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RCUK100 - Specialized Venge ViAS road bike

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Specialized Venge ViAS

Super-fast race bike to be used by the WorldTour's best

Specialized’s Venge has always been fast, but the new Venge ViAS has taken things to a whole new level. It’s so fast, in fact, Specialized claim a two-minute saving over a ‘standard road bike’ on a flat 40km course. That’s two minutes by just buying a new bike.

Of course, what you make of that somewhat depends on your interpretation of a standard road bike, but Spesh also claim it knocks a full minute off the original Venge as well, so it’s fast even compared to other aero road bikes.

And if that’s not enough, the new S-Works combo – bike, shoes, skinsuit, Evade helmet, Roval wheels and S-Works Turbo tyres – can up that saving to five minutes over the same terrain. Not bad.

Even if you’re not Marcel Kittel, it’s good news if you’re a fan of futuristic-looking, super aggressive bikes packed full of aerodynamic gains

Mark Cavendish tried one out for size ahead of last year’s Tour de France, as did Peter Sagan – who’d later go on to be crowned World Champion in Richmond, albeit riding the Tarmac on that occasion.

That all adds up to good news for Marcel Kittel, looking to re-establish himself as cycling’s premier sprinter, as he’s just joined Etixx-QuickStep who will have the new bike at their disposal this season and raced the bike to victory at the first time of asking at the Dubai Tour.

And even if you’re not Marcel Kittel, it’s good news if you’re a fan of futuristic-looking, super-aggressive bikes packed full of aerodynamic gains, because you can have one too. Although not for free, sadly, that’s where Kittel still holds the advantage. Well, that and in pure wattage terms.

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

Dressed in Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, the bike – if you still hadn’t gathered – is seriously fast, seriously good at cheating the wind, seriously well-specced and seriously eye-catching

The ViAS was modelled in McLaren’s in-house MIDAS (McLaren integrated data analysis integration software) system, the same system the car manufacturers use for mathematical simulations of the interaction between a track and their Formula One cars and equipment.

Spesh then took that bike to their wind tunnel – which they called the Win Tunnel, clever eh? – to optimise aerodynamics and develop what they claim to be razor-sharp handling.

One obvious example of savings is in the brakes, both of which are integrated into the frame in an attempt to grab every last watt of aerodynamic advantage. At the back the rear brake is tucked in halfway up the seat tube, creating a cross between an integrated brake and fairing, while up front the UCI-legal callipers are hidden behind the fork with the brake extending backwards for added aero benefit.

The down tube features a cut out to accommodate the unusual shape of the front brake, and they’re not only designed for minimum drag but also to perform on a par with Shimano’s industry-leading Dura-Ace 9000 callipers which, if true, would be a significant step forward for integrated brakes.

Specialized claim a near zero drag coefficient for the brakes which is just about as good as it gets, and the rear brake has also been positioned to minimise the chances of brake rub, another issue with integrated systems in the past.

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

If further proof were needed of Specialized’s aero intentions with the ViAS, the cockpit provides it. It boasts an aggressive -17 degree angle on the stem and a choice between flat bars and a U-shaped bend for anyone who needs a little more rise than the stem can offer.

Cable routing is totally internal, from the shifters down through the bars and extra wide headset, so there’s no need to worry about drag from them either, though all that integration makes one of these a very tricky proposition when it comes to maintenance.

At the rear triangle there have also been drastic alterations compared to the previous Venge, and it’s not just the brake. The seat stays have been lowered and reworked to provide a much flatter junction with the seat tube, which helps them cut through the air better than ever before.

Crafted from FACT carbon, Spesh have been careful not to compromise handling on the ViAS, with their choice of carbon fibre blend said to offer the best balance of weight, stiffness and vibration cancelling around. The FACT carbon fork, meanwhile, has not only been redesigned to be more aero but also optimised for both stiffness and response.

All components have been chosen for their aerodynamic qualities, and the Roval CLX 64 wheelset is no different. Optimised for both headwinds and crosswinds, Specialized say the tubeless-ready set boasts enhanced traction and minimal rolling resistance, as well as a big 21mm internal width.

Finally the S-Works crankset, featuring fully-integrated ANT+ compatible Quarq power meter, boasts Spesh’s ‘highest quality carbon construction for the best in lightweight power transfer’.

Dressed in Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, the bike – if you still hadn’t gathered – is seriously fast, seriously good at cheating the wind, seriously well-specced and seriously eye-catching.

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