Specialized will officially launch its new Venge aero road frame in Italy on Friday, adding yet another yet another option to the quickly expanding aero road category. It will eventually be available in two models, a standard S-Works version and an ultralight, premium S-Works+McLaren version.
The Venge will be raced by select riders from HTC-Highroad, Saxo-Bank, and Astana, including HTC’s Mark Cavendish, in Milan-San Remo on Saturday.
The regular S-Works Venge will be available by the end of May, and will cost $8,800 with SRAM Red, $9,200 with Shimano Dura-Ace, or $3,800 as a module. That’s about a $1,000 premium on the current S-Works Tarmac.
As the name implies, the S-Works+McLaren frame was designed with the McLaren Technology Center, home of the McLaren F1 racing team, allowing Specialized to use materials and fabrication processes it claims are new to the cycling industry. This extra technology will come with a bump in price, though Specialized has not yet nailed down an MSRP. The McLaren version won’t be available until late fall.
The frame was inspired by the Specialized’s own Shiv and Transition time trial models, and some of the wind-cheating features seen in each can be found on the Venge. In fact, much like the Shiv, the Venge has had its own trouble with the UCI’s technical regulations: its design was originally rejected by the UCI in August, 2009. The frame set to debut at Milan-San Remo this weekend is 100 percent UCI compliant, however.
Despte aero features, Specialized has kept the frame light, at a claimed weight of under 950 grams, at least for the McLaren version. As a module, including frame, fork, seatpost, and crankset, the S-Works+McLaren comes in at a claimed 2,071g. Specialized marketing man Nic Sims said the frame could be even lighter by its final release date.
Interestingly, though perhaps coincidentally, Specialized compared their frame to three of the frames features in the aero road bike test found in VeloNews’ April issue. According to Specialized, the same module setup for the Cervèlo S3 comes in at 2,332g, the Ridley Noah at 2,500g, and the Felt AR1 at 2,588g.
The Venge features a one-piece bottom bracket and chainstay, as well as a 1 1/8” upper to 1 3/8” lower tapered headset. The seatpost is reversible. Fork blades use a 3:1 cross-section, the maximum allowed by the UCI.
The headset top-cap is integrated into the frame for a smooth and aerodynamic transition. Cables are run internal, but enter the frame on the downtube rather than behind the stem as with the Felt AR1 or Cervèlo S3.