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Road and other stuff green machine from Specialized

Specialized’s colourful adventure driven Diverge adventure bike crunches up the gravel path for £2,500. Before it gets dirty, here's a first look. 

- Buyer’s guide to gravel and adventure bikes plus 16 of the best

The Comp Carbon is the first in the line of carbon variants in Specialized’s Diverge range. It seems like everyone’s got a bike that sits somewhere between an cyclo-cross bike and a road bike at the moment, be that an Adventure Bike, an All Road bike, a Gravel Bike or whatever new genre it is they want to call a bicycle that has road DNA but can take in a bit of rough and tumble as well.

Specialized made a nice little short to show how versatile and fun the Diverge can be, the beard and plaid shirt are optional I think.

The Diverge range is a subset of Specialized’s ‘Adventure’ range and it contains both alloy and carbon models ranging from £800 to £4,500.

While the Diverge Comp Carbon sits at the bottom of the carbon triptych at £2,500, it shares the same FACT Carbon frame and forks as the other two models, the difference in prices reflected in higher levels of component specification as you work your way up the range.

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Gravel.jpg

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Gravel.jpg

The remit of the Diverge is to travel the path less travelled and then turn off it. It’s built for long days in the saddle over whatever terrain you might encounter, tarmac, rough roads, dirt tracks, a little bit of that current buzz-word gravel.

Whatever, the Diverge is catering to the increasing numbers of people who are venturing away from tarmac on their road bikes and riding the burgeoning events that mix together on and off road sections for a fun and challenging day out.

The UK might not have the vast web of gravel roads that these bikes are clearly aimed at in the States but there’s enough off the beaten tracks that these sorts of bikes can be used on if you’ve got a map, a hint of imagination and trust in your tyres.

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Rear End.jpg

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Rear End.jpg

To this end the Diverge has what Specialized call endurance-focused geometry, which means you might expect things to be just a little bit skewed from your road bike, settling somewhere between that and a cyclo-cross machine, head angle a little slacker than normal, higher bottom-bracket, longer wheelbase, a slightly taller head-tube, that sort of thing.

In Specialized’s case it means cutting a lot of numbers from their Roubaix endurance road bike and pasting them onto the Diverge; the 56cm stack and reach numbers of 590mm and 387mm are the same for both models, as is the effective top tube of 565mm and the wheelbase length is identical.

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Headtube.jpg

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Headtube.jpg

The Diverge head and seat angles are also the same as the Roubaix but the head tube length is shorter, the same as Specialized’s racier Tarmac in fact, so you can probably expect a bike that’s nippier than casual dirt road cruiser. The Diverge still manages to find clearance for

The Diverge manages to find clearance for cyclo-cross friendly 35mm tyres though, or something a little smaller with mudguards added.

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Seatstay Zertz Insert.jpg

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Seatstay Zertz Insert.jpg

To further help with the endurance bit, lots of things on the Diverge Comp Carbon are designed to keep you comfortable for longer. It runs on bigger than road usual 28mm tyres, pushing the fatter road rubber trend a little further, there are Zertz viscoelastic dampers in the fork and seatstays, carried over from that cobble-crushing Roubaix and the CG-R seatpost is Specialized’s idea of what a damping pillar should look like. It gets its somewhat unique looks because it’s designed to flex under the force of an impact from the road without changing the cockpit dimensions of the bike.

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - CG-R FACT Carbon SeatPost.jpg

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - CG-R FACT Carbon SeatPost.jpg

The top tube on the Diverge drops towards the rear axle ahead of the seat-tube, which some would say is aesthetically challenging but it does look like it offers a degree more flex to the whole seatpost area. Even the Specialized Roubaix handlebar tape is extra padded with 2.5mm gel pads secreted underneath.

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Side Bend.jpg

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Side Bend.jpg

Details on the Gloss Hyper coloured frame include all the cables running internally which gives clean lines and keeps everything away from dirt muck and gravel dust. There are bottle cage mounts on the seat and down tubes, the latter being in a unique grouping of three to give you a choice of cage position, or to use Specialized’s MTB SWAT storage box, and there are discretely hidden holes front and back of the frame for mudguards and racks.

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Triple Bottle Mounts.jpg

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Triple Bottle Mounts.jpg

The frame is bang up to date with thru-axles front and rear holding AXIS 4.0 Disc SCS wheels in place. Protecting the rims from potholes, ruts and gulleys are Specialized Roubaix Pro tyres; at a big-boned 28mm size they offer extra protection with a BlackBelt anti puncture strip and Endurant casing while the 120 TPI count should still keep the ride supple.

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Drivesdie Rear Dropout.jpg

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Drivesdie Rear Dropout.jpg

Gearing is dealt with mostly by Shimano whose 105 components deal with the front and rear shifting and the 11-32t 11-speed cassette. Non-series Shimano 685 STI’s pull cables to the gears and pump hydraulic fluid to the 785 disc calipers to squeeze on heat dissipating Ice-Tech rotors.

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Turn Zayante BB30 Chainset.jpg

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Turn Zayante BB30 Chainset.jpg

The departure from Shimano workings comes in the stylish shape of a Praxis Works TURN Zayante chainset with pro-compact 52/36 tooth rings. That spread of gears should be wide enough for use on the road and any sign-sprinting and then able to get you up, around and down most things no matter what the rubbly surface.

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Shimano 685 Disc Levers Side.jpg

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Shimano 685 Disc Levers Side.jpg

Final details on the Comp Carbon are finished off with a Body Geometry Phenom Comp saddle, a Specialized branded alloy stem and shallow-drop bars.

