Review: Specialized McLaren Venge

Lust after a McLaren F1 car all you want—you’ll never own one. Lust after this McLaren-engineered bike and … you just might stand a chance. But it will run you around $8,000 for the frame set alone. The Venge project started as Specialized’s first aero-road offering—a category that combines the slippery shapes of triathlon designs with the nimble handling of traditional bikes. Once Specialized had a frame it was happy with—the S-Works Venge—the company challenged McLaren to lower the weight and increase lateral stiffness using the same materials and molds. Though the bikes look identical, the McLaren weighs 14 percent less and is 15 percent stiffer (for better handling and efficiency). The differences stem from how the carbon fiber is cut, oriented, and cured, with the McLaren taking three times longer to make. Two days after the bike’s debut, Australian Matt Goss rode it to victory in Italy’s Milan-San Remo. And like an F1 driver, he got his wheels for free.

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