The Specialized Diverge is one of our most popular gravel bikes, maybe even our most popular gravel bike. Providing a stable ride with progressive geometry, comfort through the futureshock suspension unit in the heaset, lots of options for sizing and spec and plenty of clearance for wide tires, it's popular for good reason.
With suspension on gravel bikes becoming the norm, the Diverge STR is the natural evolution of the Diverge. Standing for Suspend The Rider, STR takes a different approach to suspension than a typical mountain bike type system that suspends the bike, rather than the rider. With the same 20mm of travel up front via the tried and true Future Shock 2.0 it's the back end where things have changed where Future Shock Rear serves up 30mm of hydraulically damped travel.
Smoothness equals speed, and speed equals fun. Specialized spent a bunch of time in the lab to quantify 'smoothness' and figure out what makes a smooth ride and why that makes a fast ride. Long story short, the more you can smooth out the trail, the less fatigue the rider feels and the easier it is to ride quickly. Not only this but a smoother ride means better ability to apply consistent power, meaning a smoother ride is more comfortable and faster.
The Diverge STR has been in the works for a long time, and while figuring out how to suspend the front end was relatively simple, doing the same for the back end was not so. 5 years in the making however, Future Shock Rear is finally here. That 30mm of travel comes from interchangeable 'frameposts' with different spring rates that effectively flex and provide different levels of compliance for different rider weights. Each framepost also provides different spring rates simply by turning it in the frame, to provide a finer level of adjustment to get it right at the sweet spot. Providing control is the 'tendon' damper in the top tube; proper damping is vital to keeping fatigue at bay and stops the bike from feeling like a pogo stick.
In Short, the combination of Future Shock Rear with Future Shock 2.0 gives the rider enough travel to keep fatigue at bay for much longer and to put down consistent power mile after mile. Since the suspension suspends the rider at the seat and handlebars this means the Diverge STR provides comfort over rough roads but loses none of its direct power transfer due to inefficient suspension designs and instead relies on the tires to do their job of putting power down on dirt, for immediate acceleration. For smoother roads where suspension isn't needed, both front and rear are adjustable and can be completely locked for a firm feeling ride, or fully open for maximum compliance.
The Diverge STR is only about 400g heavier than its front-suspended sibling, pretty good if you ask us. The regular Diverge is not going anywhere though for now, with only one spec level of the STR available, not replacing the current Diverge. The STR also shares practically the same geometry as the Diverge with the exception of a 5mm lower BB and a slightly steeper seat tube angle. The STR also shares the same clearance for big tires, with room for 700x47c or 650b x 2.1" rubber.
The only spec level currently available is the STR Expert which comes with a full Sram Rival AXS mullet build, meaning Rival AXS shifters and brakes with a GX Eagle rear derailleur running a 1x12 drivetrain on a 40t chainring and 10-50t cassette.