Specialized Diverge Comp E5 review - front end comfort on the bike that promises to do it all

The front end dampening from the Future Shock makes its way down to the affordable end of the Diverge range

Specialized Diverge Comp E5 on a purple background
(Image credit: Future)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Specialized Diverge Comp E5 has all the features to suit all the riding that you might possibly want to enjoy on a gravel bike. And as you would expect from Specialized, it does many of those things incredibly well, you're unlikely to ever be truly limited or regret buying it. But if you're a purest you might find the all-things-to-all-men approach diminishes its ability on any of the specifics. The non-tubeless wheels and narrow-ish rims limit the ability to maximise the tire clearance of the frame, and the tires are better suited to trucking on back roads than tight and twisty trails. If you're looking at one of the smaller frame sizes, pay particular attention to the height of the front end as you may find that the benefit of the Future Shock is offset by the height.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Adaptability across gravel-genres

  • +

    Future Shock for front end comfort and compliance

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Non-tubeless wheelset

  • -

    Relatively high stack height on smaller framed bikes

  • -

    Only minimal changes of bar height possible

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Specialized tout the Diverge as the fit-it-all gravel bike – be it racing, back roads or slippery singletrack. That’s either a lot for one bike to live up to or the answer to all our gravelly dreams.

One of the Diverge’s many headline features is its gargantuan tire clearance, up to 47mm for 700cc tire or 2.1” on a 650b wheel. It’s also follows the MTB trend of “longer and slacker” frame geometry with a shorter stem to keep it stable on fast descents and nimble through the trees. 

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Rachel has been writing about and reviewing bike tech for the last 10 years. Cynical by nature, Rachel never really trusts the marketing hype and prefers to give products a mighty good testing before deciding whether they're worth buying or not. 

Rachel's first riding love is mountain biking where she's been European and UK 24hr Champion on more than one occasion. She's not just confined to the trails though and regularly rides - and occasionally races - on gravel and road too.