Everything old is new again. That phrase seems to ring true in many facets of life, including the bicycle industry. Many of the most successful modern ideas have been attempted before – to varying degrees of success. The idea of a gravel specific bike is one of those concepts.
For Specialized, that came in the form of their 1989 RockCombo – a bike that was well ahead of its time.
Outfitted with an “ATB Drop Bar” running Suntour Bar-con shifters and BPX BRS aero brake levers, the bike offered a wider gearing spread with an XCD 7 speed 13-30 cassette mated to a 28/38/48t triple crankset.
While the RockCombo ran 26″ wheels, it opted for 1.5″ wide Specialized Hardpack tires to fit with the “gravel” concept.
Things are a little different now. Frames and forks are carbon. Disc brakes actually stop. And drivetrains have fewer chainrings but more cogs. Other than drop bars and skinny tires, modern gravel bikes share little in common with the bikes of the RockCombo days. But to honor their gravel heritage, Specialized just unveiled these custom Diverge gravel bikes for Alison Tetrick, Ian Boswell, and Laurens ten Dam to race at Unbound.
Specialized went to great lengths to match the RockCombo paint, but with modern touches to reflect the current Diverge frame construction.