Disc bikes are slowly starting to crop up within the pro peloton, and the Specialized Venge ViAS looks to be the latest entrant into the rotor-brake fray. Etixx pro rider Fernando Gaviria recently posted shots of his new bike on Twitter and Instagram.
Gaviria's S-Works' branded bike looks like a slightly modified version of the Venge ViAS rim-brake bike launched last year. Specialized declined to comment specifically on the machine, following the trend of brands that tease forthcoming consumer launches with sneak peeks under pros. Trek recently rolled out what looks to be the next Domane under Fabian Cancellara, also declining comment while soaking up the attention.
"Specialized relies on feedback from professional athletes in developing and testing advanced prototypes in real-world applications," Specialized spokesman Sean Estes told BikeRadar. "Thanks to this top-level feedback, some of these prototypes, or elements of their designs, eventually show up in future product offerings. We call these bikes Project Black."
While Gaviria's photos don't explicitly show rotors, it is quite apparent that the machine is a disc bike. There are no rim calipers, for starters, and the Shimano R795 levers shown are the Di2/hydraulic models.
Shimano R785 levers and the absence of rim calipers can only mean one thing: a disc version of the Venge ViAS
Specialized already has disc versions of its Roubaix endurance bike and its Tarmac race bike. The Tarmac Disc is notable for its proprietary rear hub spacing, which allows for short 405mm chainstays (like on the rim-brake Tarmac) and the fitment of a disc brake. The compromise there is compatibility with other rear disc wheels. It will be interesting to see whether Specialized continues with the proprietary hub spacing for the Venge, or if the company opts for compatibility with other disc wheels with pro racing in mind.
It will also be curious to see how the addition of disc brakes affects the aerodynamics of what Specialized touts as an exceptionally slippery machine.