Specialized Diverge with Campagnolo Ekar: limited edition model celebrates 13-speed gravel groupset

The American brand has been quick to show off an Ekar specced Diverge

Specialized has unveiled a limited edition version of its popular Diverge gravel bike, resplendent with the brand new Campagnolo Ekar gravel groupset. (opens in new tab)

The brand says it has limited this production run to just 100 bikes in "select markets."

Clearly, Specialized is confident in the powers of this groupset, stating that the addition of Campagnolo Ekar 1x "expands the prowess of the most capable gravel bike (opens in new tab) ever made."

The 13-speed groupset, which is the lightest production gravel option on the market, was released on Thursday.

It's a 1x only groupset, weighing in at 2,385g - just under 100g less than the closest rival SRAM Force 1x at 2,471g.

The shifters have been modified to offer better grip when descending on the drops. Predictably, Campganolo continues to use its thumb paddle, but this has been redesigned to offer more of a 'C' shape for improved confidence.

The shifters are adjustable to suit smaller (or larger) hands, come with a 'Vari-Cushion' for comfort on the tops and a textured lever to aid confidence when getting lower over more technical terrain.

Market research ahead of the launch revealed that gravel riders rated chain stability highly. This has been accommodated with a narrow-wide chainset design, and chain designed to work in conjunction with this. The chain itself is 0.25mm narrower, accounting for the extra cog at the cassette.

The 13-speed cassette comes with a tiny 9-tooth option. It's machined from two blocks of steel, the lower resistance/larger cogs are widely spaced to allow for plenty of range, whilst at the other end of the spectrum, jumps have been kept small to help riders find the perfect gear. The clutched rear mech offers what Campagnolo calls a “2D parallelogram trajectory”. It means the mech moves more horizontally, as opposed to diagonally, reducing chain clatter on rocky terrain.

Being Campagnolo, highlights have to include UD carbon crankset (paired with a ultra-torque steel axle).  The crank bearings are mounted into the steel spindle, making them easier to reach provided you're furnished with Campagnolo's own tools. A new 'Ekar' bottom bracket uses a patented sealing ring to keep muck, water and grit out - it does set a new standard but reportedly this 'ProTech' option will be used by Campagnolo going forwards.

The Diverge (opens in new tab) is the gravel platform from Specialized, it features 20mm of front end suspension, via the Future Shock 2.0 which sits within the headtube. There's also a 'SWAT box' in the downtube to reduce the amount of luggage loaded into a rider's pockets.

Tyre clearance is as high as 47mm, though this model sports Specialized Pathfinder Pro 2Bliss Ready 38mm rubber.

The special edition version comes in a 'Red Ghost Pearl Gloss and Black Tint' paintjob, retailing for £6,400.

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.

Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor. 

Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.

Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.