Race Tech

Mark Cavendish testing 2016 Specialized Venge ahead of Tour de France

Integrated front brake and cable-free handlebar on Cav's new bike

Mark Cavendish has been spotted testing a revamped version of the Specialized’s aero road bike, the S-Works Venge, ahead of an expected official launch before the Tour de France.

It’s new bike season, with teams and riders testing new equipment ahead of the Tour. The thinking is two-fold: it gives riders the latest and greatest equipment for cycling’s most important race, which in turn is turn the sport’s biggest shop window for bike manufacturers.

Is this the new Specialized Venge? (Pic: Sirotti)

Details are thin on the ground about this new version of the friend but Cavendish was riding it at various points during the Tour de Suisse, the Manx Missile’s final race before the Tour de France, which starts in Utrecht in the Netherlands on Saturday July 4.

What we can see from the picture above is that this is a significant update of the Venge, which has been Cavendish’s bike of choice since it was first unveiled in 2011.

The fork has been completely overhauled, with the front brake moved from its traditional position to behind the fork, leaving an incredibly clean frontal area. The frontal area is really important when it comes to aerodynamics, as it’s the part of the bike immediately tasked with displacing air, and so Specialized have sought to make the 2016 Venge as clean as possible.

Side by side: the Specialized Venge and the Trek Madone (Pic: Sirotti)

Cavendish’s bike is also equipped with an interesting handlebar. It looks, in essence, like a riser-style dropped handlebar, with the 30-year-old’s Garmin computer neatly sitting directly in front of the ‘bar on an out-front mount. Again, we can only assume the handlebar is designed to improve the aerodynamic prowess of the Venge and smooth airflow.

The hidden brake and handlebar combine to create a front-end which leaves no cables exposed. Again, it’s another step to reduce turbulent air flow, and is now to be expected on the latest top-end aero road bikes. Take a look at the new Trek Madone being ridden by Fabian Cancellara and a Trek Factory Racing team-mate directly behind Cavendish.

The Madone is another aero revamp yet to be officially launched, but from what know so far it uses a version of the comfort-boosting IsoSpeed decoupler first found on the Domane Classics bike. Stay tuned for more on the new Madone next week from it’s official pre-Tour launch.

As for the Venge, as soon as we know more, you’ll know more.

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