Specialized Diverge with future Shock 2018
Photo c. Specialized/Alex Quesada

Perhaps you’ve noticed, but gravel or adventure road riding is getting pretty popular. In fact, for Specialized, it’s their fastest growing category for the brand. And while it’s not there just yet, in a few years they believe gravel will be their largest category. That means it could be bigger than pure road or any of the mountain bike categories, which is saying something. Though it’s not all that surprising – gravel bikes offer a tremendously versatile ride that can tackle anything from pavement to XC trails and anything in between. Add in the desire to get away from roads and the vehicle traffic that comes with them, and it’s easy to see why more riders are looking for the road less traveled.

It’s also not much of a surprise that Specialized has an all new Diverge. Even less of a surprise if you caught the recent muscle car shenanigans with Peter Sagan. However, the bike does have a few features that may surprise you (dropper post?) and a complete package that makes for a very enjoyable ride, regardless of the road surface…

Specialized Diverge with future Shock 2018
Specialized Global PR Manager Sean Estes styling it out on the new Diverge. Photo c. Specialized/Alex Quesada

Compared to the original Diverge which was designed to be the bicycle equivalent of a Swiss Army knife, the new gravel focused Diverge has changed quite a bit. Gone are the Zertz inserts from the frame and fork – in favor of the Specialized Future Shock borrowed from the recent edition of the Roubaix.

Specialized Diverge with future Shock 2018

While the cartridge is exactly the same with a main spring, top out spring, and a separate booster spring, the Diverge introduces a new progressive main spring (above, white wrap) that ramps up as you go through the travel whereas the Roubaix and Ruby currently use a linear spring to better absorb small road chatter. According to Specialized, the Future Shock pieces are interchangeable, meaning you could add the progressive spring to your Roubaix if you wanted to (more on that in our first ride review). Just like the other Future Shock equipped bikes, the three separate booster springs allow you to fine tune the shock’s performance.

Specialized Diverge with future Shock 2018 actual weight

Specialized Diverge with future Shock 2018 actual weight

Like the Roubaix, the 20mm travel Future Shock helps isolate the impacts going through the front of the bike from the rider for increased comfort and control. Also like the Roubaix, the frame without the Future Shock cartridge is quite light – just 880g for the S-Works model in 56cm. At the highest level you’ll find a FACT 11r carbon frame with a FACT carbon fork, both with flat mount disc brakes. Complete, that means a Diverge S-Works 56cm with two bottle cages and a full SWAT box comes in at 18.52lb (8.4kg). A women’s Diverge Comp in a 56cm with no cages, SWAT, or dropper and a 2x drivetrain measured 21.01lbs, while the aluminum Diverge Comp E5 in a 54cm weighed in at 21.61lbs.

One interesting frame detail is the move to a BB 386 EVO bottom bracket which was done to increase tire clearance without having to get crazy with the chain stay shaping. On the Diverge Comp, there’s even a Praxis Works BB 386 EVO bottom bracket to go with the Alba 2D crank which was a special request for this bike, though it will be available aftermarket soon.

Specialized Diverge with future Shock 2018 road plus

 

 

Specialized Diverge with future Shock 2018 disc brakes
Photo c. Specialized/Alex Quesada

Equipped with thru axles front and rear, the Diverge runs a 142 x 12 rear and 100 x 12 front through the entire line. You won’t find any front derailleurs on the top two builds, but every frame is front derailleur compatible with a removable braze on design. The frame is equipped with fittings for fenders, and can even take a rear rack if desired. Cable routing is internal with different options for both 1x, 2x, and mechanical or electronic drivetrains – plus stealth dropper compatibility.

Specialized Diverge with future Shock 2018 dropper post

Photo c. Specialized/Alex Quesada

That dropper is only found on the top of the line S-Works edition, but the 35mm Command Post XCP can be installed on any of the carbon Diverge frames. There is some flexibility to where you place the mechanical remote, but the logical place seems to be directly under the shifter so you can reach it quickly no matter the hand position.

