Whether you buy in to (or even care about) the claims of time gained, there's no denying the sex appeal of the new Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting drivetrain. Photo by Andy Bokanev

Whether you buy in to (or even care about) the claims of time gained, there's no denying the sex appeal of the new Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting drivetrain (click to enlarge). Photo by Andy Bokanev​

Bold claims are nothing new in the cycling world. Every year bike and component manufacturers trot out new product billed as having some combination of latest and greatest, lightest and fastest, best in every way. But even in a world where hyperbole is often the norm, not exception, recent claims emanating from inside the Win (not wind) Tunnel at Specialized world headquarters in Morgan Hill, California, push the envelop of possibility.

In a nutshell, the Big Red S says that the combination of its new S-Works Venge ViAS aero road bike with new Roval CLX 64 aero carbon wheels (120 seconds), S-Works Turbo tires (35 seconds), S-Works Evade GC skinsuit (96 seconds), S-Works Sub6 Shoes (35 seconds), and S-Works Evade helmet (46 seconds) can save you more than 5 minutes over the course of a flat'ish 40km time trial.

That's right - 5 minutes, which exceeds the margin between first and second place overall in nine of the last 10 Tours de France (if you still count Lance), and is greater than the time gap between race winner John Degenkolb and 47th place finisher Ian Stannard at the most recent running of Paris-Roubaix. In stick-and-ball-sports parlance it's four touchdowns, 10 runs, or a 20-point basketball blowout.


The laggard products in this TT whitewash included the Specialized Tarmac SL4 with non-specified lightweight alloy wheels, 23mm Continental GP4000 tires, an average short sleeve jersey and bibshort, a Giro Synthe or S-Works Prevail helmet, and a pair of current generation S-Works 5 road shoes. Most are solid products that you'd not deem slow.

"We fully expect your bullshit detector to be going off right now," conceded Mark Cote, Specialized's category marketing manager for road, who led an international group of cycling journalists through an extensive day-long presentation in late May. "But this is real. It's all been verified right here in our tunnel. The goal was to test against product that's already being raced at the top level, and speak to the rider who thinks they are on top gear already."

The centerpiece of that speech is of course the new S-Works Venge ViAS, a $12,500 Shimano Di2-equipped super bike with massive amounts of component integration, aero enhancements - and potentially major headaches for mechanics. Specialized calls it bar none the fastest bike (not just road bike) it's ever built, a project that took 15 engineers over four years of design work, prototyping, testing, and validation. The only thing that's not new on the bike are the clamps that hold the saddle rails in place.

The front-end of the new S-Works Venge ViAS has a very distinctive look.

The front-end of the new S-Works Venge ViAS has a very distinctive look (click to enlarge).​

Everywhere you look are modifications to cheat the wind. Brakes are uniquely tucked behind the fork and seat tube. The slammed cockpit (called Aerofly ViAS) hides every inch of cable and housing. Frame tubes are specially shaped to combat all manner of speed reducing drag. The bike simply looks fast.

Specialized says testing occurred both in the tunnel and outside on a 20km test loop with exposed flats, a small amount of climbing, and some turns. Comparison was made using partner company McLaren's Midas super-computer, which it claims could strip out all other variables and isolate the effects of equipment changes.

Max aero gains were seen in downhills and on the flats, with smaller numbers on the climbs in part because the new Venge is "a few hundred grams" heavier than the Tarmac SL 4. Specific weights have yet to be provided.

Here's the full breakdown of the testing that resulted in Specialized's bold 5-minute claim.

Here's the full breakdown of the testing that resulted in Specialized's 5-minute-gain claim (click to enlarge).​

"I thought it was a concept bike when I first saw it," said sprint star Mark Cavendish, who showed up at the PR presentation via a Skype video call, and has since been racing the new bike at the Tour of Switzerland. "I've been on the old Venge for five years and it was definitely time for an update. Then you see the thought that went into this new bike. It's bicycle engineering taken to the next level."

