Winter is coming. That’s never more clear to us at RCUK than when gravel bikes and all-roaders start to arrive in the office for testing.
When the new Diverge first rolled into public view this summer, it was to the backdrop of a certain Peter Sagan (himself a multi-talented bike rider aside from being a three-time road world champ) firstly larking about in an American muscle car with the bike on a roof rack, then actually showing us what in can do in a second video. Obviously the director finally got him (sort of) under control.
We don’t have a Dodge Charger or a Peter Sagan clone locked away in the basement, but despite these oversights we’re excited to see what the Diverge has in store for us. After all, as we reported in June, it claims to be a no-compromise solution between road and off-road performance.
Versatility is the name of the game, so while it features an ‘Open Road’ geometry that might be familiar to those who favour an endurance-flavoured ride, there’s the full weight of the big S’s technological weight thrown behind it.
That includes a FutureShock suspension unit that protrudes from the headtube, which gives it its raised ‘Open Road’ shape at the front end complete with higher stack.
There should be plenty of verve to be extracted on the road too, with shortened chainstays and a lowered BB386 bottom bracket to provide a road-bike-like stable platform for accelerations and sharp handling.
This model is the number two in the official range, the Comp, complete with FACT 9r carbon frame and forks, and a Shimano 105 drivetrain that should provide a solid balance between performance and hard-wearing longevity.
It’s looking a little long in the tooth right now with those enormous hydraulic disc lever hoods at the front end, but we know Shimano are aiming to do much better as demonstrated by the improvements made with Dura-Ace and Ultegra hydraulic levers, and we expect something similar to debut next year with the next iteration of 105-spec components.
Still, it’s a solid groupset complete with a reliable RS505 brakeset that’s been tweaked with the inclusion of Praxis 48/32t Alba chainrings. Married to an 11-32t cassette, that should give a low range extended enough for gravel riding and the odd off road climb, while the top end should give a decent turn of speed on the road.
Its gravel focus is clear with the supplied rolling stock – 700c 38mm lightly nobbled Specialized Trigger Pro folding rubber shod to Axis Elite Disc hoops. While the rubber isn’t suited for really grimy cyclocross action, its more than capable of dealing with gravel and short off-road stints, as well as steady road action, while the frame itself will accommodate up to 42mm rubber (and even 47mm if you opt to run 650b standard wheels).
This machine isn’t the all-singing all dancing S-Works version with an 880g claimed frame weight, but the entire build here comes in at a nevertheless decent 10.93kg in a large (56cm) frame size. Time will tell if it can impress us on the road as much as it promises to off it.
Something for the weekend showcases our pick of the latest tech to arrive at RoadCyclingUK. You can see more here.