transition bikes have been raced but not ended up as a TR500 or TR11? Having a real hard time remembering any examples
  • 8 0
 @samdaman1: oops I meant intense, sorry
  • 2 2
 @Bird-in-dirt: What goes down a little bit is the direct shock actuating link, but it's only 3-4mm or so, still quite protected by the chainring, whatever size it is, not to speak of a bashguard.
  • 3 4
 It's just you. That horizontal lower link will be pulled back and up by the chainstay, and it will only go down a couple of milimeters from the shock linkage side.
  • 9 4
 I know this might come as a shock for some,
but there are many other mountain bike websites out in the world wide web....

For your viewing pleasure

www.vitalmtb.com/forums/The-Hub,2/2020-MTB-Tech-rumors-and-innovation,10797?page=465
  • 2 0
 @Bird-in-dirt: I thought something similar but then figured the Specialized team had more chance of whacking it in something big than the likes of me and had taken that into account
  • 13 0
 Axle path has very little to do with Horst Link to to be honest. Antirise ist usually lower than on other designs though but you can easily design a high pivot horstlink like the new GT. Beeing able to run a fairly high pivot with a reasonable antirise is the main advantage of horstlink bikes these days.
  • 22 0
 Agree. It's one of those weird statements that come out of nowhere but keep being repeated. The axle path of your horst link (or any other layout) will depend on the location of the pivot points. Interestingly enough tough, Matt managed to make another convoluted statement: 'which is nearly vertical, but moves slightly rearward, then forward significantly'. So it's vertical or not?
  • 3 0
 Agreed! We are seeing horst and inverted 4-bar layouts crop up in high pivot bikes pretty quickly. The new Forbidden's are moving to this design specifically to lower antirise.
  • 34 0
 The only reason Horst is associated with things like low anti-squat, "plush", "active", etc. is because those were the choices favoured by many early users of the Horst design. Companies like Intense, Turner, Specialized, Titus, GT, Chuck, etc. in the '90s usually used extremely low anti-squat because the industry didn't know better - and some other designs were using extremely high anti-squat, so there was a significant contrast between designs.

Specialized persisted with lower than average anti-squat until the 2019 Enduro revision, at which point they leapt to values well above average. Nothing about these properties are intrinsic to the Horst configuration; they're just choices made by the designers.

Similarly, most Specialized designs used high leverage ratios with light damper tunes, giving a "plush" feel. Again, just design choices.

Several years ago, Knolly and Whyte had half the anti-squat of the Enduro - and the Privateer 161 and Orbea Rallon had even higher anti-squat values. All Horsts (with an extra shock link, in Knolly's case), but at opposite ends of the spectrum. A Gamux Runi had a 50% higher leverage ratio than a Bird Aeris 145 - again, both Horsts, and both at opposite ends of the spectrum.

It's not which type of four-bar link that determines the ride characteristics, it's how the designer(s) choose to configure it.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Interesting post. Is it fair to generally equate high anti-squat with a lively pedal response?
I had a 2015-ish Enduro 29 and it pedaled incredibly well with the stock shock.
My current Bird Aeris 9 seems to combine high-ish anti-squat with low leverage rate to get decent pedaling and good bump absorbtion - but only if used with a low compression tune shock.
  • 2 0
 @EnduroManiac: I'll try to deconvolute this : no it's not vertical. It's nearly vertical.
Then the rearward/forward info tells us how it moves -slightly- horizontally during compression.

But yeah the rest is confusing at best, stating that Horst is the reason for this? There's no direct link between the 2
  • 7 3
 It would be nice if Pinkbike hired people who actually understood this stuff to write about this stuff.
  • 3 0
 I'm guessing the point of the machined BB area and chainstay is that they can (relatively) easily swap between versions with different main pivot locations - and hence adjust the axle path and anti-squat.
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: Yes - high antisquat will mean that the bike is unlikely to suffer pedal bob as the suspension wants to stiffen or extend under pedaling force, and will therefore pedal efficiently and provide a lively feel.

