Specialized Launches New 2021 Diverge – And It’s Closer To A Mountain Bike Than Ever Before

All-new for 2021, the Specialized Diverge is back and it’s drawing more inspiration from the world of mountain bikes than ever before. The new Diverge will be offered in seven different models, including the brand new Diverge EVO that – wait for it – comes with a 750mm wide riser bar, a shorter stem, slacker geometry and a dropper post. Uh-huh. Proof that gravel is basically old-school XC? Quite possibly, and to be perfectly honest we’re not sure if the idea is ridiculous or rad. Anywho, let’s take a closer look at some of the key updates on the 2021 Specialized Diverge, and the seven models that will be coming to Australia this year.

2021 specialized diverge gravel bike
Specialized is launching an all-new Diverge for 2021.
2021 specialized diverge evo expert
And there’s also the new Diverge EVO, which goes full-gravel with a dropper post, Future Shock suspension, 1×12 drivetrain and 700x42mm tyres. Gravel untethered? Or just a hybrid?

Gravel Gets SWAT

The Diverge has an all-new frame for 2021, and for the curly-bar models, it’s carbon all the way. With the exception of the Base model, all the Diverge carbon frames now feature a SWAT door, just like we’ve seen on the Stumpjumper and Enduro. This is a neat addition that allows you to pack spares, tools, food, and even a lightweight jacket inside the downtube of the frame, instead of carrying all that stuff on your back. To help keep your gear dry, Specialized includes two SWAT pouches.

2021 specialized diverge gravel bike swat door
SWAT door comes to gravel!

Bigger Tyres

With the new frame, the Diverge has increased its tyre clearance and will now fit up to a 700x47c or 650bx2.1in tyre. Most models come fitted with Specialized’s own 700×38 Pathfinder tyres, and the majority of Diverge models are ready to go tubeless too.

To get that kind of rear tyre clearance, while still being able to take big chainrings and 2x cranksets AND have short chaintsays, Specialized’s engineers got creative. Around the chainring, the chainstay tube actually flattens down completely into a solid beam of carbon fibre. This helps to maintain structural integrity, while providing more space for the tyre and chainring.

2021 specialized diverge gravel bike
Plump rubber – Specialized says you can fit up to a 700x47c tyre in the new Diverge frame and fork.

Future Shock Suspension

Also new for 2021 is the latest Future Shock suspension system. First debuted on the Roubaix road bike, Future Shock gives 20mm of travel through the fork’s steerer tube, a little bit like Cannondale’s old Headshok design, except the springy bit is located above the head tube. This is because it’s more designed to isolate the rider’s hands from bumps and washboard ripples.

The cheaper Diverge models come with the Future Shock 1.5 system, while the more spangly models get Future Shock 2.0. Both have 20mm of travel, but the 2.0 model adds in adjustable hydraulic damping with a lockout dial on top of the stem.

2021 specialized diverge gravel bike future shock 2.0
You get 20mm of travel from the Future Shock system, which now offers hydraulic damping on the 2.0 model.

Epic-Ish Geometry

Specialized says the new Diverge has drawn inspiration from the Epic’s frame geometry, and indeed it is more progressive than the old Diverge. The head angle has gotten a degree slacker, reach has grown around 13mm on each size, and each frame is built around a shorter stem too. Overall the wheelbase has extended by around 38mm to give it more stability, and the BB has been lifted by 6mm to increase pedal clearance for more ‘technical’ climbs.

2021 specialized diverge gravel bike
It’s still a gravel bike, but Specialized has slackened off the head angle and increased the wheelbase length to give it more stick on the descents.

So Many Accessories!

Spotted a few extra bolts on the Diverge frame and fork? Those are for water bottles – ALL of the water bottles! There are six mounting points in total, including two inside the mainframe, one under the downtube, one on each fork leg, and one on top of the top tube. The latter of which would be ideal for mounting a top-tube bag.

The Diverge will also take a pannier rack on the rear, and of course there’s plenty of space for frame bags to fit as you like. Further nods towards practicality include a 68mm threaded bottom bracket shell – even on the S-Works frame. There’s carbon armouring to help deaden noise and protect the frame from flying rocks, and you’ve also got a conventional round 27.2mm seatpost.

