Specialized launch the latest iteration of the World Cup and World Championship-winning Demo based on feedback from Bruni and Iles.
The new Specialized Demo Race allows multiple geometry configurations in all wheel size combinations, as well as revised suspension characteristics all based on feedback from Specialized Gravity Republic’s resident speed merchants.
Pete caught up with Allan Cooke to find out how the development process went.
What was the impetus for updating the Demo?
Pretty much the same as it has always been with the Demo, to make the fastest DH Race bike there is.
Once you had made that decision, what happens next?
The details of the formula have evolved with the times but at the heart and soul of every iteration of the Demo has been the rider’s needs, using the Athletes to hone in on what the bike needs to go faster, ride smoother and ultimately get them to the top of the podium has always been the focus of development.
Who is involved in that process and what do they do?
Brad Benedict who heads up “Ride Dynamics” works directly with the Specialized Gravity Team to identify what on the bike is causing the feedback the riders are feeling, good or bad. He then works with the Engineers Brian Robinson and Jason Chamberlin to isolate where on the chassis to focus, a millimetre here or there can make or brake the handling of the bike.
What did you know you did and didn’t want to do with the new Demo?
After the UCI rule changes allowing riders to race with different sized wheels Loic and Finn found instant comfort and success with this platform, we wanted to offer the option of using a mixed wheeled platform as well as allow the riders to make the choice. There are advantages to both 29” and the mixed wheeled set up, we wanted the rider to be able to make that choice based on conditions, riding style etc.
How do you convert rider feedback from the likes of Bruni and Iles to a production bike?
Our development team works very close with the Specialized Gravity Team, through telemetry data, endless test sessions and face to face time with the athletes it’s a game of trial and error to get the bike working exactly the way the riders need it to.
Do you have to consider all the suspension changes simultaneously, or can they be isolated while you’re trying to achieve certain characteristics?
Everything matters and everything is connected, making an isolated change without thinking about the rest of the bike could fix one problem but cause five others. It’s a delicate process that can only be maximised by time and dedication, something everyone involved in the process has loads of, that’s why the bikes perform so well.
Was it easy enough to add the wheel size flip chip into the frame?
It might look like a simple solution, but we explored many, many ways to accommodate 2 wheel sizes/geo adjust and our goal was always “keep it simple.” We believed this was going to be the cleanest way to do it and it actually required some solid engineering brainstorming and testing to get the chip design to function perfectly.
You can check out the Specialized Demo Race on Specialized’s website here.
Read all our other product development interviews on our Features page here.