New Specialized Demo: Mixed Wheel Sizes Aren’t Just for the Pros Anymore

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Photo: Courtesy of Specilaized Bikes/BIKE Magazine

It’s been less than a year since we brought you news of a new Specialized Demo. July 2019 was when the 29-inch DH race bike and its fascinating linkage first owned up to its spy photos. But famously, many of those spy photos were taken of Loic Bruni, who was riding the Demo with a 27.5-inch wheel in the rear and a 29-inch up front. We’ve seen several riders and a few brands join the mixed-wheel club, but as we concluded when we discussed the trend, you’re not getting the whole benefit unless the frame itself is right for it. So, not quite an entire rebuild, the new Specialized Demo takes a purpose-built approach to mixing wheel sizes, but with a twist.

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specialized demo
Photo: Courtesy of Specilaized Bikes/BIKE Magazine

The new Demo will work with either 27.5- or 29-inch wheels, and has a flip chip in the dropout pivot to optimize the bike’s geometry to suit either. Similar to the setup used on the Bold Cycles Unplugged, swapping the flip chip will simultaneously lengthen the rear-center to make room for the larger wheel and drop the bottom bracket to keep the geometry steady. In fact, there are three positions, with the longer one being 29-specific and the shorter being 27.5-specific, but the middle setting being compatible with either. 27.5 fans who want more stability or 29 fans who want more maneuverability. This photo is a little dark, but you can see the flip chip in its shortest setting here.

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Photo: Courtesy of Specilaized Bikes/BIKE Magazine

It’s why this geometry chart is taller than it is wide. Lots of combinations to take into account. For the most part, the 29-inch configuration didn’t change much from the previous Demo 29. Chainstays got a couple millimeters shorter, head angle steepened by 0.1 degrees, and reach shortened by a millimeter. The linkage is still the rather revolutionary design that revamped the Enduro into possibly the best bike made in 2020, or at least Ryan Palmer thought so when he chose it for his Dream Build. Really, details are pretty sparse. We’re not sure whether complete bikes will be available in both rear wheel setups, or how many price points there are in each, but we know that there still is no carbon option available in the Demo, so maybe we’ll again have more exciting news in less than a year.

This article originally appeared on Bikemag.com and was republished with permission.

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