True to their tradition of literal bike titles, Specialized return with their Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon 2017. It is very much designed to take the scenic route and has been for three years now. By taking elements from the Roubaix model and applying them into a more relaxed geometry, they have created a bike that can match your yearn for adventure when tarmac loses its thrill.
Picture this. It’s a bleary eyed Sunday morning. After a big ride the previous day and a few too many beers in the evening, you really don’t feel like putting in serious mileage. However, the sun is shining and getting outside is what you need. A quick phone call and you have a partner in crime for the day. The plan is–adventure. Neither of you know the route, only that it’s going to take in a mountain most likely not all on tarmac. So, the weapon of choice for the day is an offering from Specialized, the 2017 Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon.
Retailing at €3.199, Specialized have adopted a stealth look in the black/carbon paint job and garnished it with all black components. Whilst we love the understated elegance of the paint job, aesthetically the profile itself divides opinions. The oddly shaped top tube and zertz inserts cause kinks and breaks in the clean lines. However, it’s not just about looks it’s about the performance, right? Will this bike take you down all those little singletracks you’ve been eagerly eyeing up on your roadie rides?
The Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon is designed to be a true adventure bike. Just as much at home on the city streets as it is weaving in and out of trees. It doesn’t have the twitchy go-kart like performance you would usually expect from a carbon road bike. Instead it feels like the sturdy carbon frame and unorthodox shape works to smooth out the road surface and provide long distance comfort. As this model sits at the bottom of the carbon range, the components are modest and therefore it is pretty weighty coming in at 8.9kg–including the SWAT package mounted on the bottle cage that might save your ride as it takes a CO2 cartridge and a spare tube.
Although this model sits at the bottom of the carbon range, at €3.199 it has a decent set of components. The Praxis Works TURN Zayante cranks felt stiff, smooth and were pretty much faultless. They are teamed up with the classic Shimano 105 groupset which also offer very smooth shifting. After a good few km’s and a lot of shifting to handle the constant changes in grade and road surface, the gear alignment started to struggle a bit. A saving grace is that there are in-line adjusters at the bars so you can make small tweaks while on the move.
28 mm wide Specialized Roubaix Pro tires are mounted on the solid DT Swiss R470 disc wheelset with thru axles front and rear and manage to translate the deceleration of the powerful yet easy to modulate Shimano BR-785 disc brakes.
The riding position feels pretty neutral and balanced. It doesn’t feel too dissimilar to conventional road bike geometry, just a little taller and more comfortable. One of the real gems of this bike is the Specialized CG-R FACT carbon seatpost. It offers surprisingly effective dampening when the road gets lumpy but is still lightweight. At least its superb functionality may help you excuse it’s peculiar appearance…. The overall feel of the bike is pretty solid. It can take the rough with the smooth and keeps you smiling for the whole journey.
The Diverge is also equipped with many mounts to satisfy your needs. A particularly nice addition was the Specialized SWAT storage box which fits nicely alongside a bottle cage on the downtube thanks to three water bottle bosses. There are also hidden holes on the front and rear of the frame to accommodate mudguards and racks if year round functionality is what you’re looking for.
The beauty of this bike is its adaptability. You can be sipping coffee in the city one minute, and the next you’re traversing dirt trails above it. You might not be the fastest on the road, but being able to take any path you find gives you a different perspective on the city.
The Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon is a very versatile machine that will happily soldier on relentlessly through the day, mile after mile. It’s an effortless bike to take out for the everyday commute, long road rides and especially to go searching for Calçots (google it!) in areas unknown. It is a tool to escape, find new places, explore, and make you want to do the same again day after day. Here’s to baggy shorts, un-shaven legs and wine!
For more information head to specialized.com
Words: Charles Nicholson Photos: Robin Schmitt