18 April 2012

The McLaren Venge

One fast bike
"Does Mark Cavendish miss riding a Venge?" This was the question I noticed someone posed on my blog the other day. I could conduct a poll to ask your opinion, or we could answer this question by asking another more simple question - "Does Tom Boonen like riding a Venge?" I'd take a guess at yes.
By now the 2012 race season is well under way, while Mark Cavendish is off riding his Pinarello, Tom Boonen has won the Tour of Qatar, E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, plus a two stages in other races. The memory of HTC Highroad and Mark Canvendish's introduction of the ground -eaking 2011 McLaren Venge has been overshadowed by Tom Boonen's recent success and hefty headlines. Just as Fabian Cancellara dominated the image of time trial bikes 3 years ago when he rode Specialized, Mark Cavendish was the face of the Venge last year. By the end of the 2012 season Tom Boonen will be the new face of Specialized. 
Specialized sponsors Tom Boonen's Omega Pharma-Quickstep team which has an impressive line-up of talent. My guess is Boonen is happy to be riding Specialized (he rode Eddy Merckx last year) and Specialized is happy to have Boonen racing on their frames. Taking advantage of the lime-light, Specialized recently developed a brand new bike for Tom Boonen and Sylvain Chavenel (French National Road Race Champion) - when both riders introduced the new Roubaix SL4 at the Paris-Roubaix less than 2 weeks ago. Boonen won.
The line-up of bikes offered by Specialized to their pro teams (and to amateurs) now includes:
  • McLaren Venge
  • Specialized S-Works Venge
  • S-Works Tarmac SL4
  • Roubaix SL4
  • Roubaix
A rider should find a bike of their liking in these options. Read about the other Specialized bikes in an earlier post by Pedal Dancer. (Should I mention I ride a Scott! Cannondale)
McLaren Venge
At the top of the wish list for many riders remains the McLaren Venge. Last week while I was in Newport Beach, California, located 7 blocks from my brother's home, happened to be 1 of only 9 McLaren dealerships in the United States. I rode down to see these magnificent cars together with my brother Tom who is very knowledgeable about cars (McLaren Newport Beach on Pacific Coast Highway).
Pietro Figerio greeted us at the door with his thick Italian accent. Pietro is from Lake Como, Italy, and knows a lot about fast cars. I was pleased to discover he also knows a lot about cycling and is a big fan of the Giro d'Italia. When I explained that I wanted to see the cars made by the company that helped build a very fast bike, he smiled and later added, "We need to get a bike for our front window, we have so many cyclists passing by."
No we didn't test drive a McLaren that day, but I wish we had. McLaren makes a mono-cell carbon (tub) frame for their cars, plus they understand speed - that is precisely their tie to engineering a carbon racing bike. I believe the bike's official title is S-Works + McLaren Venge. When the design engineers from McLaren and Specialized teamed-up their focus was weight, stiffness, and aerodynamics. 

The idea of the Venge began in 2006 and was finally officially released in 2011. Matt Goss, not Mark Cavendish, was the first rider to debut the McLaren Venge - winning the 2011 Milan-San Remo. Goss's teammate Mark Cavendish then went on to win the Sprint Classification (green jersey) at the 2011 Tour de France, and the 2011 World Championships Road riding his own Venge. Read about the timeline of development.  See more images of McLaren cars. Click any image below to enlarge. All photos by ©PedalDancer.com™
McLaren MP4-12C carbon body
12C’s revolutionary carbon MonoCell: the lightweight safety cell, designed around the driver
If you need a faster model
They look nice even when all that carbon is covered up. Prices for this car are $230,000 to $310,000.
This black model was marked as sold, but the silver one might still be available
MP4-12C performance data highlights
  • 0 - 200kph in 9.1s (8.9s on optional Corsa tyres)
  • CO2 emissions of 279g/km (equating to 24.2 EU mpg combined)
  • 0 - 100kph in 3.3s (3.1s with optional Corsa tyres)
  • top speed: 330kph (205mph)
  • 100 - 0 kph in 30.5 m (100 ft)
  • ¼ mile: 10.9s @ 135 mph
  • dry weight (with lightweight options): 1301kgs / 2868 lbs
  • carbon MonoCell chassis weight:  75kgs / 165 lbs
  • power:weight (lightweight options): 461PS / 455bhp per tonne.
  • power: 600PS (592bhp) at 7,000 rpm
  •  torque: 600Nm between 3,000 – 7,000 rpm
  • CO2 per horsepower: 0.47
Tom Boonen enjoyed his own visit to McLaren earlier in the season. How many bike races do you have to win before you get one of these?
Tom Boomen inside a McLaren  Photo by Specialized
McLaren MP4-12C and two McLaren Venge bikes  Photo by Specialized
Tom Boonen's McLaren Venge  Photo by Road Bike Action
Have some fun, you can go to the McLaren website and configure your own MP4-12C: design a fast car now. 

Update 06/30/12 by VeloNation: Specialized and McLaren partnership continues with time trial helmet

Read my second most popular post of all time: Specialized bikes