Demo 9 rider with an upgrade itch

Our man Doug loves his Demo 9, but dreams of lightness are flitting through his mind. What to do?

I’ve got an ’04 Demo 9 pro (great bike) only problem is its very heavy (stock about 52 lbs.) I don’t do big jumps, drops or ride real hard but do ride rough trails at resorts like Mammoth and Northstar. I’m not a light guy, about 240 lbs. with gear and 6 ft. 2 inches tall. I got a large and it feels ok for resort riding but lately I’ve been wanting something smaller (medium frame size) and lighter. I’m thinking maybe a Demo 8 frame and swap all my stuff over, but my cranks are 83 mm on the 9 with a 150 rear axle spacing so I will need a new set of cranks and a new rear wheel.

I read an article on your blog about trying to drop weight from a Demo 9 and you said it was tough without going to stupid expensive stuff that will not stand the rigors of resort riding.

My options seem to be:

Get a lighter fork: Boxxer WC or 888 SL ata (current is 888 rc)

Get lighter tires/smaller tires (current is Kenda Nevegal 2.7)


Get newer Demo 8 frame and new cranks and rear wheel

either option will cost me a few bucks

Which is the better option?

Hey Doug,

First of all, this isn’t a blog, OK? It’s a site. I’m sensitive about that.

Your Demo 9 is a great bike, and it sounds like you’re loving it. I want to explore your desire to go lighter. Since you’re not racing, why not keep riding that bike, or go to something more versatile, like an SX Trail? But I’ll try to let that go.

I missed the podium at Masters Worlds in 2004, and that had nothing to do with the burgeoning weight of my Demo 9.

Your options:
In order of increasing expense:

1. Keep riding your current bike as is. Switch to a set of 2.5″ tires. That makes a big difference in feel.

2. Upgrade your current bike. In order: smaller tires, lighter wheels, lighter fork, lighter post/bars/stem/etc. My Demo 9 was 41 pounds with insane parts and 46 pounds with very sane parts (it was equally fast with both builds).

3. Swap to a Demo 8 frame, and buy a new crankset and rear wheel. That’ll save you several pounds, but it’ll cost mucho and be a pain in the butt.

4. Buy a complete Demo 8 ready to roll. When you consider the cost and hassle of Option 3, a complete bike is pretty cost effective. Especially if you sell your 9.

Whatever you do:
1. Make sure the bike is tuned for you. No stock suspension is valved for a 240-lb rider.

2. Learn to ride it. I mean, really learn to ride it.

If I were you:
I’d rock Option 1 until I can afford Option 4.

* Consider the dual facts that 1) you weigh 240 lbs and 2) your bike is holding together. That’s worth something.

If that doesn’t scratch your itch, pursue Option 2.

9 replies
  1. Geoffrey Hamilton says:

    If I were in your shoes this is what I’d do.

    1) Ship your rear shock to PUSH industries and have it dialed for your weight. I did that with my BigHit and she feels better than a new bike.

    2) Go with some good rubber.

  2. ibelieveinsasquatch says:

    “I don’t do big jumps, drops or ride real hard but do ride rough trails at resorts like Mammoth and Northstar.”

    If this is the case, I would look at a Demo 7 if you are looking to get a new bike. What’s the use of all that beef anyway? Suspension is so trick now that the shorter travel, more nimble freeride bikes rock compared to a giant DH styled mo-chine. The only reason I see for this type of bike is if you are strickly racing DH.

  3. Chris says:

    Since I am hiding behind my keyboard from a guy that weighs 80 lbs more than me I feel free to say the following. Actually, I am not saying it, the Centre For Disease Control And Prevention says it (the first Body Mass Indicator I found on the web):

    6’2″ at 220lbs = BMI of 25.0-29.9 = Overweight

    So there is an Option 5. Sorry Doug, and double-apology if you are nothing but sinew and huge muscles. In fact, if that’s the case, make that a triple apology.

  4. Doug says:

    I’m sure that I should lose a few pounds, and BMI never tells the whole story, it’s just a guideline.

    I weigh 209 dripping wet, but with pads, a full-face helmet, a full hydration pack with water, tools and tubes I’m guessing at my weight with all my gear.

    All that being said, thank you Chris for thinking about my health. I don’t know what I would do without guys like you looking after me.

    I rock the big tires at Mammoth to deal with the pumice, Mammoth riders will know why these big tires float over the kitty litter better than smaller.

    I think I’ll “run what I got” with smaller tires, and maybe get a lighter more agile bike.

    Lee, so sorry about the blog thing, I dig your site and value your sage advice.

    Just wondered what your take on the whole “lighter, smaller” trend that is hitting the gravity bike world.

  5. leelikesbikes says:

    – When I was in Mammoth, many riders preferred narrower tires because the float LESS. They get in there and carve. I’d love to do a test.

    – Very few riders can take full advantage of a big-big bike. Lighter, smaller DH bikes tend to perform better for most racers. Look at Minnaar’s Honda — he ran it with 6-7 inches of travel. And an SX Trail is faster than a Demo in many situations …

    Analogous: Many MXers are faster on 250s than on 450s. The 25o is more manageable; they come closer to wringing it out.

  6. jason says:

    There is some good advice in here. Additionally i’d suggest when the time does come to look at a new bike, don’t pigeon hold yourself to only looking at Specialized’s.

    There are plenty of manufacturers out there and you may find something more to your liking / size / etc in another brand if you give them a chance.

    In the end, if you try them out and come to the conclusion that the Specialized is the better bike for you, there is fewer what-if questions on your purchase since you explored those options.

  7. Chris says:

    Doug, I am sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I crunch data and variables all day and forgot I was talking about a person. I was only focussed on the numbers and the variables that affect the outcome.

Comments are closed.