August 26, 2020

The new Venge has apparently been improved - dramatically - over it's Venge Vias predecessor. Lighter, more comfortable, more compliant AND faster. So like the new Tarmac SL6 Disc then. We have had both bikes in store recently and I've given them the '3 lap RP' test. I can confirm that there is very little difference between the two. They ride practically the same and look practically the same (certainly when they fly past!). So what difference is there then and how do I decide which one to get ?
It was easy before. I want to go fast and I'm not overly bothered about comfort or weight. Venge. I want comfort and it needs to be light for climbing. Tarmac. Now the decision get's quite marginal and can a three lap Richmond Park circuit enable me to tell the difference and make a decision ?
1. Speed - practically the same Venge was slightly faster on the downhills and felt like it was holding better speed on the flats versus effort. Both very quick though so splitting hairs.
2. Handling - both very stiff bikes so nothing to chose from there. Venge felt marginally tighter round bends. Tarmac has quicker pick up.
3. Weight. Venge is 7.l kg which is very light compared to it's predecessor the Vias but about 450g heavier than Tarmac with listed spec. So if you are a weight weenie then Tarmac.
4. Comfort - Tarmac more relaxed geometry, seatpost more compliant which probably makes it feel better on long recreational rides but didn't test that. For the three laps they were both comfortable enough.
5. Looks - the same. If you stare, the cockpit integration and slighly more aggressive geo means the Venge looks more muscley, like it's been doing a bit more shoulder and neck work at the gym.
Conclusion: The upside is you can't make a wrong decision, either choice will land you on one of THE best bikes currently available. If you really are working at the margins then speed - Venge, weight & comfort - Tarmac are still the delineating factors. The downside, in my opinion, is that the S Works categories have merged and I mourn the loss of the aero craziness of the Vias. If you are lucky enough to be able to afford two bikes you wouldn't buy both of these. I'd probably get the Tarmac and go elsewhere for an outright aero bike - Trek Madone SLR ?
 
Josh took his S Works Tarmac Sl6 to Italy - read his blog.
We have a 2019 Venge Disc - new apart from wheels and chainset have a few miles on. Take a look.


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