All-New Specialized Diverge 2020 / 2021 with Future Shock 2.0: FIRST RIDE IMPRESSIONS

When Specialized released the original Diverge a few years ago, they set themselves a lofty goal, meaning, let’s make a bike that can handle pavement, flowy singletrack, gravelly roads and everything in between. Huh? I’m not an engineer but I do have enough cycling experience to understand that a “do-it-all” bike usually has a trade-off or two somewhere. I’m the sort of bloke who would rather have a bicycle perfect for one job, vs a jack and jill of all trades, because I don’t like making compromises.

With that said, having ridden Diverge 1.0 on a few occasions, I can attest that Specialized did a pretty fine job of checking / ticking all of those “do-it-all” boxes. That bike even went as far as to incorporate suspension beneath the stem, aka Future Shock 1.0, that didn’t cost a ton of weight, or have the rider bobbing all over the place and diving forward whilst braking.

Specialized had the moniker “Innovate or Die” floating around a few years ago, and considering how fast bike designs for the road less traveled have progressed lately, it doesn’t pay to sit around on one’s hands.

Little known fact, especially those newer to cycling. Specialized is not new to gravel riding, they released a bike way back in 1989 that was a mix of a mountain bike and road bike known as the Rock Combo. It was essentially a 26″ wheeled mountain bike with a flared drop handlebar, 7-speed bar-end shifters and hardpack tyres, a precursor to much of what we see today. You can see a little of that bike in the video I’ve put together below.

Moving forward to 2020, Specialized thought now was a good time to innovate and returned to the drawing board for Version 2 of the Diverge. Quite a lot has changed…

Specialized Diverge Carbon with Future Shock 2.0

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0
Specialized Diverge Expert with Shimano GRX Di2 1x

Specialized is committed to suspending the rider and has been doing this since the early 1990’s with their first full-suspension FSR mountain bike design. They believe suspension provides benefits such as enhanced control, traction, performance, rider comfort and so on, principles we’ve all seen applied in high-performance motorsports.

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

First up, we see Version 2 of the Future Shock at the front of the bike, an axial compliance suspension design, that places the suspension at the top of the headtube, beneath the stem. Specialized believes this design is the most efficient because it is unaffected by pedaling, versus suspension positioned beneath the headtube. Specialized put Version 1 of Future Shock into production around 2016, originally designed to tame the cobblestones of Paris Roubaix.

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

For Future Shock 2.0, Specialized worked with their sponsored road teams to add more control over the suspension, and got it up and running in prototype form in 2017, which ultimately was seen on Peter Sagan’s Paris Roubaix bike that year. They made changes related to tuning, adjustability and spring rate, and later realized how well the technology could work on gravel. The hydraulic damping of Future Shock 2.0 is super easy to adjust on the fly courtesy of the dial atop the stem.

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

Ride quality has been improved thanks to big changes to the diverge’s geometry. They’ve effectively made the bike longer and slacker. Slightly slacker headtube, a slightly different fork offset, longer reach and a shorter cockpit. In a 56cm example, reach has been increased by about 13 to 14mm, and the stem reduced to 90mm. That extended the front of the bike by about 30mm.

Video

More tech info below!

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0
Specialized Diverge Pro Carbon

The total wheelbase has increased by about 35mm but the chainstays are still short at 425mm. Shorter in that department usually results in less tyre clearance, but Specialized got around this hurdle with a driveside chainstay that is a narrow, 15mm solid beam of carbon between the tyre and chainrings. Finally, they increased bottom bracket clearance by 6mm over the original Diverge.

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

Tyre clearance is up to 700c x 47mm with generous clearance at all sides, and 650b x 2.1″. All of this development happened inside Specialized’s Morgan Hill carbon lab facility, which is pretty handy for prototyping.

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

Mounting points have been improved on the frame and fork, and beneath the downtube, making for five mounts total. There are discreet rack and fender mounts, and when the rear fender bridge is mounted (sorry, I have no photos of this), you’re looking at clearance front and rear for 42mm tyres with fenders.

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

Further innovation includes the S.W.A.T. system, Storage, Water, Air and Tools, that sees storage move to inside the frame, no more external toolboxes sitting above the bottom bracket.

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0
Two of these pouches will fit inside the frame

Specialized enlarged the downtube to cater to the massive hole now found in the downtube, along with special carbon layups.

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

The average painted frame weighs in at around 950 grams. The S.W.A.T. system is unavailable on some of the lower-end Diverge models.

Specialized Diverge EVO E5

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

Flat bars are quite popular with some folks who ride gravel, and Specialized have recognized that. This variant of the Diverge is known as EVO E5. The bike is designed completely around flat bars, meaning Specialized has lengthed the top tube and reach more than the drop-bar Diverge, 30mm more to be exact. The stem has been reduced to 70mm, headtube angle has adjusted by a degree, and the bottom bracket has been lowered a few mm. Finally, the frame is 1x specific.

