What it’s like to ride a $13,000 Tour de France road bike

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This is a lot of bike, more than most roadies will probably ever really need. It’s also expensive, prohibitively for most. But it rides incredibly well and is wicked fast while being super stable. And while there are plenty of fine bikes out there that cost a lot less, none that I have ridden come this close to perfection, if that even exists. If money were no object and I didn’t spend much time climbing mountains, I’d seriously consider this bike as my go-to.

For some — especially the weight-obsessed — the negative with this Venge, besides the price, is its heft: In size 58 cm with pedals it weighed 18 pounds even. Yet a slightly heavier bike isn’t going to be an issue for those who ride mostly flat roads, race criteriums and flatter road races, and the like. And if you do want to hit the climbs now and again, you’re still good to go on a Venge.

Bike weight, in my view, is massively overrated among enthusiasts and weekend warriors. If you love going uphill and want to stay on a Specialized, I’d opt for the brand’s climbing bike, the Tarmac. But unless you pedal a bike for a living, weight should not be criterion No. 1; compliance, handling, and road feel should come before for us amateurs. The Venge ticks all those boxes and then some.

So who’s this bike for? It’s ideally suited to deep-pocketed hardcore roadies and competitive cyclists who want one of the fastest, best-performing aero road bikes. Think Formula One. It’s about covering ground quickly, on flat terrain, in sprints, and downhill. Everything is engineered to slice through the wind and give you “free speed.” And my first impressions — wicked fast, comfortable, balanced, predictable — remain true a year on.



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