Specialized Venge Elite review

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

Cycling Weekly 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

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Great handling through the corners

  • +

    Comfortable for an aero bike

  • +

    Aero handle bar

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Don't get a complete groupset

  • -

    Saddle slipped on seat post

  • -

    Comes with 23mm tyres - would prefer 25mm

Why you can trust Cycling Weekly Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

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.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Oliver Bridgewood - no, Doctor Oliver Bridgewood - is a PhD Chemist who discovered a love of cycling. He enjoys racing time trials, hill climbs, road races and criteriums. During his time at Cycling Weekly, he worked predominantly within the tech team, also utilising his science background to produce insightful fitness articles, before moving to an entirely video-focused role heading up the Cycling Weekly YouTube channel, where his feature-length documentary 'Project 49' was his crowning glory.