The Diverge from Specialized is labelled as an ‘Adventure and Gravel Bike’ with the E5 Comp being the lowest-priced model that keeps the proprietary Future Shock technology. The E5 is an alloy frame, but features a carbon fork.
While the Diverge may be aimed at gravel in general, the E5 Comp features 30 mm tires with completely slick rubber and this limits the ability it has off-road. On the road, these tires are swift and quiet, while their reflective sidewalls offer high visibility, making this a great choice for night riding or even commuting.
When we took it off-road, we found that as long as the tracks were relatively smooth, it coped OK, however it did struggle with loose corners and steeper tracks. Meaning that if you really wanted this for off-road blasts, a change of tires would be an essential – yet cheap and simple – upgrade.
The gearing mixes a sub-compact 48/32 chainset with a wide range 11-34 cassette. This makes for very adaptable gearing that’s more than capable for faster road rides but also ideal for tougher climbs, both on or off-road.
The Shimano 105 groupset is excellent, giving sharp and reliable shifting, while the mechanical disc brakes are impressive, although they don’t have quite the same power or modulation that you’d find on hydraulic versions.
The Future Shock suspension, which gives 20 mm of travel on the front is a very effective – albeit unobtrusive -way of adding comfort. It never gets in the way and works almost without you realizing it’s there.
It can be adjusted via different springs provided although it’s something that you will most likely fiddle with once and then leave. The system can be overwhelmed on really rough tracks, occasionally with a clunk, but its performance is mostly just a huge plus.
Finishing kit is of the usual Specialized quality and while the handlebars will suit many, especially more road-focused riders, there may be some looking for a more flared angle on the drops or a wider bar for more rugged adventures.
Road performance – Double chainset and slick tires make road work a breeze.
Future Shock – The system works well on uneven surfaces.
Gearing – Wide cassette plus double sub-compact chainset works well on a mix of terrain.
Not so good
Slick tires – Offers little grip on loose surfaces.
Mechanical disc brakes – Not as powerful as hydraulic brakes.
Handlebars – Its road biased bars are narrow with straight drops, which offer less control than others on test.
For riders who are looking for a bike that is mostly for road riding, but can handle the occasional off-road adventure, the Diverge E5 Comp is an excellent choice.
A few small and easy changes, in particular the tires, however, would transform this into a truly capable adventure bike.
Size/Weight: 54/10.23 kg
Frame: Specialized E5 Premium Aluminum with Future Shock plus FACT Carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano105, R7000
Brakes: Tektro Spyre mechanic disc brakes
Chainset: Praxis Alba M30, 48/32
Bars: Specialized Shallow Drop alloy
Stem/Seatpost: Specialized alloy
Saddle: Specialized Body Geometry Toupe Sport
Wheels: Roval Axis Sport
Tires: Specialized Espoir Sport reflect, 700x30c