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

Specialized’s engineers rigged up this special frame to figure out the headtube angles, reach an so on. The Diverge EVO is available in Aluminium E5 only, and three sizes.

Diverge Carbon Builds

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

 

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0

specialized diverge 2020 future shock 2.0
Also available as a Frameset

Specialized

20 comments on “All-New Specialized Diverge 2020 / 2021 with Future Shock 2.0: FIRST RIDE IMPRESSIONS

      1. He Jon, it will fit any aftermarket stem with a shim.
        Though, the stock stem that the bike is equipped with will allow you to run an integrated computer mount and is also available in various size of course.

        1. Do we use the same shim that’s already used with the stock stem? Or is this a new part we need to purchase??

          Thanks!

  1. Looks good! (Pity I can’t afford one at the moment.) With something like 32mm GP5000s this should make a great audax bike too, even fits mudguards – just the thing for PBP. Any idea how the FD attaches or what sizes of double chainrings will officially fit?

    The terrain in Girona looks remarkably like parts of the Blue Mountains near Sydney too. 😉

  2. JOM… that frame weight is that the 11r s-works or the 9-r carbon of the mid-level bikes (pro, comp etc)?

  3. Hi Jom, great video. Curious about the tires on the Diverge expert you are kneeling next to in the opening, are those the 47 mm tracer Pro’s? They don’t look as huge as the tracer pros on the red Diverge pro featured in the video. Thanks

    1. Correct, they were Tracer Pro’s, 700c x 47mm in the opening scene. Same tyres as on the red Diverge you saw later.

  4. Oh, and I should’ve asked. Did you get a sense of what threading on the BB?
    was is straight up English or something like T47?
    the s-works version is running DUB but the others are Shimano and there is zero on their website explaining the BB.

  5. Hey JOM, quick question for you. In order to get that much saddle to bar drop, did you have to size down a frame? I’ve noticed the stack height is moderately high on the frame. I have a 56 on backorder right now and want to make sure I’m picking the right size at 6′ tall and approx. 29 inches saddle center to BB. Thanks in advance!

  6. What are your thoughts on Di2 for 1x? Is it “worth” it? Seems like a lot of hassle in setup, and a lot of buttons just to shift 1 derailleur.

  7. I’m riding the bike now, and just did a loop of the Bootlegger 100 course, which as JOM can attest, is one of the hardest — though most beautiful — in the country.
    I’ve done three circuits of it on another bike, including two races, and I don’t know quite how to quantify the difference but I’d say it took 35-40 percent out of the sting, and based on strata segment numbers didn’t cost any speed. Set PRs on the worst climbs, one of which goes on for 18 miles of up and down and most up….The route is mainly gravel, with pretty much everything from smooth hardpack to a ton of nasty washboard on technical switchbacks, loose sweepers and exposed solid rock and half buried mini boulders. Nothing is perfect on that washboard, but it def felt like I had more control when I came in a little hot rather than pretty close to zero, which is the usual feeling.
    I thought I’d dial it up and down but ended up dialing it to softest setting when I hit the first gravel stretch and just left it there. It’d real, and it works.
    The only way I could tell it was working — other than the ride — was to put my hand on the front brake cable where it exited the bars and feel it moving.
    One of my riding buddies also said a couple of times even at social distance it was obvious that the seatpost was working hard too. Again, I couldn’t tell it, except that the ride felt smoother.
    As to stem, I got the comp and it came with a second shim sized for use on standard stems. Not sure what you’d get if you just went with the frameset.

  8. Its a shame they don’t have a GRX di2 2x option for the Diverge. How hard do you think it would be to convert the Diverge Expert to 2x?

  9. Definitely FD, maybe RD(?), 2x rings should fit existing 1x GRX cranks according to the Shimano exploded diagrams, but it might be cheaper and/or easier to just buy new cranks. You’ll also need another etube wire for the FD, (and maybe a different/extra internal junction box?), plus it will be necessary to pull the BB to fit the wire. People have said elsewhere that an XT cage will fit the 1x 817 RD, and/or that it will work with 2x as is, but I dunno.

  10. Nice review. I had the previous generation S-Works 1x. I say had, as I sold it to get the new version with the 2.0 shock. The added tire clearance will be a nice plus as the Michigan sand I sometimes go north to ride on can use a little wider tire. Also moving to the GRX Di2 2x version. The 1X still has either too little range or too big of jumps for my taste. I love the 1X (EAGLE) on my MTB, but not what I want for gravel.

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