Meanwhile, lower antisquat and reasonably low antirise will typically mean that a bike will have a plush and active suspension when descending, with less chain growth, pedal kickback and remain active under braking.
  • 3 0
 @chakaping:

Yes, high pedaling anti-squat is usually associated with a firm (not "squishy") pedaling response, but it can be complicated. Extremely high pedaling anti-squat - we're talking about a level not seen since the bad old days of suspension - can cause "inchworming", where the suspension jacks due to chain tension and can be extremely inefficient. There's also a region of moderately low pedaling anti-squat that can set up a resonant bobbing with the rider's vertical torso and leg movements, producing a lot of bike movement; a bike with less pedaling anti-squat would be more stable, though also more "squishy" under power. Finally, for a direct drivetrain (no idler or equivalent), more pedaling anti-squat results in more pedal feedback while pedaling ("kickback", though the cranks don't actually counter-rotate).

Leverage rate and bump absorption is a tricky relationship. You're correct that a low leverage ratio should be matched to a lighter damping tune, and vice-versa. Some dampers still choke (feel harsh) at some shaft speeds and the higher speeds of a low leverage bike is more likely to expose these sub-optimal damper properties. A design with a high leverage ratio can hide some damper shortcomings, while introducing other potential problems.
  • 1 0
 @Uuno: 'forward SIGNIFICANTLY'. Does not sound like almost vertical to me. Rather a big arch, like all of the bikes that don't have a (virtual or not) high pivot. But OK.
  • 13 0
 Bruni has won more than one race by being able to firm up his suspension for those long smooth pedal and flow sections. Not dumb.
  • 2 0
 I do wonder if it's how he sometimes comes into the second split (after a section that's not on camera) 3 or 4 seconds up.
  • 19 5
 I've never wanted a Specialized this much.
  • 10 0
 20 years ago I said I wanted bar mounted compression controls on a DH bike and people laughed out loud at me. Fast forward to the fastest man in the world possibly running it this weekend?.....simple tech that has been around for a looooong time that would help gain those vaulable hundredths.
  • 2 0
 I think bar mounted compression controls might be a simplification of what’s going on. I think there are a lot of cool ideas to be explored with electronic suspension that are more sophisticated, for example could you make a system that’s plush for small hits, but firms up on big hits, or what about a system that alters the damping to automatically preserve front/rear weight balance and ride height?
  • 3 2
 I agree C4, this should have been used a long time ago. I have Flight Attendant on my bike and it’s so good that I’m surprised it never has caught on. Having a handlebar mounted compression control would make so much sense in downhill
  • 6 1
 @dthomp325: That's correct.

There isn't enough time or mental bandwidth in downhill to have a system with complex manual inputs. The most a rider could realistically manage would be a short-throw dial, such as a Grip Shift, but even that would be a stretch. A binary-state, on/off system is more realistic - and even that might have a timer that defaults to the "rowdy terrain" setting if the rider accidentally actuates the "easy terrain" mode or fails to switch back when things get busy.

I'm not involved with the Specialized Gravity + Öhlins project, so I can only speculate on Bruni's system. Some guesses at what the modes might be:

1. Steep and not-so-steep.
- Steep: Firmer front spring and softer rear. Firmer compression and faster rebound damping on the front and vice-versa on the rear.
- Not-so-steep: Inverse.

2. Fast and slow.
- Fast: Lighter damping, especially low-speed.
- Slow: Inverse.

3. More support and less support.
- More: Firmer spring and damping for increased control.
- Less: Softer spring and less damping for less fatigue on the body and faster rolling.

4. Electronic system on and off. This could be anything from the pantheon of gadgets already on the market (SRAM Flight Attendant, Fox Live Valve, Lapierre E:i, Noleen/K2 Smart Shock) to a proper active system with GPS or terrain scanning (unlikely, but fun to hope).

