When we first announced the news of the new Specialized Diverge gravel bike, and let you know that one had arrived in the office and was primed for a test, we (well, I) had mixed feelings. Here was a bike that claimed to be a “no-compromise” answer to those who wanted equally good performance on the road, and off it.
“Here we go again,” I thought to myself, “here’s another (highly-respected) bike brand making grandiose claims about the prowess of a new bike designed for a market segment that’s only just finding its feet.” It seemed to me to be all bold claims in search of headlines, shouting “look at us”. The Americans had even gone to the trouble of pressing Saint Peter of Sagan into some media action – with the help of a muscle car.
And yet, having now spent a good solid month with the Diverge, using it for purposes as divergent as road, gravel and urban riding, there can be only one conclusion: this is a stunning all-rounder. It simultaneously proves super strong, stable and compliant on the loose stuff, while demonstrating the raw potential for a competent – and dare I say, exciting – ride on the road too.
But how have Specialized managed such a feat? Well, it all starts with the frameset, plus a little compliance-boosting trickery.