What I Would Do To My Specialized Venge If Money Were No Object (and It Is, But a Fella Can Dream of “Just Hit the Lotto” Money)
I opened a big, fat can of worms in Wednesday’s post about my Venge’s most excellent outcome in extracting the crankset from the bike. See, the S-Works crankset on my Venge is technically top-of-the-line. That’s a technicality, though. First of all, S-Works is some fantastic bike equipment. Think of the line as Specialized’s Skunk Works. If you’re drawing a blank, Skunk Works is Lockheed Martin’s top-end aircraft design studio that started back in the 1930s, extending through the days of the most awesome Supersonic SR-71 Blackbird.
I have mentioned on this page that my dad was a weatherman in the Air Force. Well that’s where I got my love for the weather, aircraft, and fast carbon fiber things… it only makes sense that I latched onto cycling the way I did. The only sad part is that it took me till I was 41 to find bikes that weren’t sold at a Sears.
In a matter of three years, I went from thinking bikes didn’t get much better than a Sears $185 hybrid to this:
So, in working on my post Wednesday, that can of worms I opened was in the form of hashing out the definition of “top-of-the-line” in terms of a crankset. Technically, my Venge is top-of-the-line in realistic terms. In pie-in-the-sky terms, there’s top-of-the-line, then one crazy step above that: there’s THM.
I think I dropped around $600 on my S-Works crankset (with spider) and it weighs around 500 grams (if memory serves). The THM Clavicula SE crank, by comparison, runs about $1,400 and weighs only 300 grams with the spider. Check out this thing of beauty:
So, I thought, what if I took my Venge to beyond top-of-the-line? What would it look like (and vastly more important, how much would that cost)?
Going back to that $185 Sears hybrid, the FSA Energy brakes on my Venge retailed for $160 (I found them on closeout for $50). They’re lighter than Shimano’s Ultegra at 316 grams for the set (Dura Ace run 300 grams, Ultegra are 360, and 105 brakes are 380). In other words, my brakes retailed for almost as much as I paid for an entire bike and they’re decently high-end.
Then there’s the THM Fibula caliper brake set. The set retails for around $1,500 but only weighs an astonishingly light 120 grams… for the set. Have a look:
That’s just next-level sexy, right there.
Then there’s the stem and handlebar (or the handlebar/stem combo if I really want to get expensive). That got me to thinking, “What would it cost if I went all in? Better, what would my Venge weigh afterward?”
I did the math.
For around $5,000 I could get the full line of THM parts and install them on the Venge. My current hair under 16 pound Venge would drop to 14-1/2 pounds. Then, I really let my melon run riot… what if I went next level and dropped another $1,000 on Dura Ace shifters and derailleurs?
My 16 pound Venge would come in around 14 pounds or 6.3 kg. For an aero bike.
Why stop there, though? Let’s replace my 1,500 gram carbon 50mm wheels with something really lightweight. I can drop 400 grams for another $4,000, give or take! I could, technically, get my Venge down to the 13 pound range – under UCI allowable limits, if I drop another $10,000 on the bike (after I’ve already got $6,000 into it). And that’s where this little mental exercise hits a brick wall. I need a $16,000 bike that weighs around 13-1/2 pounds like I need a hit in the head.
The math fun isn’t done, though! I can take this up a notch like I did with the component exercise. My bike at, call it 13.5 pounds would cost $16,000 (give or take). That’s $1,185.18 a pound.
The Koenegsigg Jesko, one of the premier top-of-the line hyper-cars on the market, fully decked out in all of its carbon fiber glory, comes in at a paltry $958 per pound. Of course, it weighs over 3,000 pounds, but let’s not get lost in the equity woods, here! With a big enough wad of cash, you could make a Specialized Venge cost more per pound than a Koenegsigg! Now that’s sexy, baby.
It was a fun exercise. All of that carbon fiber is spectacular.
The exercise is done. We now return our seat backs to the upright position as we descend from the wispy clouds of dreamland. It was fun while it lasted!
*This was supposed to post Friday but I found something a little more pressing to write about. When that inspiration happens, I don’t fight it. I believe the inspiration has a purpose bigger than me.