Gravel Bikes: The Future of Cycling
Gravel or adventure road riding is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Specialized, a prominent brand, has seen tremendous growth in this category and believes that gravel bikes will soon become their largest category. These versatile bikes can handle all types of terrain, from pavement to XC trails, making them a favorite among riders looking for a different kind of cycling experience. Specialized has recently released their all new Diverge, a gravel bike with surprising features and a smooth ride.
The New Diverge: A Gravel-Focused Bike
The new Diverge differs significantly from its predecessor, which was designed to be a Swiss Army knife of bicycles. The Zertz inserts have been replaced with the Specialized Future Shock, borrowed from the Roubaix. This innovative shock system features a progressive main spring that ramps up as you go through the travel, offering a smoother ride. The frame without the shock cartridge is lightweight, making the bike agile and responsive.
Thru Axles and Versatile Design
The Diverge is equipped with thru axles both front and rear, ensuring stability and control. The bike is compatible with front derailleurs, and the frame has fittings for fenders and a rear rack. Cable routing is internal, allowing for different drivetrain options and even stealth dropper compatibility.
The top-of-the-line S-Works edition of the Diverge comes with a dropper post, allowing for quick adjustments while riding. The bike also includes a 35mm Command Post XCP, which can be installed on any carbon Diverge frame. The S-Works build also features a SWAT box, providing storage for essential tools and accessories. The box comes with a valve extender, CO2 inflator, tire lever, and multi-tool. The SWAT box is not included on other models but can be added to all carbon Diverge frames.
Open Road Geometry and Tire Options
All Diverge models feature Specialized’s “Open Road” geometry, offering a comfortable and stable riding experience. The bike can accommodate 700 x 42c tires, with 38mm tires being the recommended size. The higher-end models come with 700 x 38c Trigger Pro 2Bliss ready folding tires. The Diverge is also compatible with 650b x 47mm Road Plus tires, although this may lower the bottom bracket and increase the risk of pedal strikes.
Men’s and Women’s Diverge
The Diverge is available in both men’s and women’s models, with a shared platform and the same geometry between sizes. The women’s bikes have different paint schemes and come with specific touch points, such as saddles, bars, and stems designed for women’s anatomy. Specialized has moved away from gender-specific geometries, building bikes for all individuals based on data and research.
Overall, the new Diverge offers a thrilling gravel riding experience with its innovative features and versatile design. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, this bike is sure to deliver an enjoyable ride on any road surface.