Specialized has changed the spec of its Diverge Expert Carbon gravel bike for 2022, and added new finishes, the pick of the bunch being this pretty little number: Gloss Arctic Blue/Sand Speckle/Terra Cotta. Oh, and the price has gone up £500 to £5,750.
When we reviewed the 2021 Specialized Diverge Expert Carbon here on road.cc, it was built up with a Shimano GRX RX810 groupset and DT Swiss G540 wheels but 2022 sees a switch to SRAM – Rival eTap AXS, in the main, with a GX Eagle AXS rear derailleur – and Roval Terra C wheels.
The frameset remains the same, though, and that’s a good thing because we like it a lot. Made from what Specialized calls its FACT 9r carbon, the frame offers a great balance of stiffness and weight, and there’s enough space to take a tyre up to 47mm wide on a 700C wheel. Swap to 650B and you’ll get up to 2.1in (about 54mm) in there. Specialized has managed this by adding a solid section of chainstay on the drive-side.
Another neat detail is the SWAT internal storage within the down tube that you access via a little door underneath the bottle cage mounts. It’s a good place to stash ride essentials like a few tools and even a waterproof jacket.
One of the Diverge Expert Carbon’s key features is Specialized’s Future Shock 2.0. If you’ve not come across this tech before, it’s a system that offers 20mm of travel above the head tube and underneath the stem, and it’s a lot lighter than adding a suspension fork.
Future Shock provides enough movement to lessen the vibration you experience over rough gravel surfaces, although you’ll still feel big bumps and potholes. The 2.0 version offers hydraulic damping for both the compression and the rebound. In other words, rather than pogoing when you hit a bump, the movement is controlled. A dial where your headset's top cap would normally be provides adjustment. The whole system works a treat for a bike of this kind.
If you are into off-road adventures and looking for a bike that's more gravel racer than sedate bikepacking rig, the Diverge Expert Carbon is worth a look. It's nimble, feels way lighter than it is, and the handling is spot on when faced with a bit of technical singletrack.
Between us at road.cc, we’ve ridden a few different Diverges and the overwhelming feeling is that they’re a blast. Everything works as it should. These bikes are urgent and sprightly on the trails and behave with enough composure that you can push your limits.
If you don’t want to spend £5,750 on the 2022 Specialized Diverge Expert Carbon, the £4,250 Diverge Comp Carbon uses the same FACT 9r carbon frame and Future Shock 2.0 fork. The biggest differences are that you get a SRAM Rival 1 mechanical groupset rather than the more expensive model’s electronic components, and cheaper wheels.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.