Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS eTap Disc review£8,500.00

A tech-laden speed machine

The Venge ViAS isn’t a bike you’d buy off the peg or unseen. The complexity of the design means that a professional fit is a necessity. Its multitude of fitting options would make it very tricky to buy even if you’re confident of your ride position.

Venge ViAS eTap Disc spec overview

  • Weight: 7.85kg /17.3lb (58cm)
  • Frame: FACT carbon
  • Fork: FACT carbon
  • Cranks: Carbon cranks with Quarq power meter
  • Gears: SRAM Red eTap HRD 52/36, 11-28
  • Brakes: SRAM Red hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors
  • Wheels: Roval 64 tubeless
  • Stem: S-Works Venge
  • Bar: S-Works carbon mid-hover
  • Saddle: S-Works Power
  • Tyres: 24mm S-Works Win tubeless

Venge ViAS eTap Disc ride impression

The ViAS is a showcase of the best of the latest road bike aerodynamics — and it’s undoubtedly fast. I’ve shaved time off my best solo 40km time and on local test loops have consistently matched or beaten PBs. Get into the sweet spot of 20mph-plus and it comes alive, holding speed with the tenacity of a pit bull.

Included in the spec of this flagship S-Works model is an accurate and consistent S-Works Quarq power meter crank and I was impressed to see that the speed I could hold wasn’t at the top end of my power. That’s the ideal scenario — more speed for less effort.

The Red’s front derailleur features SRAM’s ‘Yaw’ technology, which eliminates the need for trim
The Red’s front derailleur features SRAM’s ‘Yaw’ technology, which eliminates the need for trim

An aero bike can mean a comfort compromise, but the ViAS is smooth and capable, if not quite up there with the IsoSpeed-equipped Madone at the back end. But the front, with its Hover bar, is every bit as good, with stiffer handling.

The slick, simple shift pattern of SRAM’s eTap disc groupset is wonderful and the powerful and full-of-feel braking is another plus.

The tubeless-ready Roval 64 disc wheels maintain pace, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it takes some serious effort to get into 20mph-plus figures.

That’s partly down to the size of the rims, but more because the bike comes with tubeless-ready offerings, with plugs in place to make them airtight, and tubeless S-Works Turbo 24mm tyres using inner tubes. This adds weight, nulling the pick-up I'd hoped for.

Tubeless-ready wheels and tyres but the fitted tubes add weight and slow down acceleration
Tubeless-ready wheels and tyres but the fitted tubes add weight and slow down acceleration

The deep-section rims also affect the steering. Once you get into the twisty stuff the front end has a bit too much weight to feel truly nimble. I switched out the 64 front for Roval’s CLX32 and it improved the steering.

In standard trim it’s still a capable climber, but a little less front-end mass improved things markedly.

My only other quibble is with a clicking bottom bracket — the tick on every pedal stroke should be easily cured with a service but on an £8,500 / $11,500 / AU$13,500 bike I shouldn’t have to cure it.

The ViAS is impressive. At this price it’s unobtainable for most of us but when you consider it has a £1,700 / $2,400 wheelset, a £1,000+ power meter, eTap disc groupset and finishing kit as good as you’ll find anywhere, it’s a one-stop shop if you’re looking for a bike that’ll cover ground as quick as anything out there.

Venge ViAS eTap Disc early verdict

Stunning aero-focused road bike that’ll focus you on speed.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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