‘Shockingly Fast. Seriously Fun.’ That’s the slogan for the new, no holds barred Specialized Diverge, which charged into our lives as World Champ Peter Sagan showed us a helluva time tearing through the woods on it in baggy shorts. With such high-profile advocacy for the top model, what’s the verdict on the €2,999 Specialized Diverge Comp 2018 for riders without any rainbow stripes?

Here you’ll find our current group test on the best gravel bike.

Specialized Diverge Comp
Specialized Diverge Comp | 9.21 kg | € 2,999

After a trip to the USA where we had the luxury of testing the covet-worthy $ 9,000 S-Works version, we were reduced to the cheaper Specialized Diverge Comp for this group test due to the unavailability of the top of the line model in Germany. Nevertheless, the Comp still benefits from a host of trickled-down technologies like the Future Shock front suspension unit, although it does without the remote controlled dropper post and SWAT mini-tool kit found on the S-Works. In a similar vein, the S-Works enjoys a smart 1×11 Shimano XTR Di2 mountain bike groupset, while the less costly € 2,999 Specialized Diverge Comp has a bit of a componentry melange with Shimano 105 and a 2×11 set-up.

Specialized Diverge Comp

While there’s nothing functionally wrong with the brake lever and gear shifter unit of the mechanical 105 groupset, it’s so clunky that it detracts from the bike’s aesthetic. As is common for mechanical Shimano groupsets, the brake lever pivots inwards, so it can be tricky to operate in technical situations and requires a little bit more precision. Fortunately, that aside, the braking performance is impeccable. There’s smart part selection across the board too, with own-brand components that are the equal of aftermarket alternatives. Something especially evident in the excellent ergonomics of the riser bars.

Specialized Diverge Comp
Tuning-Tip: Depending on your disposition, we’d suggest switching the tires for either a grippier or a quicker-rolling model.

The 20 mm of suspension provided by the Specialized Future Shock Progressive system between the head tube and the stem is a major highlight on this bike, generating additional comfort at the front end. Based on the design first seen on the brand’s Roubaix model, the Diverge benefits from a more progressive spring rate and therefore more predictability and control. We’d hankered after more dampening on the Roubaix, which was much less of an issue on the Diverge, although it’s likely that the adoption of this technology hails back to the home turf of the Diverge. Cruising along Germany’s well-trodden gravel roads comes with an absence of mindless attacking for city limit sprints. Here the more upright, relaxed riding position on the Diverge creates the perfect platform for the Future Shock Progressive suspension to play to its strengths. But be mindful: this is something we’d advocate test riding to see for yourself. Especially during aggressive cornering and sprints in the drops the system reaches its limits, with the extra movement in the front end proving a distraction.

Specialized Diverge Comp Specialized Diverge Comp
Specialized Diverge Comp
Wer die Möglichkeit zum Testfahren hat, sollte sich selbst überzeugen.

The Specialized Diverge Comp 2018 on test weighed in at a not insubstantial 9.21 kg for the size 56. By comparison the top-end S-Works model featuring additional SWAT kit and dropper post is a mere 8.5 kg. As such, the Comp won’t break any speed records, despite our test bike coming fitted with narrow 32 mm Specialized Roubaix tires instead of the original 38 mm Specialized Trigger Pro. Overlapping in intended use with the brand’s own Sequoia adventure rig, there’s a notably more aggressive and stretched-out position on this bike. A characteristic that’s underlined by its contemporary paint job. Sitting between the bike-packing oriented Sequoia and the cobble classic capable Roubaix, we see the Diverge Comp as an interesting proposal for comfort-seeking weekend warriors with a lust for achingly new technology.

Specialized Diverge Comp
Helmet POC Octal | Glasses 100 % Speedcraft | Jersey Huez | Gilet Huez Starman Wind |
Shorts Huez Utility Shorts | Socks Huez Sock Game | Shoes Giro Empire VR90

The Specialized Diverge Comp in detail

Drivetrain Shimano 105
Wheelset Tune TSR 22 DiscAxis Elite Disc
Brakes Shimano RS505
Tires Specialized Trigger Pro (Testbike: Roubaix)
Weight 9.21 kg
Price€ 2,999

Specialized Diverge Comp
The paintjob is a winner with sophisticated, rapid-looking coloured detailing. Specialized have done a stellar job integrating the screw mounts of a bottle cage and carrier.
Specialized Diverge Comp
The Specialized Future Shock has the same 20 mm of suspension as found on the Specialized Roubaix, although the key difference is that the Diverge has notably more progressive travel but there’s still no damping.
Specialized Diverge Comp
Instead of the standard Specialized Trigger Pro tires usually found on the Diverge, our test bike had narrower and more easy-rolling Specialized Roubaix models.
Specialized Diverge Comp
The coloured accent on the Specialized CG-R seatpost gives off an even slimmer look. The Body Geometry Phenom Comp was also a hit amongst the testers.

Geometry of the Specialized Diverge Comp

Specialized Diverge Comp


By mimicking the top-shelf S-Works, there’s irrefutable potential for the Specialized Diverge Comp to ensure a fun ride. Still it merits some straightforward upgrades to boost its performance. The fundamentals are there in the cool design, tidy details, and balanced ride. It’s well set up for those looking for eye-catching features and technology on a comfort-led all rounder.


– Future Shock
– Cool paint job
– Riser bar
– Multiple mounts for bottle cages and carriers


– Fairly heavy
– Unwieldy Shimano 105 levers

More info at: specialized.com

Here you’ll find our current group test on the best gravel bike.

All bikes in test: Festka One Gravel | Legor Cicli LWTUA | Merida Silex 9000 | Moots Routt RSL | Open U.P. | Rondo Ruut CF2Salsa Cutthroat Force 1 | Specialized Sequoia Elite | Trek Crockett 7 Disc | Trek Procaliber 9.9 SL RSL | Votec VRX Elite

Words: Robin Schmitt, Manuel Buck, Benjamin Topf, Hannah Troop Photos: Valentin Rühl

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