If you want to go fast, there's no denying an aerodynamic road bike like a Madone or Venge is the way to go. They're not without their compromises though and are often heavier and not as comfortable as all-round bikes like the Émonda or Tarmac.
That all changes with the brand new third-generation Venge.
Specialized has designed a bike that is 8 seconds faster than the old model but weighs just 7.1kg with Dura-Ace Di2, Roval CLX64 wheels and a Specialized power meter. That's perilously close to the Tarmac SL6 - a sub-7kg build would easily be possible with some lightweight wheels and a few other choice components. We can't wait to get our hands on one and do a full Bespoke build.
It's a better-looking bike as well, at least to our eyes. The old Venge ViAS had a few curves in the wrong place and that praying mantis handlebar wasn't everyone's cup of tea The new bike is much sharper looking with straighter lines and a smarter looking handlebar. Looking fast is not to be underestimated.
The really big news, and it'll shock a few people, but it really shouldn't come as a huge surprise given the prevailing winds in the road bike industry, is that the new Venge is only available with disc brakes and electronic groupsets.
We'll let that sink in for a moment…
Regarding disc brakes, Specialized claims any drag produced by the disc rotor is easily offset by the savings it can make elsewhere. And only being designed for electronic groupsets ensures there are no compromises to aero performance at the front of the bike, with all wires and hoses internally routed inside the handlebar and stem.
The new Venge is a good amount of light too. A 56cm frame comes in at 960g, a massive 240g saving compared to the old Venge. The fork saves another 25g, the bar and stem save 107g, the seatpost saves 25 and all the bolts and accessories save another 63g. It all adds up to a 460g saving on the frameset module compared to the old Venge ViAS.
Specialized has also brought it Rider-First Engineered technology to the new Venge. Using 40,000 Retul data points and lots of real-world rider feedback, it has refined the specific carbon layup of each size frame to ensure the perfect ride and handling, regardless of what size you're riding.
In the past, a manufacturer would develop a 56cm and then simply scale it up and down to create a full-size range. That approach has its drawbacks for those riding the smaller and bigger sizes, and that's what the Rider-First Engineered technology aims to address.
Integration is key to ensuring optimum aerodynamics, and there are a number of interesting details on the new Venge.
The Di2 junction box is now attached to the back of the saddle clamp, a decision based on pro feedback for easier access by the mechanics. Disc brakes use the now common flat mount standard with 12mm thru-axles, with 6mm Allen bolts but with optional DT RWS levers available.
The Aerofly II handlebar is brand new, a big evolution over the previous design. The riser design has gone and to accommodate different fit requirements it is offering a large range of stems to choose from.
Specialized reckons this new bar is faster and stiffer than the old design. It features internal brake hose and gear wire routing, which feed directly into the frame via the new stem.
The new stem is claimed to be stiffer than the Zipp SL Sprint stem, and it can easily be swapped for any stem you want - the Aerofly II handlebar is compatible with a regular stem.
The brake hoses and gear wires from the handlebar pass along the underside of the new stem, with a plastic case keeping everything in place and looking good.
While all the changes have netted a substantial aerodynamic improvement and weight savings, another interesting detail is the massively improved tyre clearance.
Stock bikes come with 26mm tyres but there's space for up to 32mm tyres, which is unheard of an aero bike. With wider tyres could it be the ultimate long-distance gran fondo bike?
The new Venge is available in S-Works and S-Works Sagan Collection versions, each costing £9,500 with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, Roval CLX 64 wheels and an S-Works Power Cranks (which you don't have to pay extra to unlock). There are also several frameset options costing £3,500 if you want to build a bespoke bike.
If you want to find out more about the new Venge do please contact us or pop into one of our three stores for a closer look.
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