This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
At the Tour de Suisse, a warm-up stage race for the Tour de France, Mark Cavendish (and, updated, Peter Sagan on stage 7) was spotted riding a new Specialized that very well could be a prototype of the next generation Venge aero bike. Specialized declined to comment on the bike, but here is what we are able to glean from the photos by Tim de Waele.
This new Specialized has what many have taken to calling 'superbike' features on time trial bikes — an integrated stem that looks to house internal cabling, bespoke front and rear brake with highly sculpted aero bodies, and an aero handlebar with a flat top and a severe dip in the center.
Instead of hiding a small brake inside the fork, Specialized has built this massive integrated piece onto the back of the fork
When it comes to brake calipers, many companies have taken pains to hide them from the wind. Some have built a small brake inside of the fork legs; some have tucked calipers under the chainstays. Often they are smaller units, which can mean compromised braking power. Specialized seems to have taken an entirely new approach with some seriously beefy looking calipers. The front especially is massive, with a long tail coming of the back of each fork leg. Since the bike is being raced at the Tour de Suisse, it must have passed the UCI's bike check, including its 3:1 length-to-width ratio inspections. But this front brake must be right up against that line.
The frame looks to be relatively squat, with a low top tube, short head tube and low stem; only at the handlebar does the bike rise up. Presumably Cavendish has the same fit coordinates as he has always had, so that dramatically shaped handlebar must account for differences.
In all, it looks to be a hyper-aero package.
Traditionally, many companies use the Tour de France as a launchpad for new product, so we expect to be able to share more information in the coming weeks.
The integrated stem looks to house internal cabling, as we can't see wires of cables anywhere outside the bike. Note the dramatically dropped center of the handlebar
Click through the gallery above for a closer look.