2021 specialized diverge gravel bike swat bottle
This rider is clearly not thirsty enough to make use of all six water bottle mounting locations.

Let’s Talk About That Flat-Bar EVO Model…

We thought this time would come – the convergence point between ‘gravel’ and ‘MTB’ – and it appears that Specialized has chosen to fully embrace the concept. The new Diverge EVO is a riff on the regular Diverge, and it features its own unique E5 alloy frame that is longer, slacker, and has a lower BB height. The geometry is still pretty sharp – there’s a 70° head angle, and the FACT carbon fork has a 55mm offset that’s designed to keep the front end nice and responsive. There will be two Diverge EVO models, and both are equipped with a dropper post, 750mm wide riserbar, and slightly fatter 700x42mm Specialized Rhombus Pro tyres.

2021 specialized diverge gravel bike
Gravel Xtreme!

Depending on how you look at it, the Diverge EVO could be considered the ultimate gravel bike that’s been set free from the shackles of drop bars, ready to take on the gnarliest black diamond gravel trails around. Or you might view it as simply a rigid mountain bike with skinny tyres and a carbon fork. Either way, it needs a catchy name. Gravel Xtreme perhaps? Post-gravél? Semi-Country? Or maybe we should just call it what it is – a hybrid?

Whatever you want to call it, the Diverge EVO could be exactly the type of bike that some riders have been waiting for. Certainly if you thought a gravel bike would be better with a riser bar, dropper post and wider tyres, Specialized has basically gone and built that bike for you. Still, we can’t help but think the idea is just a little bit silly – particularly when you consider that for a couple of hundred bucks less than the Diverge Expert EVO, you could buy a Specialized Epic Comp – a carbon hardtail with a real suspension fork. Which would you choose?

2020 specialized epic comp
The Specialized Epic Comp sells for a little less than the Diverge Expert EVO, but you get a carbon frame and a proper suspension fork. Hmm…
2021 specialized diverge evo gravel bike
The Diverge EVO could be the perfect option for taking on double black diamond gravel trails.

Here’s What’s Coming To Australia

There will be seven different Diverge models available for 2021. Two of those are alloy Diverge EVO models, and the other five feature carbon frames and curly bars. Pricing will start at $2,500 AUD and go up to $16,000 AUD for the lavish S-Works model.

Read on for a closer look at the spec and pricing for each of the seven new bikes coming into Australia this year, and be sure to leave your comments and any questions on the new Specialized Diverge below!


2021 specialized diverge s-works gravel bike
The S-Works Diverge is the only model to get the sub-1kg FACT 11r carbon frame. Plus ALL of the bells and whistles, including a cute dropper post.

2021 Specialized S-Works Diverge

2021 specialized diverge pro carbon
The Diverge Pro Carbon mixes SRAM’s Eagle AXS derailleur and 10-50T cassette, with Red eTap road shifters and 1x crankset. Plus gumwalls on a blood-red frame? Yes please!

2021 Specialized Diverge Pro Carbon

2021 specialized diverge expert carbon gravel bike
The Expert Carbon is equipped with Shimano’s 1×11 GRX Di2 setup and hydraulic disc brakes, tubeless compatible wheels and tyres, and a SWAT door in the downtube.

2021 Specialized Diverge Expert Carbon

2021 specialized diverge comp carbon
Skipping the electronics, the Diverge Comp Carbon elects for good old fashioned shift cables for its 2×11 Shimano GRX groupset.

2021 Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon

2021 specialized diverge base carbon
The Base Carbon Diverge skips the SWAT door in favour of a sub-$4K price point. Same geo and Future Shock system as the top-end models, along with a 1×11 drivetrain and hydro discs.

2021 Specialized Diverge Base Carbon

2021 specialized diverge evo expert
Here it is – the Diverge EVO Expert. If you’ve ever thought a gravel bike would be better with riser bars and a dropper post, Specialized just went ahead and made it for you.

2021 Specialized Diverge Expert E5 EVO

2021 specialized diverge evo comp
The $2,500 Diverge EVO Comp looks like the ultimate all-terrain commuter machine. Stealthy black, thru-axle wheels, rack and mudguard ready too.

2021 Specialized Diverge Expert E5 EVO

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