Specialized Diverge Comp BIKE TEST
Fall is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the changing colours. After a long season, the Specialized Diverge Comp is the ultimate tool for new adventures, new roads, new cafes and more.
Ihave always loved Specialized bikes, and this one was no different. On first impression, this bike rolled effortlessly and was extremely comfortable. The Diverge is considered a gravel-road bike, but from my experience riding it, the Diverge is a perfect all-rounder. From the trail, to the path, to the café, it was smooth sailing. Perhaps the only trait the bike lacked was a race-like kick, but otherwise, the Diverge can be a great year-round all-terrain bike.
The bike handled trail riding in Quebec’s Gatineau Park with ease, thanks to Specialized’s unique Future Shock suspension in the steerer tube. The Future Shock has 20mm of travel when facing rugged conditions. Where traditional front suspension would see the fork compress to absorb the shock, the Future Shock keeps these components rigid, rather than absorbing the roughness through the steerer tube and into the handlebars.
The benefit of keeping the frame and fork the same shape is that the wheelbase remains unchanged. This is a win-win benefit when you want to continue rolling fast and predictably. When I first rode it, the Future Shock did not make the bike feel much different in terms of handling, but as the ride went on, I did notice that I was not feeling the cracks in the road or the jarring washboarding of gravel roads that you often experience on a road or cyclocross bike.
Another component added in the name of comfort is the CG-R carbon seatpost, which has a unique zig-zag design and uses Specialized’s exclusive Zertz elastomer technology (a soft, rubber-looking block that fills the middle space of the zig-zag design) to absorb any vibrations travelling up the frame to the saddle. While suspension designs can sometimes look odd, I did find the combined steerer tube and seatpost suspension helped me to tackle all sorts of bumps and rough gravel with ease. Adding to this, the Diverge is equipped with Specialized-2bliss-compatible tires and will easily fit 42mm tires with room to spare, allowing you to tackle whatever terrain you could throw at it.
Comfort is key in an adventure bike, and I can tell you that Quebec roads have nothing on the Diverge! Having ridden the bike on numerous rides of more than 100 kilometres, it certainly stood the test of time in terms of comfort. Not having to worry as much about cracks and potholes in the roads took the unneeded stress of dodging these obstacles off my plate, and this allowed me to enjoy the ride that much more. The hydraulic brakes ensured reliable stopping, while the shifters were comfortable and allow you to change hand positions on longer rides.
Furthermore, the Diverge is equipped with a wide range of gears, and 48/32T chainrings in the front and an 11-32t cassette in the back make climbing more enjoyable. Adding to the adventure, the Diverge has three bottle cage mounts to keep you going farther, as well as mounts for racks and fenders to allow for bikepack camping.
When on a ride with others who were on road bikes, the Diverge’s Endurance technology and larger-volume tires did not hinder my ability to roll fast along paved roads. However when the roads got rough, those on road bikes
The Diverge is considered a gravel-road bike, but from my experience, it is a perfect all-rounder for new adventures.
were not so lucky: two succumbed to flats and others complained of numb hands. This really showcased how the Diverge emphasizes comfort without sacrificing performance or weight.
Overall, I am big fan of this bike, and while the Shimano 105 components are great and never held me back, I thought I might see Ultegra at this bike’s price point. Still, I understand there is a larger focus on keeping the Diverge comfortable in all conditions, and it is meant for adventure riding.
Ultimately, the Diverge inspires you to be unafraid to take the road less travelled. That is what the Diverge is for. Adventure awaits!