Preview: Specialized Bicycles’ 2013 Gravity Lineup
A redesigned Enduro and carbon Demo head the gravity-fueled charge for the Big S.
By Kevin Rouse
With no less than 30 boxes of pizza being assaulted by nearly as many journalists, marketing staff and the unmatched appetite of Swede sensation Martin Soderstrom (who knew the kid could eat as well as he can bunny hop?), it harked of one’s experience back at the dorm during university. Bikes strewn over just about every surface of the small Whistler condo certainly added to the low-key atmosphere as well.
An empty plate mingles with Specialized racer, Brad Benedit’s 2013 S-Works Enduro.
While the setting didn’t exactly reflect the task at hand—the presentation of one of the world’s largest bike brand’s 2013 gravity lineup—it certainly beat sitting in front of a couple of marketing managers and a PowerPoint. Plus, the bikes did a pretty good job of speaking for themselves. Subject to a great deal of tweaking, Specialized’s Gravity/Enduro lineup features some pretty impressive changes and additions for 2013.
The top-of-the-line 2013 S-Works Enduro will feature SRAM’s new XX1 single-ring groupset.
Sporting a fresh redesign, the 2013 Enduro steps confidently into the enduro race category with an all-new frame and completely redesigned suspension kinematics based around 165-millimeters of FSR-driven rear travel.
With the main purpose of the redesign aimed at making the Enduro a more suitable option for racing, Specialized claims the 2013 Enduro will exhibit a much snappier ride quality, solving the previous Enduro’s sometimes wallowing demeanor. The primary goal here was to make the bike much more responsive when throwing some serious power into the pedals, like, say when you’re racing an enduro.
The revised suspension kinematics revolve around a new linkage layout, which now has the rear shock actuating around cartridge bearings rather than DU bushings, meaning it should prove to be much more active on smaller hits.
The Enduro also drops weight for 2013, with the carbon model dropping 120 grams and the aluminum frame dropping a respectable 90 grams.
An impressive spec on the S-Works model revolves around SRAM’s XX1 single ring drivetain and Specialized’s new Roval Traverse SL carbon all-mountain wheelset. Equipped as such, weight enters the scary region of sub-26 pounds. Impressive.
The 2013 Enduro EVO features an all-new tubeset, and grows to 180-millimeters of travel to replace the SX Trail.
With the Enduro slotting into a more race-oriented role, the 2013 Enduro EVO picks up the slack in the gravity lineup, stepping up to 180-millimeters of travel and replacing the SX Trail. Featuring an all-new tubeset, the Enduro EVO has adopted its most aggressive guise yet. Coil-sprung front and rear suspension caters to big hits and aggressive riding, while the spec on all trim levels follows a similarly aggressive game plan—no double chainrings here.
Specialized Demo 8 Carbon
We’ve seen this bike under the Monster Energy-Specialized team for some time now, but it’s still a striking bike.
One of the worst-kept secrets in the bike industry, Specialized has been expected to offer a carbon Demo for months (years really, though). Well, now that it’s officially available to the world, it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Shaving over 530 grams off the weight total of the aluminum Demo frame, the carbon Demo is available in two guises: an S-Works model that utilizes Specialized’s FACT 11m carbon, while one features an alloy shock link and Specialized’s FACT 10m carbon.
The sub-stay design is rather unique, and may not be the most visually pleasing, but it allows for Specialized to isolate the Demo’s suspension performcance from braking and drivetrain forces.
Still present on the Demo’s aluminum rear end Specialized’s signature sub-stay design, which features a sub-stay in between the chain and seatstays in order to isolate the suspension workings from braking and drivetrain forces.
What this allows for is the ability for Specialized to drive the rear shock off of the movement of the chainstays, rather than the seatstays—lowering the bike’s center of gravity as well as allowing Specialized to control the bike’s leverage ratio independently. Pair that with the shortest chainstays of any downhill bike on the market (421 millimeters), and you’ve got 200-millimetersof eminently flickable rear travel.
The Demo 8 carbon will be available in a limited-edition Monster Energy/Specialized Factory Racing Team replica model, which is equipment-correct right down to the (previously racer-only) Black Gold-coated stanchions on the RockShox Boxxer fork. It even features the seven-speed Micro Drive which is built around a special DT-Swiss freehub and cogs as small as 9T and is paired with a similarly small, tidy chainring up front to allow similar gear ratios, but gobs more ground clearance.
The Micro Drive features a proprietary freehub designed by DT Swiss to accommodate the tiny 9T cog.