Diverge Expert Gravel Bike Is Specialized's Way of Doing Things Differently

Diverge Expert E5 EVO 6 photos
Photo: Specialized Bicycle
Diverge Expert E5 EVODiverge Expert E5 EVODiverge Expert E5 EVODiverge Expert E5 EVODiverge Expert E5 EVO
Now that the sun is shining and everyone is just itching to get out and about, you can imagine that bicycle sales are starting to rise. But with the number of manufacturers out there, it can be difficult to know where to start.
If you’re ever in the market for a bike, Specialized is one of the teams you should have in mind. Since 1974, these folks have been focusing all their attention on everyone’s favorite two-wheeler. No matter the terrain, be it asphalt, mountain, or dirt, this team has a bicycle for that. Today, their creations can be seen in nearly every country in the world; some folks even hang their Specialized bike on a wall.

The bike you see here, the Diverge Expert E5 EVO, isn’t the sort of bike that you may be accustomed to seeing on autoevolution. Why? Well, it’s not the kind of bike that will cost you an arm and a leg to acquire. Only $2,700 (€2,208 at current exchange rates) is all you’re going to need to pick up one of these gravel demolishers.

One of the main features you need to know about is the frame. For this bike, Specialized uses premium E5 aluminum to create the geometry. Speaking of geometry, the team decided to tackle gravel riding a bit differently than most other manufacturers. A longer reach, slackened head tube, and a lowered bottom bracket have all been applied to help you feel more balanced.

Diverge Expert E5 EVO
Photo: Specialized Bicycle
The fork is a bit special too. Aside from the FACT carbon construction (yup, carbon fiber), Specialized includes a feature known as Future Shock 2.0. This system offers 20 millimeters (0.78 inches) of axial compliance and an adjustable damper that softens your ride without breaking your body apart.

To understand a bit more about how it works, imagine the following scenario. As you’re riding along, you hit a bump in the road, and have now lost plenty of momentum and control to keep you from cruising along smoothly. To help eliminate some of the bumps and vibrations, a shock is hidden in the head tube.

What happens is that your fork remains on the road while the head tube absorbs the vibration. Less vibrational disturbance means less fatigue and a generally faster and smoother ride, even if you’re punching it through cobblestone.

Diverge Expert E5 EVO
Photo: Specialized Bicycle
A Praxi bottom bracket and crankset move a Shimano XT chain on an XT 12-speed cassette. More XT components are found in the form of a rear derailleur and shift levers—again, all set to the tune of 12 gears. Braking and control come courtesy of a pair of Magura MT4 hydraulic disc brakes with 160-millimeter (6.3-inch) rotors.

One feature I did find a bit odd, but could very well work my way into it, is the flat bar you’ll be gripping; it seems that the crew did away with the classic flared drop bars and installed a flat bar. It seems that someone (Specialized) wants to attract more riders to gravel biking, and the Diverge looks like a nice bike to crossover on, especially if you’re an MTB or XC rider.

Frankly, this two-wheeler seems the sort of bike that you need to ride to figure out if it’s for you; that straight bar throws things off a bit. Nonetheless, it’s worth the test ride and possibly even a place on your wall at this price.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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