Cavendish, while typically candid, indirectly draws a paycheck from Specialized. And we haven't done anything more than fondle the new bike and listen to the PR spew. So all these claims must be taken with large helping of salt. But suffice to say it was an impressive presentation - and total pricetag. Cost of bike, wheels, tires, helmet, skinsuit and shoes is a college fund-killing $13,575.

Head to page 2 to learn more about the new bike and how much time it claims to save you. And keep clicking through to read about the other new gear and see an extensive photo gallery, geometry chart and wind tunnel test graphs, and visit specialized.com/5minutes.

Continue to page 2 to read more about the new Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS aero road bike »



Highlights include lightweight FACT 11r carbon frame and Rider-First Engineering in order to provide consistent performance across the entire size range, which includes six frame sizes from 49cm to 61cm.

Frame highlights include lightweight FACT 11r carbon frame and Rider-First Engineering in order to provide consistent performance across the entire size range, which includes six frame sizes from 49cm to 61cm (click to enlarge).​

S-Works Venge ViAS ($12,500): Claimed time saved 120 seconds over 40km

Specialized says that instead of a part-by-part design process, the frame, fork, brakes, cockpit, wheels and tires were conceived as a contiguous whole. That may sound like marketing fluff, but it's hard to argue with the apparent amount of critical thinking that went into this project.

"The fully internal cable routing alone took us about six months to figure out," said Specialized creative specialist Chris D'Aluisio of a process that included the development of special headset bearings and spacers to accommodate a routing path that runs through the handlebars, then into the stem and down the headset, before traveling deeper inside the frame and fork. "We had to test after every section to figure out how much bend we could live with. The magic number ended up being a 13mm bend radius, and if you had two of those in close proximately you were screwed. You can't just jam cable in there. It's all about the details. There will be lots of small steps, so you'll need to read manual. We will have an instructional video series going up soon."


Brakes are also fully integrated into the frame, with the front caliper completing the fork's trailing edge, and the rear brake drafting off the middle of the seat tube. Again it's a departure from the aero and TT bike norm, where brakes are often wedged between fork legs and hidden under the bottom bracket.

"We started out looking at traditional aerodynamic brake set-ups," continued D'Aluisio, adding that the benchmark for feel, grab and brake force was Shimano's Dura-Ace mechanical 9000s, and that it took 10 major iterations before they got it right. "But that didn't work well enough for what our goals were in terms of braking feel and performance. The set-up we ended up with doesn't diminish stopping power or modulation."

Integration of the device mount is slick and seamless. Underneath the mount is also one of two options for Di2 junction box location.

Integration of the device mount is slick and seamless. Underneath the mount is also one of two options for Di2 junction box location (click to enlarge).​

Other highlights include lightweight FACT 11r carbon frame and Rider-First Engineering in order to provide consistent performance across the entire size range, which includes six frame sizes from 49cm to 61cm. The FACT carbon fork is designed to reduce drag, while still providing stiffness and steering response during hard efforts and technical descents.

Spacers can only be placed underneath the stem, so once you make that critical cut there's no going back.

Spacers can only be placed underneath the stem, so once you make that critical cut there's no going back (click to enlarge).​

Even the frame's tube shapes are not typical aero bike profiles. Instead of being skinny top to bottom, the oversized downtube has an aggressive shape change, where the top is designed to mimic the back half of a wing, but the bottom takes on the role of the wing's front half. There are also cutouts in the downtube and seat tube, which allow the brakes to tuck away seamlessly. And the top tube has a pronounced slope, exposing more seatpost, which Specialized said resulted in better ride quality and aero performance, and heightened the importance of seatpost shape.

"Initially we assumed the seatpost wouldn't be that important because its relationship to the rider," said Specialized aero expert Chris Yu. "But then we tested it by swapping in a bunch of different posts and saw some huge differences. The end result is a post that's no longer flipale, which is why there are four different offset choices."

That same trend bucking ethos went into the cockpit, which comes stock with a negative 17‐degree stem for a better aerodynamic profile, but has handlebars with a positive 25mm rise so you don't have to be a contortionist to maintain comfort. It certainly appears to be a better solution than the one-piece bar-stem combos we've seen on aero bikes of the past, which lack functional adjustability.

