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

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.