Gear News

Specialized announce updated Diverge gravel bike, entry-level Allez and CruX cyclo-cross race machine

Specialized's popular gravel, alloy and cyclo-cross bikes get revamped for model year 2018

American powerhouses Specialized have announced an updated Diverge gravel all-roader complete with FutureShock front suspension, alongside a redesigned entry-level Allez road bike frame which features rethought geometry and tweaks to help with both aerodynamics and ride comfort, plus a new CruX cyclo-cross racer.

These new bikes from Specialized are the latest model year 2018 machines to be unveiled by some of cycling’s biggest brands, following the launch of the Bianchi Aria aero bike, updated Lapierre Pulsium and Aircode, third-generation BMC Teammachine SLR01 and more.

The Specialized Diverge is now pitched strictly as a gravel bike

Specialized Diverge – gravel bike gets FutureShock suspension

There’s plenty to cover, so let’s start with the Diverge – a bike now aimed squarely at the emerging gravel market and said to feature no compromises between road and off-road performance.

The Diverge has none other than wheelie-loving, bunny-hopping trickster Peter Sagan as its official ambassador, naturally, playing to the its versatility focus. For this new iteration, the Diverge takes advantage of Specialized’s FutureShock front dampening technology, first introduced on the Roubaix endurance bike, albeit tweaked with a progressive spring that’s said to improve adaptability across multiple surfaces.

Where on the Roubaix the tech is designed to deal with cobbles, the Diverge needs to be able to optimally dampen anything from cobbles to stones, gravel and even some particularly gnarly trails, all the while still able to ride competently on the road. The spring is also claimed to give the rider additional ability to deal with more intense off-road challenges.

The geometry has also seen some changes, chiefly to accommodate the FutureShock suspension, with a higher stack serving to also give a more conservative all-day friendly position, as well as a longer trail for more predictable handling. However, the overall geometry meets Spesh’s ‘Open Road’ design, including a lower bottom bracket and shorter chainstays so the bike should be capable of giving a responsive ride on the road too.

The flagship S-Works Diverge frame weighs a claimed 880g

Given the pounding that gravel riders take over wide-ranging terrain, contact points are also vitally important, so Specialized will also supply the Diverge with both male and female-specific saddles and bars, while a female-spec frame will be available as small as 44cm.

The Diverge will be available in both carbon and alloy framesets, with the flagship S-Works frame tipping the scales at a claimed 880g. At the same time, you’ll also find Plug + Play mudguard mounts and capacity for Specialized’s SWAT storage system, as well as the inclusion of a dropper seatpost.

Maximum tyre size capacity is 700x42c on the carbon version and 700x38c for the alloy frame, while capacity for 650b wheels goes up to very chunky 47mm, giving the Diverge serious trail credibility. Disc brakes use the increasingly-common flat mount standard.

The Diverge will be available in eight different builds from the top of the range S-Works down to the Diverge E5 alloy bike, while there are two additional bikes with those female-specific contact points.

Specialized’s SWAT system is designed to offer convenient storage for tools and the like

Specialized Allez – popular alloy frame gets relaxed geometry

With the alloy road machine, Specialized have taken the bold step of relaxing the geometry from the racy setup that has historically characterised the bike, with a taller headtube and a lengthened wheelbase for a more forgiving position and ride that’s designed to help the bike appeal more to first bike buyers.

While data from bike fit system Retul helped to inform the changes in rider position, Specialized has made use of its own ‘Win Tunnel’ in order to improve aerodynamics with a dropped seatstay design which now meets lower down the seattube. The change is also said to improve compliance levels, which suits the new, more relaxed approach to the frame design.

The top-of-the-range Specialized Allez Elite comes with a Shimano 105 groupset

That said, if you want a traditionally racy Allez, then you can still opt for the Allez Sprint model which retains its specific profile and SmartWeld manufacturing techniques.

Other changes to the regular Allez include a drop of around 450g for each frame through the use of ‘E5’ alloy, while the Tarmac-esque carbon fork has been included to improve responsiveness at the front end via claimed improvements in stiffness and weight. It’s also gotten rid of the junction between the crown and steerer tube which Specialized claims improves ride comfort further.

Specialized have relaxed the Allez’s geometry and introduced a lighter aluminium tubeset. The mid-range Sport model comes with Shimano Sora

Additionally, in order to maximise the utility of the Allez, the redesigned frames now receive mounts for mudguards and racks completing the newly widened appeal of the brand’s entry level alloy frame. There’s also internal cable routing to keep cables protected from nasty weather.

There will be three bikes based around the new Allez frame, including the top line Elite with a Shimano 105 groupset, mid-range Sport (with Shimano Sora) and the base Allez model that’ll see the use of Shimano Claris for the drivetrain.

Specialized CruX – race focus for cyclo-cross bike

Meanwhile, the CruX has been redeveloped as a pure cyclo-cross race bike, which means the usual buzzwords of lightweight, speed and rideability have been addressed.

The new frameset sees an impressive claimed frame weight of 900g in a 56cm size, which represents a massive 400g saving according to Specialized. Certainly that’s going to result in some serious speed, while comfort has also been addressed with greater compliance that reportedly comes from a new seatpost clamp dropped by 20mm.

Naturally, discs are the order of the day for braking, so the new frame features 12x142mm axles and support for 160mm rotors. Tyre clearance has also gone up, so with the UCI-mandated maximum tyre width of 33mm given a full 8mm of space on all sides to minimise the chances of race-ruining mud clogging.

Specialized have updated the CruX to give it more race appeal

You’ll also find design tweaks to make the bike easier to ride over particularly grotty ‘cross terrain, with a slightly raised bottom bracket, and a trail that’s been extended for the smaller frame sizes for greater foot clearance.

Full 2018 prices are yet to be confirmed for all three bikes.

Website: Specialized

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