Specialized Diverge ‘go anywhere’ bike launching soon

Wider tyre clearance than the Roubaix with disc brakes, thru-axles and mudguard mounts

by David Arthur   August 8, 2014  

We reported a while ago that Specialized were developing a new disc-equipped road bike going by the name of Diverge, and we thought it was due to be launched by now, but that hasn't happened. Instead, Specialized have quietly added the Diverge range to their 2015 early release website, so we definitely know this new bike is going to be available soon. When, and how much, we don't know yet.

While actual gravel riding and racing might not have travelled over the Atlantic, the hype certainly has. However, the increasing popularity of this sort of riding has spawned a whole load of new and very interesting road bikes that look to blend some of the attributes of a cyclo-cross bike with a regular road bike, with relaxed geometry, disc brakes and space for wide tyres the key features.

The Diverge looks to be a sort of cross between a Roubaix and Crux. It has the relaxed endurance focused geometry of the Roubaix (taller head tube, shorter top tube) with the bigger tyre clearance of the Crux, with space for up to 35mm tyres without mudguards, and 32mm with - Specialized will spec 30 and 32mm tyres across the range

“When the road less travelled is still too crowded there's Diverge. Featuring an optimized endurance geometry for long, all day rides as well as clearance for up to 35c tires, your ride is only limited by your imagination. Diverge goes anywhere you do and is always ready to adventure more,” says Specialized.

It’s clear then that the development of the Diverge is a response to this growing interest in mixing up a regular road ride with off-road trails. In the US they have great swathes of countryside accessible only by traffic-free gravel tracks, which is why that riding has become so popular. We might not have the expanse of gravel tracks, but we do have plenty of byways, bridleways, tow paths and the sort that these sorts of bikes are ideally suited.

Of course there’s nothing to stop you simply riding a modified cyclo-cross bike, but these new bikes, such as the GT Grade and this Diverge from Specialized, appear to owe more to their road cousins when you look at the numbers.

The Diverge also has mudguard and rack mounts, with discrete eyelets at the dropouts on the frame and fork. Just like the new GT Grade then, that offers a lot of versatility if you see this as the perfect bike for taking on the task of daily commuting or light touring, alongside everything else it is capable of doing.

It’s not clear how many Diverge models Specialized will offer in the UK, but they’re currently listing four models on the US 2015 early launch website. The four models include two carbon bikes at the top and two aluminium versions, one made from Specialized's  A1 Premium aluminium and the other using an E5 Smartweld frame, similar to the top-flight Allez they introduced last year.

Each of these models uses a carbon fibre fork with a thru-axle, with the top models also using a thru-axle rear end. It looks like they might be using a conventional quick release rear axle on the lower models, but we can’t confirm that at this stage. It’s interesting that Specialized are using thru-axles when the recently launched Tarmac Disc (and the previous Roubaix Disc) use regular quick release axles. We presume Specialized have decided there are benefits from the thru-axles on the Diverge for the type of riding it is going to be used for, but not desirable on a road focused bike.

Specialized’s familiar Zertz inserts - used to provide more compliance - from the Roubaix make an appearance on the Diverge. Though they’re not used to nearly the same extent as the Roubaix so it’ll be interesting to hear Specialized’s claims. The top tube is more radically dropped than the Crux with a large bend ahead of the seat tube, something we might assume is designed to provide extra compliance. If that wasn’t enough, Specialized fit each model with their distinctive CG-R saddle.

This is the Diverge Expert Carbon, with thru-axles front and rear and that new carbon fork and a frame constructed from FACT 10r carbon fibre. Tyres are Specialized Roubaix Pro in 32mm width and fitted to Axis 4.0 Disc wheels. A Shimano Ultegra 11-speed groupset with Shimano’s 785 hydraulic disc brakes is specced.

The Diverge Comp Carbon gets the same frame and fork but is specced with a Shimano 105 groupset and the same 785 hydro disc brakes with IceTech rotors. Wheels are the same as are the tyres.

The top of the aluminium models, the Diverge Comp Smartweld packs a Shimano 105 groupset with 785 hydro disc brakes, Axis 3.0 Disc wheels and 32mm Specialized Roubaix Pro tyres.

Lastly, the Diverge Elite A1 combines a Tiagra 10-speed groupset with Tektro Spyre mechanical disc brakes, Axis Classic Disc wheels and 30mm Specialized Espoir Sport tyres.

