Specialized Venge: Aero Road

Specialized Bicycles teamed up with Formula 1 race car design team McLaren to create the aerodynamic Venge road bicycle.

2011 Specialized McLaren Venge

McLaren, with 45 years designing race cars and 30 years of carbon fiber supercar experience, knows composite engineering. Specialized knows bicycle design, and they’re not too shabby with composites either. Specialized designed a prototype of their new highly aerodynamic Venge frame, then took the early model to McLaren for additional tweaking using materials modeling normally used to shave weight while increasing torsional stiffness.

The McLaren version of the frame includes further engineering to the carbon fiber layering and frame construction for lighter weight and increased stiffness. McLaren’s computer modeling was used to precisely shape and layer composites in the frame. The chainstays, bottom bracket and seat tube are constructed as a single piece to maximize stiffness for minimal deflection under load. The S-Works and McLaren models are both stiffer and lighter than the 2011 Cervelo S3, 2011 Felt AR1, and 2010 Ridley Noah.

Specialized also learned from McLaren how to eliminate an entire ply of non-structural laminate. This layer is an artifact of manufacturing, but McLaren’s process eliminates this layer — and 40 grams — from the frame.

Aerodynamic features include cambered seatstays to minimize crosswind drag, UCI legal “X-section airfoil” forks, and internal cable routing. Specialized says the routing is compatible with standard and electronic components.

The bladed seatpost rotates to quickly adjust saddle setback. Unlike the seatmast on other bicycles designed to maximize aerodynamics, Specialized decided on a more traditional seatpost.

Mark Cavendish, who told Specialized he loves the bike when he first tried it, plans to ride the Venge beginning this Saturday at Milan-San Remo.

You can see more about the Venge at Specialized’s (flash heavy) Venge site. Bike Radar reports from the bike’s launch in the UK. James @ Bicycle Design says he’ll have a post up about this bike soon as well.

The McLaren frame will go for about $15,000, while the cheaper S-Works model will run a little over $9,000.

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