Updated: 28th July 2017
Taking on the paved roads and gravel roads alike, the Specialized Diverge is a comfortable and versatile adventure road bike. Unisex and women’s models are available, as well as a much sought-after S-Works model. The Diverge sits between the Crux cyclocross bike and the Roubaix endurance road bike, with slack angles and lightweight, robust parts, yet is capable of taking on challenging terrain off road. It would also make for a quick and easy living commuter.
Alloy and carbon frames matched to 700c road wheels, the Diverge has comfortable and relaxed geometry, perfect for long days on the saddle. It has drop handlebars and a lightweight setup, similar to typical road bikes, but wider tyres and wide gearing means that it can take on a greater array of terrain with more comfort. The Future Shock offers even more compliance and comfort, while maintaining efficiency.
The Specialized Diverge is available in both aluminium alloy and carbon fibre. The base E5 through to the E5 Comp feature the alloy E5 frame, which is lightweight and comfortable, yet stiff for excellent power transfer. From the Sport to the Comp and onto the S-Works, a super lightweight FACT carbon frame is used. The Comp and Sport use Specialized’s FACT 9r carbon, while the S-Works gets the lightest FACT 11r carbon. This brings the total frame weight to only 880g!
All frames, alloy and carbon alike, receive the full treatment of accessory mounts and internal cable routing. The Plug and Play fender mounts makes attaching mudguards simple, while the fork and stays allow for racks to be attached front and rear; perfect for the bike’s touring capabilities. The lowered seat stays give a softer ride with the frame absorbing more vibrations from the ground. The frame features Open Road Geometry which takes cues from trail mountain bikes, offering a slacker head angle and shorter chainstays for playful and stable handling. The FACT carbon fork has a 12mm thru-axle to match the 12x142mm thru-axle rear end on the frame.
At one point in the ride, we found ourselves riding the course that Specialized had set up for their XC mountain bikes. It was far more rocky and technical than what most people would consider “gravel bike terrain” but with the right line choice, it showed that the Diverge was surprisingly capable. - Bike Rumour
The Future Shock helps you ride faster and smoother without worrying so much about the uneven terrain, and helping with unwanted fatigue, allowing you to ride further.
Available on the Diverge E5 Comp and E5 Comp Women’s all the way to the S-Works, the Future Shock is a suspension unit that sits below the stem. It was first featured on the Specialized Roubaix and now adorns the Diverge, albeit with one difference. The 20mm travel is coil sprung, and has a progressive spring compared to the Roubaix’s linear spring, making it better for off-road riding. The progressive spring means that it won’t use all the travel too quickly, being able to take larger hits without bottoming out.
It significantly smooths out rough roads and mild off-road trails. Adding to that is its ability to reduce fatigue on longer rides. Because the Future Shock sits between the stem and the frame, it doesn’t change the geometry of the bike while in action like suspension forks do, keeping the same constant handling characteristics.
Shimano groupsets provide consistent shifting in all weather conditions, making sure you can get to your destination without worry. The S-Works has an unusual drivetrain setup which sets it apart from many other bikes, not just the rest of the Diverge range.
Throughout the Specialized Diverge range Shimano groupsets are used. These super reliable components will make sure you can keep riding the long distances that the Diverge asks for. The base model E5 and E5 Women’s have 2x8 speed Claris drivetrains. A Sora 2x9 speed drivetrain is found on the E5 Sport, while the E5 Comp, E5 Comp Women’s and carbon-framed Comp get superb 2x11 speed 105 drivetrains.
To balance the price points, the first carbon framed model in the line, the Sport, comes with Tiagra 2x10 speed drivetrain. The real stand-out bike is the S-Works, which features an unusual Di2 setup. It has a 1x carbon Easton chainset matched to a 11-40T cassette for a special 1x11 speed setup. The shifters are Dura Ace Di2 units, while out back is a Di2 XTR rear derailleur. Perhaps the most standout feature is the dropper post on the S-Works, with the lever hidden just below the brake lever hoods. Disc brakes are found on all models, with cable operated units on the alloy models and hydraulics brakes on the carbon ones.
The Diverge range is based around a road-sized 700c wheel. The Base alloy and carbon models get Axis Sport disc wheels, while the Comp models get Axis Elite wheels, which are lighter yet just as strong. The wheels feature wider rims than what you would normally find on road bike so that wider tyres can be fitted. The S-Works once again stands apart with super lightweight carbon Roval CLX 32 Disc wheels. These wheels were built for the rigours of cyclocross racing, and are perfect for clocking the miles on all kinds of terrain.
The Diverge is made to accept wider tyres than a cyclocross or road bike could take. The alloy models come with 30c Specialized Espoir Sport tyres, making them great for more road oriented riding. The carbon models get Specialized 38c Trigger Pro tyres with 2Bliss Ready technology, making changing the tyres to tubeless super easy. The alloy models can fit up to a 38c tyre while the carbon models can fit a 42c tyre, and even 650b wheels with a 47c tyre!
Wide tyres and rims make for a stable and confidence inspiring ride. Greater traction and grip can be found thanks to the 38c Trigger Pro tyres and the frames can handle some of the widest tyres for any adventure road bikes.
The Specialized Diverge is aimed at riders who want the efficiency of a road bike, without the compromises of a hard ride and being limited to riding on paved surfaces. The mounts for front and rear racks make long distance touring a cinch, and the easy Plug and Play fender mounts allow for easy everyday convenience for commuters, keeping you clean.
The versatility of the extra tyre clearance means that you can customise the Diverge for many scenarios, and can be your do it all bike. Light trails riding is even on the cards, especially with the Future Shock taking the edge off rough terrain. From any entry into the Diverge range, you’ll be sure to find a bike capable of long days of comfortable riding, while keeping the fun factor high.
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