That’s about everything we know about the Diverge ahead of its official launch. There are reports of Specialized having developed a short travel (35mm) height adjustable seatpost, which could be handy for tackling more adventurous off-road terrain. Height adjustable posts, or dropper posts as they’re commonly called, have become hugely popular in the mountain bike world in the last couple of years, to the point where they’re pretty much standard issue. Their attraction is lowering the saddle out of the way when going over, or down, very bumpy and technical terrain.

More details as and when we get them.

www.specialized.com

31 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Weird top tube. Not bad looking, apart from that.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3419 posts]
8th August 2014 - 15:07

71 Likes

Just when I was about to go buy a GT Grade...wait 45 minutes and *another* endurance disc bike range comes along...

So:

Everyone's got tyre clearance
Everyone's got slack geometry
Everyone's got a longer wheelbase
Everyone's got some sort of damping
Everyone's got inboard rear caliper mounts
Everyone's got thru-axles

...mudguard mounts. It's all about the mudguard mounts. That is shaping up to be the defining sale-maker/breaker for winter 2014 bikes.

...can Road.CC make that the first question asked of any product manager?

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [588 posts]
8th August 2014 - 16:02

7 Likes

Interesting to see the price of top of the range model compared to my bike.

posted by CXR94Di2 [210 posts]
8th August 2014 - 16:38

64 Likes

I like, but a bit bious due to just buying a Roubaix Disc, which I like too Smile

Been cycling for too many years, but just back in a Specialized Roubaix Disc saddle after a long 6yr stint on a Hybrid, lord that was a slow ride Smile

Jahmoo's picture

posted by Jahmoo [11 posts]
8th August 2014 - 17:22

68 Likes

Annoying that they have brought out a bike that would be perfect for me, but I'll never buy a Specialized because of how they treated Neil Pryde.

Damn.

posted by Joelsim [1444 posts]
8th August 2014 - 20:25

48 Likes

I agree about mudguards. I recently went to look at a couple of the new breed of endurance bikes that are meant to be ridden for mile upon mile and hour upon hour (in British weather). Not one of them had mudguard mounts. As the shop assistant said to me "Well they aren't really designed to be ridden every day!"

posted by Dunluce [68 posts]
8th August 2014 - 20:37

53 Likes

THat rear wheel to seat tube gap looks very tight to me. I don't think there's a compliance reason behind the top tube kink, unless you fancy the handlebars flexing back and forth? I'm sure they'll make it plenty stiff in that direction though. No, it's a visual thing, leads nicely into the seat stays, provides the range's unifying visual theme. No tech mumbo required.

posted by vbvb [282 posts]
8th August 2014 - 22:18

55 Likes

This bike indeed ticks all the boxes for those who explore the roads less traveled except that.... the lower spec bikes might not be equipped with rear wheel thru-axles. If true, this would constitute the ultimate of marketing cynicism: the rear tire punctures more often off-road and a thru-axle helps mightily re-align the disk in the calliper when re-placing the rear wheel. The cost difference between tru-axle and qr is negligeable, but only the rich will be treated to a rear thru-axle, the rest of us will have to contend with a bike with rear qr that is obslotete the moment we buy it. If this is true Specialized, no thanks!

The entropy of the universe increases constantly. Carpe diem.

posted by noether [85 posts]
8th August 2014 - 22:20

1 Like

noether wrote:
This bike indeed ticks all the boxes for those who explore the roads less traveled except that.... the lower spec bikes might not be equipped with rear wheel thru-axles. If true, this would constitute the ultimate of marketing cynicism:

Really ? The 'ultimate of (sic) cynicism' ? Truly ?

noether wrote:
the rear tire punctures more often off-road and a thru-axle helps mightily re-align the disk in the calliper when re-placing the rear wheel. The cost difference between tru-axle and qr is negligeable, but only the rich will be treated to a rear thru-axle, the rest of us will have to contend with a bike with rear qr that is obslotete the moment we buy it. If this is true Specialized, no thanks!

I'll agree it's an odd choice for a number of reasons, but do you think you might be getting a bit lathered up about that ?... sounds a bit pantomime French revolution to me

"Ah yezzzz - only ze riiiich will be treated to a rear t'ru-aaaaxle"

PS. Always wondered, should that be 'entropy' and 'noaether' or am I missing cunning ? (like a strong aversion to old dental anaesthesia).

