This past week, sneak-peek photos of a brand new Specialized “road” bike began surfacing on Instagram, from various accounts, all under the hashtag #SeekandDiverge. We use the word “road” bike loosely, as few of the photos were actually taken on paved roads, and with the various obvious use of thru-axles and fender mounts this bike is no traditional road bike.
Others might be quick to throw this bike into the hopper of “gravel grinders,” but we’ve never been a fan of the phrase, as it often means that bike is heavy and lacks snappy handling. We would be much more comfortable just calling it a bike, maybe even a dirt bike.
The new bike is called the Diverge. VeloNews caught wind of it earlier this year at the 2015 Tarmac bike launch, where Chris Riekert of Specialized and James Nord of Deux North videos shared few details other than the fact that Deux North and Specialized would be filming over several days of riding around Northern California.
What is the Diverge for?
The intended use of many of the bikes within Specialized’s lineup are begining to overlap, both on the road and mountain platforms. The Crux cyclocross bike recently received a little brother called the Crux EVO, which shares the same cyclocross geometry, but with some added features for endurance gravel races. Rebecca Rusch rode the Crux EVO to a win at the Dirty Kanza 200 just two weeks ago. There is also the Awol, which is an alloy adventure bike with loads of tire clearance and rack and bottle mounts galore. The geometry and weight of the Awol makes it much more of a what others call a “gravel grinder,” more all-day turtle than lunch-ride hare.
The Diverge will have massive tire clearance, possibly over 40mm, and the geometry will be more similar to the Roubaix and Secteur, according to a source close to Specialized. Racers will familiar with the Roubaix, the bike Nikki Terpstra rode to win Paris Roubaix, but the Sectuer is more of a commuter bike with flat bars and loads of rack mounts, which the Diverge is expected to use as well.
Short-travel dropper post
Another piece of the puzzle that separates the Diverge from other bikes in the Specialized line-up is a new seatpost. The new post sports a lever near the steerer tube, and looks to have a travel of only a few centimeters. We’ve been expecting something along these lines from Specialized since the brand’s cross-country bikes, the Stumpjumper HT and the Epic went to 27.2mm seatposts. So it appears that we’re looking at a short travel cross-country dropper post on a skinnier-tire bike. Could this also be the year we see riders with dropper posts in cyclocross?
The rear axle of the Diverge will use a 142×12 convertible dropout that will be able to be changed to a 9mm quick release, should the rider change from the wide Roval wheels that are pictured. We are expecting a Smartweld aluminum option in addition to the carbon-framed Diverge, though final details will not be announced until mid-July.