Specialized Diverge with future Shock 2018 swat box

The SWAT box is also an S-Works only stock part, which is the same exact box found on the Roubaix and Ruby. Because of that, the size of tube you can store is limited to a 700 x 28c standard Specialized road tube, and it has to be wrapped very tightly. Originally, the box was designed around their super light tubes for road use, but the gravel bikes need thicker tubes that can stretch – so the standard tube is required. Inside the SWAT box you’ll find a valve extender, co2 inflator, tire lever, and multi-tool all right out of the box. You’ll have to add your own tube and CO2 canister. The SWAT box is only included on the S-Works build, but will fit all other carbon Diverge frames (not compatible with aluminum Diverge).

For the weight conscious out there, the fully loaded SWAT box (700 x 20-28 standard tube, valve extender, CO2 inflator, cartridge, muti-tool, and tire lever) measures just under a pound at 432g. If for some reason you wanted to run a completely empty SWAT box, it would add just 162g – though if it’s empty you might as well take it off. The two piece semi-clamshell design attaches with two bolts to the frame for the driveside piece, and the non-driveside part then interlocks with the latch that also serves as the storage door for the multi-tool.

Photos c. Specialized/Alex Quesada

There are quite a few different versions of the Diverge from the carbon bikes with Future Shocks to E5 aluminum builds with or without the Future Shock, but all have a similar version of Specialized’ “Open Road” geometry with clearance for 700 x 42c tires. As standard equipment, all Diverge completes will ship with a 700c wheelset and tires from 30-38mm wide, with 38mm being what Specialized considers the sweet spot for this bike. On the higher end bikes, you’ll find 700 x 38c Trigger Pro 2Bliss ready folding tires.

While the bike is built around the 700c wheel size, Specialized does include 650b x 47mm as the largest Road Plus tire size that is compatible, though they note that certain wheel and tire sizes drop the bottom bracket even further which could lead to pedal strikes in the right instance. That’s partly due to the 5mm lower BB of the new Diverge meant to lower the center of gravity and provide better handling. Specialized’ design team points out that cross geometry does not equal gravel geometry. You can get away with one bike for the other discipline, but the Diverge is designed to give the rider more confidence and stability while their new Crux uses ‘cross focused geometry for fast direction changes and a higher BB to aid in off camber sections of the course.

 

Like many of the new bikes from Specialized, the men’s and women’s Diverge use a shared platform with the same geometry between sizes. The size range does change however, with the men’s bikes running from 48 to 61cm (64cm on certain bikes), and the women’s running from 48 to 56cm for the carbon models and 44 to 56 on the aluminum bikes. The women’s bikes have different paint schemes, but there’s nothing that screams ‘women’s specific’. The biggest difference between a men’s and women’s Diverge comes down to crank length and the touch points with different Body Geometry saddles, bars, and stems. Specialized says that the move to a shared platform comes from the accumulation of more than 40,000 unique data sets from their partnership with Retul. Based on their findings, Specialized has moved into the camp that believes men’s and women’s specific geometries aren’t needed, and are instead “building bikes for people, not specific genders.”

Specialized Diverge with future Shock 2018 geometry

As you drop down in price, frame materials and components continue to change, but there will be aluminum bikes with the Future Shock available at the Comp E5 level above. There is also a Sport version which eliminates the Future Shock and comes stock with 700 x 30c tires as the entry point for the line.

We’re waiting on the final pricing and availability list and will update this when we have it.

Stay tuned for first ride impressions up soon.

specialized.com

59 COMMENTS

  1. I’m all for function of fashion…but between the swollen seatpost, gastly “future shock” cover, and large plastic storage bin, this bike is nearly making me tick.

    • Similar, but the Future Shock places the suspension above the head tube (the Dale had it below) which alters some of the affects. It is more like an upgraded and integrated version of the old Girven Flexstem or Alsop suspension stem.

