Tour Tech 2014: Mark Cavendish’s (special) Specialized Venge

Check out Cav's new bike for the Tour de France

by Mat Brett   July 3, 2014  

Here is the Specialized Venge that Britain’s Mark Cavendish will be riding in this year’s Tour de France which starts in Yorkshire this weekend, as you might have heard!

Cav has his own colour scheme with the fork legs and sections of the frame painted in a colour close to British Racing Green but with an bit of iridescence about it. CVNDSH, the Cavendish/Specialized brand, is written down the seat tube.

We were driving along in Yorkshire this morning when we saw a lone rider up ahead in Omega Pharma-Quick-Step (OPQS) kit getting the occasional tow from a motorscooter. As we got closer we saw that it was none other than Mark Cavendish getting a feel for his new bike, so we pulled in for a closer look.


The Venge is Specialized’s aero road bike. They claim it gives you a 22 watt advantage over the Tarmac at 40kph (25mph). As well as being slippery, it’s also designed to be lightweight and stiff.

Cav is on a standard Venge (save for the finish) – the same one that you can buy from your local dealer. The design is about due a revamp, we’d have thought, although we’ve heard no rumours of a new model coming from Specialized any time soon.

Believe it or not, Cavendish rides a 49cm frame. Yep, 49cm – which is very small for a rider who is 175cm (5ft 9in) tall. He went down to 49cm last year and hasn’t switched back.

Cav’s bike is fitted with a SRAM Red groupset with cable-operated rim brakes, a Quarq powermeter and Specialized’s own S-Works cranks.

The wheels are Zipp’s well-respected 404s with Firecrest rim profiles rather than the new Firestrike profile that we told you about a couple of weeks ago. As you can see, Cav’s wheels are marked up with his name so they don’t get mixed up in the team truck.

The stem comes from Zipp too. It’s the super-chunky SL Sprint Stem that Zipp reckon has the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of any stem on the market in order to stand up to the abuse dished out in a full-on sprint finish.

Zipp provide the handlebar as well. It’s a Service Course SL-88 which is a 7050 aluminium bar with a classic round drop and a lot of rearward extension down the bottom.

That’s a new Specialized Body Geometry Toupé saddle and Cav uses Tacx’s carbon Uma bottle cages that weigh in at just 19g apiece.

Those are Look pedals on there, Look being OPQS team sponsors, but Cav didn't seem to have them set up to his liking.

He was even fettling the cleats himself. We're going to be looking carefully to see that he actually sticks with Look over the next three weeks rather than switching to another brand.

17 user comments

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Wow that's the ugliest bike I ever did saw. That stem. Bork.

Shamblesuk's picture

posted by Shamblesuk [74 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 20:19

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I like it... not sure about the white though ... suspect it would get filthy in normal use. But then again, I have a Venge that I rather like...

Extra bike? What extra bike dear?

goggy's picture

posted by goggy [87 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 20:34

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I can't say I'm sold on the colour, and to be honest the Venge always looked kinda 'chubby' as framesets go... I'd love to see a more old school paint job like Lotto's Ridleys

Felt F-Series, Shimano, Zipp 303's... I call her Stinky cos she goes like stink Smile

posted by Distinctive Rob [2 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 21:25

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loving the green carbony coloured forks and seatpost Cool

we came we saw we fell off

theculture's picture

posted by theculture [1 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 21:33

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A thing of beauty! Love the green metallic touches.

Chris D

posted by wingsofspeed68 [49 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 22:13

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Shamblesuk wrote:
Wow that's the ugliest bike I ever did saw. That stem. Bork.

Ha! I was just thinking how I never liked the looks of the venge, but this one in those colours is a belter! I love it.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [2963 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 23:03

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Never mind the colour of the bike, it's the colour of the maillot when they roll out of York that matters!

posted by nortonpdj [18 posts]
4th July 2014 - 5:52

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The Venge is a big looking frameset, I always thought it looked best in black. Personally I would of preferred this bike with the iridescent green all over, I like that colour.

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

Miles253's picture

posted by Miles253 [195 posts]
4th July 2014 - 6:59

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Aerodynamic vehicles of all sorts are usually a bit odd looking. This is no exception.

posted by Beaufort [122 posts]
4th July 2014 - 8:37

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This bike is clearly a bit Marmite...

Personally, I don't like that colour scheme at all (perhaps better in the flesh than in photos?) - I *much* preferred the previous one

posted by Tjuice [106 posts]
4th July 2014 - 10:12

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ha, I ride a 49 too. I wonder if he gets the same comments about riding 'a kids bike' like what I do...

posted by localsurfer [161 posts]
4th July 2014 - 10:18

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Bizarre colour scheme in my opinion. I don't like it.

posted by wrevilo [28 posts]
4th July 2014 - 12:20

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How did you get it to stand up?

I am sure there was a great big mit attached to a 6ft bloke behind it.

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posted by tazo101 [9 posts]
4th July 2014 - 21:11

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Why does he ride a 49cm frame?

I am about the same height, ride a 54cm and use a 150mm stem and 250mm of seatpost and am told I look like a "circus bear on a minibike."

posted by timtak [20 posts]
4th July 2014 - 23:58

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Wait...what? A 22 watt power advantage? I call Specialized Marketing bs on that one. Either that or the writer forgot the decimal point between the 2's

"because a goal without a plan is just a wish"

posted by bikeyourbest [23 posts]
5th July 2014 - 17:39

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timtak wrote:
Why does he ride a 49cm frame?

I am about the same height, ride a 54cm and use a 150mm stem and 250mm of seatpost and am told I look like a "circus bear on a minibike."

"Snappier" handling. I have 54cm, a 53cm and a 51cm bikes that I ride. The smaller frame is much easier to throw around in tight also requires a more focus so you don't lose it.

"because a goal without a plan is just a wish"

posted by bikeyourbest [23 posts]
5th July 2014 - 18:13

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Thank you. Still not quite snappy enough for Cav but I can see that manouvrability is important for a sprinter.

posted by timtak [20 posts]
6th July 2014 - 1:01

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