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Specialized Diverge EVO: a flat-bar gravel bike

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Specialized Diverge EVO

The Specialized Diverge EVO differs from the regular model by way of slacker geometry and a flat bar (Image credit: Specialized)
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Specialized Diverge EVO

The flat bar may not be for everyone but should appeal to the mountain bike fraternity looking at giving gravel riding a go (Image credit: Specialized)
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Specialized Diverge EVO

Diverge EVO features Specialized's new 42C gravel tyre, the Rhombus Pro (Image credit: Specialized)
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Specialized Diverge EVO

The EVO's driveside chainstay uses a machined alloy beam behind the chainrings to bolster tyre clearance (Image credit: Specialized)

The gravel bike concept as a whole is in a continual state of flux, ebbing and flowing as new innovations pop up with every passing season. And of all the manufacturers, Specialized is one that keeps tearing up the gravel bike script. 

Having just unveiled the third incarnation of its successful Diverge gravel bike, Specialized has concocted and launched something entirely new alongside it - the Diverge EVO. Aimed to appeal to a broader audience, the EVO will look to bring the wonderment of gravel riding to those of the rowdier trail and enduro mountain bike persuasion.

The Diverge EVO has been penned to push the limits of what was previously considered achievable on a gravel bike. Boasting flat bars and a more progressive geometry layout, it offers a slacker, 70-degree head angle, a five millimetre lower bottom bracket and an additional 30mm longer reach over the regular drop-bar model. It will be available in two guises, Expert and Comp.

While some may argue the Diverge EVO is more mountain bike than gravel bike, the concept certainly blurs the lines between both disciplines and makes for an interesting debate. Whatever it is, we like it.

For now, a carbon frame is not an option on the EVO. Instead, Specialized has paired its E5 aluminium frame material with a carbon fork to help reduce weight and improve vibration-damping. Like the regular Diverge, the Future Shock is present albeit in two separate states of tune. The Expert EVO will utilise the 2.0 version while the Comp will make do with the stripped-down 1.5 version, which gets the same 20mm of progressive travel but forgoes the adjustability. 

The rhetoric behind Future Shock hinges around what Specialized calls axial compliance. By positioning the shock above the headtube, the engineers have been able to create a rigid platform that promotes better compliance, performance and response - suspend the rider, not the bike.

The EVO has enough frame clearance for of up to 47mm (700C wheelset) and 2.1in in 650b configuration. It will be available in 1x setup only, utilising a 40T chainring in combination with a Shimano XT 10-45T 1x12 cassette (Expert) and SRAM NX 1x11 (Comp). Component wise, both models get an X-Fusion Manic dropper post (50mm travel), a Specialized Power saddle and Rhombus Pro 42C gravel tyres but differ by way of wheels. 

With pricing pegged at £2,399 for the Expert and £1,599 for the Comp, the Specialized Diverge EVO is expected to go on sale in the UK in late June.

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Aaron Borrill

Aaron is Cyclingnews' tech editor. Born and raised in South Africa he completed his BA honours at the University of Cape Town before embarking on a career in journalism. As the former gear and digital editor of Bicycling magazine and associate editor of TopCar, he's been writing about bikes and anything with wheels for the past 16 years. A competitive racer and Stravaholic, he’s twice ridden the Cape Epic and completed the Haute Route Alps. When not riding, racing or testing bicycles in and around the UK's Surrey Hills where he now lives, he's writing about them for Cyclingnews and Bike Perfect

Height: 176cm

Weight: 61.5kg

Rides: Cannondale SuperSlice Disc Di2 TT, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Rim, Cannondale Supersix Evo Ultegra Di2 Disc, Trek Procaliber 9.9 MTB 

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