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Specialized Diverge Comp review

14 Nov 2017

Not the most stable of rides in the toughest off-road conditions, but if you want speed from your adventure machine, look no further

Cyclist Rating: 

The standout feature of Specialized's 2018 Diverge is the Future Shock suspension, which gives 20mm of travel neatly packed into the steerer tube. First seen on the Roubaix model, it’s no surprise to see it move across to the Diverge, though it has been tweaked with a firmer compression spring giving a more progressive ride.

Being internal, this can’t be swapped by the rider, but there is the option to switch between three different springs.

First impressions are fantastic, the Future Shock adding comfort on rough and bumpy roads without ever feeling like it’s bouncing uncontrollably or wasting energy.

Off-road, it copes well on forest roads and on smaller bumps, but on bigger bumps it can sometimes knock the end of the suspension travel.

Comfort at the back is taken care of by the Specialized CG-R seatpost. With 38mm tyres fitted, it gives a ride and level of comfort that mimics that of a bike with much bigger tyres.

The full carbon frame helps keep weight down, and gives a quick, responsive ride, adding up to create a bike that feels fast whenever the going is a little rough.

Frame clearance was less than other similar adventure bikes, although it can still take up to 42mm tyres.

The Future Shock does take up space in the head tube area, which Specialized has kept as short as possible, meaning those who prefer a more aggressive riding position, can still be comfortable.

The downside is a reduced internal area to mount a frame bag.

The Shimano 105 groupset functions well with RS505 hydraulic brakes that stop quickly and efficiently.

The Praxis Works Alba chainset shifts well, but has a wide stance and we found our shoes rubbed the crank arms.

The Axis wheels are light but flexed noticeably when the bike was loaded, though they feel sturdy enough.

The lower weight helped when riding unloaded, the bike feeling light and quick to respond both on and off-road.


Frame 9/10; Components 9/10; Wheels 7/10; The ride 9/10

Verdict: As a bike for the roughest, least maintained roads and even lighter off-road and gravel-style riding the Diverge is supreme. It can’t match the off-road stability of more adventurous adventure bikes, and a few features make it less ideal for bikepacking, but if speed is your top priority, the Diverge could be the one.


Frame FACT 9R Carbon with Future Shock 20mm suspension, Specialized FACT Carbon disc fork
Groupset Shimano 105
Brakes Shimano RS505
Chainset Praxis Alba 2D, 48/32
Cassette Shimano 105 5800, 11-32
Bars Specialized Comp Hover Bar
Stem Specialized Alloy
Seatpost Specialized CG-R FACT Carbon
Saddle Specialized Phenom Comp
Wheels Aixs Elite Disc, Specialized Trigger Pro, 700x38c tyres
Weight 9.5kg (54cm)