2012 Specialized Venge Pro – Unboxed, Weighed & First Impressions

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

With a fairly new wave of road bikes with a nexus of aero design, light weight and stiffness objectives, we at Bikerumor wanted to dig deeper and see what it’s all about. Tyler has been riding a Cervelo S5 and Specialized sent in a 2012 Venge Pro for Rob and I to form some conclusions of our own. Do these bikes really offer performance advantages for the average rider?

Well, a little more time will tell, but first impressions on both bikes have been pretty surprising. For now, let’s run through the Venge…

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

While opinions are mixed on the S5′s appearance, everyone -EVERYONE- that comes in our offices or sees us on a ride remarks at how sexy the Specialized Venge is. Appearances suggest looks were not sacrificed at the altar of aerodynamics.

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

This bike has a knife-like presence and you can’t help but look at it and think, “this thing has got to rip.”

WEIGHTS & DETAILS

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

A size 52 Pro comes in at 15lb 15oz (7.23kg) without pedals.

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

Front and rear profiles don’t show much.

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

Starting with the build, I noticed some neat design features and specs including internal cable routing that was easy to install and tune. A small allen wrench secures the covers and internal guides mostly send the cables where they need to be. The shift cable housing has stops built into the frame plugs, meaning you (or, more likely, your local bike shop) needs to install them in the correct order. Ours didn’t come with instructions, but it’s pretty easy to figure out.

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

The shift cables run loose through the down tube, but the guide on the bottom bracket shell has a large enough opening to fish them out easily.

The bottom bracket shell itself is quite bulbous, but in a well rounded, shapely sort of way. The curve and shape of the S-Works carbon cranks match it well.

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

The rear brake’s also uses cable stops in the frame plugs.

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

The seat clamp uses a dual bolt design wrapping around a semi-aero seatpost. A slightly extended seatmast and continuous looking top tube-to-seatstays gives it an overall solid look. Note the peep hole on the back of the seat tube to indicate minimum seatpost insertion. One thing that we noticed (and continue to notice) is the abundance of random stickers. Manufacturing origin, several bar codes or numbers, serial number, etc., add up to five or six decals across the frame.

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

The Venge has a straight and stiff fork with an airfoil design capped at the head tube by an aerodynamic wing mounted on the steerer tube below the stem to guide air fluidly over the top tube. Click to enlarge and you’ll notice the stem doesn’t look quite square with the steerer tube. That’s thanks to Specialized’s angled shim system that allows you to fine tune the angle of the stem.

2012 Specialized Venge Pro aero road bike review frame details and actual weights

The seat tube has a arched recess for the wheel, but maintains a fairly large gap compared to other aero or TT bikes we’ve seen. The seatstays are fairly thin and slightly angled outward. Unlike the S5, the Venge makes no concessions for moving air away from the brakes or slimming the head tube…it gets a tapered steerer like their Tarmac and Roubaix.

SPEC & FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

The 2012 Specialized Venge Pro has an MSRP of $6,600 and comes equipped with:

  • Specialized stem, handlebar and bar tape
  • Specialized Romin Evo Pro saddle
  • Specialized FACT carbon crankset
  • Shimano Dura-Ace shifters and derailleurs
  • Shimano Ultegra brakes
  • Roval Rapide 45 carbon alloy hand built wheels
  • Specialized Turbo Pro Tires 700×23

EVAN: My first few rides on this bike took place in the mountains of Western North Carolina, not where I had initially planned on putting miles in on an aero oriented frame. Nonetheless, I was there and I was of course going to take advantage of the opportunity to ride. For a frame designed to be aero, it climbed as well or better than my old Tarmac.

Back in Greensboro, I’ve put in a few 20 to 30 mile rides and first impressions are that it is indeed a very fast bike. It’s also pretty comfortable, but I need to qualify that by saying pretty comfortable for a stiff race bike. So far, so good, but the miles will tell…

ROB: When I first learned that I would be testing the new Specialized Venge, needless to say I was just a little excited.  The bike looks sexy and it definetly grabs lots of attention at the local group rides.  My first ride was a local 50 mile Saturday morning winter training ride that as usual turned into a hammer session.  I did not know what to expect since this was the first time I had ridden the bike.

Looking at the bike I knew it would be fast, but I was shocked as to exactly how fast.  During the first sprint of the day I almost ran into the back of the guys I was chasing because the bike closed the gap so quickly.  In addition to speed, the bike has very quick handling and responds to even the slightest body movement.  I was able to change lines during the sprint with very little effort.  With a massive bottom bracket area that showed no signs of flex when putting down the power and the super stiff aero shaped tubes all add up to one very efficient machine.  I can see why Mark Cavendish wanted to continue riding Specialized bikes after riding this bike last season, it’s definitely an advantage.  I am looking forward to a long term test of this incredible machine, stay tuned for a full review….

Comments

MTB - 12/27/11 - 9:56am

Looks much better seeing real picture of bike, versus seeing it on specialized website.
And, the price isn’t too bad at $6600. Interesting bottom bracket.
Just wished specialized would sell the venge mclaren as frameset only.

cristi - 12/27/11 - 10:52am

The cable routed to the front derailleur is touching the back tire. It’s seen on the up-to-down picture of the bottom bracket.

bandmeeting - 12/27/11 - 11:01am

What is the clearance between the rear wheel and the front derailleur cable?

