Specialized Diverge - first look

Gravel road bike with performance edge

The Specialized Diverge was originally teased back in June, but full details of the new ‘all-road’ model have now been released. The Diverge is pitched as being 80 percent focussed on road and 20 percent on dirt, and that’s exactly the type of riding it’s meant for – although speed is still a big part of its design.

There are three different versions of the Diverge frame available: FACT 10r carbon; D’Aluisio SmartWeld aluminium; and a basic A1 alloy, which is the same as last year's Secteur disc frame. Both the carbon and Smart Weld frames have 15mm thru-axle full carbon forks, and the carbon has a thru-axle in the rear too. All models are disc brake only.

The Diverge shares the same stack and reach as Specialized’s Roubaix, a popular endurance road platform, but has a greater standover height. Additionally, the bottom bracket height is the same as the Roubaix's, despite the Diverge having larger tyres (32c compared to the Roubaix’s 25c rubber).

The rear end features Specialized’s SCS 135mm wide design, which places the cassette 2.5mm inward in order to improve the chainline. This uses a different derailleur hanger, but a standard derailleur hanger is also included in case you wish to use another brand's wheels.

Large gearing range at the back on all Diverge models

On the topic of derailleurs, all Diverge models offer a long cage derailleur to handle the 11-32T rear gearing range, which, combined with the 50/34T compact, offers some very low gearing.

The frames offer sufficient tyre clearance for 35c tyres (32c with fenders), Chris Wehan, core road group manager at Specialized said he has fitted 38c tyres in his before. Specialized will use 30 to 32c tyres as stock on all models.

The Diverge trades in a marginal amount of torsional stiffness for greater compliance; Specialized claims the Diverge Smart Weld aluminium model is three percent more compliant than the Roubaix SL4, and the Diverge Carbon six percent more compliant.

Not too surprisingly, Zertz vibration dampers are featured front and rear on all Diverge carbon and Smart Weld models, while the Cobble Gobbler seatpost is present on the carbon and Smart Weld models too. The basic A1 models offer Zertz in the front fork, but the frame instead features a new wildly curved seat stay to increase compliance. 

Three bolts on the Carbon versions allows for a MTB SWAT kit

The Diverge Carbon has a third bidon cage bolt on the downtube for compatibility with Specialized’s MTB SWAT storage box, for storing important spares such as tubes. All models, even the smallest 49cm frame, are designed to handle two full-size 26oz water bottles.

A closer look at the 'Plug and Play' mount

The frame is compatible with the company’s Plug and Play fenders, which provides a far cleaner fender setup compared to traditional eyelet holes. An additional bolt-in bracket is available in order to run traditional fenders or even racks.

Dropper post on a road bike? When it offers 35mm of drop and is made of carbon, why not?

The top-end Diverge Carbon Di2 (US$8,500 / AU$N/A / UK£TBC) shows off the versatility of this range with its new 35mm Command Carbon dropper post, with the control cable routed through the frame in one of the spare cable ports afforded by the Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifting. In order to keep speed at a premium, Specialized has equipped it with its Roubaix Pro tyres in a 30/32c size. Cable routing is internal on the carbon and Smart Weld frames. Frame sizes range from a 49cm up to a rather massive 64cm.

There’s no doubt this bike will find a place among the many road riders who seek a little more adventure, but based on the geometry and compliance figures, we suspect the Diverge could find another niche for those seeking greater ride comfort than the usual endurance road bikes.

The lineup starts with three A1 aluminium framed models: the Diverge A1 (US$1,100 / AU$1,299 / £TBC); the Sport A1 (US$1,250 / AU$1,499 / £TBC); and the Elite A1 (US$1,400 / AU$1,699 / £TBC). All models feature TRP Spyre mechanical dual-piston disc brakes and Specialized Espoir Sport 30C puncture protected tyres.

The E5 D’Aluisio Smart Weld frame is introduced with the Diverge Comp Smart Weld (US$2,700 / AU$N/A / £TBC). This model offers Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and matched Shimano 11-speed 105 shifting.

Finally, there are three carbon framed models: the Comp Carbon (US$3,500 / AU$3,899 / £TBC), Expert Carbon (US$4,000 / AU$4,499 / £TBC) and Carbon Di2 (US$8,500 / AU$N/A / £TBC).

For a closer look, scroll, swipe or click through our gallery at top.

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