A couple of fast bikes (if you have the right motor)

Road Bike 3 3165

venge-foil

 

I have been busy with quite a few different projects lately, so it has been nearly three weeks since I last found time to post here at BicycleDesign.  Recently though, a couple of really nice aero road bikes have been introduced and have quickly been spreading around the web. The new Specialized Venge  ViAS  and the redesigned  2016 Scott Foil both appear to be amazing bikes that I would love to own, but I am not going to discuss either bike in detail here (at least not today). You can read more about the Venge ViAS, a bike which is the direct result of Specialized’s investment in an in-house wind tunnel and features cables routed through the stem and other innovative details to minimize drag, here, herehere, and here. The new Foil hasn’t made as big a splash on the web as the Venge ViAS, but it is a very impressive (not to mention lightweight) aero road bike design.  Read more about it here and here.

As mentioned before, these are both impressive bikes, but the innovation doesn’t come cheap.  The Venge ViAS Di2 will cost you $12,500, and I expect the Scott Foil Premium with Di2 will also have a 5 figure price tag. You often hear these days that cycling is the new golf, and I expect that many of these bikes will be purchased by CEOs, doctors, dentists, and other well-off amateur racers/club riders who are willing to spend a LOT of money for a high end pro level bike. What about the rest of us though? If you are a middle class amateur racer who wants to buy speed (in the form of equipment, not pharmaceuticals), should you mortgage your house for the latest new super bike, or are you better off sticking with an older aero road bike and investing in aero wheels, a skinsuit, and aero helmet? A good friend of mine brought up that point in a comment on the Facebook page, and I think it is worth sharing here because honestly… as much as I love bikes, I will likely NEVER spend 12,000 dollars on one.  The good news though is that innovation always trickles down, and these aerodynamic advances will benefit all of us someday.

If you DO have the money for one of these bikes now though, I encourage you not to wait (just imagine how embarrassing it would be to show up for your local club ride on a 2 year old Venge or Foil when everybody else is riding the latest model). I know what you are thinking though. What will I do with that lightly used, but completely obsolete, pro level bike from last season? Selling it on Ebay or Craigslist is a hassle, but don’t worry. I am willing to spare you the shame of riding last year’s model by taking it off your hands…cheap.

 
Update: I threw out quite a few unlabeled links in the first paragraph. If you only want to read one article about each bike, the CyclingTips posts are the ones I would recommend. Find their Venge coverage here, and a first look at the new Foil here.

…and if you are not already following CyclingTips on a regular basis, you should start. It’s one of the best bike sites on the web.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Peter Dudle June 29, 2015 at 4:27 pm -  Reply

    I guess you would best off investing into every advantage you could that saved watts. In a realistic world, however, most of us don’t have $12.5k to spend on a new bike. My wife is pretty cool, but I think she’s draw the line at mortgaging the house to buy a new bike. Even though aero frames look cool, but outside of aero bars which are illegal in mass start races a cost/benefit ratio reveals that an aero helmet nets the best bang for the buck. An aero front wheel comes in pretty high too. Remember how much faster we got with first generation clip on aero bars and those old Uni-disc rear wheel covers? There are some real gurus of low cost bicycle aerodynamics on slowtwitch and tririg. It would be fun to see how close you could get for a fraction of the money.

    • Impossibly Stupid June 29, 2015 at 10:35 pm -  Reply

      It really wouldn’t take much to put a modest fairing on a low end bike to give it much better aerodynamics. You could probably do it for 1/10th the price of one of the these, if you didn’t mind looking like a dork riding around with a $600 fairing on a $600 bike. 🙂

    • James Thomas June 30, 2015 at 8:21 am -  Reply

      “There are some real gurus of low cost bicycle aerodynamics on slowtwitch and tririg. It would be fun to see how close you could get for a fraction of the money.”

      Agreed, and I don’t think it is a coincidence that the most interesting discussions about aerodynamics are taking place on triathlon websites. Ever since writing a post about TJ Tollakson in 2011, I have been more conscious of the fact that a spirit of experimentation and garage innovation is embraced by the tri community, while amateur road racers and recreational cyclists seem content to trust the industry (constrained by UCI equipment regulations) to tell them what they should ride.

      Certainly not all, but a significant percentage of the roadies who buy $12,000 flagship road bikes are more concerned with status and image than any real performance advantage, so they would not be interested in a low cost DIY aerodynamic improvement that doesn’t represent what they see the pros riding (or what they see in a Rapha catalog). Triathlon is different though, since pros can and do compete with modified equipment and experimental designs.. Sure image and style are still factors, but DIY ingenuity is valued in the community. Road cycling needs more of that too.

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