The annual Crankworx Whistler festival is well-known for abundant prototype sightings. It's a time when pro riders and companies converge on some of the best terrain in the world. Terrain that's perfect for testing new rides and banging out back-to-back runs.

Photo: Jacob Carmichael

Over the past few days, Brad Benedict, Specialized's official in-house product development thrash tester and former World Cup ripper, has been riding this prototype in the bike park. We've been casually chasing him around trying to capture the rig, but only Jacob Carmichael could come close enough to snap a photo (Update: more photos added!).

Specialized says they are using the bike as a mule to test out geometry, stiffness, and other developments. It's a bike that certainly won't go to production in 2014. The company is constantly testing out new bikes and new concepts, and this one may or may not make the cut. Even so, it's still fun to speculate!

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  • Mo(n)arch

    7/29/2014 8:05 AM

  • Big Bird

    4/28/2014 5:49 PM

    It's sort of Marin stylie with the pivots more toward the middle of the stays.

  • ChrisG

    8/22/2013 3:17 PM

    Wait a minute, Ive got it. This is just a mule providing a bit of data for the real thing that is still under wraps. The next bike won't have a long intermediate link from the main frame to the chainstay pivot, but rather a short link with the pivot linked to the wheel carrying member slightly behind the bottom bracket. This pivot will join via a full width pivot axle to a slightly flexy carbon rear triangle that will also be braced at the reaward pivots of that upper intermediate link. The short lower link will be further braced Equilink style to the upper link keeping the motion of the whole linkage precise and true. If the rearward linkage points of the lower and upper intermediate links come together slightly over the course of travel (rather than move apart in the manner of the Equilink) then there would be further opportunities for additional triangulation to stiffen up the rear triangle.

    Okay, I just made all that up, but Specialized would do well to follow my advice.

  • ChrisG

    8/22/2013 2:07 PM

    More and more information is coming out about this bike (see Specialized seems to be doing a remarkably good job in parading it in front of hundreds of riders every day - yeah that's what I call a secret. I would not expect to see anything too much like this ever make it to production - it defies too many basic principles of structural (and perhaps kinematic) design. If it ever was to make it to production Specialized's new patent portfolio would be safe. Who in their right mind would want to emulate this?

  • ScooterMcgrooter

    8/9/2013 10:56 PM

    Wow, one of the biggest mountain bike companies on earth is experimenting with a 4-bar Horst-Link design?! How cutting edge! The Ohlins shock is extremely awesome though.

  • onenerdykid*

    8/10/2013 1:24 AM

    well in the American market, it is their main point of difference so it does make sense to continue with FSR on some level or in some way

  • Stiksandstones

    8/9/2013 10:30 PM

    Looks like a prototype "BENEDICT" name on the back of jersey, interesting.

  • ryane

    8/9/2013 9:58 PM

    Saw the bike these last 2 days. Looks like a rough demo front triangle with some sort of FSR rear triangle. The bike is indeed 27.5 with roval wheel logos. Tires looked like high rollers, no logos. Frame is very beefy.

  • T-Dawg

    8/9/2013 9:36 PM

    Looks a lot like the old SX trail with big wheels

  • chooofoojoo

    8/9/2013 9:32 PM

    But what about those tires?!? Looks to be similar casing to butcher, as well as side knobs, but a high-roller 2 esque center tread design.

  • Phil Artese

    8/9/2013 7:06 PM

    Looks sweet! Hopefully the ohlins shock will kick ass like it did on the motocross bikes.

  • ambatty

    8/10/2013 10:13 AM

    Seems as though Mr. Ropelato is happy with it... He's rocking it these days.

  • Marshall Willanholly

    8/9/2013 4:16 PM

    Concentric BB pivot?

  • Stiksandstones

    8/9/2013 10:29 PM

    Leigh Donovan getting some tips from Brad Benedict on hair?

  • 91001

    8/9/2013 6:00 PM

    Sure does look like it.

  • kellen1230

    8/9/2013 2:12 PM

    Lets be honest - as nostalgic as everyone is for 26" wheels, there is a good chance the 650b offers some considerable advantages for DH and Enduro applications, while 29" clearly makes sense for outright speed on the trail/XC side. With the increasing inertia generated by a gyroscopic effects of larger wheels, it would prove beneficial to create a shorter wheelbase to minimize the leverage these effects would have over a longer wheelbase. Unless Benedict is purposely testing a bike 2 sizes to small, this appears to be an attempt to lower the center mass of the bike (look at how the rear axle is purposely suspended above the very low chain/seat stays) and shorten the wheelbase (his ass is hanging over the rear axle!). Increased rollover/contact patch, slack angles for stability and short wheelbase? Could be a fantastic and fun park/freeride machine!

  • bismojo

    8/9/2013 2:09 PM

    It's a PROMO.. Prototype demo.. And promotion.. LOL. Looks nice tho..

  • AmesEvan

    8/9/2013 10:27 AM

    Brad was seen at northstar earlier this season on a 650b demo, but it didn't look like that thing...

  • ariel.gil257

    8/9/2013 9:04 AM

    looks like an old demo.... except the rear pivot

  • easyrider

    8/9/2013 4:13 AM

    Demo front, Status rear...and Ohlins ttx.
    looks fun.

  • onenerdykid*

    8/9/2013 4:08 AM

    going old skool with the Horst link location... and with some very short seat stays... Interested to see what is actuating the shock.

  • mrmizzle5

    8/9/2013 12:13 AM

    a demo with 2 chain stays? OMG pause not bout time

  • ErikFleming

    8/8/2013 11:11 PM

    Demo front triangle, prototype rear end.

  • Adam_Schaeffer

    8/8/2013 10:38 PM

    FSR placement is definitely different

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