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.

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by Emily Flynn

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!

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