As part of our mega guide to the best bikes on the market, we talk you through what to look for if you're keen to go on big riding adventures.
Specialized Diverge, from $1,500
The focus of the new, redesigned Diverge was to enable riders to never be in a position where they’re thinking ‘that looks fun, but I couldn’t do it on this bike’. And Specialized have executed it very well.
A completely new take on the previous model, the updated Diverge boasts a lot of details that speak highly of its ability to take you a long way off route comfortably and confidently. Clearance for 42mm tyres is a good start but once you start digging there are some nice geometry and technology details that will spark your interest for sure. Specialized moved away from the geometry of the old Diverge, which definitely had a very cyclocross vibe to it, and have created what they call their Open Road geometry. Speaking basically, it’s mountain trail bike geometry for the road bike.
Specialized dropped the bottom bracket height, shortened the chainstays and slacked out the head angle on the new Diverge - aiming to maintain hard surface speed while adding a whole lot of fun to the offroad parts of the ride. Combined with its new-found ability to handle some proper sized rubber, the bike is pushed well and truly into the adventure seekers’ ballpark.
On top of this, Specialized have rebirthed their Future Shock headtube suspension system, and it’s very well suited to the versatility of the Diverge. Now with a much stiffer spring rate, designed to take the edge off harder hits, the main benefit of the future shock is the removal of suspension related handling changes.
With a traditional suspension fork, the head angle and wheelbase of a bike change as the fork absorbs bumps. Not so with the Future Shock, which also runs firm enough to be barely noticeable on the tarmac. Some will baulk at the ‘unslammed’ appearance of the front end, but those seeking more ride comfort than the rubber will offer should check it out. 20mm of travel doesn’t sound like a lot but it sure makes a difference.
Plenty of Specialized’s signature strokes are on offer, including their carbon models being amongst the lightest in class. The SWAT storage system on the carbon models for carrying tubes and tools is a feature that definitely suits the Diverge’s design brief.
As always with Specialized there are plenty of options in alloy or carbon.