The Gibb may not be as rabidly vicious as it once was, but it still remains a brutal test for any bike. In short, tackling it on garden variety road bikes would be foolish. But Specialized’s Crux and Diverge—despite being snappy road machines giving up virtually no performance on the tar—withstood the onslaught superbly.
The Diverge has what Specialized terms its ‘endurance geometry’ – a compact wheelbase and short chain stays for performance, but a taller head tube for more relaxed all-day riding. Barts’ rode a carbon-rimmed custom model with dampened forks, stays and seatpost, along with disc brakes, thru-axles, and the ability to take tyres up to 35mm.
I rode the Expert Carbon version of the Crux. While some features are similar to the Diverge, it sports a more race-oriented geometry, with a lower headtube and more aggressive riding position.
One last note: Specialized’s 33mm Tracer Pro tyres were simply awesome, giving us enough traction for the loose stuff but rolling so fast we mostly forgot we were on knobbies.