The Specialized Venge Elite is a great bike but lacks for a 105 chainset and 25mm tyres

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 7

Specialized Venge Elite

Pros:

  • Great handling through the corners
  • Comfortable for an aero bike
  • Aero handle bar

Cons:

  • Don't get a complete groupset
  • Saddle slipped on seat post
  • Comes with 23mm tyres - would prefer 25mm

Product:

Specialized Venge Elite

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£2,100.00

The Venge is famously the bike that Mark Cavendish favours. It was born out of a collaboration with McLaren, which provided its Formula One expertise to optimise the aerodynamics.

Frame

The Specialized Venge Elite frame’s carbon layup utilises less high-modulus carbon fibre, making it less stiff and slightly heavier than the considerably more expensive S-Works, as ridden by Cavendish, although the two bikes have the same tube profiles and wind-cheating shapes.

The seatpost clamp is interesting and uses a two-bolt design to hold the post in place. This works well.

Specification

The Specialized Venge Elite is equipped with a complete Shimano 105 groupset, barring the chainset, which comes courtesy of Praxis. We would prefer to see a 105 chainset.

Somewhat irritatingly the 2016 model still comes equipped with 23mm tyres, despite 25mm being demonstrably faster and more comfortable.

The Specialized S-Works carbon aero bar looks the part, and you can attach most out-front computer mounts to it too. One of the key contact points, it would make more sense to supply the bike with a 105 chainset and a cheaper aluminium bar that can be swapped.

Ride

Aero tubes are not conducive to comfort and the bikes can often suffer from a harsh ride. The Venge Elite is by no means an endurance bike, but it is compliant and I would happily take it on long rides and on less than perfect surfaces.

One issue I encountered was the saddle slipping on the top of the seatpost. This has happened to other Venge owners I spoke to.

Cornering is excellent, slicing through bends like a sidewinder missile. The low front end is great for when you want to get aero on a descent or sprint for a town sign.

Value

The Venge is great bike, but it suffers on value. For £2,100 a full 105 groupset could be expected and 25mm tyres.

Verdict

The Venge is a great bike, best suited to aspiring racers. However it struggles to compete with other bikes the same price when it comes to value

Details

Miles ridden:223
Weight:8.48kg
Size tested:56
Size range:49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
Frame:Specialized FACT 10r Carbon
Fork:Specialized FACT Carbon
Groupset:Shimano 105, Praxis Works chainset
Gear ratios:11-28t cassette, 52/36t mid compact
Wheels:Fulcrum Racing S5
Tyres:Specialized Turbo Pro 23mm
Bar:S-Works Aerofly
Stem:Specialized Pro SL
Seatpost:Venge FACT carbon
Saddle:Specialized Romin EVO Comp
Contact:specialized.co.uk
  • Chris Baillie

    To be honest, the wheels are so bad that the combo will end up in the shed for winter use anyway! I’ve got a similar spec Tarmac, 25mm GP4s for winter, on the standard wheels, 23mm Ultremo’s on Durace C24’s for summer. Ride is actually far smoother on the latter, running with Latex tubes – which incidentally are only for tyres up to 23mm…..

  • Robin Mainwaring

    I am left a bit baffled by a review that criticises a bike for coming with 23mm tyres. There are plenty in my club that ride on 23mm and plenty that don’t. The speed difference is not night and day, nor the comfort. Hence, it is just a personal preference (I am in the 25s camp, btw), particularly given that the avg Joe buying a Spesh at this level is not going to be affected by a few percentage points either way. It’s a bit like criticising a bike because it is the wrong colour, as in “comes in blue which doesn’t match my shorts”

  • Actually science is in favour of fatter tyres. Wider tyres can reduce drag as tyre and wheel are more likely to be the same width, plus rolling resistance is reduced. Plus it’s more comfy and less battered riders are less tired.

  • Chris Baillie

    Why would you want 25mm tyres? All marketing to sell new tyres – slower and heavier! This is an aero bike, would ruin the looks.