Venge owner - 12/27/11 - 11:29am

Clearance is more than 6mm.

Erik - 12/27/11 - 11:32am

It look like the front derailleur cable might be offset from the rear wheel. Is that the case?

Beautiful bike!

Tim - 12/27/11 - 12:32pm

What is with Specialized and all the decals. Great looking bike, but spoiled by all the stickers! Specialized on the down tube and then no decals on the forks or top tube.

The Dude - 12/27/11 - 12:46pm

wow, it is touching! weird, we have one in the shop and that cable comes nowhere near the rear tire…

Venge owner - 12/27/11 - 1:00pm

Wrong angle of photo :-)

TheDude - 12/27/11 - 1:10pm

The cable from the back of the BB comes up at an angle towards the drive-side. You guys are seeing an optical illusion. Excellent bike, however the frameset comes in a much sexier color.

TheDude - 12/27/11 - 1:13pm

impostor! I am TheDude! :)

Stephane - 12/27/11 - 1:27pm

I received my S-Works Venge with Sram red equipment and Roval SL45 wheels one month ago. I couldn’t test ride it not so much cause here in Switzerland it’s already snowing, but as far as I’m a rider since I’m 16 years old: the only thing I can say is that the best bike I ever ride in my life. I ve been racing for several years in difents teams and had many bikes, but this one is really amazing!

TheDude - 12/27/11 - 1:34pm

No, I’m TheDude, and the cable is suppose to rest deep in the tread. I’m an optical illusion.

The Dude - 12/27/11 - 1:36pm

You’re not The Dude. I’m The Dude, and the bike in our shop is a GMC Denali.

Chipollini - 12/27/11 - 2:21pm

“I’m The Dude, so that’s what you call me. You know, that or ah his Dudeness, or uh Duder or uh El Duderino if you’re not into that whole brevity thing.”

Gène - 12/27/11 - 3:33pm

Why is the front cover of the stem upside down?

john habanero - 12/27/11 - 5:46pm

The Venge is so freak’n tight. If I had the money I would so buy one.

wv cycling - 12/27/11 - 6:56pm

@Cristi – I totally thought that too! It looks super close!

Larry Falk - 12/27/11 - 7:17pm

Hopefully the long term test talks about the wheels.

mike - 12/28/11 - 12:05am

The faceplate on your stem is upside down.

Mallory - 12/28/11 - 12:18pm

the face plate is correct, the rest of the bike is upside down…
hey… where’s the guy who always complains when weights are quoted without pedals?

MTB - 12/28/11 - 2:07pm

LOL!

“complains when weights are quoted without pedals?”
Could it possibly be because when you buy a stock bike, it doesn’t come with pedals?

Habanero,

Venge frameset at $4400. Eating pork n’ beans everyday to save up for one.

Gillis - 12/28/11 - 3:49pm

gonna hold out for the disc version

Justin - 12/28/11 - 5:43pm

$6600 seems a little much for a bike with mixed mechanical DA/Ultegra and just OK wheels.

Wilfman - 12/28/11 - 6:36pm

@Cristi – Nah it looks like it from this pic, but the cable comes out at an angle. @Chipollini – Best film ever made!, man :)

wigs - 12/29/11 - 12:12am

lots of money for a chinese frame with a mix bag d-train. good money towards a custom bike

cristi - 12/29/11 - 7:01am

@Wlfman @wenge owner: thanks, kollega!

BJ - 12/29/11 - 1:58pm

@wigs,
it’s actually made in taiwan. big difference.

Turbofrog - 12/30/11 - 1:37am

@BJ True story. Made in Taiwan is as good as made anywhere in the world. But don’t let the Internet know, maybe they’ll feel bad they paid twice as much for an inferior custom frame…

TheDude - 12/30/11 - 4:33pm

@turbofrog – kudos

Dealer - 01/01/12 - 4:13pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the stem needs to go at the TOP of the steer tube and all spacers BELOW it on all Specialized Pro-Set stem….ie you would have to over tighten the topcap b/c your angled headset spacer is not sitting level to the steertube. That is why they come with the angled wedges inside the stem..”Four stems in One”

The Dood - 01/03/12 - 5:03pm

16lbs for a 52 without pedals. sweet…………NOT.

Mindless - 01/09/12 - 2:20pm

Friends do not let friends buy from Specialized.

Nils - 01/10/12 - 11:41pm

“I was able to race like a cat 5 during the sprint with very little effort.”

Fixed that for you.

Specialized Rider - 01/24/12 - 4:46pm

@Dealer Specialized also makes carbon spacers that are designed to go on top of the stems. Not sure if the bike rumor guys used them for this, but they do exist. Special order from your local shop if needed. Come stock on a lot of Stumpjumpers to help with fiddling your fit.

Jeff J - 06/10/12 - 11:12am

Found it, 15.5 would be like 16.5-17 ish with TT wheels and bars, very respective in Upper TT bikes, almost too light ! right on !

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