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Unboxed: Specialized’s S-Works Diverge takes adventure to the next level

Future Shock and dropper post, check out the newest arrival in the bike shed

We like adventure bikes here at We might not have miles of gravel roads like they do in the States where the seed for this style of bike was planted, but we've got plenty of rotten country lanes and miles of bridleways, byways and forest paths to play on allowing us to escape congested and increasingly angry roads. Throw in the added versatility offered by the mudguard and rack mounts these bikes commonly come with and you have an ideal bike for commuting, touring and bikepacking. 

The tech in this growing category of road bike is moving forward pretty rapidly and the most advanced bike we've yet seen has just arrived in the office. It's the all-new Specialized S-Works Diverge and this latest model gets the Future Shock from the Roubaix providing 20mm of handlebar movement plus a 35mm height adjustable dropper seatpost, the first time we've seen one on a road bike. There's also a novel Swat Box for storing a spare tube, multi tool and other essentials in the nook between the seat tube and down tube, and bigger tyre clearance than the previous Diverge, a bike we really liked at - you can read the review of that model here.

- Specialized Diverge 2018 launched 

We've lucked out and got our hands on the top-of-the-range S-Works model with a mighty £8,500 price tag, but it's available at a starting price of £2,000 for the Diverge Sport which still features a carbon frame and Future Shock, but does without the dropper post. This S-Works model here shares the same frame but gets the highest grade FACT 11r carbon so the frame is the lightest in the range. You also get some very nice parts: Shimano XTR Di2 rear mech with XTR 11-40t cassette, and an Easton EC90 SL Carbon crankset fitted with a 42t chainring spinning on a CeramicSpeed 386 EVO bottom bracket. Roval CLX 32 Disc wheels are fitted with 38mm  Trigger Pro tyres (yes I know, I said 35mm in the video, my mistake) and a full complement of S-Works contact points, including the carbon Hover bar and Toupe saddle.

You can take a closer look at the bike in this gallery of photos. 

Those are all the tech details, what you probably want to know is it any good? We'll be fitting some pedals and hitting the roads and trails very soon and there'll be a full review on the website very soon. Stay tuned. 

- 18 of the best 2017 gravel & adventure bikes 

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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hylozoist | 6 years ago
1 like

I know it's sad and shallow and all that, but the SWAT Box thing down by the bottom bracket makes it look a bit e-bike like to a casual observer.  Can't be having that sort of thing - e-bikes are fine, but I don't want to be seen puffing up hills on a regular bike that people think is an e-bike  1

Bike7707 | 6 years ago

Seems a touch over priced at £8.5k! 

The Future shock is a nice idea, not used one but could be annoying for out of the saddle efforts unelss it locks out, surely it does. 

Not the first Gravel bike to a have a dropper post either; White introdiuced this on the Gisburn in 2016 for the 2017 model, thought you might have spotted that by now. Gisburn may only be an Al frame but has 100mm dropper, Sram Force,thru axles and tubeless, all for under £2k.....just saying.

imajez | 6 years ago
1 like

"We might not have miles of gravel roads like they do in the States where the seed for this style of bike was planted, "

Yup we certainly do. It's just that roadies don't ride them because they are too rough and MTBers don't use them because they are too boring. As a result they simply get overlooked.
Plus they are not called gravel roads here. Dirt tracks, farmers lanes, fire roads, bridleways. BOATS, Byways, rail trails are the usual terms. Also lots of country lanes are such poor quality and covered in gravel, that they are basically gravel tracks too.

I've been doing a lot of cyling recently where I am cycling all of my area to do this challenge and boy do I spend a lot of time off road on 'gravel' terrain. Rides are often two thirds road, one third gravel. A gravel bike is the perfect machine for such riding. Fast both on and off road.
Get away from the cities and most of Britain is rural, where gravel tracks are plentiful in such locations. The UK astonishly for such a  crammed and 'built up country', is mostly not built on. A mere 2.27% in fact of the UK is built on, so there's a whole lot of nothing here, often linked by gravel roads. laugh

50kcommute | 6 years ago

Meh, unfussed....and for 8.5k I'm sure you could do better

markfireblade | 6 years ago

The Future Shock thing is pretty neat but that rear mech is fugly, Shimano...

janusz0 | 6 years ago
1 like

This looks promising.
David says, about gravel bikes: "Throw in the added versatility offered by the mudguard and rack mounts these bikes commonly come with"
What I want to know is, can these Specialized bikes handle a rear rack? I see that it has mudguard eyes, can they take the strain of panniers?

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