These changes could act on the linkage via moveable mounting points, the springs, and/or the dampers. Damper adjustments are most likely, but it would be exciting if all three were in play.
  • 16 2
 Meanwhile, young Irish fella wins race on a 5 years old bike design
  • 10 1
 @malca: meanwhile. Loic is still in first place overall.
  • 1 0
 @BeerGuzlinFool: Which only shows that the bike is not significantly worse than "normal bikes", it's not like there really has been a big change in his performance when he started using the prototypes..
  • 2 1
 @finnspin: who said it was worse.
  • 2 0
 @BeerGuzlinFool: No one, but my point was that you can't really say it's a better bike either.. Not much worse is the only thing that Bruni being first on it safely prooves.
  • 9 0
 It's a Sunn Radical copy!
  • 39 2
 Specialized will sue them.
  • 10 0
 Where's the battery?
  • 1 0
 You joke, but this is actually the e-bike I want.
  • 5 0
 Everyone who had mentioned older designs like the Ancillotti, Sunn Rad etc etc are forgetting they where single pivot designs which suffered from a lot of pedal feedback and brake jack, Specialized have designed it around the FSR donuts the best of both worlds. Just watch the footage of them riding it. It’s one of the smoothest bikes on the World Cup circuit
  • 2 0
 Design not donuts lol damn phone
  • 4 0
 I would agree Specialized had the trail smoothing machine well dialed. I think this bike has more rear travel than average bikes. Both riders got the bike setup very low and flat.
That rear wheel moves crazy fast,the suspension and bike combo is fine tuned every race to almost perfection.
They make a great job for those riders,at least we can see the bike is more planted/stable.
  • 4 0
 Those things are true, but I think there's more to it.

Bruni's bike, in particular, appears to use less spring support and more damper support (lower ride height, yet doesn't blow through the travel). There have been some anecdotes from interviews with Öhlins staff that indicate Bruni's compression damper support a few years ago was roughly four times firmer than what's used on their consumer products; haven't heard any updates since then, but it still appears to sit low without using excessive travel.
  • 8 0
 Pardon my ignorance: Are electronically controlled suspensions legal?
  • 10 0
 They will be banned as a 'moveable aerodynamic device' - not the first time I've used this one, thanks Flavio!
  • 5 0
 Why would they not be allowed? If it’s not specifically banned, it is permitted.
  • 3 0
 Under current UCI regulations, they should be just fine. Aside from some weird rulings, like "no skinsuits in DH" the UCI generally leaves MTB alone when they want to experiment, which is fine by me.
  • 1 0
 @monkeynaut: It just surprised me that no other team is following that path. Since no one was developing something along that way ( before Specialized revealing the innards) I just thought electronic devices were banned
  • 8 1
 "You can leave the cover off, it didn't work anyways.."
  • 1 3
 @malca: really? I thought Loic was in first place.
  • 7 0
 NSMB is losing its mind rn
  • 7 0
 Call PROTOUR BACK !!!! we need him to burn this down!
  • 5 0
 Waki the Lurker is so tempted right now......
  • 8 1
 Vital coverage
  • 3 1
 A few days ago vital dropped the pics
  • 2 2
 @taskmgr: Only the stripped down bike though, not assembled with a shock in place.
  • 4 0
 @CleanZine: I didn't have any issue figuring out where the shock would go...
  • 1 0
 @CleanZine: now take a deep thinking how there is another picture shortly after with a statement by specialized? #damagecontrol
  • 5 3
 A horst-link probably has similar axle path as a "typical horst-link"? That's some quality reporting there

Except, even saying "typical horst-link" is just stupid, because there are _so_ many options for pivot placements and link lengths and thus axle path... it's kind of the whole point of any multi-link system..
  • 2 0
 "This novel linkage system enables us to independently fine-tune key ride dynamics components,"

The key is not the independence... The last two production Demos could do that. Especially the last one with the Sender/Enduro/moto style linkage. This one might be a bit easier to mess with leverage ratios since that linkage is outside the constraints of having to fit inside the whole getup.
  • 2 0
 I don't understand how they can "tune axle paths". The axle path is dictated by the pivot points, not the shock linkage. Take the shock and all the shock linkages out of the system and the axle path is still the same. Am I missing something?
  • 1 1
 @malca: probably not with the same setup. They might be using different lugs.
  • 1 0
 Yup you are right.
  • 1 0
 I read it as: they can change around 2 of the pivots without changing the leverage curve on the shock at all, which would be impossible (or at least very hard) with more common rocker style linkages.
  • 4 0
 Really love the look of those chainstays… hope they’ll make it to the next production version!
  • 3 0
 Kind of cool... You can definitely see where there areas they can make changes to dial things in.. Interesting to see where this heads...
  • 1 0
 You don't have to go all the way back to Ancillotti for an (especially non-horst) example of a similar shock linkage. Commercial Supreme V4 had very similar linkage, just shifted all above the BB since it was high-single-pivot.
  • 5 0
 It doesn't look like a Session
  • 2 1
 Having the main link of a pulling linkage dangling so far below the bottom bracket is not exactly a fantastic design choice on a DH bike. I really wonder why they designed it like this. They could have gotten the exact same leverage rate and -curve by putting the rocker arm and the shock inside the front triangle instead of below it. They’re not even space-constrained in the slightest, except maybe if what we’re seeing here is supposed to eventually pull double duty as a DH bike and e-bike platform.
  • 6 0
 It looks odd, but Loic and Finn don't seem to have had any issues and have been going pretty hard. Meanwhile the Syndicate are struggling to get riders down the hill with air still in their tyres.
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: What's your point exactly? Maxxis having shitty quality control isn't exactly news at this point... I don't see how that's related to the new V10.
  • 1 0
 I raced an Ancilotti for years, it was not perfect but the linkage only got some minor scratches. Most of the hit will always be taken by a chainring or guard. Its also said that you get a smoother compression of the shock by a pulled link (which compresses the shock). I dont know if there is much to it but my Ancilotti was much smoother than all other DH bike i tried at that time, given that it only ran on mediocre bushings that was pretty impressive.

