The Absolutely Stunning 2021 Specialized S-Works Diverge
The latest Specialized S-Works Diverge is very impressive to ride. It is a racer that absolutely flies on the gravel, whose quick handling and relatively short wheelbase make it an admirable bike with loads of positive feedbacks. Against the opposition, though, it is a bit weighty and a fair chunk of money given the spec.
What sets the top-end Diverge models apart from a lot of other gravel bikes is the Future Shock suspension that sits between the head tube and the stem. The Future Shock takes the edge off the vibration and jarring of your wrists when the surface is rough or makes a mistake.
The Diverge – like the excellent Canyon Grail – has quite aggressive geometry compared to many gravel bikes, which goads you into pushing just that little bit harder into the corners or on descents.
At a weight 8.95kg, the S-Works Diverge is one of the lightest gravel bikes on the market and you can feel it when pedalling up a hill in anger. The 42, 10-50T drivetrain assembly offers a wide spread of gearing to ensure everything from the steepest of inclines to fast, rolling roads are effectively dealt with.
Sure, you could shave off in the region of 300-400g if you bin the dropper post for something more traditional but considering the type of topography the Diverge is capable of dismissing it’s probably worth leaving intact.
Frame and Fork
The Diverge comes in both aluminum and carbon fiber, with this model being the S-Works Carbon offering, with its FACT 9r frame. It is available in both men’s and women’s versions.
It is a real quality piece of kit, offering a great balance of stiffness and comfort, ideal for standing up to the rigors of off-road riding.
Specialized has followed the usual route of oversizing those parts of the frame that are likely to see the largest loads from pedaling, steering, and braking. A beefy head tube, large-diameter down tube, and ample seat stay to keep the bike planted and flex-free, helped by being held together by the chunky BB386 Pressfit bottom bracket shell.
Geometry-wise, the Specialized is at the racier end of the spectrum thanks to its Open Road Geometry. What does that mean?
This 56cm size has a 73.5° seat angle and a 72.5° head angle; most gravel bikes usually are around 71° at the front end. It has a relatively short wheelbase for this type and size of the bike at just 1,011mm, all of which adds up to the sort of quick-handling, responsive riding style you can get from the S-Works Diverge.
The Roval Terra CLX come with a 25mm inner width carbon rim and a 32mm depth. They are not heavy and do not hamper the bike’s ability at all. With a 21-spoke build at the front and a slightly beefier 24 at the rear, they are aimed more at faster, unloaded gravel riding than others on the market. The best thing about these wheels are that they also have a LIFETIME WARRANTY for the original owner.
The Pathfinder Pro tires fitted are 38mm wide and suited more to bigger aggregate gravel as the tread is quite small, so when riding on the smaller sized stones, they can be quite skittish.
They work well on hardpacked surfaces like dry mud and chalk and are great on grass. If things get wet, though, away from the gravel, you might as well be on slicks for all the bite they will give you.
Value For Money
Diverge Pro is priced at $6,700. This is the one place where the Diverge falls a bit. I have made references to the Canyon Grail in the review, and the main reason is that it is by far the best no-nonsense gravel racing bike out there. While the Diverge is close in performance, what you are getting for the money does not compare.
SWAT – Integrated SWAT door, internal storage system
Frame – S-Works Diverge FACT 11r carbon, SWAT™ Door integration, Future Shock suspension, threaded BB, internal routing, 12x142mm thru-axle, flat-mount disc
Fork – Future Shock 2.0 w/ Damper, Smooth Boot, 11r FACT carbon, 12×100 mm thru-axle, flat-mount
Handlebars – Easton EC70 AX Carbon Adventure Bar, 16-degree flare
Stem – S-Works Future Stem
Tape – Roubaix S-Wrap
Saddle – Body Geometry S-Works Power, carbon fiber rails, carbon fiber base, 143mm
SeatPost – X-Fusion Manic Dropper, 50mm travel
Seat Binder – Alloy, 30.8mm
Front Brake – SRAM Red eTap AXS Hydraulic
Rear Brake – SRAM Red eTap AXS Hydraulic
Shift Levers – SRAM Red eTap AXS Hydraulic
Rear Derailleur – SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS
Cassette – SRAM XG-1295 Eagle, 12-speed, 10-50t
Crankset – SRAM RED AXS
Chainrings – 42T
Bottom Bracket – SRAM DUB BSA 68
Chain – SRAM XX1 Eagle, 12-speed
Wheels & Tires
Front Wheel – Roval Terra CLX, 25mm inner width carbon rim, 32mm depth, Roval AFD hub, 21h, DT Swiss Aerolite spokes
Rear Wheel – Roval Terra CLX, 25mm inner width carbon rim, 32mm depth, Roval AFD hub, DT 240s internals, 24h, DT Swiss Aerolite spokes
Front Tire – Pathfinder Pro, 2Bliss Ready, transparent sidewall, 700x38mm
Rear Tire – Pathfinder Pro, 2Bliss Ready, transparent sidewall, 700x38mm
Inner Tubes – 700×28/38mm, 48mm Presta valve
* Specifications are subject to change without notice
Pricing: Specialized S-Works Diverge
S-Works Carbon eTap – £8,899Pro Carbon eTap – £5,999Expert Carbon eTap – £4,499Comp Carbon – £3,399Base Carbon – £2,199E5 Comp – £1,999E5 Elite – £1,599E5 – £949E5 Expert Evo – £2,399E5 Comp Evo – £1,599S-Works frameset – £3,499
Frame and Fork Warranty
The frame and fork warranty are very often overlooked by those looking to buy a new bike. Yet, it is “THE“ most important part of buying a gravel bike.
One small issue with the frame or the wheels and it can cost you an arm and a leg to get the problem sorted.
A lifetime warranty should be high on your list of priorities when you are looking to purchase a new bike.
Frame & Forks Warranty – LIFETIME WARRANTY
Specialized warranties are amongst the best in the business. So they should be with a bike of this price as they are very expensive compared to many of their rivals.
Wheels – LIFETIME WARRANTY
They also offer a great warranty for their wheels which is a big bonus on a gravel bike.
As with most warranties this applies to the ORIGINAL owner ONLY. A real bummer if you cannot afford to buy one new.
Overall, the Diverge offers an excellent ride and is suited to those who want to get out and explore the countryside at speed. It comes down on price, though, compared to some of the best in the business, which is its biggest issue. You would want more bang for your money!
Specialized do not do anything without going to town on it. Not only do they make one of the nicest looking gravel bikes around, they also back it up with an excellent warranty, which to me for any type of bike today is very important, as most top of the range bikes now cost as much as a small car.
As is usual with specialized you will need a bank loan to buy the top of the range bikes. However if you can afford one, they are certainly worth considering.
Pros: Quality frame and fork, very responsive handling.
Cons: Pricey considering the spec, quite heavy against some opposition.