Specialized has combined their bike design expertise with the world-class composite manufacturing skills of the McLaren Applied Technologies group—the team that designs this F1 car—to debut Specialized’s first aerodynamic road bike, Venge, with a standard S-Works version developed entirely by Specialized and an upgraded S-Works+McLaren version that was a collaboration between the two companies.
Specialized designed the bike’s features and carbon layup for the S-Works version, but they consulted with one of the world’s foremost experts in carbon fiber design—McLaren Applied Technologies—to create a truly unique version of their new frame, called S-Works+McLaren Venge. Duncan Bradley, design director for McLaren Applied Technologies, says his group used finite element analysis and stress analysis to create a “much more accurate way” to structure the layers of carbon fiber that are used to create the frame. They also improved the environment in which the bikes are assembled, presumably by removing pollutants in the air that can imbed themselves in the frame during the layup process, to further improve the finished product. Through the use of these technologies along with their expertise, McLaren was able to remove about 15% of the weight in the standard S-Works version—bringing the total under 950 grams—while actually increasing stiffness bottom bracket torsional stiffness.
Both the S-Works and S-Works+McLaren version are built with the same frame shape and, therefore, are aerodynamic equivalents. They are built with airfoil-shaped tubes sporting a 3:1 aspect ratio, which is the deepest allowed in ProTour cycling. The seatpost is reversible and can position the saddle clamp so it has either 0cm or 2cm of setback. The headtube tappers from a 1 1/8th inch upper headset bearing to 1 3/8th inch lower headset bearing. Although triathlon bikes are almost always built with a narrower headtube for aerodynamic reasons, this broad headset style has become the standard in road bike design because it increases stiffness. The bottom bracket area—including the bottom bracket shell, seat tube and chainstays—is constructed as a single continuous piece and is bolstered by “internal ribbing” that adds stiffness to this critical area of the frame. The S-Works Venge frame weighs roughly 1,117 grams.
The Venge uses standard brake calipers and the rear brake housing routes through the top tube. Both derailleur cables route into the downtube, through the frame and pop out right at the derailleurs. The rear derailleur housing breaks out directly behind the seatstays before plugging into the derailleur. The headset top cap is built specifically to blend smoothly into the top tube, which extends above the upper headset bearing, much like many of the high-end triathlon bikes released in the last year.
S-Works Venge frameset goes for $3,800. A complete bike with Shimano Dura-Ace costs $9,200 and a SRAM Red version hits the register at $8,800. Both the frameset and complete bikes will be available in April. The S-Works+McLaren Venge will be available at the end of the year and pricing has not yet been set.
More info is available at Venge.specialized.com.