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [500 posts]
8th August 2014 - 22:42

5 Likes

That is one ugly looking bike! The top tube and seat tube positioning is weird. No thanks.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [440 posts]
8th August 2014 - 23:05

47 Likes

Dunluce wrote:
I agree about mudguards. I recently went to look at a couple of the new breed of endurance bikes that are meant to be ridden for mile upon mile and hour upon hour (in British weather). Not one of them had mudguard mounts. As the shop assistant said to me "Well they aren't really designed to be ridden every day!"

Giant any road and revolt bikes both have mudguard mounts.

posted by joules1975 [72 posts]
9th August 2014 - 7:31

40 Likes

I agree that's not an attractive bike. Not unlike the Giant Anyroad. But it signals a trend to disc brakes with thru axles on road bikes. Others will follow (hopefully with bikes that don't look like they fell out the ugly tree).

Quote:
Height adjustable posts, or dropper posts as they’re commonly called, have become hugely popular in the mountain bike world in the last couple of years, to the point where they’re pretty much standard issue. Their attraction is lowering the saddle out of the way when going over, or down, very bumpy and technical terrain.
Hmmmm...those conditions are usually better dealt with front shocks. can't see this being of much use other than bragging rights.

posted by truffy [470 posts]
9th August 2014 - 10:58

45 Likes

3 of those bikes are in the UK lineup plus 2 cheaper models.

posted by simondbarnes [27 posts]
9th August 2014 - 19:22

25 Likes

This type of bike begs for thru-axles both ends. The companies marketing them know this full well, they pioneered the disk brake thru-axle combo in MTB, where it is now "de rigueur". The only reason not to equip such bikes with this combo is to build in obsolence. The consumer that is unaware will then be forced to upgrade in a few years time. That is cynical. It becomes utmost cynicsl when the targeted consumer is the one on a tight budget. And no, no need to rally the troops with a "aux armes, citoyens!", no urgency to roll-in the guillotine, just vote with your feet: buy elsewhere.

The entropy of the universe increases constantly. Carpe diem.

posted by noether [85 posts]
9th August 2014 - 21:18

3 Likes

Planning to buy a similarly specced CX bike, but the question is how much does it cost to get a QR rear wheel change to thru-axles??? And might let my LBS do it while swapping the tyre for a puncture resistant one straight away.

posted by gr3g0ree [61 posts]
9th August 2014 - 22:14

38 Likes

noether wrote:
This type of bike begs for thru-axles both ends. The companies marketing them know this full well, they pioneered the disk brake thru-axle combo in MTB, where it is now "de rigueur". The only reason not to equip such bikes with this combo is to build in obsolence. The consumer that is unaware will then be forced to upgrade in a few years time. That is cynical. It becomes utmost cynicsl when the targeted consumer is the one on a tight budget. And no, no need to rally the troops with a "aux armes, citoyens!", no urgency to roll-in the guillotine, just vote with your feet: buy elsewhere.

Might be cynicism, or cheapness, or both or something else. Going the QR route is quick and easy as they'll already have the designs, specs and probably adaptable tooling. It's also easier and cheaper to manufacture. I'm half surprised they haven't (yet) introduced a cheaper model with QRs on both ends, but the most important place for the through-axle in on the front anyway - throwing a wheel out the back is way less scary than the front. As long as there are wheels to suit (which there are) it's not really an issue IMO, especially as many won't bother changing them anyway - which begs the question, if these bikes are being bought by consumers on a tight budget as you say, then are they likely to be the people replacing perfectly good wheels with some random 'upgrade' wheelset ?

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [500 posts]
9th August 2014 - 22:35

28 Likes

Go anywhere bike?
Unless there are some bumps. Then I need my hardtail, or maybe my cyclocross bike. Maybe the 29er?. Or some big bumps. Then I need my full suspension bike. etc, etc. How many bikes do the people who buy these things own? How much time do they actually spend riding vs carefully assessing which bike is best for todays go "anywhere" ride.
lol.

posted by imaca [46 posts]
9th August 2014 - 23:29

23 Likes

Probably the only go-anywhere bike is an electric full-suspension 29er. There seems to be a market for it. Choice increases all the time, hence the increase in entropy (thanks for correcting the typo).

