5 Minutes with Specialized

This week Specialized launched their Venge ViAS, a new aerodynamic bike influenced by their innovative work with F1 race firm McLaren Automotive. The Venge, combined with the company’s new helmet, cotton race tubulars, wheels, and skinsuit will save five-minutes on a 40k ride, according to Specialized. That’s an impressive figure, since Specialized is claiming the speed savings for any rider and backing it up with wind tunnel data.

I've already written about the Spesh and McLaren collaboration program for Wired earlier this year, and for Element.ly, when the McLaren Tarmac owners picked up their bikes.

With McLaren’s help, the Tarmac’s ride quality was computer modeled and fed by stiffness, weight, and geometry. He wouldn’t tell me what the exact numbers are, that’s their trade secret, but everything they do relies on data. The main lesson learned from their relationship with McLaren is to prove their decision and trust the numbers. McLaren does not decide anything unless they can prove it’s the right decision. And if that’s the case, that they’ve proven it, then and only then does tooling gets ordered. From Mclaren Helps Build A $20,000 Bike, Because Why Not, Wired.
The Venge launched today, an aero road bike, with a 5 minute promotion. As in the bike is so fast, it saves 5 minutes over the length of 40 kms.

While riding with Spesh last spring it was pretty clear that another bike was coming soon, it just wasn't so clear what that bike might be. At some point they were likely to turn their wind tunnel attention to mountain bikes and pull some seconds off of downhill runs, and hey, who doesn't want a more efficient bike for their morning commute? But those things aren't as efficient as shaving time off of a highly competitive 40k for a pro or citizen racer, and so Specialized’s new bike shaves time off your ride whether you're doing a road-bar time trial or a mountain top finish.

Unlike the McLaren Venge or Tarmac, this bike isn't a limited one-time exclusive, it’s available for order — albeit it at a price of $12k and up. And to get the full five-minute speed boost Specialized is boasting you're going to need to pair it with the skin suit, helmet, wheels and tires.

Screenshot from the software Spesh uses to develop products since working with McLaren. This is the Tarmac.

Collaboration between bike builders and car manufacturers are popular these days, and Colnago also has a “super bike” in the $10,000-plus range that they designed along with Ferrari.

For enthusiasts, these projects offer us even faster options, and also indicate how far bicycle product development has matured. In the 25 years since the founder of Specialized and his peers were tinkerers, hacking together mountain bikes, we've now got superbikes that go super fast.

They also cost a super amount of money.