In this article, we’re giving you the low-down on one of the most popular gravel bikes on the market – the Specialized Diverge. The Specialized Diverge is one of Specialized’s premier gravel bikes, and we’re here to let you know whether it lives up to the hype.
We’re going to give you a full guide as to whether or not this bike is for you. We’ll start with a full overview of the Diverge, including specs and notable features. Then, we’ll give you some pros & cons to help you decide, and we’ll wrap it all up with a buyer’s guide. But first, let’s cover the basics:
What is a Gravel Bike?
Before we can examine whether the Specialized Diverge is the bike for you, it helps to understand whether gravel bikes are what you are looking for. There are a lot of choices when it comes to bike, and you’re best to first narrow in on the kind you actually want.
On first glance, a gravel bike might look like a road bike. While it is similar in design to a road bike, there are several very important differences which make it adept for a different type of riding. A gravel bike mimics the road bike’s general design, but the differences are there to make it more suitable for riding on different surfaces (hence the name).
Gravel bikes are quite a bit more durable than road bikes, have larger tires, and are able to carry additional gear. All of these features make them more capable of taking on more uneven terrain, and holding their traction across different surfaces. Additionally, a wider wheelbase makes the ride more stable and controlled.
The frame is also designed in a way so that the rider can sit in a more “relaxed”, slightly more upright position. This is done with a longer head tube and sloping top tube. Basically, by sitting more upright, you have better control over the bike’s steering, which makes it better able to handle rough terrain.
Overall, a gravel bike shares a lot in common with a road bike, but has several key distinctions which make its practical application quite different. Riders of a gravel bike tend to stick to the roads mostly, but go off-road when the situation calls for it. They aren’t as ideal for off-roading as something like a mountain bike, but they’re a solid middle ground. If you think this sounds like the type of bike for you, then read on to learn all about one of the most popular gravel bikes on the market:
Product Overview and Review – The Specialized Diverge
The Specialized Diverge is one of the hottest gravel bikes on the market today. It’s relatively low price point makes it a very accessible gravel bike, which helps to explain its popularity in the biking world. In this article, we’re examining whether it lives up to this popularity. We’re conducting a comprehensive review.
First, we’re going to examine everything that this bike offers. We’ll start with details about its construction, and then highlight some notable features:
Product Overview – Features
First up, let’s break this bike apart and examine the key components of its design. Because a bike is just a sum of all its parts, it helps to look at these parts in detail:
We’ll start with the frame. The frame is the most heavily touted feature of the Diverge’s design, and Specialized claims that the Diverge has several design functions which make it more advanced than competing gravel bikes. Creating the geometry of this bike was a top priority, and there’s a lot that can be said about it.
The frame was given a slacker headtube, a longer reach, and a shorter cockpit. Additionally, the fork has increased rake and trail. The result of all this is that the bike is more stable and controls better. It keeps the rider sitting in a comfortable position, which allows for more control in off-road situations.
The bottom bracket is also quite low, at about 80mm clearance. The result of a low bottom bracket is that the rider is lower to the ground, which further increases stability and control. The chainstay is also 425mm, which keeps the back wheel tucked under the rider, which also gives the bike more balance and the rider more control.
The obvious theme throughout the Diverge’s frame design has been stability and control, and that is the clear emphasis in this bike’s rideability. The geometry was designed almost entirely to give the rider more control over various terrain. Of course, all that being said, this is still a gravel bike, and it is still built for high-speed!
There are several different models of Specialized Diverge. The lower tier models have an aluminum frame, while the higher tier models have a carbon frame. The carbon frame is quite a bit lighter, but it is also responsible for a much higher price tag.
Tires and Wheels
The next notable part of this bike’s design are its tires and wheels. Similar to the frame, these components were primarily designed to give the rider more control and stability over varied terrain.
Special consideration was given to tire clearance, and this bike has a large clearance as far as gravel bikes go. You get 47mm of clearance with a 700c wheel, and 2.1 inches of clearance with a 650B wheel. Extra tire clearance gives the wheel more room to maneuver in response to the bumps and jolts of uneven terrain. This makes it more adept for the off-road riding that may occur on a gravel bike.
The tires themselves have added traction and grip, which is an obvious necessity for any off-road riding. They are 38mm wide, much wider than an average road bike, but the extra width is also a necessity for the type of riding that accompanies a gravel bike.
Additionally, as mentioned in the section above, the unique frame design actually centres the back wheel more beneath the rider, which gives an extra element of stability to the bike ride.
Once again, stability and control is the main motivator in the tire and wheel design!
Strong brakes are an absolute necessity when it comes to gravel bikes. The bikes are very fast, but also tend to face tighter corners with more stopping & starting than typical road bikes. As a result, you need brakes that can stop on a dime.
All models of Specialized Diverge are equipped with hydraulic disc brakes. These are generally considered the fastest and most responsive type of brakes, as they work with a sealed, fluid-filled system.
So far we’ve highlighted the most notable features of the Diverge’s components and construction. To learn more, check out the full range of technical specs in each Diverge model. Overall, these are high quality bikes, and you can trust each element of its construction.
Notable Bike Features
Aside from the technical features about the Diverge’s construction, there are a few more features worth noting about its overall design. These include:
The SWAT Compartment is a really cool innovation with this bike. The SWAT compartment is essentially a hollowed out part of the frame where you can pack your belongings. The bike comes with little travel bags that you can pack up and store in the actual frame of the bike! This keeps your pockets empty, so you don’t have to worry about anything falling out during an intense ride. Additionally, it keeps all your gear centered in the bike itself, which adds stability and balance to the ride.
