Gear Review: Specialized Demo 8 I Carbon First Impressions

Eric Behn | CycleCycle


The Specialized Demo 8 I Carbon is one of the industries most expensive off the shelf downhill mountain bikes, and rightfully so. The Demo 8 has been Specialized’s flagship downhill bike and one of the most poplar on the market. This is the first year the Demo has been offered in a carbon frame, and carbon complete. This bike is meant to go downhill and downhill only.

Demo 8 Carbon Frame
The frame is Specialized’s FACT 10m Carbon, not the same FACT 11m Carbon used on the S-WORKS Demo.


Materials & Procedure:

The first impressions of the Demo 8 I Carbon were observed during two days in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park in variable conditions from dry to wet, and various trails from flow to technical, as well as riding on some trails local to Vancouver, B.C.

Drivetrain and Frame protector
A Sram drivetrain keeps the bike running smooth while a plastic bottom bracket protector keeps the carbon frame safe from rocks and roots.


The Demo 8 I Carbon is the same build as the aluminum Demo 8 but with a Fox Van RC4 rear shock. The carbon frame saves a large amount of weight while providing a stiffness that aluminum can’t. The lower end component spec hints that those interested in this bike will likely be upgrading a large number of components.

10 speed drivetrain with Sram X9 clutch Derailleur. 36 tooth front chain ring. 200mm rear travel. 750mm wide Specialized handle bars. 150x12mm rear through axel. See a full list of specifications here.

Front and Rear Suspension.
The Fox Van RC4 keeps suspension running smooth and comfy while the Boxxer RC is simple yet performs well.2`


The Demo 8 I Carbon built up well out of the box, and was ready to ride. We found that rerouting the shifter cable to go around the right side of the head tube was a smoother path. The rear end has been perfectly silent so far and provided a very tight yet plush ride. It performs amazingly on both technical and flow sections and jumps very well. Whether on A-Line, or Tech Noir, the Demo 8 holds it own very, very well.

The lower spec Elixir 5 brakes and Sram X7 shifter didn’t disappoint.


After the first few rides, the Demo 8 I Carbon has shown an impressive ability on all trail types. Despite lower spec components, nothing held the Demo back and it never felt like its limits were being pushed. Great at higher and lower speeds, the Demo will hold a great line and is very comfortable through all trails. The $5,799 price tag is tough for many to swallow, but for those looking for a great complete with intentions for a large number of component upgrades this bike is a good option.


Stay tuned for a long term review on the Specialized Demo 8 I Carbon.

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5 thoughts on “Gear Review: Specialized Demo 8 I Carbon First Impressions

  1. $5799 and you get some “lower spec components” you are expected to upgrade.
    Can you say absurd!

      1. what do you think is the purpose of the dual seat stays, one for the wheel and one for the shock? just curious how that is the solution to long travel, jumping, high speed.

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