The Specialized Diverge STR retains the excellent ride quality and impressive versatility of the previous-generation bike, adding a rear ‘suspension’ system that, while divisive, is genuinely effective.
Setting up the Future Shock Rear system is a slightly fiddly and involved process but, once dialled in, it offers a smooth gravel riding experience unlike anything else.
Some will baulk at the complexity of the system and, while it performs perfectly, this base model’s build isn’t competitive for the price.
That aside, the Diverge STR is a hugely versatile and comfortable gravel bike that will be equally at home cosseting the delicate rear of bike path trundlers or spicy go-fast gravel racers.
What is the Specialized Diverge STR?
The Future Shock is a small suspension system that sits between the stem and head tube, improving comfort by suspending the rider’s hands.
Specialized first introduced the Future Shock with the Bike of the Year-winning 2016 Roubaix. It then ported the tech over to the Diverge gravel bike in 2017
I was initially sceptical about Specialized’s claims regarding the system, but was won over after riding the last two generations of the Diverge. It really is very good at reducing fatigue and, in certain scenarios, improving control, winning plaudits among many testers.
The Diverge STR introduces Future Shock Rear. As the name implies, this is a suspension system designed to suspend the rider’s backside, improving comfort.
Brands build rear-end compliance into gravel bikes through a variety of means. Dropping the top tube to expose a large amount of seatpost that can easily flex is the simplest way to accomplish this.
The STR takes this concept to the extreme, essentially turning the whole seat tube into an extended flexible seatpost.
With Future Shock Rear, a conventional seatpost slots into a flexible ‘frame post’. This is clamped low down on the frame and is designed to provide up to 30mm of rearward flex.
This, in turn, is connected to a hydraulic damper integrated into the top tube. This controls the rebound and compression of the system.
That’s only a brief overview of a moderately complex bit of tech – head to our original news overview for an in-depth look at how it works.
Specialized Diverge STR spec overview
The Specialized Diverge STR Expert is the base model in the Diverge STR range.
For that, you get a