As you can tell by now, stability is a big focus with the Diverge!
This bike also has Future Shock technology, which is a feature of many different Specialized bike models. Essentially, Future Shock technology is a type of “shock” that is located above the head tube of the bike. Located on the interior of the tube, it allows for 20mm of movement. Basically, when you encounter bumpy terrain, the bike moves upward toward your hands in order to preserve some momentum.
The technology itself is a little bit complicated, but what you need to know is that it allows for a more stable, smooth ride. The Future Shock systems allows the bike to adjust to different change in terrain, allowing for more predictable handling and a more controlled ride. As is the case with this bike, its just another feature to improve stability and control!
What ties everything together is this bike’s lightweight design. We’ve mentioned the lightweight components already, but it’s worth noting that, when everything comes together, this bike is lighter than most gravel bikes by a good margin. The frame itself is under 1000 grams! This lightweight construction also helps to compensate for the stability of the frame’s positioning and design. Basically, the lightweight design makes sure that you can still reach high-speeds on the Diverge.
Pros & Cons
Before we wrap up our review, we’re going to dig into some pros & cons about this bike. We’ve already extensively gone over what is offered, but it can help to look at some of the positive and negative implications of the Diverge’s design. By evaluating both sides, you can decide whether this bike is good enough for you:
The first advantage of this gravel bike is that it is relatively affordable (as far as gravel bikes go!). If there’s one thing that people have come to expect about road bikes and their variants, it’s that exorbitant price tag!
This bike comes in several different makes and models. The lower end models are quite affordable, while the higher end carbon-frame models are a few thousand dollars more. Either way, we think the bikes are fairly priced for what they offer, and they’ll keep discerned buyers happy.
Stability and Control
Stability and control have been a running theme through this bike’s design, so not much more needs to be said here. Just know that this bike is probably the right choice if you are looking for a gravel bike which puts special emphases on control and stable riding over various terrain. We examined all the ways in which this is achieved through the bike’s components and design above, so check that out if you haven’t already!
Basically, this bike is hard to beat if a stable ride is your primary concern.
This bike touts numerous special features which make it even more worthy of a buy. We examined these features pretty extensively above, so we’ll just briefly mention them here.
The frame design is top notch, and the architectural improvements work wonders for stability. Additionally, the SWAT system is very convenient for storing various belongings. The Future Shock system is a nice addition as well.
This bike packs a lot of features on a fair price tag!
Of course, no comprehensive review is complete without also examining a product’s flaws. We intend to give you an objective outline of how we feel about the Specialized Diverge, and there are a few things that are worth noting on the “cons” side as well:
First up, you’ve surely noticed that the running theme throughout this bike’s design has been stability and control. With bikes, what you gain in one area is given up in another. When a bike is more stable and controlled, it tends to come at the cost of a lower top speed.
The extra control and stability is achieved through the position of the rider, as well as extra features such as a wider wheelbase, wider tires, and a more solid frame. And while these features do allow for more stability, they come at the cost of lower top speeds.
Of course, gravel bikes are still fast bikes, and this one is no exception, but just know that the additional control does slightly cut off your max speed.
Very Specific Usage
The next point is more of a drawback of gravel bikes in general. They are bikes intended for very specific usages. You get the speed of road bike, with the added advantage of a bike that can handle rougher terrain. This means that they aren’t quite as fast as a road bike, and not nearly as off-road capable as many other bikes (hybrids, mountains, etc.). They’re a middle ground, and you really need to be sure that your bike riding matches their usage requirements.
This is very much a personal preference, and will be dictated based on how you use the bike. We just want to point out that you should know how you are going to be using your bike before you decide whether a gravel bike is for you.
Overall, we think the Specialized Diverge is an excellent gravel bike! This is a bike that has placed a clear emphasis on control and stability, and it has paid off! When it comes to a gravel bike, you want a bike that will be capable in all conditions. This bike delivers on that. Not only is it very capable of riding on various terrain, but it has the tools necessary to stand up to long bike rides. It is also very capable of hauling heavy loads, and the SWAT technology provides even more storage space inside the bike itself.
When it comes down to it, it really only matters if this is the right bike for you. We’ve tried our best to keep this article focused on outlining all the features of the Specialized Diverge bike. Hopefully, you can get a good understanding of what it offers and what it doesn’t. We know a gravel bike isn’t for everyone, and that’s why we’ve clearly outlined where this bike is most useful, and the type of riding it would be best for.
So, if you’re in the market for a gravel bike, we think the Specialized Diverge is a great choice. If you like to stick mainly to roads, but also like to ride varied terrain and go off-road on occasion, then the Specialized Diverge will offer a reliable, stable ride. Just be sure that it’s actually what you are looking for in a bike!
Conclusion – Picking a Gravel Bike
Thanks so much for reading our guide to the Specialized Divergent bike!
If we could leave you with one piece of advice, it’s to thoroughly outline your needs before you begin bike shopping. Bike shopping is complicated. Even once you settle on a certain niche, there are many options available. That’s why it is best to first think about what you want in a bike. Think about price point, weight, speed, control, and all the other factors relevant to your decision. This way, you can settle on your preferences, and you can match them to the options available on the market.
Take this approach to our article as well! Figure out what it is you want, and then decide whether the Specialized Diverge meets these requirements. There is nothing more satisfying than picking the perfect bike, and we hope we have made this experience a little bit easier!
Last Updated on November 15, 2020 by Matthew Carpenter