The Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS was designed to be Mark Cavendish’s bike of choice in 2015, but with the Manxman moving across to Dimension Data, and his sprinter’s berth at Etixx-Quick Step filled by Marcel Kittel, it is instead the big German who will be aboard this aero super bike at this year’s Tour de France.
This is a bike that has all the features of your typical aero road bike, and then a bit more. There’s the usual elongated tube shapes for smoother airflow, a cut-out seat tube with minimal clearance to the rear wheel, and a down tube that is positioned lower than usual to bring it closer to the front wheel.
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But on top of this Specialized has done a lot of experimenting with brake positioning, creating its own caliper design that sees the front brake positioned effectively along the bottom of the down tube, while the rear brake is slotted onto the back of the seat tube.
On the bike that you can buy from your local bike shop, all the cabling is also routed internally through the frame and the bar and stem, meaning that you don’t see any cable whatsoever besides the last couple of centimetres that plug in to the rear derailleur. However, Kittel obviously isn’t a fan of Specialized’s own stem and bars, instead preferring to fit an unbranded Zipp SL Sprint stem and FSA Energy Compact handlebars.
While the rest of his Etixx-Quick Step riders are stuck with plain black Venges, Kittel has been treated to a custom paintjob for the Tour de France. With many of these custom bikes, the manufacturer provides a very profound explanation about the inspiration behind the design, but with this bike the explanation is that Kittel wanted something colourful that reminded him of explosions.
With the exception of the brakes, Marcel Kittel’s Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS is kitted out with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, with a 53/39t chainset and 11-25 cassette. Etixx-Quick Step are in fact sponsored by FSA, with Michal Kwiatkowski spotted testing the Italian company’s own electronic groupset last season. However, this groupset clearly isn’t race-ready just yet.
With the exception of the power meter (a 4iii Precision power meter attached to the left crank arm), the rest of the components and finishing kit comes from Specialized or one of Specialized’s in-house brands. That means a Specialized Romin Evo saddle (which is neatly coloured to match the frame), Roval CLX 64 rear wheel and CLX 40 front wheel, and Specialized Turbo tyres, which are a 26mm wide at both front and rear.