      • Yeah, ie it’s poor suspension and only offers some added rider comfort. Bigger tyres would be a better solution but might not sell as well to part of the market as a conventional wheel set and a techy feature.

    • Yup, it’s Headshok meets Softride: “suspend the rider not the bike.” Not a popular approach, but *an* approach. Would have to compare to a similar bike with a lauf before deciding which works better.

  2. That Future Shock will go the way of that dumb axle spacing they had a few years ago. Buyer beware, you’re going to have an unsaleable bike in a couple years.

    • My experience with a friend who owns a Spec dealer is that riders are not remotely interested in the Future Shock Roubaixs. They’re all buying leftover MY16 bikes, before that terrible, gimmicky design. I suspect the same will be true with this turd.

      • “…riders are not remotely interested in the Future Shock Roubaixs.”

        I feel like you’re getting some bad info. We can’t keep the new Ruby and Roubaix in stock. As soon as we get a few in stock, they’re gone within a day or two. We have one 2016 Roubaix left in stock that we can’t sell, because when people ride both the 2016 and the 2017, they choose the 2017 every time.

        • Yeah, Specialized is out of stock of almost all of the high end ones, and have been for some time. We’re finally selling road bikes again thanks to the Roubaix. No idea what’s going on with your friend’s shop, but the future shock, in addition to being really good, has been really popular in our store.

  3. Hard to say for certain but tire clearance looks real tight with a 38c. It may clear 42c but not by much. The dropper post and future shock are definitely ridiculous for some riders but many others will buy this the moment it’s released. This also may be the first bike that is openly marketed as “gender neutral” Making bikes “for people not genders” but still labeling them as Men’s and Women’s is silly. What it really means is Spec wants to save money by not creating another size run of carbon molds

  4. For being nearly identical to the Jamis Renegade (http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/assets/17_renegadeelite.jpg) somehow this manages to look much uglier. Still though, it comes in 48 and 64 sizes, which is exciting for people at the edges of the bell curve.

    Added it to my list of tall bikes and it looks like it is officially the largest carbon all road bike in production: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ByMVDtz6T8EawBQh1gcRDPqN8oJC3tCy-kdNzjuRI8M/edit#gid=577790465

  5. Improved control aside, I’d be interested to know what sort of aero gains can be had on long alpine descents from a 35mm or 50mm saddle drop. I suspect that its measurable and that Spez is uniquely positioned to measure it.

    New WinTunnel video anyone?

    • I was hoping for a thread BB too. They have gone back to them on several other new models. But apparently, they may need PF to fit the larger tires?

        • True, I should have mentioned that.

          I am bummed that we don’t get it on the carbon (like the did with the new Enduro, some carbon Roubaix’s and a few other new carbon bikes).

    • Working in a bike shop, I can say with certainty that 100% of creaky PF BB issues are due to someone thinking they know more than bike shop employees and doing it themselves. They use the wrong tools/lubrication, then go online to vent about how bad PF BB’s are.

      Better to do it wrong twice than right once, right?

      • @flatbiller…. Old shop guy here…Yeah Specialized basically admitted that pressfit sucks by going back to threaded BBs on several models. They are easier to service, and go longer without creaks. People should be able to service their BB’s without hammers, without destroying their old BB, and without having to deal with condescending shop guys like you.

      • Oh yeah installing a pressfit BSB is a real work of art, labor of love to only be attempted by those with years of industry knowledge (rolling eyes).

      • Nearly all of Specialized creaky OSBB’s where caused by the improper application of epoxy to the plastic bearing cup fitted to the frame at the factory, some where misaligned other not enough epoxy causing the cup to seperate from the frame. Seen many Spesh frames destroyed because the plastic cup sperated which then spun destroying the surrounding carbon. Press fit is reliable when done properly!

    • You should check out a couple little known companies called Praxis and Enduro. I used to complain a lot too until I did a quick google search and found these two obscure companies that make BB adapters in a lot of configurations.