The weight is also concentrated far down, so not a bad design at all.
  • 1 0
 With race cars making systems highly adjustable and modular it’s all easily covered up by the body kit. With bikes it’s all there to see. But if a rider and team is demanding tuneability then the engineers need to deliver regardless of looks.
  • 2 1
 Automotive industry with billions of £ in R&D pretty much finds a good suspension design and sticks with it. Bike industry has to keep going around in circles, redesigning every over complicated suspension design that ever was to solve non-existant problems. Suspension is the bike industries equivalent of the electric handbrake.
  • 3 0
 I always thought that they added weight / ballast to stabilize these bikes.
  • 1 0
 They did! look at the size of the chainstay and add to it the weight of the linkages. Also what helps is that it is more lower to the ground.
  • 3 0
 @Bird-in-dirt: What you call chainstay, structurally is a one piece seatstay/chainstay, that you can compare to a closed deviate highlander rear triangle for instance. The "seatstay" here only serves as a floating brake mount, so it can be quite light. The bigger (taller) this "chainstay" is, the lighter it can be, because the forces are more dispersed. Not like a regular chainstay, that gets no advantages from being taller.
  • 1 0
 @DavidGuerra: Those seatstay are the Enduro one´s with a different link. It is a very light part,had one in my hand. Those seatstay support the axle,so I do not think it is just a simple dummy part. Compared to the alloy Demo this bike seems to me quite light and mullet since day 0.
This new bike still uses 148x12 rear axle and no chainstay flip chip,it looks like quite simple from the outside,nothing too fancy.
  • 2 0
 @DavidGuerra: You missed my point. I am only talking about the CNC machined "chainstay", just that and not the "seatstay". Seatstay and chainstay are NOT a one unit in this bike, like the deviate highlander, but two separate bars. The chainstay they have used in this bike is much wider and i would assume heavier too, unless they have somehow come up with a special alloy that weighs significantly less. So this chainstay definitely adds to the weight to the botttom part of the bike. However, it also increases the unsprung weight of the rear wheel, that's a different conversation for another day. My point here is that specialized did not just increase the chainstay size in this iteration just to add more weight but it's primarily to aid the linkage design.
  • 1 0
 @Bird-in-dirt: No, sorry, you are the one who misunderstood everything. Let's not focus on whether something is a chainstay or a seatstay, because that means nothing, and that's also why you did not understand my comment. The highlander's rear triangle fulfills the same structural function as this bike's "chainstay". That was my point. What you call seatstay here is not part of the picture, because it does not fulfill the structural support that a seatstay normally does. It's really just a floating brake linkage. That was also my point, and unfortunately you understood neither. I was trying to explain why the "chainstay" was so big. It absolutely needs to have this high profile because of the forces that it has to withstand, and actually, the higher profile it has the lighter it becomes. This is also a crucial part of what I was commmenting. This "chainstay" does the same structurally as the whole rear triangle of the highlander does. It's being subjected to compression forces at the top and pulling forces at the bottom, whereas a normal chainstay is only subjected to pulling forces (primarily). So this has nothing at all to do with a normal chainstay, it's a unified structure which in other bikes is actually a triangle that's hollow in the center like the Highlander.
  • 1 0
 @Bird-in-dirt: This is why I used the term "one piece seatstay/chainstay" to refer to the "chainstay", because normally the seatstay is subjected to compression forces and the chainstay is subjected to pulling forces, that's their typical function on a bike structure, and these functions are both being executed by a single piece here (the "chainstay") instead of a typical triangular structure like in the Highlander. It has to withstand very differentiated forces in comparison with a normal chainstay or a normal seatstay. This bike is also comparable to a 2010 Demo because it also has that non-structural "floating brake" seatstay.
  • 2 0
 @DavidGuerra: I think those chainstay are so chunky cos need to operate the linkages and deal with those extra forces,but the wheel is attached to seatstays. Seatstays would get forces like any other actual Demo or Enduro. It need to resist the wheel and braking action but it operates bearing close to the axle instead the linkage on top. I think forces involved would be very close new vs old.
1 piece chainstay bike:
www.mbr.co.uk/reviews/full-suspension-bikes/arbr-rb2-first-ride-f1-knowledge-wrapped-up-in-a-unique-full-suspension-package
The new demo has a bearing in the chainstay like @Bird-in-dirt remarked,so the chainstays additional forces in this design are those going to the linkages and shock.
If not,you do not need a seatstay to build a bike like you describe. Compared to an actual Demo got less complicated pieces,more elegant solution and I bet 100% more stiffer rear end cos the way all attach together.
  • 1 1
 @homerjm: Yes, this bike can be described as an ARBR RB2 with a floating brake mount like the 2010 Demo's. The wheel path is slightly different but the chainstay is responding to similar solicitations. And the seatstays/brake mount linkage should be adding some stiffness as well.
  • 2 0
 @DavidGuerra: The loads on the chainstay will be similar, but the wheel motion of the ARBR RB2 is a single-pivot, whereas the Specialized is a four-bar, so the Specialized design has more control over the axle path and pedaling anti-squat.

