At just 7.19 kg, the Specialized S-Works Venge is by far the lightest bike in the aero bike group test. With countless victories in the Grand Tours and the hotly contested “best in test” in our 2018 race bike group test, the expectations for the latest bike from Specialized were high. Can the €10,999 Specialized S-Works Venge win the 2019 group test against the Trek Madone and Cannondale SystemSix?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best aero bike of 2019 – 3 race machines head-to-head

Specialized S-Works Venge 2019 | 7.19 kg | € 10.999

It’s light, slim and matt-black: at first glance, the Specialized S-Works Venge seems reserved and the slim forms don’t immediately identify it as a full-blooded aero bike. Regarding the design, the 2019 Venge is somewhere between the previous Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS and the Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc, which we’ve both tested for you already. The shapes and tube diameters of the Venge are quite homogeneous and the iridescent decals give the stealthy bike the necessary wow-effect.

„Scary-fast“ – the acceleration will make a Porsche 911 look slow

The aerodynamically optimised, slim tubes characterize the look and no other bike in the test makes as light-footed an impression. The latest creation from Morgan Hill promises to offer greater aerodynamic advantages compared to its predecessor, the Venge ViAS, yet also be lighter and more versatile. And the scale confirms that Specialized has succeeded – at 7.19 kg in size 56, the S-Works Venge is more than 400 g lighter than the competition and only 500 g heavier than the 6.69 kg Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc.

The Specialized S-Works Venge 2019 in detail

For €10,999 the Venge comes specced with Shimano’s top-end groupset, the DURA-ACE Di2 R9170 Disc, in combination with an in-house dual-sided S-Works-PowerMeter crankset, compatible with standard GPS devices via ANT+. The 52-36 chainring and 11-28 cassette gearing setup, which has almost become standard by now, should offer the perfect compromise between speed and climbing capability. The 64 mm deep Roval CLX 64 Disc wheelset comes with CeramicSpeed bearings to ensure easy and smooth rolling.

Drivetrain Shimano DURA-Ace DI2
Wheels Roval CLX 64 Disc
Brakes Shimano DURA-ACE 160/140 mm
Tires Specialized Turbo Cotton 320 TPI
Weight 7.19 kg
Price € 10,999

Junction box in the seat post, a neat and user-friendly solution
Clearance for up to 28 mm wide tyres
The S-Works crank is nice but looks a bit antiquated on this S-Works Venge
The new stem and handlebar are interchangeable, which allows customisation
“All-Integration-Everything” – finally integration that also enables easy servicing
Despite differences in stack and reach, the geometry is comparable to the S-Works Tarmac SL6

The engineers from California have done a great job regarding integration – anyone can hide things away, but accessibility or adjustability often falls by the wayside. Not so with the Venge: both the handlebar and stem can be exchanged and the angle of the handlebar can be adjusted. Also, all cables and wires are very easily accessible, which is music to every mechanic’s ears. We particularly liked how the Di2 junction box has been integrated into the seat post. Compared to the previous model Venge ViAS, which we criticised heavily for its poor serviceability, Specialized has made a quantum leap here.

Tuning Tips:

  • Tyres with more puncture protection for everyday use and training
  • replace silver bolts with black ones (looks better)
  • style upgrade of the handlebar ends

The geometry of the Specialized S-Works Venge 2019

The geometry of the 2019 S-Works Venge has an aggressive position comparable to the S-Works Tarmac SL6, despite differing in stack and reach. For the stem, you can choose between 80 mm to 140 mm with +/- 6°, or 110 mm to 140 mm with +/- 12°. Thanks to the standardised clamp, the stem should also be compatible with all commercially available handlebars. The S-Works Aerofly handlebar is available in four different widths ranging from 380 mm to 440 mm. A nice feature is the bar tape notch for a pro-level look.

With the first turn of the cranks, you can feel how light the Venge is as it positively leaps forward. The stiff frame paired with the low weight is a lot of fun and continuously urges you to accelerate a little more. The combination of efficiency and lightness gives you an advantage when going uphill too, and the Specialized climbs like none of the competition, both seated and out of the saddle. Nevertheless: Compared to a Tarmac or other all-round or climbing bike, the generally heavier aero wheels in the test field put a slight damper on the acceleration.

Helmet KASK PROTONE | Glasses 100% Speedcraft | Jersey Pedal Mafia Tech Jersey | Bibs Pedal Mafia Pro – Delta Bib | Socks FINGERSCROSSED Classic white | Shoes Mavic Cosmic Pro

When going downhill and cornering the Venge feels very agile which requires skill and attention. The steering is very direct, almost too direct, and especially in long corners, you have to readjust from time to time. Through tight bends, on the other hand, the competition doesn’t come close.

Thanks to the braking performance of the Shimano DURA ACE R9170 Disc with a 160/140 mm rotor setup and the excellent grip offered by the fast rolling Specialized Turbo Cotton tyres, you’re in full control of every situation, instilling you with the confidence to push your limits. In general, the handling can be compared to that of a Porsche 911 with the ESP switched off: damn fast, precise, and agile – but you have to know what you’re doing. If you do, you’ll have the ride of your life.

We were surprised how well the S-Works Venge dampens road vibrations and softens the harshness of bumps. Above all, the cockpit inspires with plenty of comfort, but still offers all the stiffness you need for the finish sprint. A nice feature for the time trial position are the dimples on the flat top of the bars, which prevent your arms from slipping off. It should be noted, however, that without bar tape, we wouldn’t recommend staying in that position for too long. The seat post matches the frame nicely, though the aero shape prevents it from having any comfortable flex. All in all, we can imagine taking the Venge on longer rides and it beats the Cannondale SystemSix in comfort. In a direct comparison to the Trek, however, it is at a disadvantage due to the lack of active damping.


With the S-Works Venge, Specialized has a true aero-race machine in its lineup. It’s lightness, the direct handling and the high agility make it extremely lively and precise, which requires a skilled rider. Thanks to its stiffness, it also cuts a great figure on the finish sprint and thanks to the various cockpit options, the Venge can be perfectly matched to any rider. The aero-racer from California is the perfect bike for experienced riders and professionals with race ambitions – and ideally also for riders with Sagan’s riding skills. For the less experienced cyclist, it lacks some stability and good-natured handling.


– weight
– very agile and precise handling
– slim frame shapes
– very good accessibility of cables and hoses for easy service


– rounded crank shape not quite matching the angular forms of the frame
– Tyre puncture protection
– no lever for the axle
– handling requires an experienced rider

Uphill | Downhill | Stability | Comfort

For more info head to:

The test fleet

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best aero bike of 2019 – 3 race machines head-to-head

All bikes in test
Cannondale SystemSix Hi-MOD DURA-ACE Di2 | Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc 2019

This article is from GRAN FONDO issue #010

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Words: Photos: Benjamin Topf

1 Comment

  • […] In 2016, Venge ViAS came out taking aero to the next level, times two. Two things happened when the ViAS came out: 1. The price went up. Big time. 2. The weight went up by four pounds over the 1st Gen. Venge. Nowadays, you’ll have to part with a cool $8,000 to sit atop a new Venge. And the new rigs come with a stiff penalty. Just a couple of years ago, a top-of-the-line ViAS would run you more than $12,000 and weighed in at a bulky 18-1/2 pounds. Today, it’s my understanding that the T-o-L ViAS has been slimmed down to the 16 pound neighborhood (possibly as low as 15.8 pounds). […]