Specialized today unveiled the jewel in their road bike crown - the Venge.
The bike is the result of a nine month collaboration with the Formula One racing giants McLaren. It will be used in competition for the first time at Milan-San Remo this weekend by a select group of riders from Specialized-sponsored teams, including Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia).
BikeRadar were invited along to the top secret launch at the imposing McLaren Headquarters in Woking, UK to catch a first glimpse of the impressive machine.
The bike will be available in two models; the S-Works Venge will be available to buy in the UK from the end of April, but the model we were shown today - the McLaren Venge - is being held back until September. Prices will be decribed in more detail later on, but the McLaren Venge will cost £5,000 for the frameset and forks.
Over four and a half years in the making, the Venge is the brainchild of Specialized's Head of Research and Development Chris D'Aluisio. He was testing a modified Transition with drop bars in 2006 and was 'blown away' by the speed it offered. It was then he realised the potential in creating a road bike with all the properties of an aero bike. So they got to work on creating an aerodynamic frame, resulting in the S-Works Venge.
McLaren had approached Specialized in March 2009 about a possible linking up between the companies, and it was in July last year that they took the prototype of the Venge to the carbon fibre experts of McLaren. Through their filter, the collaboration produced the model unveiled today, the McLaren Venge.
The specifications for both models of the Venge are certainly interesting, subject to further verification. Claimed weight for the frame only is 950g, with the complete module (frame, fork, seatpost, crankset) tipping the scales at 2.07kg for the McLaren and 2.18kg for the S-Works Venge.
Aero savings are interesting too. Specialized have conducted track testing with the Venge against their current top line race bike, the Tarmac SL3. Claimed watts saved by the Venge range from 3W at 20km/h to a whopping 23W at 45km/h, and presumably a lot more than this at Mark Cavendish's sprint speed of around 70km/h. Giving a professional rider that sort of advantage is incredible and should be apparent from very early on in the season.
Claimed torsional stiffness to weight ratio between the head tube and rear dropouts is high too: 80.4 (Nm/deg)/kg for the S-Works Venge and 89.7 for the McLaren Venge. To put that in context Specialized say their 20t10 S-Works Tarmac SL3 is 124.3 (Nm/deg)/kg (stiffer, but not an aero road bike) but the 2011 Felt AR1 aero bike is only 56.4 (Nm/deg)/kg.
More details on McLaren Venge, plus photos from today's launch, will be available later tonight.
This article first appeared on Bikeradar.