Look for this wind cheating machine underneath the likes of Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish at the upcoming Tour de France.

Look for this wind cheating machine underneath the likes of Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish at the upcoming Tour de France (click to enlarge).​

"We realized that the stem needed to be short and low to get the aero gains we wanted, but then you have to address fit," explained D'Aluisio, adding that they tested one piece systems and got great aero results, but steered away from that design because of the negative effect on adjustability and changes to stack and reach. "To get the hand position in the right place we are getting rise out of our new aero bar and you get the reduced drag of a super slammed set-up."

That means a fully custom cockpit set-up Specialized designed in-house. The final product line will include seven stem and bar choices, allowing most riders to achieve a suitable fit. And if you want to get lower, a flat bar option will be available, though Specialized says the new riser bar actually performed better in the wind tunnel.

Needless to say, you'll need to know your fit coordinates (and have some serious disposable income) before you buy this bike. This will in part be facilitated by a new "Venge Finder" website built by fit guru company Retül. The new site will be a sizing tool for shops and consumers, allowing the user to determine frame size, stem length, cockpit set-up, spacers needed, and so on. If it's not already obvious, you'll need to measure twice (or maybe three times) and cut once.

Special headset bearings and spacers were needed to accommodate a cable/wire routing path that runs through the handlebars, then into the stem and down the headset before traveling into the frame and fork.

Special headset bearings and spacers were needed to accommodate a cable/wire routing path that runs through the handlebars, then into the stem and down the headset before traveling into the frame and fork (click to enlarge).​

Limited global availability is slated to start in August. We've put a request in for a test bike, but there are just a few spares floating around so it may be awhile before we can provide a more substantive report. In the meantime, here's a rundown of full spec for the Shimano Di2 build. Click over to page 3 to learn about the new Roval CLX 64, which Specialized says are the fastest wheels its ever made.

S-Works Venge ViAS Full Spec

  • Frame: FACT 11r carbon, internal cable routing, carbon OSBB
  • Fork: FACT carbon, full monocoque
  • Headset: Custom bearings, ultra thin
  • Handlebars: S-Works Aerofly ViAS
  • Tape: Specialized Roubaix
  • Front Brake: Venge ViAS
  • Rear brake: Venge ViAS
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, 11-speed, braze-on
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, 11-speed
  • Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, 11-speed
  • Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-speed, 11-28t
  • Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-speed
  • Crankset: S-Works Power, Quarq Power Meter, FACT carbon, 52/36T
  • Front wheel: Roval CLX 64, tubeless ready
  • Rear wheel: Roval CLX 64, tubeless ready
  • Front tire: S-Works Turbo, 120TPI, folding bead, BlackBelt protection, 700x22mm
  • Rear tire: S-Works Turbo, 120TPI, folding bead, BlackBelt protection, 700x24mm
  • Saddle: Body Geometry S-Works Power, carbon rails, 143mm
  • Seatpost: Specialized Venge, FACT carbon

Continue to page 3 to read more about the new Roval CLX 64 Wheels and S-Works Turbo Tire »



The new Roval CLX 64 wheels are 64mm deep with a 12mm high brake track and a 21mm internal rim width.

The new Roval CLX 64 wheels are 64mm deep with a 12mm high brake track and a 21mm internal rim width (click to enlarge).​

Roval CLX 64 Wheels and S-Works Turbo Tire ($2800): Claimed time saved 35 seconds over 40km

The other major unveil is the new tubeless-ready Roval CLX 64 wheels, which were designed both to complement the new aero road frame and work in conjunction with previously released S-Works Turbo tire. Rim width is a bulbous 21mm internal, which increases tire volume, in turn creating a larger contact patch. Claimed wheelset weight is 1545 grams. The $2800 pricetag includes a pair of S-Works Turbo tires, 22mm front/24mm rear, for enhanced stability and traction in corners and descents.

