One bike I feel may deserve some of your attention is the Diverge Elite E5 gravel bike. Don't be fooled by the ‘E’ in front of the ‘5’ as this sucker is 100% fueled by nothing else other than your two legs: it’s not an e-bike, making it truly “eco-friendly.”
All renewable resources aside, all you’ll really need to get yourself one of these bikes is a mere $1,900 (€1,622 at current exchange rates). That's it. But more importantly, what is it you’ll be getting for this price? Well, considering that this bike is sold out on Specialized’s website, everyone seems to have loved it. But this also means that you may just have a hard time finding the proper size for you. Nonetheless, once you've learned a bit about the work and energy that went into the bike, you may just hit up Craigslist to find a used trinket.
What makes this bike go a bit above and beyond normal riding is the inclusion of several rack mounts into the bike's tubes. With these features, the bike can be transformed into so much more than just a simple gravel bike, it can become your next traveling companion or vehicle.
Ok, so maybe I was being a bit rough on the E5 as it does include some carbon fiber, even though it’s under $2,000. The fork for the E5 is made of Specialized’s FACT carbon fiber and includes a full carbon steer. Sure, it may not include any visible suspension properties, but carbon should eliminate enough of the vibrations experienced while riding gravel.
If the fork doesn’t do you justice, the tires should. Gravel riding differs a bit from road riding in that you’re always exposed to vibrations from riding on an uneven surface. To help make rides more pleasant, manufacturers focused their attention on the tires themselves, in the process, making them wider, larger, and more resistant than classic road tires. For the E5, proprietary RoadSports tires are standard. If you don’t like them, just switch them out as they shouldn’t cost very much.
At the cockpit, a 3D-forges alloy stem holds onto a Shallow Drop handlebar made of 6061 aluminum, while an alloy seat post cradles a Body Geometry Bridge Saddle with steel rails. If you want more suspension, one thing I've noticed on the market are some pretty neat seat posts with integrated suspension. No, not those old-timey spring kind.
Overall, the bike looks solid, has a good gravel geometry and clean tubing, while also offering the versatility to become your next travel buddy. Oh, and all that for under $2,000. What more could you want?