Given that legendary Italian bicycle-maker Colnago has collaborated with Ferrari on limited-edition bikes in the past, it perhaps shouldn't come as a surprise that another bicycle company might also see the technological (and marketing) value of hooking up with a maker of racing and luxury automobiles. This time around, it's America's Specialized, that has joined forces with the UK's McLaren Applied Technologies. Together, the two have created what is being promoted as "the fastest complete performance bike in the world" – the S-Works + McLaren Venge.
Specialized had been working on a design for what would become the Venge road bike since 2006. The company was approached in 2009 by McLaren, which was interested in a future collaboration on a cycling project. Last July, the companies set to work on making the bike stiffer and lighter. This month, the completed S-Works + McLaren Venge prototype was premiered in Milan.
The bike has an aerodynamic high modulus FACT 12R carbon fiber frame, that weighs in at less than 950 grams (2.09 lbs) – the 15 percent weight-saving over Specialized's existing design is said to be due to the use of McLaren's custom software, usually used for designing F1 race cars. The weight of the frame module (frame, fork, seatpost and crankset) sits at 2.07 kg (4.56 lbs).
Its bottom bracket, chainstays and seat tube are constructed in a single piece with continuous fiber alignment, reportedly maximizing stiffness and power transfer. The tapered head tube adds to the frame's torsional stiffness.
The cambered airfoil X-section seatstays have a wing-like cross-section, in that they feature a flat outer surface with a rounded inner surface. This design is intended to channel crosswinds smoothly around them. A bladed seatpost and fork, and internal cable routing also help the bike cut through the air.
Deep-pocketed riders will have to wait until September to purchase an S-Works + McLaren Venge of their own, at which time it will be available in the UK for GBP 5,000 (US$8,021). No word yet on pricing for the U.S.
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