Specialized Is Set On Downhill Gold With the $7K Demo Race MTB

Demo Race Downhill MTB 6 photos
Photo: Specialized Bicycle
Demo Race Downhill MTBDemo Race Downhill MTBDemo Race Downhill MTBDemo Race Downhill MTBDemo Race Downhill MTB
There are so many bicycle options out there that it’s literally impossible to bring all of them to light. Occasionally however, a glimmer is seen out of the corner of your eye.
Folks this glimmer I'm referring to is the Demo Race downhill MTB from Specialized. Most people out there will agree that they have no need for a downhill bike in their life, but it’s not about that. Even the $7,000 price tag that this bike cruises in with seems exaggerated. But again, it’s not about that.

What it’s all about it is business. When all other companies have their own deliciously destructive lineups of downhill sleds, it makes sense for a big-name brand like Specialized to offer their own piece to this extremely niche market. Time to find out what and if this bike has what it takes to get you to the finish line alive.

The main component which you should consider most, is the frame. After all, this is the component holding everything else into the shape and geometry you see. For the Race frame, Specialized is using their high-end aluminum alloy, M5. Through it all, internal cable housing is standard these days, and 200 mm (7.87 in) of rear travel seems like enough to dampen any landings.

Demo Race Downhill MTB
Photo: Specialized Bicycle
This leads us to the geometry of this little bugger. To understand what it is that’s going on here, know that the bike is tuned for a 27.5-in tire at the rear and 29’er at the front. Why? Well, if you’ve ever faced a downhill track, you’d know. The biggest concern during a descent is rider position. How do you keep a rider from getting a feeling that they’re going to topple over the bike at the first brake they apply? You put on a larger front tire to compensate for leaning forward. A larger tire also helps cruise over obstacles a bit easier. Not too sure about the control though.

Also, that slanted angle in the top tube helps to keep you upright and in control on descents. As does the fork angle and seat post. Actually, all of the geometry is setup to keep you leaning back over the rear tire with a light touch on the front to maneuver easily.

Now that you know that geometry shouldn’t be an issue, what about components. Seeing as how you’ll be bombing it face first into whatever mountainside you’re riding, the fork on your bike is absolutely crucial. For the Demo, a RockShox BoXXer Ultimate 29 with 2.1 damper and DebonAir spring offers enough travel and dampening worthy of a downhill machine, 200 mm (7.87 in) to be exact.

Your rear action will be covered by another RockShoc component, a Super Deluxe Ultimate DH coil with extremal low speed compression, external rebound adjust and trunnion mount. Need anything else? Probably not. As long as you’re tuned to your body weight and riding style, this suspension should do just fine.

Demo Race Downhill MTB
Photo: Specialized Bicycle
For the drivetrain you’ll find SRAM controlling your shifts and power. Derailleur and levers are a set of SRAM X01 DH tuned to a 7-speed setup. Braking too is from SRAM, with Code SRC 4-piston calipers clamping down on 200 mm (7.87 in) rotors. A pair of Roval rims, tubeless ready, house a couple of Butcher BLCK DMND tires.

What else do you need? A helmet? Of course. But that you’ve got to cover on your own. I personally recommend a full-face brain bucket. God knows what turn you miss and end up saying hello to a tree like George of the Jungle. Been there, no fun.

As for this bike, again, it might not be the sort of MTB you’ll be seen riding daily unless you’re sponsored by Red Bull or something like that, but it is a bike that will turn some heads and raise some questions no matter where it’s spotted or who’s handling it.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
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A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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