Gravel riding is booming and it doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon. Specialized seem to be at the vanguard of this sector and their all new Diverge range has already got us dreaming of future off-road adventures. There isn’t really a rule book for gravel and Specialized have certainly not attempted to impose one. The 2021 Diverge range is essentially a cyclocross, mountain and road bike all mixed into one model. Let’s take a look at what is different in this new era of gravel bike.
5 things you need to know
New geometry means a quicker ride
In frame storage
Flat bar, trail-ready models
A large range
Every base is covered in the new Diverge range so there is a bike that will suit practically every off-road inclined cyclist. From the premium S-Works model all the way through to the no nonsense flat barred E5 EVO, there’s a bike for racers, adventurers and trail explorers alike.
Specialized have completely redesigned the frameset’s geometry to make it a more capable off-roader. The changes include lengthening the bike’s reach and wheelbase, increasing the fork offset, raising the bottom bracket and slackening the headtube angle to the position of a hardtail mountain bike. These tweaks not only go a long way to improving the quality of the ride, but they also free up extra clearance so that wider tyres can be fitted.
Space for wider tyres
A big change on the 2021 model is the ability to fit much wider tyres. The frame has been modified specifically for this purpose with the chainstay lengthened by a few millimetres to help accommodate the extra rubber. The Diverge can now take up to 700x42c or 650bx47c tyres which help to provide better grip and control on loose gravel and technical descents. This change is across the board as Specialized wanted all their riders to benefit from the greater freedom that wider tyres allow.
It’s no surprise to find Future Shock 2.0 suspension on the higher end models in the range. The cockpit suspension system was first seen as a prototype on Peter Sagan’s Specialized S-Works Roubaix at the 2018 Paris-Roubaix and has gradually trickled down through the ranges since. The 2.0 offers 20 millimetres of hydraulically dampened travel and an adjustable dial in place of the top cap so you can manage your suspension on the go. This helps you to stay out on the bike longer by reducing arm fatigue.
Trail ready E5 EVO
Part of the range is the exciting E5 EVO models that give a rider the option of a flat barred gravel bike. With flat bars and mountain bike style geometry, the E5 EVO really does invite you to push the boundaries of gravel riding. They call it their rowdiest gravel bike and it’s easy to see why, the bike is perfect for not only fast dusty fire road descents but also technical single track trails.
In frame storage
One of the best features that Specialized have carried over from their mountain bike range to the new Diverge is the SWAT technology system. It’s a case that you can put spare tools, food and other supplies into which then neatly slots into a compartment found within the bike’s downtube. A handy tab lifts the case out of the downtube for easy access. It’s perfect for riders who want to be out all day without having to overstuff your pockets or wear a sweat-intensifying backpack.
The new Diverge range has everything you need to start your gravel adventure. Come down to your local JeJames Cycles shop and see the bikes for yourself. You can find details on our current operations here.