Specialized has launched an update to the popular Diverge platform which now includes: Future shock technology, dropper post, 650b wheels and male and female equivalent geometries
Specialized has a great tradition of designing bikes for rougher roads. Roubaix and Ruby have been updated and given new technologies to tackle cobbles more efficiently. The Crux has been refocused purely as a cyclocross racing bike, which launched alongside the new Specialized Diverge – announced today.
The Specialized Diverge now refocuses and side steps away from the utility ‘do it all’ style bike to more of a dedicated road to rough road bike firmly sitting in the gravel/adventure category, more so than the previous version.
This is because the gravel category is one of the fastest emerging disciplines within the cycling world, coming along in leaps and bounds in America over the last four or so years, according to Specialized.
And although Specialized say that this category keeps on evolving, the needs for the riders stay the same. Comfort, capability, versatility and the ability to give the rider confidence are key attributes that this bike adheres to.
Interestingly Specialized – a pioneer of women’s specific bikes – has decided to keep both the male and female bikes similar in geometry. However they will offer the women’s version in smaller sizes and different colours with short cranks, narrower bars, short stem and a women’s specific saddle.
‘Seriously Fast. Shockingly Fun’ is what the American brand is calling the new Specialized Diverge and they say it is free from constraints when designing this bike. There is no constraints to how this bike should be designed or how it should be ridden, and it doesn’t have to worry about the UCI in terms of the design.
Hearing its claims of the new machine and having a little go myself out here in New Jersey, USA, it is on first impressions a brilliant bike to ride.
What’s new on the Specialized Diverge?
It’ll be the first time the American brand will produce a S-Works version of the Specialized Diverge, which means the frameset is available in Specialized’s highest grade carbon – S-Works FACT 11r carbon – along with a lightweight S-Works FACT carbon fork that offers not only lightness but more stiffness too.
Specialized found it needed to adapt the layup of the carbon to help with compliance and tweak geometry to increase comfort too. Dropped stays at the rear help and with the different carbon layup offer around a five per cent increase in compliance over the previous iteration.
The Specialized Diverge has copied technology from its more road going brother and sister (Roubaix and Ruby) and will now include the Future Shock technology to help increase ride comfort and stability when off-road.
The Diverge differs from the Roubaix in the spring set up, although it will still give you 20mm of travel. The spring is progressive meaning it doesn’t have the same spring rate throughout. It changes from around 150lb to 230lb which means the further into the compression to stiffer the spring gets, this not only helps it from bottoming out on heavier impacts but helps you control the bike better too. The Roubaix works around 100lb along the spring from top to bottom.
The top booster spring can be altered to a preferred spring setting that Specialized provide. Basically as with the Roubaix a soft, medium and hard spring is offered for the upper most spring to help fine tune how you want it to feel.
More technology from the mountain bike world
Nope you’re not reading this wrong, the new Specialized Diverge will come with a dropper seatpost! It’ll only be specced on the highest model, which is the S-Works but it uses a standard seatpost clamp meaning a normal post can be swapped in if preferred. If weight is a concern you could save around 200g by doing so. Of course you can also purchase a dropper post to use in the lower ranked frames.
The dropper post is part of the confidence element Specialized wanted to put into this bike for the rider. A dropper post, like in the MTB world, allows you to get lower and further back when descending to help handling and ultimately confidence.
The lack of a dropper clamp falls into the versatility element where Specialized sees riders wanting to travel with this bike and use seat racks to backpack from place to place.
Confidence and capability
Confidence is assured with the changes made to the geometry, tyres and wheel choice – according to Specialized.
The American brand wanted to move away from the cyclcross style geometry as a high bottom bracket and shorter wheel base offers an agile ride, great for racing cross. However, the Diverge needs to be more stable and confidence inspiring so the American brand set about lowering the BB by 10mm lower than the previous model to make it more stable and long too.
This ‘Open Road Geometry’ basically is to lower the centre of gravity to help handling and wider tyre clearance to help perform better off road.
Up to a 42c tyres and 650b wheels are growing every popular to help with the demands of off road riding so the Specialized Diverge can adopt both of these trends. Spesh say that the sweet spot for 700c is 700×38 – which was what comes specced on the bikes. If you wanted to opt for 650b, they suggest 650bx45. A 650b wheel lowers the BB by 7mm hence why Specialized is suggesting tyres widths to combat pedal strike out on a ride.
Though with wider tyres and the trend for wider rims check tyre widths as many tyres are coming up bigger than advertised.
Specialized has managed to get the Diverge S-Works frame down to a crazy 880g (claimed) – super light for what it is and means the ride is more enjoyable. It says the complete build seen here is 8.4kg complete, running tubeless, with dropper seatpost and 700c wheels.
The former Elite Diverge weighed in around the 10kg mark.
Range and prices
The Specialized Diverge range will include eight different buying options that includes two women’s specific bikes too – this on top of the women’s colourway on the S-Works version. These two bikes offer the same geometry as the male equivalent but go down to a size 44 (and up to a 56) where as the men’s versions only goes as small as 48 and up to 61.
As well as the smaller sizes available: shorter stem, narrower bar and shorter cranks will be specced on the women’s bikes.
Nothing else differs on the S-Works version, other than the colour, but both the women’s Specialized Diverge E5 Comp and E5 will be aluminium both with mechanical braking With 105 for the E5 Comp and Claris for the E5.
Men’s Specialized Diverge Comp and Sport will still use carbon fibre, this time using FACT 9r and will include the Future Shock technology as the S-Works model. You’ll find a lack of dropper post on both with Shimano 105 on the Comp and Shimano Tiagra on the Sport but also a lack of hydraulic braking on the Sport – thankfully you still get this on the Comp.
Lower down the range you will find the Specialized Diverge Comp E5, E5 Sport and E5 you guessed it built with Specialized’s E5 Premium aluminium. Expect Shimano 105 on the Comp E5, Shimano Sora on the E5 Sport and Shimano Claris on the E5. All aluminium bikes will be mechanical disc operated and only the Comp E5 featuring Future shock.
Men’s S-Works Diverge – SRP £8,500
Men’s Diverge Comp – SRP £2,600
Men’s Diverge Sport – SRP £2,000
Men’s Diverge Comp E5 – SRP £1,500
Men’s Diverge E5 Sport – SRP £1,000
Men’s Diverge E5 – SRP £799
Women’s Diverge E5 Comp – SRP £1,500
Women’s Diverge E5 – SRP £799
Finally the men’s S-Works Diverge frameset will set you back a SRP of £3,500.
All will be supplied with a carbon fork, thru axles and the ‘Open Road Geometry’ along with 700c wheels, although you can run 650b’s if you wanted.