It's unclear whether the seatstay linkage will add stiffness. It will, if compared to the same chainstay without the seatstay linkage, but it's impossible to know which system is stiffer simply based on the presence or absence of the seatstay linkage. An important difference is that the ARBR chainstay uses a hollow cross-section, while the Specialized uses an open cross-section.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Don't get me wrong, I think the ARBR looks like it might have a good level of stiffness. And in comparison to the chainstay of a Rocky Mountain RM9 or a Rotec Pro DH, it should be both stiffer and lighter. Straight chainstays like that for this sort of design seem far from optimal.
  • 1 0
 @DavidGuerra: On one hand, it's beneficial to stiffness to have triangulation and offset. On the other hand, the single swingarm design eliminates at least six bearings. The mass of those bearings and the small diameter tubes in the seatstays and linkage affords a lot of extra carbon for a single swingarm.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Exactly. That's one of the reasons why I like single pivot bikes, preferably with a linkage-driven shock.
  • 3 0
 I hate to say it but its kinda lost some of the allure now we can see it. Not knowing made it so much more cool
  • 10 1
 bike burkas. com
  • 16 0
 Schrodinger's suspension
  • 3 0
 How long untill the LCG obsession has us all on those DH scooters.....?
Probably with E motors because marketing
  • 2 0
 Don't care what anyone says, with the covers on it, I think it looks fucking sick!! Between this and the Pivot, I don't know what I would choose. Just super cool proto bikes!
  • 1 1
 Hells yea….moto style! Oh what, not a high pivot…? Lmao. The made up trends and “latest gizmo” the industry tries to concoct all the time is just hilarious. A bikes a bike man. But real innovation, which takes years and years, and iteration after iteration to achieve; without regard to market pressure is the shiz. Kudos to Specialized!
  • 5 2
 As good as I imagine it is, Jordan Williams doesn't need it to go fast!
  • 6 6
 A face only a parent can love...seems like an extreme approach with the biggest benefit being a full size water bottle fitting in the front triangle. Don't ask why, just enjoy the lunacy of it.
  • 7 1
 A low center of gravity is a desired characteristic.
  • 3 6
 @DavidGuerra: Please inspect your sarcasm detector.
  • 1 0
 So is the lugged/carbon frame just for easier prototyping or is that what the production model be as well? I assumed it was just being used to prototype.
  • 4 0
 Yes. You basically produce a few of those machined parts for the team. Then each rider can have the lugs cut to the exact measurements they prefer for each bike. Lot easier than trying to do carbon molds for each update or each rider.
  • 2 0
 Looks like it was drawn by Dall-E. Recognisable as a bike, but just a bit weird with things in the wrong place.
  • 4 1
 Where is the long term review?
  • 2 0
 So it's like an FSR with an additional link to control shock leverage curve basically.
  • 3 1
 People are cracking me up that they think that's actually what it's going to look like.
  • 4 1
 MTB is so over hyped these days....its not by accident either
  • 1 2
