Specialized Diverge, but not as you know it
The all new gravel smasher from Specialized, the 2021 Diverge, dropped last week to help put a smile on our faces and get us thinking about future adventures. Never ones to rest on their laurels, Specialized have gone back to the drawing board and given this all-terrain whip a makeover. This is a gravel bike inspired by mountain bikes, redefining the youthful discipline.
They call it “the ultimate getaway vehicle” – as exhibited in their promo with the inimitable Peter Sagan – but at its core, the new Diverge is all about the road less travelled. Let’s dive in and take a look at what’s new.
The 2021 model is a complete overhaul of what has come before. As well as two major updates – the Future Shock 2.0 and ability to fit wider tyres, which we will come to later – Specialized have completely redesigned the frameset to make it even more capable off-road. These tweaks include lengthening the bike’s reach and wheelbase, slackening the headtube angle by a degree to the position of a hardtail mountain bike, raising the bottom bracket and increasing the fork offset. All this helps to improve the quality of the ride.
A model for every surface
Specialized’s aim for the Diverge range is to provide something for every rider. From S-Work models to the flat bar EVO, the selection is vast. Whether you’re racing off-road, exploring the local trails or gearing up for an adventure, the Diverge has you covered.
Future Shock 2.0
The Future Shock 2.0 was first introduced to us via the new Roubaix, so it’s a big statement that Specialized are fitting their gravel bikes with this cobble-taming suspension system. The 20 millimetres of hydraulically damped travel should keep your hands, arms and shoulders from getting a pasting which means you can enjoy the ride without any annoying aches on your mind. In comparison to the earlier 1.5 shock, the 2.0 comes with a lock out to make the front end firmer when you need it to be. It can be found on all the models apart from the Diverge Comp E5, Sport and base carbon models which all still have Future Shock 1.5.
One of the big changes on the 2021 model is the ability to fit much wider tyres, and that is standard across the full range. If you so wish, you can now run 700x42c or 650bx47c tyres to significantly help the grip on gnarly gravel descents. The mountain bike inspiration doesn’t stop there. Specialized have lengthened its chainstay by a few millimetres to help accommodate the bulkier tyres, boosting its versatility no end.
Take everything you need on your ride within your bike itself. Spare equipment, food, tools and other supplies can all fit in the frame thanks to the SWAT technology system – another feature the Diverge has borrowed from Specialized’s mountain bikes. The compartment is found in the downtube and the SWAT case seamlessly slots into it. No more saddle bags or over-stuffed pockets on your rides.
Wait, flat bars?
You read that right, Specialized have come up with quite the gravel hybrid here. A base of gravel bike, a pinch of ’cross and a garnish of MTB all mix together to make the Diverge EVO, a sort of gravel cocktail. Specialized are truly pushing the boundaries of what is and isn’t a gravel bike here. The flat bars mean it’s time to chuck the Diverge around and take it to the trails, they’re inviting you to work out what type of bike it is and what sort of rider you are. There isn’t really a rule book for this area… yet.
5 things you need to know
- New geometry means a quicker ride
- A large range of models, with every rider catered for
- Inspiration taken from Specialized mountain bikes
- Ride further on wider tyres
- Take it all with you, inside the frame
There you have it, the new Specialized Diverge. Will 2020 be the year you try out gravel riding? If so, this new range has something for just about everyone.
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