The Specialized Demo is one of the most winning downhill bikes of recent times. And since Maribor, the Specialized gravity team have been racing on the new Demo 29. Not just a Demo with a 29" fork and modified swing arm, Specialized did a ground up redesign with new geometry, new suspension kinematics, and what they feel is a whole new version of fast.

So, what's new besides wheel size?

Specialized set out to create better performance on square edged hits. You know, the ones that really slow you down and break things. By giving the Demo a more rearward axle path, the rear wheel gets hung up less, which reduces the braking effect of a square-edged hit at speed. It took a new main pivot location and longer chainstays.

They have also reduced brake jack, aiming for the bike to stay more stable when you grab a fistful of brake. Why? Well brake jack is where your weight lifts under braking, and the suspension lifts or extends a little. Less weight on the back wheel, less pressure of tread into terrain, and less control.

Similarly, the Demo 29 has more antisquat - which means it's more efficient when pedalling. You might not get a whole lot of opportunities to get some pressure on the pedals on some downhill runs, but this means they will be a whole lot more effective.

The new shock and linkage location helps keep the centre of gravity a little lower and forward, to help keep the bike planted. The shock is now away from the upper linkage to reduce side loading, which should increase the shock's service life.

The leverage curve is more consistent out back, and with a shorter head tube and 350mm BB heifght, Specialized are pretty sure they have the best balance of stability and agility. Everything is a balance. Anti-squat vs rearward axle path, rolling speed vs agility, but thanks to extensive testing Specialized are stoked with what they have made.

The team have been racing with 27.5" rear wheels to let them really hang off the back on steep World Cup tracks - although the bike was designed to be a 29er and will be sold as such.

The Demo 29 Expert will be landing in Australia and selling for $6900. For full details get in touch with your local Specialized dealer.