I recently came to road biking from mountain biking and was struck by the "conservatism" of the former, until I noticed this pattern of building-in obsolence. In the case of disk brakes, it would be a pity for road bikers to reject the technology when they realise how difficult it is to perfectly centre a disk brake in the calliper (unless they enjoy scraping sounds on their vueltas). The thru-axle disk brake combo solves the problem at a very marginal cost penalty, if at all. Unfortunately, such improvement is not upgradable,  no matter the excellence of the frame.

Gobbling miles over smooth tarmac on a race bike under one's own power is exhilerating, as is ascending and descending rock strewn mountain paths on a mountain bike. For all the other uses, this new type of bikes seems a perfect fit, if equipped with proven technology from other disciplines. So it would be 3 bikes for me (got 2, waiting for the 3rd), but then for someone else it would be n+1 (as one blogger finely concludes).

The entropy of the universe increases constantly. Carpe diem.

posted by noether [85 posts]
10th August 2014 - 6:11

32 Likes

My wife has had a Genesis CdF since crimbo. Mechanical Hayes CX disc brakes with new pads = sod-all clearance, but there's no rubbing at all. Even with low-end hubs and - GASP - QR skewers.

Have been riding disc-equipped MTB with normal QR's the last 17 years with no rubbing. Hell, my Trek 29'er SS has normal QR's - and while I'm no Chris Hoy, you can put borderline bolt-stripping-chain-snapping levels of torque into the wheel/frame combo with no rubbing.

It's people saying you MUST have bolt-through who are being disingenuous...

Maybe you just don't know how to set up calipers? Not using the right tool? The Hayes setup tool is a great bit of kit, makes it a dead-simple/quick job.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [588 posts]
10th August 2014 - 6:36

20 Likes

"a thru-axle helps mightily re-align the disk in the calliper when re-placing the rear wheel. The cost difference between tru-axle and qr is negligeable, but only the rich will be treated to a rear thru-axle, the rest of us will have to contend with a bike with rear qr that is obslotete the moment we buy it. If this is true Specialized, no thanks!"

QRs will align a disc consistently. And a thru-axle does cost more, not a huge amount but enough to be a factor in hitting price levels. You can have a thru-axle or FD+RD upgrade, that sort of thing.
The current ones designed for tying together inherently flexible parts of MTB sus fork or sus frames could be said to be over the top for rigid-structure road bikes, it's just that it's easier to use current stuff .. for now. So either way, obsolescence is likely.

posted by james-o [208 posts]
10th August 2014 - 9:29

21 Likes

gr3g0ree wrote:
Planning to buy a similarly specced CX bike, but the question is how much does it cost to get a QR rear wheel change to thru-axles??? And might let my LBS do it while swapping the tyre for a puncture resistant one straight away.

Thru-axle/QR is part of the frame design. AFAIK the only way to change from one to the other is to change frames (or possibly front fork if you're not interested in changing the rear)

posted by truffy [470 posts]
10th August 2014 - 9:50

17 Likes

This was an interesting blog. High-end disk braked road bikes with off-tarmac capability (not road race bikes) will get thru-axles which convey no advantage whatsoever, low-end once can do with qr, after all the technology has been around for 80 years. This is the way of the world. I rest my case and, having experienced first hand the advantage of thru-axles, will hold out until low-end models get thru-axles both ends (Scott already obliges, the rest, including Specialized, will follow... in 2015? in line with the tried and trusted "new and improved" marketing startegy).

Wider, tubeless ready rims will come in 2016 -of course only compatible with thru-axles- and 2017 will see the launch of a host of tubeless ready tires. Déjà vu in MTB...

The entropy of the universe increases constantly. Carpe diem.

posted by noether [85 posts]
10th August 2014 - 14:37

13 Likes

Dropper posts are an intriguing idea on road bikes. I realise I'm now very dependant on mine on the mountain bike, but it doesn't occur to me that my saddle is too high on anything that seriously counts as a "road".

I guess we'll find a use for them when we've all got one...

Plain Face

posted by BigDummy [298 posts]
11th August 2014 - 11:12

6 Likes

To me these kind of bikes just seem like good bikes for the rubbish road surfaces we have in the UK. Actually, in several ways they are similar to my Pinnacle Arkose except for the tyres that are specced.

