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.

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