Specialized Venge ViAS Expert Disc Ultegra road bike

World-champion-approved aero bike gets a disc brake makeover for the consumer market

We like a bike that can hold a candle to pro-level machines here at RCUK, and this cut-down version of the Venge ViAS is one such example. And it has disc brakes.

The Venge ViAS has always been a distinctively-shaped machine, made even more so by world champion Peter Sagan’s use of it in the WorldTour these days, with tube profiles arrived at by extensive research and development carried out in the Specialized ‘Win Tunnel’. That research lead to neat design flourishes that are clearly designed with only one objective in mind: speed.

So, we have truncated aero tubing that helps keep the Venge ViAS cutting through the air efficiently, along with a heavily shaped and tapered headtube. And, not only have Specialized designed a rear seattube cutout to partially shroud the rear wheel and minimise disruptive airflow, the Americans have repeated the trick at the front end, with the upper half of the downtube hugging the trailing edge of the front wheel.

This not only allows otherwise disruptive air to pass more smoothly around a more integrated front end, it also allows Specialized to pull the wheels together a little more – resulting in a particularly short wheelbase. It isn’t until you buy a 58cm frame that the length goes over a metre, with a 54cm and 56cm frame size respectively measuring at 981mm and 992mm. Chainstays stay at 410mm regardless of the size you buy, keeping the rear end taut and sharp too.

The effect of this is the Venge ViAS belies its bulky, aero-optimised look, giving a sharp and responsive ride you might expect to find on the more all-round Tarmac.

Of course, in this guise the Venge comes with disc brakes, but it’s worth noting at this point that the Venge ViAS was originally conceived to be a disc-brake steed, even if the rim brake equivalent arrived first. Specialized saw the disc brake revolution coming and set to work on the new Venge, but with the UCI tentative to introduce the tech to the pro peloton, the rim brake bike was fast-tracked.

The brakes are of course flat-mount, using the Shimano BR805 versions at the front and rear, while the bike follows the current trend (for consumer-level road bikes, anyway) of fitting a 160mm front rotor and 140mm rear stopper. That easily suffices for the everyday rider – even racers – but it’s worth noting that the UCI still mandate disc brake service vehicles come with wheels set up with 160mm rotors at both front and rear. It’s just one of those anomalies in the market that will surely iron out over time.

What has (largely) smoothed out is the adoption of 12mm thru-axles, which helps boost stiffness through the wheelset, forks and rear dropouts. While the Venge ViAS was designed as a disc bike from the ground up, Specialized themselves claim between an unavoidable four to eight second loss over 40km at 40km/h compared with the rim brake frame – but, remarkably, it weights 200g less.

The frame is constructed of Specialized’s top-level FACT 11r carbon and adopts what Specialized call ‘Rider-First Engineered’ geometry. Interestingly, despite the relatively short wheelbase, it pulls the rider up slightly, with Specialized recognising that a fully aero-optimised position might not necessarily be the most efficient way of getting the most out of a bike.

RCUK100 - Specialized Venge ViAS road bike
RCUK100 - Specialized Venge ViAS road bike
RCUK100 - Specialized Venge ViAS road bike

Specialized Venge ViAS Disc

This is the cheapest version of the Venge ViAS Disc, and with that you do lose the integrated headset-stem setup the more expensive versions boast, but you do still get Specialized’s Aerofly handlebar complete with 25mm rises on the end of a standard Pro SL alloy stem. The aero optimisation otherwise carries over at the rear of the bike too, with a deep carbon seatpost neatly integrated into the seattube, seated and fastened by a secure wedge system. Atop this, we spy a Venge race-bred saddle.

The groupset is Ultegra, but you do get an FSA SL-K Light chainset. Don’t be put off by this, though – it’s carbon, the idea being to keep weight down while boosting stiffness. Shimano themselves might not approve, but it’s a neat setup that looks good on the Venge ViAS. And, well, it’s carbon.

The wheels aren’t, but you do get solid rolling stock in the DT Swiss R470 Disc Pro hoops, while Specialized wrap them with S-Works Turbo 24mm tyres. There’s plenty of clearance to up this to 28c too should you be wanting an extra level of comfort from your aero weapon, while the wheels are tubeless-ready, so there’s even more to be had in the comfort stakes if you’re a tubeless convert.

[monetizer101 search=’Specialized Venge ViAS Disc Ultegra’ price=’3900′]


Selected for The RCUK 100 2017

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