The wheels utilize butted and bladed spokes, and Specialized created its own proprietary hub shapes to enhance aerodynamic performance. Limited global availability for the wheels is set for September. Here's a full rundown of key features for the wheels and tires. Click over to page 4 to read about the new S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit.

The front spokes are radial laced, while the rear are radial/two-cross. Spoke counts are 16 front, 21 rear.

The front spokes are radial laced, while the rear are radial/two-cross. Spoke counts are 16 front, 21 rear (click to enlarge).​

Roval CLX 64 Wheels

  • Rim Type: Carbon clincher, tubeless-ready
  • Rim Material: Carbon
  • Braking Surface: Carbon Fiber
  • Brake Track Height: 12mm
  • Rim Depth: 64mm
  • Rim Width: 20.7mm internal, 29.9mm external
  • Front Spoke Pattern: Radial
  • Rear Spoke Pattern: Radial/Two-cross (2:1)
  • Front Spoke Count: 16
  • Rear Spoke Count: 21
  • Spoke Type: DT Swiss Aerolite T-head
  • Nipple Type: DT Swiss Pro Lock hexagonal
  • Front Hub: Roval AF1, CeramicSpeed bearings
  • Rear Hub: Roval AF1, CeramicSpeed bearings, DT Swiss 240 internals, 11-speed
  • Assembly Method: Hand-built
  • Extras: S-Works Turbo Aero 22mm front tire, S-Works Turbo 24mm rear tire, Roval road sticker kit, Roval steel QR, SwissStop Black Prince brake pads
  • Front Wheel Weight: 695g
  • Rear Wheel Weight: 850g

Taking its cue from the likes of Mavic, Specialized has joined the wheel-tire system party.

Taking its cue from the likes of Mavic, Specialized has joined the wheel-tire-system party (click to enlarge).​

S-Works Turbo Tire

  • Casing: 120 TPI
  • Bead: Foldable
  • Compound: GRIPTON
  • Flat Protection: BlackBelt
  • 700 x 22mm:psi 100-125; approximate weight 200g
  • 700 x 24mm: psi 115-125; approximate weight 205g
  • 700 x 26mm: psi 115-125; approximate weight 220g
  • 700 x 28mm: psi 85-95; approximate weight 240g

Continue to page 4 to learn more about the new S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit »



Add it all up and you could be 5 minutes faster, says Specialized. Photo by Andy Bokanev

Add it all up and you could be 5 minutes faster, says Specialized (click to enlarge). Photo by Andy Bokanev​

S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit ($500): Claimed 96 seconds saved over 40km

Once again Specialized says it's broken new ground in the fastest ever developed department, calling apparel the low hanging fruit of this project. To remedy the often loose fit that can rob a rider of speed, the S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit comes in 11 sizes, providing a next-to-custom level of fit.

There are also cuff‐less welded sleeve openings to further enhance aerodynamics, while Dimplex fabric at the shoulders features a dimpled texture (think golf ball), to reduce pressure drag. Specialized also developed a patent-pending shoulder construction that eliminates the need for seams.

The new S-Works Evade GC skinsuit is claimed to save 96 seconds over a 40km time trial versus a standard jersey and bibs combo.

The new S-Works Evade GC skinsuit is claimed to save 96 seconds over a 40km time trial versus a standard jersey and bibs combo (click to enlarge).​

Woven fabric is selectively used on the leg and back panels to decrease weight, while increasing fatigue-reducing compression. The suit also includes a full‐length front zipper and Cold Fabric technology that reflects heat. Three integrated pockets on the back, as well as a full-front zipper add versatility and comfort. Here's a complete rundown of claimed key features. Availability is slated for spring 2016. Click over to page 5 to learn about the new shoe offerings.

Specialized also developed a patent-pending shoulder construction that eliminates the need for seams.