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Roubaix Pro Tyre.jpg

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Roubaix Pro Tyre.jpg

The weight of the Diverge is 8.92kg (19.7lbs) for the 56 which isn’t going to bother the race sweaty weigh-weenies but for what it’s designed for, which seems to be a fair proportion of mucking about, then it seems just fine.

In the words of Calvin and Hobbes, “Let’s go exploring”.

www.specialized.com

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

8 comments

Avatar
riotgibbon [229 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I have this very green lurid monster - absolutely fabulous bike, does exactly as billed. Maybe everybody else could do bunny hops, and maybe me too before if I'd tried, but I'll never forget the first time I was careering down some barely tarmacced track in the Chilterns, saw some sleeping policemen coming up, and the whole bike lifted up beneath me and *soared* over.  That film does capture that, hoofing along on the road, then hammering down a track

 I'd pretty much covered every single road in a 30 mile radius of my house, so this fills in the gaps. If you're not sure, check out:

http://www.bridlewaymap.com/ and http://www.bywaymap.com/

that gives you all the green roads and bridleways in your area, and even works with the location on your phone so you can see what your options are. Or you can just go for it and see where you end up (highly recommended). 

the 2 issues I've had are:

1) I shredded the stock Roubaix tyres in weeks, and a set of Challenge Strade Bianche not long after. I upgraded to  Schwalbe S-One tubeless, and that's been the end of any punctures (so far)

2) racks - I was somehow under the impression that this would be able to take a rack for panniers, which is what you want with an adventure bike you can head off into the wilds on. My LBS have shaken their heads about this, and the wide opinion on this seems to be it's something you don't want to do on a carbon frame

other than that, it's exactly what I was looking for. I particularly miss the brakes when riding other bikes now

Avatar
Jez Ash [231 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I couldn't agree more re racks.  Shame that mainstream options like this and the GT Grade don't have this baked in (although with the mudguard bosses present, you could fit one with one of those seat-post mount thingies).

Last year's bike of the year (Jamis Renegade Elite) was this kind of bike and I loved it to bits, but couldn't justify £2.5k+ as a "second bike" ... so I more recently bought the OnOne BishBashBosh which isn't quite as refined as those mentioned above but does combine genuine off-road-ability, sub 9kg weight and proper rack mounts, which works for me.

Avatar
Dr_Lex [445 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I'm still strongly considering this bike, and riotgibbon's post is very encouraging. 

Surprised that there's not an explanation of the SCS wheels - these have a non-standard hub, so replacements are either from Specialized or specialists like Hope. In the early days of this bike range, I understood that no hubs were available anywhere, so if it wasn't a warranty issue, you were SOL.

Avatar
I am a human [32 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I rode one of these at the Specialized test evening a few weeks ago and it was a brilliant bike.  It didn't feel far off a Tarmac when it came to putting the hammer down, but was definitely comfortable and stable enough to go on the gravelly bits in the middle of the race track where the event was held.  There was a bit of disc rub at full sprint but it wasn't anything bothersome.

Avatar
GiantPeloton [4 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Have had mine for two months, during which time it's been with me to Belgium for the Flanders sportive.  Shod with Vittoria Pave 27s, along with half the bikes I saw, it was brilliant.  Don't believe all the hype about comfort: those blessed cobbles would be brutal on anything (that's the point), but on the rougher 'normal' roads of Flanders and back home in deepest Berkshire I definitely feel the compliance.  And when you get on some smooth tarmac and put your head down it just flies.  Handling is assured and hydro discs on a road bike are lovely.  It's not the most attractive bike with that top tube and I would have loved to be able to buy the 105 spec in something other than flouro yellow, but other than that I love it.

Avatar
Thelma Viaduct [57 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I think it looks spot on, nice colour. A shame you don't get Ultegra mechs and cassette, only slight negative compared to Grade Ultegra as well as wheels not as good.

Avatar
t67 [1 post] 1 year ago
0 likes

May I ask you how you installed the S-ones on the axis 4.0  I tried it yesterday but failed . I have successfully installed the one or pro-one tubeless on stans rims of my other bike.

riotgibbon wrote:

I have this very green lurid monster - absolutely fabulous bike, does exactly as billed. Maybe everybody else could do bunny hops, and maybe me too before if I'd tried, but I'll never forget the first time I was careering down some barely tarmacced track in the Chilterns, saw some sleeping policemen coming up, and the whole bike lifted up beneath me and *soared* over.  That film does capture that, hoofing along on the road, then hammering down a track

 I'd pretty much covered every single road in a 30 mile radius of my house, so this fills in the gaps. If you're not sure, check out:

http://www.bridlewaymap.com/ and http://www.bywaymap.com/

that gives you all the green roads and bridleways in your area, and even works with the location on your phone so you can see what your options are. Or you can just go for it and see where you end up (highly recommended). 

the 2 issues I've had are:

1) I shredded the stock Roubaix tyres in weeks, and a set of Challenge Strade Bianche not long after. I upgraded to  Schwalbe S-One tubeless, and that's been the end of any punctures (so far)

2) racks - I was somehow under the impression that this would be able to take a rack for panniers, which is what you want with an adventure bike you can head off into the wilds on. My LBS have shaken their heads about this, and the wide opinion on this seems to be it's something you don't want to do on a carbon frame

other than that, it's exactly what I was looking for. I particularly miss the brakes when riding other bikes now

Avatar
Poggleswood56 [1 post] 1 year ago
0 likes

It's odd that photo 8 of 48 shows a 50/34 crankset (US spec) as opposed to 52/36 (UK spec) in the text.

I have pulled the trigger on one of these with a very nice discount, but I am still wondering which crankset and which tyre width (28mm or 32mm) it will have, it took me a while to suss that the specs are different between Specialized UK and Specialized US websites.

All will be revealed on Thursday when this wonderful machine arrives on my doorstep.