Build it and they will come. Specialized are not ones to shy away from a challenge, and their new Diverge isn’t likely to stop when the road gets rough.
Photography: Felix Tranker
The Diverge isn’t a new concept, the model has been circulating since 2014, most notably ridden by the Morton Bros. on one of their trademark adventures. Apart from that, the Diverge is seldom seen in the professional ranks, the Roubaix handles potholes and bad tarmac, Boonen and Sagan both rode it through Flanders and Roubaix, and when the road disappears the Crux comes out to play. The new Diverge is literally riding the shoulder, meeting asphalt and mud in the middle.
The latest sighting was with Peter Sagan. On the roof of his car. We’re unsure what to make of this video, maybe it represents the playful aspect the Diverge could bring to your riding or maybe it’s just the latest ‘gummy bear’ moment by the world champ.
Regardless, Specialized are taking the Diverge seriously, introducing five models for 2018, including two women’s specific offerings. The aim is to bridge that gap between road and dirt, an adventure bike by definition, offering greater possibilities than an endurance road model, whilst bringing the comforts of road and more capabilities of touring than a ‘cross bike can offer.
The Diverge takes noticeable cues from the road line; the new Future Shock headset dampens fork vibration without compromising stiffness and handling, the Zertz seatpost allows comfort through the saddle whilst maintaining frame stiffness and an ultralight frame – the S-Works model getting as low as 880 grams.
For the rough stuff Specialized have added a few off-road features, besides the disc brakes the frame is now capable of handling massive 700x42mm tyres, and adaptable to 650bx47mm for those wheel-size connoisseurs. The bottom bracket has also been lowered and the frame includes mounts for Specialized’s SWAT box, Plug + Play fenders, three bottles, and a dropper post. If the lines aren’t already blurred, we can’t wait to hear arguments over wheel size, disc setups, and dropper posts on a bike with drop bars!
The specific R&D shown in the Diverge and others such as Cannonade’s Slate will hopefully encourage more brands to follow suit building gravel or adventure bikes rather than adapting their current endurance or cyclocross lineup. Even if you are a staunch traditionalist there is no denying the freedom and possibilities these bikes offer isn’t positive and inclusive for our sport, the potential and demands so strong we’re even creating our own Gravel Grit event.
The good news or the bad news? Let’s get the bad news out of the way, the S-Works model with the ultralight frame as seen with Sagan won’t be landing on Australian shores. The good news is all the others are available in stock or to order as soon as your LBS (Specialized stockists) opens it’s doors tomorrow, and just in time to join our next adventure!
Stay tuned for a full review in an upcoming edition of Cyclist and sign up for more details on our Gravel Grit ride.
For full specs and details head to the Specialized site.