New Specialized Diverge and flat bar Diverge Evo launched

New bikes feature wider clearances, new tyres and tweaked geometry

(Image credit: Etienne)

Specialized has launched an updated version of its go anywhere bike, the Specialized Diverge, with the significant changes seeing tweaks to geometry, introduction of SWAT and Future Shock 2.0.

Alongside the drop bar models, Specialized has announced the launch of a flat bar 'Evo' model, more on that below.

There will be six carbon Diverge models as well as a frameset and five aluminium models using Specialized's E5 aluminium. The carbon frames range from Specialized's Fact 8r carbon through to its 11r carbon on the top-end S-Works model.

Specialized Diverge: Geometry updates

Recognising that riders are tackling tougher terrains and bigger challenges than ever, Specialized has adjusted the bike's geometry, taking inspiration from its Epic mountain bike range. The most notable changes are a longer wheelbase (going from 1011mm to 1042mm) and a slacker head angle (72.5 slackened down to 71.75) on a 56cm bike. The Diverge's new fork has a longer offset with traditional trail to ensure greater stability at speed.

Raising the bike's bottom bracket drop by 5mm (up from 85mm) is the only thing that bucks this trend, but Specialized says the old model's low bottom bracket was causing too many pedal strikes, especially when run with 650b wheels.

Using its 'at home' carbon facilities in Morgan Hill, Specialized was able to quickly produce multiple framesets with different geometries. Specialized claims that the new S-Works frame weighs in at under 1000g when painted.

Specialized has widened the bike's clearances, too. Now the frame is able to comfortably accommodate 47mm tyres on 700c wheels or 2.1 tyres on 650b wheels, with 6mm to spare. A solid piece of carbon is used on the driveside chainstay to accommodate the wider tyres without have to resort to longer or dropped chainstays – features that are vogue elsewhere in the gravel market. For reference Specialized recommends a minimum width of 28mm be run, in case you're thinking of building a Diverge up as a 'do-it-all' bike.

(Image credit: Etienne)

No doubt Specialized are hoping these changes will diversify what the Diverge is capable of, moving it in line with the Cannondale Topstone that was launched last year and closer to the extreme end of the gravel spectrum, represented by the likes of Rondo or the GT Grade.

Specialized Diverge: Future Shock 2.0

Best gravel handlebars

(Image credit: Etienne)

Future Shock 2.0, as debuted on the S-Works Roubaix and then the Turbo Creo, is also present on the new S-Works Diverge. It is the same model, sitting above the head tube and below the stem. The S-Works, Pro and Comp carbon models will feature the hydraulic Future Shock, which can be adjusted increments. Meanwhile, Future Shock '1.5' will feature on Comp E5, Sport and Base carbon models.

Riders of Specialized's mountain bikes will recognise that little black compartment on the down tube as 'SWAT', a stalwart feature of the brand's off-road range. Although its own idea, Specialized isn't the first brand to incorporate a storage unit on a 'road' bike – Trek did the same thing on its latest Trek Domane. A waterproof sleeve will also be available to keep valuables dry.

(Image credit: Etienne)

In total there are six bottle cage mounts on the new Diverge: two inside the front triangle, two on the forks, and a pair on the down tube and a pair on the top tube.

Specialized Diverge Evo

Best gravel handlebars

One of the things that's so great about 'gravel' riding is that its all things to all people. These bikes can be anything from a comfortable bike for a canal path pootle right the way through to a full adventure machine.

The new Specialized Diverge Evo is supposed to represent that. It's an aluminium flat bar bike using Future Shock, wide tyres and is compatible with a dropper-post to boot. It's effectively a hardtail mountain bike and Specialized has endowed it with some more aggressive geometry. Its reach is 30mm longer than the standard Diverge, and it has a slacker head angle (70 degrees) and a lower bottom bracket.

Specialized Diverge: Our view

In lots of ways, the changes made to the Specialized Diverge represent changes that are happening across 'gravel' as a whole. This genre is constantly evolving and changing to represent what riders are actually doing on these bikes.

The previous Specialized Diverged straddled the 'roadie' corner of the market. The new model as moved into far more adventurous terrain, giving its bike a surer footing in the gravel world.

It's interesting that Specialized hasn't gone down the road of adjustable geometry just yet, like Cervélo, Rondo or GT have, whereby an adjustment of the wheel in the chainstay or a 'flip switch' allows the bikes' handling to change.

Specialized Diverge: Models and pricing

Specialized S-Works Diverge (also S-Works Diverge framset) £8899 / £3499

  • Fact 11r carbon frame and comes equipped with a dropper post
  • SRAM Red eTap AXS Hydraulic

Specialized Diverge Pro Carbon £5999

  • Fact 9r carbon frame
  • SRAM Force eTap AXS Hydraulic

Specialized Diverge Expert Carbon £4499

  • Fact 9r carbon frame
  • Shimano GRX Di2

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon £3399

  • Fact 9r carbon frame
  • Shimano GRX RX810 (mechanical)

Specialized Diverge Sport Carbon £

  • Fact 8r carbon frame
  • Shimano GRX RX810 (mechanical)

Specialized Diverge Base Carbon £2199

  • Fact 8r carbon frame

Aluminium (images still to come)

Specialized Diverge Expert E5 Evo £2399

Best gravel handlebars

  • E5 Premium Aluminium
  • Shimano XT

Specialized Diverge Comp E5 Evo £1599

  • E5 Premium Aluminium

Specialzied Diverge Elite E5 £1599

  • E5 Premium Aluminium
  • Shimano GRX

Specialized Diverge Comp E5 £1999

  • E5 Premium Aluminium
  • Shimano GRX

Specialized Diverge Base E5 £949

  • E5 premium Aluminium
  • Shimano Claris

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