Video superbike: Specialized S-Works McLaren Venge

Two worlds align in an aerodynamic masterpiece

The Venge concept started out as an attempt by Specialized to blend its Tour-winning Tarmac road bike with the aerodynamics of its more radical Shiv time trial bike.


It had to be as aerodynamic as possible, but also dynamically efficient for sprinters and more than enough bike for a team’s rouleurs and GC contenders.

The Venge is a hugely important achievement for Specialized, and the measure by which its future performance bikes will be judged. But you’ll notice there’s another name on this Venge: McLaren. For this limited version Specialized took its S-Works Venge to McLaren’s state-of-the-art Technology Centre in Woking to let its composites boffins loose on the design.

The outcome? Using the latest technology from the world of Formula 1, McLaren succeeded in making the McLaren Venge both lighter and stiffer: 2.07kg for frame, fork, seatpost and cranks compared with the S-Works’ 2.18kg, and a stiffness to weight ratio of 89.7(Nm/deg)kg compared with 80.4. It worked too. It was this version that Mark Cavendish rode to the green jersey in the 2011 Tour de France. 

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  • Price: £12,000
  • Weight: 6.53kg
  • Frame: McLaren refined FACT IS 12r carbon 
  • Fork: S-Works FACT 12r carbon 
  • Gears: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
  • Brakes: Dura-Ace 
  • Wheels Zipp 404 Firecrest tubular
  • Finishing kit: S-Works FACT carbon chainset, S-Works Toupe carbon saddle, S-Works carbon bar, Zipp SL Speed stem, S-Works Venge FACT carbon seatpost, S-Works Turbo tubular tyres

This article was originally published in the Superbike supplement of the current issue (267) of Cycling Plus magazine. It comes free with both the print and SD digital editions, along with four videos of superbikes from Pinarello, Colnago, Specialized and Scott. A HD digital version of the supplement featuring all ten superbike videos is on sale now through iTunes priced 69p.