Specialized also developed a patent-pending shoulder construction that eliminates the need for seams (click to enlarge).​

S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit

  • VaporRize moisture transfer knit fabrics are lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying, while a combination of stretch, woven, and aero fabrics enhance aero performance
  • Cold Fabric technology reduces surface temperatures on dark colors
  • Three welded, low-profile rear pockets provide ample storage without impeding on airflow over the back
  • Patent-pending upper torso/arm construction is seamless
  • Cuffless welded sleeve opening construction enhance comfort and aerodynamics
  • Pit-stop-enabling design allows for easy nature breaks
  • Full-length front zipper allows you to adjust ventilation levels on-the-fly
  • Tall sizing offered with additional body length for taller riders
  • Deflect UV 50+ protects your skin from ultraviolet rays
  • Race Fit provides a next-to-skin feel

Continue to page 5 for a breakdown of the new S-Works 6 and S-Works Sub6 shoes »



The new shoes have a perforated synthetic microfiber that's lightweight, durable, and breathable.

The new shoes have a perforated synthetic microfiber that's lightweight, durable, and breathable (click to enlarge).​

S-Works 6 ($400) and S-Works Sub6 ($325): Claimed 35 seconds saved over 40km (Sub6)

Two new pairs of shoes joined Specialized's aero-enhancing party. Features include lightweight, stretch-resistant Dyneema Cubic Tech, a material used in spacecraft parachutes, and a new more secure heel cup. They also have a carbon outsole with a stiffness index rating of 13.0, making it the company's most rigid shoe offering. The result, says Specialized, is better power transfer.

The S-Works 6 shoes were developed and tested at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Specialized utilized a one-piece Stroble construction method that eliminates the variables that can contribute to fit abnormalities. There's also a perforated synthetic microfiber that's lightweight, durable, and breathable.

Non-slip, hydrophobic laces provide a supple fit, while the integrated Warp Sleeve wind/ rain shield enhances aero performance.

Non-slip, hydrophobic laces provide a supple fit, while the integrated Warp Sleeve wind/ rain shield (not pictured) enhances aero performance (click to enlarge).​

Closure on the S-Works 6 (210 grams per shoe) is a dual-Boa. The S-Works Sub6 uses traditional lacing and a sleeve lace cover, which gives it enhanced aero performance. The Sub6 is also, drum roll please, the lightest shoe Specialized has ever produced, coming it at 170 grams per shoe. Here's a rundown of claimed key highlights.

S-Works Sub6 Shoe

  • Body Geometry sole and footbed are ergonomically designed and tested to boost power, increase efficiency, and reduce chance of injury by optimizing hip, knee, and foot alignment
  • Stiff and light FACT Powerline carbon plate with stiffness index of 13
  • Supple Micromatrix UL synthetic upper with laser perforated venting for better fit
  • Non-slip, hydrophobic lace for supple fit, with integrated Warp Sleeve wind/rain shield
  • PadLock molded heel and one-piece stroble upper
  • Non-slip, replaceable heel tread with internally recessed screws
  • Titanium alloy cleat nuts can rotate to position pedal/cleats 5mm rearward
  • Lacelock elastic keeps laces out of chainrings (extra set of colored laces included)
  • Three-bolt cleat pattern fits all major road pedals
  • Form Fit last with roomy toe box for connectivity and comfort

Closure on the S-Works 6 (210 grams per shoe) is a dual-Boa.

Closure on the S-Works 6 (210 grams per shoe) is a dual-Boa (click to enlarge).​

S-Works 6 Shoe

  • Body Geometry sole and footbed ergonomically designed and tested to boost power, increase efficiency, and reduce chance of injury by optimizing hip, knee, and foot alignment
  • Stiff and light FACT Powerline carbon plate with stiffness index of 13
  • Dyneema Cubic Tech directional fibers are thermo-bonded to create no stretch zones
  • Independent Boa S2-Snap dials for on-the-fly micro-adjustment
  • PadLock molded heel and one-piece stroble upper for better fit
  • Titanium alloy cleat nuts can rotate to position pedal/cleats 5mm rearward
  • Non-slip, replaceable heel tread with internally recessed screws
  • Form Fit last with roomy toe box for connectivity and comfort
  • Three-bolt cleat pattern fits all major road pedals