2016 S Works Venge Vias

old and newLike I said in the last review, fast and quick.  These two things are very different.  Where the Tarmac was quick then fast, this bike was fast then quick.  Once you get on this bike and get it up to around 22-23 mph, it just feels easy.  You can feel the deep 64mil rims slicing through the air.  Bikes like this make the coolest sounds at speed.  At times, I felt like I was piloting a TT bike.  The shapes and the stiffness reminded me of my Trek Speed concept.defeet works copy

I’ve heard some chatter about the brakes on this bike.  For me, the brakes worked as well as I needed them to.  I can not speak about a race situation as this was my first time riding this missile.  This was my third day in a row on the bike and I was feeling somewhat fatigued.  I through my leg over the Venge and started pedaling. Boom, 25mph.  This was going to be a fun ride!

I departed from Westminster and headed to the Boulder bubble, the Mecca, Btown.  There’s a reason everyone loves to ride there.  Long stretches of road with every type of terrain you could ask for.  Since I did a bunch of climbing the day before on the Tarmac and this was an aero bike, I stayed away from the hills.  Mile after mile ticked by and it all felt very easy.  At one point I thought, how could you not win races on this thing?low dirt

A TT bike that was somewhat comfortable, could handle corners and actually brake.  That’s what I kept coming up with as I rode the Vias.  I ended up spending 3 1/2 with this beast and didn’t want to give it back.  At 13k, it had better be fast, but I would not buy this bike if it was the only thing I had to ride.  I like to do too many silly things on the bike and I’m not sure this could handle all that i would ask of it.  If you want to go fast with less effort and crush the dreams of the other cyclists you’ll be passing, get down to your LBS and pick one up.  You won’t be disappointed.flower tower

2016 Tarmac Pro Ui2 Disc

Fast and quick.  These two words best describe the characteristics of the bikes that I just test rode.  Turin bicycles, here in Denver, offered me the opportunity to ride a 2016 Tarmac Pro Ui2 disc and I jumped at it.  I’ve been riding a Venge for the past 2 1/2 years and wanted to see what the other flagship bike from Specialized had to offer.

The weather here in Denver has been hit and miss lately.  26F with snow everywhere to 65F and cloudy with wind.  The day I took out the Tarmac it was the latter.  My training plan called for 4hrs of zone 2.  Perfect, I’ll take this beauty up into the mountains.  From my house, it takes around 35 minutes of riding west until the real climbing starts.  One of my favorite canyons are here averages about a 2% grade for 10 miles.  It’s a climb that is suited to my style. testride

I tried to restrain myself from going too hard because what I had planned for myself was going to require most of the energy I had. The bike felt very planted underneath me.  If I stood up and put some power to the pedals, it responded immediately.  I ride a 58cm frame and currently weigh in at 190lbs.  As I like to say, I’m not a climber.  Duh.tarmac

I guess I picked a good route for this bike.  From my door, I essentially climbed for 34 miles and gained 4,500′ with the steepest bits towards the end.  The bike did everything that everyone says that it does on the climbs.  Where I was surprised was on the descent.witter

I really metered my efforts on the last few miles of the climbing.  The downhill that awaited me was one of my favorites.  6.5 miles of twisty mountain roads with gravel in the corners but almost no traffic.  I tend to cheat a bit when I descend.  I use the maps on my Garmin 1000 so I can see what’s coming at me.

I took the first few moments to get my legs use to a different pedaling style than I had just been doing for the past 3 hours.  Ok, legs are feeling good, let’s ride some tempo.  The disc brakes allowed me to brake a bit later going into the sharp corners and with less effort.  The lever pull initiated in a different spot than it does on my other bikes but that was easy to get use to.  I’ve also gotten in the habit of shifting into an easier gear before the corner and allowing myself to get my feet up to speed sooner.  The Tarmac really accelerated out of the corners quickly, it felt much different than my Venge.  I ended up setting a PR by 14 sec on that section of road and I didn’t really feel like I was going that hard.

The rest of the way home I just rode a moderate pace.  There are some nice long sections of downhill where it’s easier to do a “super tuck” than it is to pedal.  This is a position that I use all the time and am very comfortable when in it.  I’m happy to report that there is more room to fit your body comfortably on this bike than there is on my current Venge.

Bottom line: I liked the bike a lot, however I would not buy the disc version.  I just have too many other wheelsets that are not disc.  If I was just getting into the sport, I would probably feel differently.  Disc brakes are a good thing, and I’m sure they’re here to stay.  I would love to have them in wet conditions where I’ve had some scary rides on carbon rim brakes.  This bike proved to be quick to get up to speed and could hold it’s own when the road turned down.in the snow