Specialized revealed an updated Diverge gravel bike range earlier in the year – a range that includes Future Shock 2.0 front-end suspension, a revamped geometry, greater tyre clearance, and storage inside the down tube. It's one of the most innovative lineups we've seen in 2020.
Like the S-Works, Expert and Comp Carbon Diverges, the Diverge Pro Carbon is one of the designs that Specialized has equipped with the latest version of Future Shock – a system that consists of a spring in a cartridge above the head tube.
The stem and handlebar sit above the spring, the rest of the bike sits below it. The idea is that when the front wheel hits irregular road surfaces, the bike moves up (compressing the spring), without the stem and handlebar – and therefore your hands – moving as much as they otherwise would. Simple enough. You get up to 20mm of movement.
Future Shock 2.0, first introduced in Specialized's Roubaix range, differs from previous versions in that it features a hydraulic damper – which provides both compression and rebound damping – to control the spring movement. You can adjust that damping via a dial that sits where the headset cap would usually be.
It works really well. 20mm is enough to reduce buzz on well-surfaced tracks and to smooth over small lumps and bumps. Essentially, Future Shock 2.0 damps vibration, prevents achy wrists and forearms, and helps you stay in control over rattly surfaces.
The ability to adjust the movement is really useful too, especially for larger riders who might otherwise find themselves bottoming out the system on a regular basis.
Specialized has altered the geometry on the latest versions of the Diverge. It is longer and slacker than before, with an increased fork offset, a raised bottom bracket, and longer chainstays. Specialized has also shortened the stem length. Results of all these changes include stability at speed and confident handling on challenging terrain.
Specialized wanted to increase tyre clearance but didn't want to opt for dropped or raised chainstay designs, feeling that those solutions aren't efficient and look odd.
The solution is a short section of solid beam incorporated into the chainstay. It's a 15mm-long flat section of carbon-fibre that gives 5-6mm more clearance than would be possible with a tube.
All Diverges now have clearance for a 700C x 47mm tyre or 650b x 2.1in, with 6mm of surrounding space.
The higher-end Diverges come with a SWAT compartment in the down tube, SWAT standing for 'storage, water, air, tools'.
This tech, borrowed from Specialized's mountain bikes, allows you to take stuff out of your pockets and stick it inside the frame. As well as freeing up pocket space, the fact that the weight sits lower improves handling when you’re loaded up. Plus, your things are well protected in there.
A trap door to the SWAT space sits underneath the bottle cage bosses. You can flip it up without the need for any tools.
The 2021 Specialized Diverge Pro Carbon, equipped with a SRAM Force eTap AXS groupset and Rival Terra CL wheels, is £7,250. The most affordable aluminium Diverge, without Future Shock, is the Diverge Base E5 at £1,099.
Get more info over at Specialized's website.
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 over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.