  6. I swear by dropper posts on my mountain bike. However, I am having a tough time trying to imagine an instance where one would be routinely useful on such a bike. Maybe on a more randy XC jaunt, but if that’s only for a few moments on such a ride it seems pointless. The Future Shock, maybe? However, it seems that this too is yet another unnecessary complexity.

    • The dropper is only on one model, relax. As far as I know, they don’t sic lawyers on you if you choose not to run one.

    • Lower saddle might be a bit of an aero improvement, and a downhill handling improvement, but there’s another big advantage (I noticed when my bike was accidentally set up wrong one day): A lower saddle lowers your center of gravity, making cornering at higher speed much more steady. But… it also hurt my knees after 30 minutes, so I changed it back asap.

      And if you don’t want it, then I’m sure the dealer will gladly sell you the bike without it

  7. Dear BIG S design team.. STOP MAKING ALL YOUR BIKES BLACK AND RED! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! Seriously…. The SWORKS level bikes are the only ones that don’t look like trash. I know you’re doing all this market research that says most people buy a black bike but perhaps it’s because the only other option is orange. You’re so predictable. Red and black, black and red. Orange, maybe gunmetal here and there. One turquoise with the damn shock that sucks. Oak green and more orange. Lame…

    The Allez Sprint frames always seem to be sold out… Red Hook bike is sick… Sold out..

    • The women’s version comes in five configurations, two of which get two colors for a total of seven, one of which is primarily black and none of which are red. Men’s comes in eight configurations, six get two colors, so fourteen. Four are primarily black, one is red (with black of course). Three have some red (one of which is primarily black). That’s two that are legitimately red and black or black and red.

      So long story short, you’re in luck! If you ride a 48, 52, 54, or 56 and assuming you hate red and black (all the tires and most of the logos are black so… tough) you still have thirteen out of twenty one options available.

      • I ride a 61 so no, I’m not in luck. Also, what’s the difference between “black and red” and “primarily black with some red”? Two? Get off it.

        Specialized is also moving away from the red labeling on tyres which is different anyway than a black bike. See the new mountain tyres and adventure tyres. Sawtooth doesn’t have any large label on it.

    • Unfortunately people have very subjective opinions when it came new to color. That is why the blacked out models appeal to the broadest target audience: they are the most neutral and least likely to offend someone able to pay $8,000 for a bicycle. But one thing is for certain:l, I would rather pay good money for a subtle paint job in whatever color than a garish ‘sport’ sticker/stripes stupid look at me I’m a racer paint job.

      • The 8K model isn’t even black.. So I don’t know what you’re getting on about… I’m glad you’re into flat black. I’m not asking for racing decals or sport stripes (whatever that even means). I’m asking for green or blue or purple. Anything but black.

  8. I have to wonder how much negativity is from the big s haters for no other reason than it’s a specialized. Give specialized some credit for pushing boundaries that haven’t really been explored yet. Gravel is gaining popularity with a larger mix of riders and it’s bringing old and new folks in to shops to buy bikes and they’re getting out there and riding.

    I like that there are more options, less “rules” and more open minds in the gravel community. 23c to 42c tires. 700, 650 and 29er wheels. Steel to carbon. One by, doubles and even triple cranks. Racks to camelbaks. Baggies. Dropper posts? Suspension?

    Sure, why not!

  9. +1 for BB386: light and stiff. Also easy to fit BB86 cranks. Hope this will be “the” standard one day. No one needs BB30A, BBRight and so on.

  10. I am surprised (not really) about all those that don’t like the bike and have never ridden it or seen it. Until you ride it, how do you know? Hard to open a closed mind.

    The Roubaix rides great, the Future shock works. I can’t wait to try it with a Diverge on gravel.

    And for the record, I ride a Crux Evo and Salsa Warbird Ti on gravel. Both are great bikes.

  11. Would have been super handy if you had chosen to test one of the lower model Diverges and write about that… the ones people actually buy.

What do you think?