It's all change for Tom Boonen's bike in 2017, with the Belgian so impressed by disc brakes that he's decided to use them in the final few months of his career. Boonen spoke to Cyclingnews on the eve of the Vuelta a San Juan about his decision to switch to discs, and we took the opportunity to take some photos of his new Specialized Venge ViAS disc, as well as note down all the specifications.
The Venge is Specialized's aero frame, which features a curved down tube and seat tube for a snug fit around the wheels that minimises drag. In a bid to further enhance the aerodynamics of the set-up, Boonen is using a 64mm Roval CLX wheel on the back – compared to 50mm at the front.
Instead of the extreme Specialized Aerofly handlebars used by Peter Sagan and others, Boonen is using 40cm FSA Compact bars, while his stem is custom-made to provide him with extra stiffness.
As for the disc brakes, they are Shimano's R-785 series and both the front and rear rotors measure 160mm and are paired with a 12mm thru-axle.
Some riders have found that the flex of the larger rotors can create an undesirable noise - and Team Roompot reportedly switched from 160mm to 140mm rotors last year - but the QuickStep team is sticking with the specifications prescribed by the UCI to the neutral service vehicles, which hand out spare wheels in case of punctures. Only Boonen and Marcel Kittel, who debuts at the Dubai Tour later this month, will be using discs at the Belgian team for the time being.
Boonen is running Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, with a 53/39 chainring combination on the front and an 11-28 cassette.
The 36-year-old measures in at an imposing 1.92 metres in height, and he uses a size 60 frame, with his Romin Plus saddle – more padded than most – pushed back to allow him to adopt that sleek aero position of his.
In total the bike weighs in at 7.8kg, comfortably above the UCI's lower limit of 6.8kg, with the disc brakes accounting for an extra 300 or so grams.
This is the bike Boonen will be riding in the vast majority of races in his final season, though it remains to be seen whether he chooses to go with Specialized's cobble-specific Roubaix model for some or all of Paris-Roubaix - his final bow.
"Roubaix is a special race, but I'm going to test the bike on the cobblestones in the next few weeks and how it performs there," he said. "If I can ride the Venge I will ride the Venge."
Frame: Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS disc, size 60
Fork: Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS disc fork
Handlebar: FSA Compact 40
Front brake: Shimano R-785 disc, 160mm rotor
Rear brake: Shimano R-785 disc, 160mm rotor
Brake/Shift levers: Shimano
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-28T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace 11 speed
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace, 177.5mm, 53/39T
Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace
Wheelset: Roval CLX – 50mm front, 64mm rear
Tyres: S-Works Turbo Cotton
Saddle: S-Works Romin Plus 155mm
Seatpost: Specialized Venge ViAS
Bottle cages: Tacx Deva carbon
Rider's height: 1.92m
Rider's weight: 82kg
Saddle height from BB: 819mm
Centre of saddle to centre of bar: 798mm
Total bicycle weight: 7.8kg
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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.
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