Specialized debuted their long-travel bike line this week during the Crankworx Festival in Whistler, B.C., Canada. Whistler’s not the best mountain bike park on Earth by accident?there’s no better venue to do multiple laps on demanding terrain than this legendary trail system.
Highlights of the 2011 long-travel launch included the high-profile Demo 8 downhill bike seen under Sam Hill and Brendan Fairclough this World Cup season, the redesigned and repositioned SX Trail, and aggressive makeovers to the most versatile bikes in Specialized’s line, the Stumpjumper and Enduro.
DEMO 8: DOWNHILL RACE
The all-new, race-specific Demo 8 is available in two models, and also a frame and shock kit. The 2011 Demo 8 retains the World-Cup proven geometry of last year’s Demo 8, but after a frame redesign, now has a lower center gravity and features a 150×12-millimeter rear thru-axle. The flagship Demo 8 II shown here is equipped with the much improved 2011 RockShox Boxxer World Cup fork (look for the review in an upcoming issue), a Fox Shox RC4 shock and Gamut chainguide. Impressively, the Monster Energy/Specialized World Cup team of Hill, Fairclough and Brosnan, are all racing stock 2011 frame sets. The new Demo 8 linkage is a three-piece magnesium and aluminum unit designed to be rigid and reduce mud build up.
Below is some quick & dirty on-board Demo 8 footage on the classic Dirt Merchant Trail in Whistler.
SX TRAIL: FREERIDE
For the freeride crowd preferring a bike that’s agile for stunts, yet can still handle the bike park’s gnarliest downhill trails, Specialized has you covered with their revamped SX Trail. Replacing the Demo 7 in the Specialized line, the new SX Trail gets a boost in travel from 6.3 inches to 7 inches of rear wheel travel, and the top-shelf SX Trail shown here features Fox’s all-new 7-inch-travel 36 Van RC2 fork.
The SX Trail retains its eccentric spindle pivot linkage system that uses a proprietary shock yoke to create a stiffer rear end for more dependable handling. The eccentric spindle uses an offset bolt location that can only connect in one position, leaving the two sides of the link with no room to twist. The frame rigidity is further amplified by the addition of Specialized’s 142+ rear hub system, using incorporating the new 142-millimeter rear hub spacing standard.
INTRODUCING EVO: STYLE-SPECIFIC DESIGNS
For as well outfitted as Specialized’s all-mountain and trail bikes are off the showroom floor, riders often customize their bikes with componentry catering to how they will use the bike, or their riding style. Some riders will swap a variety of components to make a stock bike lighter and racier, or equip their bike with the appropriate bits for more aggressive riding, such as wider handlebars, tires with a more aggressive tread and adjustable height seatpost.
To address this, Specialized introduces their Evo (aggressive trail) and Evo R (race) line of Enduro, Stumpjumper and Epic bikes, each available in the “Expert” category of their existing line.
ENDURO EXPERT EVO: ALL-MOUNTAIN
The aluminum Enduro Expert Evo gains about a half-inch of travel over the standard Enduro by the addition of a custom, 6.7-inch-travel Fox Van R fork. The aggressive, yet performance-driven all-mountain build continues with a Fox RC2 coil shock, and SRAM’s carbon fiber X.0 crankset and 2×10 drivetrain.
STUMPJUMPER FSR EXPERT EVO: AGGRESSIVE TRAIL RIDING
At first glance the Stumpy Expert Evo my look just like a stock Stumpy. However, once under the hood, some key component changes become apparent. Most notably, instead of the inertia-valved Brain suspension, it features a custom Fox RP23 S shock.
Unlike the standard Fox RP23 shock which features different levels of low-speed compression for optimum pedaling efficiency, the Fox shock on the Stumpy Evo has tuning options for the shock’s desired descending characteristics. Like the Enduro Evo, the Stumpjumper Evo trailbike gets bumped up about a half-inch of fork travel with the addition of Fox’s F150 RL fork, which will slightly slacken the head angle for navigating technical descents.