Specialized Demo 8 Range Review

Specialized Demo 8 Review

  • Price Range: £4,499.00 - £6,499.00
  • Discipline: Downhill MTB
  • Usage: Downhill racing and park riding
  • Race-winning pedigree
  • RockShox Boxxer forks
  • Öhlins TTX shocks
  • Sizing on the small side
  • RockShox Vanilla RC on alloy
  • Styling not to everyone’s taste

2020 Update

The newest incarnation of the Demo has been completely redesigned to be a true race-machine, faster than ever before. Slightly longer and slacker with much improved anti-squat characteristics and a more progressive leverage ratio. Now available as a 29er only, there are two models in the range the top line Demo Race with Ohlins suspension and the Demo Expert with RockShox suspension.

Updated:16th December 2019


A downhill trail dominator, the Specialized Demo 8 was race bred on the most extreme DH mountain trails on the planet. Equally at home being ridden heals down and tucked on technical downhill trails, or pumped and jumped at the bike park, it’s bike that loves to be thrashed.

Specialized completely redesigned the Demo 8 from the ground up, with an all new take on their FSR suspension design. The 200mm front and rear travel work as one to smother the trail beneath. Two carbon models are available, including the top S-Works beauty, plus an M5 alloy model to bring the Demo to the masses. The Demo 8 is also available in frame-only options, in either M5 alloy or FACT 11m carbon, both with Öhlins TTX shocks. 

Specialized Demo 8 Frame Close Ip


Low and asymmetrical

Specialized managed to make an offset and asymmetrical design with single-sided seat tube, creating a bike like no other. The Demo 8 Carbon is made from Specialized’s FACT 10m carbon fibre and the S-works gets the lighter 11m carbon for its construction. The base Demo 8 Alloy is made from Specialized’s premium gradeM5 alloy, which brings the price down to a more accessible level.

A short standover height and super low build marks the Demo 8 DH bike as a purpose-built machine, disappearing out of the way beneath you, for maximum manoeuverability. Full internal cable routing keeps everything clean, with lipped and sealed cartridge bearings making sure everything runs smoothly and is easily serviceable. A slack head angle, short and nimble rear end and low bottom bracket all combine to make a fast and stable downhill bike.

The single sided, asymmetrical Demo 8 frame is a thing of beauty. This unusual design not only sheds some weight, it also makes accessing the shock much easier. - Bike Radar

Specialized Demo 8 Suspension


FSR suspension at its best

The ride characteristic of the Demo is inspired, it builds in momentum, is ridiculously comfortable in bad ground, its precise and overall simply drives confidence upwards. - Dirt

That big yellow coil at the back is shouty for a reason. It’s the Öhlins TTX shock that really makes the Demo 8’s 200mm come alive, as it was developed especially with this bike in mind. Both carbon models get the Öhlins TTX, while the Alloy gets a Fox Vanilla RC rear shock, keeping the price more modest. These shocks control the FSR four-bar suspension, the latest version of which pivots around the bottom bracket, keeping the weight as low as possible.

Up front on all models is a RockShox Boxxer fork in various guises. From the Boxxer RC on the alloy and base carbon models, to the Team fork on the S-Works, these forks have been proven time and time again on the race tracks.

Specialized Demo 8 Groupset


SRAM downhill drivetrains for slick shifts

For downhill racing, you don’t need all the gears in the world. That’s why you see SRAM 7 speed drivetrains on the two carbon Demo 8 models, the GX DH on the Demo 8 Carbon and XO DH on the S-Works. Perfectly geared to give you all the ratios you need to gain speed without wasting time. The Demo 8 Alloy gets a similar SRAM 10 speed GX drivetrain.

Both the Alloy and Carbon models get a stiff SRAM Descendant chainset for accurate power transfer, while the S-Works gets the full carbon XO DH chainset to keep things light. Every model gets extra chain protection and retention from Gamut chainguides. Keeping speed in check are SRAM Guide R brakes, with the S-Works getting SRAM Code calipers matched to the Guide levers for that extra power.

SRAM DH drivetrains give all the ratios you need and none that you don’t, so you can concentrate on the task at hand: getting down the mountain fast!

Specialized Demo 8 27.5 Wheels


Specialized tyres for ultimate grip and speed

Balancing rollover ability and nimble handling, the Demo 8 rolls on 27.5” wheels. Specialized started out as a tyre company, so you can expect their tyres to be top quality, and they are. A high grip front tyre in the form of the Butcher is matched to a fast rolling Slaughter in the rear for the perfect combo. Both tyres have DH casings to give support and protection in the rough stuff.

All Demo 8 models roll on Specialized Roval 650b rims, which offer strength and stiffness to attack the corners. The Demo 8 Alloy and Carbon get Specialized hubs, while the S-Works gets a custom DT-Swiss 350 rear hub for extra responsiveness.

Tough, downhill specific tyres and stiff wheels make for fast and stable rolling

Specialized Demo 8 best for accessible performance

Best for

Race proven with accessible performance

Downhill racing is what the Specialized Demo 8 was built for and speeding down steep trails is what it does best. It inspires confidence with its neutral riding position and a low stand over and bottom bracket. With a component package that needs no upgrades out the box, it is ready to be ripped around from the get-go.

The asymmetrical frame, especially with the yellow Öhlins TTX shock, make the Demo 8 stand out as a unique bike, downhill or otherwise. The Demo 8 puts its money where its mouth is, going as fast as the best of them, as Aaron Gwin and many others have shown.

Specialized Demo 8 Tyre Specialized Demo 8 mech
Specialized Demo 8 shock Specialized Demo 8 crank
Specialized Demo 8 fork Specialized Demo 8 tyre

Specialized Demo 8 range models