DaveE128's picture

posted by DaveE128 [76 posts]
11th August 2014 - 11:50

8 Likes

What if they won't come with thru-axle for lower-end models next year? What if they decide to keep the QR but drop hydraulic brakes or something else?
What if they come up with a 'better' QR design?

I would like to get a road capable CX bike this year (my budget allows only QR models), but if I would know for sure that next years endurance models at a grand (+2-3 hundred £) will get thru-axles both front and rear I would consider waiting.

What about a QR to thru conversion? Is it better, stiffer, aligns the wheel better than the current QR? Possible to replace most or hardly any hubs that way? Is QR with bolt on any better?

posted by gr3g0ree [61 posts]
11th August 2014 - 17:14

6 Likes

gr3g0ree wrote:
What about a QR to thru conversion? Is it better, stiffer, aligns the wheel better than the current QR? Possible to replace most or hardly any hubs that way? Is QR with bolt on any better?

The problem is not the QR on the hub, that can be converted, but AFAIK the QR on the frame. That cannot be converted, it's part of the frame design. So you need a frame (or just fork if you're happy with thru only on the front) with thru-axles.

And therein lies the rub.

posted by truffy [470 posts]
11th August 2014 - 20:52

2 Likes

Had one of these for years.... OK, being a bit disingenuous here...

Have owned in two incarnations a Specialized Tricross since 2008. An E5 until last year which was destroyed by a cab and 2010 A1 that replaced it.

Admittedly there isn't a lot of the original spec left as I have replaced everything over the years and upgraded but as a concept which it shares largely with the Diverge? Brilliant.

I've ridden about 22,000 miles on the pair and it is great to just go out for a ride with no idea of where you are going, hoot along the road, zip down a bridleway, along a canal path wherever.

I originally bought it just to commute on, fourteen miles each way, as I found my early Allez a bit to unforgiving and harsh for everyday use. Plus the lack of good rack and mudguard eylets was an issue for year round commuting.

Wasn't sure I'd done the right thing but now, well, I'm fortunate enough to have a reasonable 'stable' of bikes but if I had to chose just one it'd be the Tricross. The ability to just go anywhere gives your cycling a real sense of freedom.

posted by AndreasHolden [13 posts]
12th August 2014 - 0:12

2 Likes

truffy wrote:
gr3g0ree wrote:
What about a QR to thru conversion? Is it better, stiffer, aligns the wheel better than the current QR? Possible to replace most or hardly any hubs that way? Is QR with bolt on any better?

The problem is not the QR on the hub, that can be converted, but AFAIK the QR on the frame. That cannot be converted, it's part of the frame design. So you need a frame (or just fork if you're happy with thru only on the front) with thru-axles.

And therein lies the rub.

It's entirely possible to have replaceable dropouts that let you choose between a thru-axle or regular quick release. You get this on a lot of mountain bikes, where lower specced bikes (because of the wheels) use a QR axle, but you can upgrade if you want at a later date

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1678 posts]
12th August 2014 - 7:40

0 Likes

Great! Perhaps road.cc could run an article or review on road bike frames with replaceable dropouts?

posted by truffy [470 posts]
12th August 2014 - 8:49

1 Like

Seems like I grasp the concept slowly.
As far as I can remember there aren't too many frames/forks with replaceable dropouts in next year models, if you get that, you are basically able to use almost any kind of wheel (yes, I am generalizing here regarding the technicalities) - so the reason we don't get something as 'simple' as a replaceable dropout is to make sure to have an 'even' QR vs Thru-axle market - to get at least some part of bikers stuck with it.

Honestly, would anybody (there might be loads of roadie types I assume) trade in any frame with whatever disadvantage a replaceable dropout got, for the favor of using (almost) any kind of wheel if that would be the case?
Even if I'm all for thru-ax (rather more than less in fact), the possibility of just having a choice to whatever I decide to use the frame for in the future is worth it for me.

A versatile bike as they would like to sell them for us - and indeed if the real idea would be to make it as versatile as possible, then a replaceable dropout, and rack and guards mounts should be damm basic for all models targeting this market, or?

I guess I just lost hope for advancements 'rapidly' following common sense and will get whatever model gets closest to my desired dream machine.

posted by gr3g0ree [61 posts]
12th August 2014 - 22:22

1 Like