Specialized release a full-suspension gravel bike, the Diverge STR

Specialized Diverge STR
(Image credit: Specialized)

The Diverge has been a crucial part of Specialized’s line-up for quite some time and it’s always been regarded as one of the best gravel bikes available. However, the new Diverge STR takes gravel riding to the next level by using suspension travel front and rear to allow you to ride further and faster over chunky terrain, all while minimising fatigue. Specialized states this is the most capable and most fun gravel bike they’ve ever made, and it’s something we can feel just by looking the STR’s enthusiastic silhouette. Are bikes like the STR going to generate a new sub-culture in the world of gravel riding? Either way this is a bike that’s getting us properly stoked to hit the trails.

Specialized Diverge STR

Specialized's front Future shock delivers 20mm of travel (Image credit: Specialized)

Specialized have been using Future Shock on the front of their endurance road bikes for quite some years now after seeing positive reductions in fatigue at events like the cobble-ridden Paris Roubaix. The ‘smoother is faster’ tag has been carried over, and the Diverge STR utilities the 20mm travel headstock and matched it with a rear mounted hydraulic damper that provides 30mm of un-intrusive travel. 

In terms of function, the seat post/seat tube works as the spring and moves rearwards when the wheel hits a trail obstacle or pot hole. The hydraulic filled damper itself is in place to control this movement, ensuring the rider remains confident and unphased by what's happening beneath the wheels. The does mean the 'spring rate' is going to be effected by how much post is sticking out the frame, but it also means riders can tune the feel by using different post materials.   

The damper on the shock is adjustable which should boost comfort and control even further, too. With three on-the-fly compression damping adjustments the shock can be set to either fully-open and fully-closed, and there’s a middle setting which is said to bring the best of both worlds. The damper also sees a separate rebound adjustment so the return speed can be adjusted for individual ride weights, tastes and specific trail locations.

Specialized Diverge STR

The all-new Diverge sees 30mm of Future Shock travel on the rear to provide a sublimely smooth ride (Image credit: Specialized)

One thing Specialized are stressing is how the compliance from the Future Shock suspension comes without compromise to all-important stiffness and pedalling efficiency – Specialized states there is zero pedal-bob under load. In order to keep power delivery high and effective they’ve retained the one-piece rear end and stiff bottom bracket assembly to give a seamlessly crisp power transfer. Specialized state the ride characteristics make the rider feel as if they’re floating above whatever carnage may be happening beneath the wheels. 

There’s aggressive geometry to match this aggressive concept as well, with a super large 85mm bottom bracket drop the Diverge STR should feel ultra-stable and composed on properly technical terrain. The head angle is suitably slack at 71.75 degrees and a 74 degree seat tube angle should offer comfort for everything from steep sustained inclines to flatter traverses. These geo numbers are comparable to the best XC bikes, something that’s making us really excited to get the Diverge STR on to dirt! 

Specialized Diverge STR

Several bottle and bag mounts mean the Diverge is ready for multi-day adventures (Image credit: Specialized)

Specialized’s component choice proves the Diverge STR’s intent, again sharing many specifications choices we’re used to seeing on XC mountain bikes – all STR complete builds get SRAM Eagle AXS 1x12 drivetrains, flared handebars, wide rims and chunky off-road ready rubber. 

While all bikes come stock with 700c setups to STR is 650b compatible. Max tire clearance is stated to be 47mm for 700c and 2.1in for 650b, although Specialized says their riders have been pushing the limits and riding tires wider than this.     

Continuing the combative approach is a seat tube diameter that’s ready to take the best gravel dropper posts meaning you’ll be able to get the saddle right out the way for hardcore singletrack rallying. Interestingly non of the stock bikes come with a dropper post pre-installed though. 

Beyond singletrack smashing the Diverge STR has been well thought out in terms of reliability and functionality for longer trips – the downtube features the SWAT storage door for snacks and spares and there’s a host of bottle and bag mounting points for those multi-day adventures.   

With sizing ranging from 49 to 61cm there should be a Diverge to fit every rider. Specialized promises this complete package is the future of gravel riding, and we can see why. Want to read more or vid out where you can purchase the Diverge STR? Visit specialized.com 

Specialized Diverge STR

Diverge STR Pro in the satin blaze colorway (Image credit: Specialized)

Specialized Diverge STR specification and pricing

Complete builds are available Worldwide, but currently the frameset only option appears to be available exclusively in the US.

S-Works Diverge STR

  • Frame: S-Works Diverge FACT 11r carbon
  • Fork: Future Shock 2.0 carbon
  • Groupset: SRAM Red AXS levers, SRAM XX1 Eagle 12speed gearing
  • Cranks: SRAM Red1 AXS
  • Brakes: SRAM Red
  • Wheelset: Roval Terra CLX, 25mm internal, 32mm depth, Rocal LFD hubs
  • Tires: Tracer Pro 700x42
  • Handlebars: Roval Terra
  • Stem: S-Works Future
  • Seatpost: S-Works
  • Saddle: S-Works Power
  • Price: $14000 / £13000

Diverge Pro STR

  • Frame: Diverge FACT 11r carbon
  • Fork: Future Shock 2.0 carbon
  • Groupset: SRAM Force AXS levers, SRAM X01 Eagle 12speed gearing
  • Cranks: SRAM Force 1x
  • Brakes: SRAM Force
  • Wheelset: Roval Terra CLX, 25mm internal, 32mm depth, DT Swiss 350 hubs 
  • Tires: Tracer Pro 700x42
  • Handlebars: Roval Terra
  • Stem: Future Pro
  • Seatpost: S-Works
  • Saddle: Power Pro
  • Price: $9500 / £9000

Diverge Expert STR

  • Frame: Diverge FACT carbon
  • Fork: Future Shock 2.0 carbon
  • Groupset: SRAM Rival AXS levers, SRAM GX Eagle 12speed gearing
  • Cranks: SRAM Rival 1x
  • Brakes: SRAM Rival
  • Wheelset: Roval Terra CLX, 25mm internal, 32mm depth, DT Swiss 370 hubs 
  • Tires: Tracer Pro 700x42
  • Handlebars: Specialized adventure gear
  • Stem: Future Comp
  • Seatpost: S-Works
  • Saddle: Power Expert
  • Price: $7500 / £7500

S-Works frameset

  • Frame: S-Works Diverge FACT 11r carbon
  • Fork: Future Shock 2.0 carbon
  • Seatpost: S-Works
  • Price: $6000
Jim Bland
Freelance writer

Jim Bland is a product tester and World Cup downhill mechanic based in North Yorkshire, England, but working Worldwide. Jim’s chosen riding genre is hard to pinpoint and regularly varies from e-bike-assisted shuttle runs one day to cutting downcountry laps the next. Always on the hunt for the perfect setup,  Jim will always be found comprehensively testing kit with World Cup racing levels of detail. His ultimate day out includes an alpine loam trail, blazing sunshine, and some fresh kit to test.  

Rides: Santa Cruz Hightower, Santa Cruz v10, Specialized Kenevo.

Height: 170cm 

Weight: 64kg