Take a look at the bike above. It’s the new Specialized Venge, and after its haul of stage wins at the Tour de France beneath Peter Sagan and Fernando Gaviria, you’ve surely seen it before. But really look at it. Every curve, junction, connector, and bolt is a decision. Every tube shape. Every angle. A bike, any bike, is a sum of its decisions. Good ones and, yes, sometimes bad ones.
Who makes those decisions? People do. Well, mostly. Computers help quite a lot these days. But even with all sorts of fancy software, building a new bike from scratch still takes a huge team of people. It takes engineers of all sorts. A product manager to make sure the thing works. Aerodynamicists to make it fast. Designers to make it pretty. The announcement of a new model is the final step in a process that began two to three years prior. That’s two to three years of decisions.
A pile of new bikes came out before the Tour de France this year. Among them was this Venge. We wrote about it then, and we’ve been riding it since. One thing stuck out: It’s a lot better than the last Venge. Way better.
That comes down to decisions. So, at Specialized’s invitation, we flew to Morgan Hill, California, home of Specialized HQ, and sat down with four people responsible for most of those decisions.