Sunday, 19 June 2011

Bike Porn - Specialized McLaren Venge

The first thing that entered our collective head when we saw pictures of Specialized's new-for-2012 McLaren Venge road bike was, "Holy crap, that's an evil-looking mofo!" Finished in matt black with blood-red detailing, it has a curved top tube which gives it a hunched, aggressive stance that reminds us of those gargoyles that come to life and create havoc in Ghostbusters.

Speccy McLaren Venge: warranty does not cover consumption of owner's soul by bicycle.
Is it pretty? Hell no - it's ugly as sin; but it's ugly in a way that an Apache helicopter is ugly. It looks as though it's been designed purely for its intended purpose: total annihilation of enemy combatants... and if that scares the crap out of anyone thinking of starting trouble then all the better. Spending five years developing the bike, Specialized worked with F1 experts McLaren who are world leaders in the production of lightweight carbon fibre racing cars. Extensive wind tunnel and road testing have created a bike that, whilst as aerodynamic as anything else out there, also offers the sort of rigidity and stiffness not found in other aero bikes. The partnership also allowed the manufacturer to eliminate an internal layer of carbon ply from the frame by using one of McLaren's revolutionary production processes, thus saving 40g. That's enough to give any rider lucky enough to ride the Venge an edge.

Chain stays, seat tube and bottom bracket shell are constructed in one piece, permitting fibre alignment for increased strength. Internal ribbing in high stress areas perform the same task. The seat stay profiles are shaped like aerofoils which, Specialized say, calms cross-winds and redirects them backwards. Tests suggest that the power saving offered by the frame is spectacular: as much as 23w at 45kmph, far better than that offered by any other UCI-legal bike today and enough to constitute a small revolution in bike design over the next year or two. Specialized claim that the frame module, with seat post,seat pin, fork, headset, bottom bracket and chainset is just 2070g - which redefines the term "ultralight."

Mark Cavendish was allowed to ride the McLaren Venge at an HTC training camp in December 2010 and gave a good verdict, summing up his impressions with "I love it!" We'll be looking forward to seeing it in action and scaring the pants off the other teams in the Tour de France.

Fancy one? Well, yes, so do we. However, when the frame module alone costs £5000 not many of us are going to get one. Probably not such a bad thing, really - it'd give the kids nightmares.

No comments:

Post a comment