First Impression: Specialized Diverge A1


Editor’s note: Here at Bicycle Times we are as mindful of price as you are. So we gathered together a group of six very diverse bikes to showcase what you can find right now at the $1,000 price point. See our introduction here.

All-surface road bikes are what the popular kids are riding—especially here in Northern California—and we also enjoy moderate climates, rolling terrain, and unlimited riding opportunities. So it’s no surprise to see NorCal’s own Specialized launch its Diverge line of bikes with disc brakes, endurance geometry, and tire clearance for up to 700x35c rubber. We are reviewing the Diverge as part of our $1,000 bike round up.

The Diverge line includes seven models, from the $8,500 flagship Carbon Di2 to the entry-level $1,100 A1, which we received for testing in late October. Three models are available with a carbon frame and fork, with four available with an aluminum frame and carbon fork. The A1 frame is welded aluminum, mated to a Specialized FACT carbon fork with Zertz gel inserts for road chatter damping. The entry-level 8-speed Shimano Claris group helps keep the overall price of the bike down, but also contributes to its stout 24-plus pounds.


Gearing is a spot-on 50/34-tooth crankset and 11-32-tooth cassette, providing ideal cruising and climbing options. Shifting was a little slower than I’m accustomed to after riding several Dura-Ace and Ultegra equipped machines the past year, and the external shifting cables were a bit distracting at first.


The taller headtube and bowed top tube props me up a bit taller than my daily rider, but I settled in quicker than I thought. I appreciate bikes with longer wheelbases, and the 700x30c Specialized Espoir Sport tires still provide room for fenders; Specialized included handy threaded bosses on the chainstay bridge and rear dropouts to add its Plug + Play fender set.

After spending the past couple months on a repurposed Ibis Hakkalügi Disc bike, I’m ready to put the Diverge A1 through its paces on my test loop through Arastradero Preserve.


Look for a full review in Bicycle Times Issue #33, along with our complete overview of the six $1,000 Bikes For Work & Play, available in early February.


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