 Specialized never comes up with their own innovation. This is an Atherton, Albatross, Nicolai, WHATEVER bike, from the company that once said, "We have no intention of [ever] building 27.5 wheeled bikes". Haha!!!
Create something of your own Specialized!
  • 2 0
 The only thing I am sure about is Finn was there.
  • 3 0
 Nice bashguard ...
  • 1 1
 so it's rearward axle path adjustable? that would make sence depending the kind of circuits if you need to generate more speed or just est the steep rought...
  • 1 0
 If it was "on the fly" that would be something.
  • 2 0
 correct me if i'm wrong but....unless you can change the location of the pivot points you can't change the axle path. Doesn't look like the main pivot point is adjustable.
  • 1 0
 @workingclasswhore: its been added after this S words... I wasnt wrong though:
This novel linkage system enables us to independently fine-tune key ride dynamics components, including axle path, shock leverage rate, and anti-squat/anti-rise characteristics for braking.
  • 4 2
 The banshee legend would like to have a word.
  • 5 3
 Looks like a ...... Legend?
  • 2 0
 I'm kinda disappointed. Expected it to be more high-tech.
  • 2 0
 GT RTS circa 1993 > Hold my beer...
  • 2 0
 It seems someone at Specialized got his hands on an Ancillotti.
  • 1 0
 The precision engineering stopped at the crap bracket on the bars, that was handed to Mavis in accounts.
  • 2 0
 Neat!
  • 4 2
 Disappointed
  • 3 1
 Aw buddy
  • 3 1
 Party like it's 1999!
  • 1 0
 the effective seattube angle looks to be about a hundred
  • 2 1
 Experts in aesthetic and technology are out...
  • 2 1
 Under the BB ? Niner anyone ?
  • 1 0
 Not exactly a shock now it’s revealed.
  • 1 0
 Are we sure that's not a motor? Because that looks like a motor.......
  • 2 2
 O LOOK specialized trying to trademark suspension thats been on motocross bikes for decades.
  • 1 0
 That it.....?
Show us Bruni's
  • 2 0
 Looks E-bike ish....
  • 1 0
 Finn runnin' those newest GX cranks? DANG!!!! Dooo want.
  • 1 0
 Whatever the tech, didn't stop him crashing.
  • 1 0
 Anyone have a clue when Bernard Kerr bike will be released.
  • 14 15
 Hate to say it but it looks like an e-bike. No wonder it was covered for so long
  • 4 3
 E-DH,the future is electryfying.
  • 14 14
 Looks badass. like an assault style rifle
  • 15 0
 most American thing you have said ahah, I agree!!!
  • 1 0
 My thoughts as well. Looks like a rebadged Bushmaster Bike.
  • 2 1
 Yeah, it really looks like a bloody weapon. That's cool. I'm not into shooting rifles, but I would be into this sort of rifle. "Track weapon" has always been a positive thing to say about a bike.
  • 1 0
 Aka the “Batmobile”
  • 2 4
 Some of the fastest bikes in the world are now carbon tube + alloy lugs. Wonder how long it will take to see a major manufacturer start selling these.
  • 1 0
 @chrismac70: That bike was a fu___ng masterpiece. Those sparkly lugs!!!!
  • 3 0
 I do not thing this kind of construction is key to the bike dynamics. I bet they would do it in regular alloy like any other Demo. The frame is a prototype frame,a test mule made in house I think. They can made this frame in alloy no problem.
  • 1 0
 It’s an e-DH bike
  • 1 0
 Swingarm is nice looking
  • 1 0
 Looks like a turner 2014
  • 1 0
 It's a motor.
  • 1 0
 Nicolai M-Pire St....
  • 2 3
 It’s so ugly no one will buy it
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