Yes, the folks at Specialized have been hard at work pushing the limits and creating new technologies for new types of riding. We’ve been hunkered down in the east coast heat of New Jersey this week at their 2018 new product launch and one thing that has been evident from our few days here is they listen to the feedback from customers just as much if not more than their athletes. This data is then used to help target their products and also to further improve those they already have in the line. Take these three new models for example…
The big news is they have revamped and improved the popular Diverge. The Gravel bike has received some impressive improvements and features the most evident is the Future shock. If you are not familiar with the future shock see the Roubaix article where it was first introduced last year. There have been some modifications to the spring that is in the new 2018 Diverge future shock moving from a linear spring as on the Roubaix to a new progressive spring. This means that the spring rate changes as compressed minimizing the bottom out affect greatly. The rest of the unit is identical and carries the same look and function.
The new 2018 Diverge also drops the bottom bracket 10mm and lengthens the wheelbase. Specialized made many of these small changes to improve overall ride quality and handling by allowing the center of gravity to be lower. Specialized has put a lot of time and resources into the off-road segment of their road line and from their research has shown that it is not only the fastest growing segment of the road category it will also overtake the other segments in the road category in less than two years.
This brings us to their next bike the Crux. You might think but the Crux has been around too but its evolution in the past has been swayed by the growing gravel scene and that is no longer. The new 2018 Crux is full cyclocross race, no more moonlighting as a gravel bike in their line. While many will still want to have that option and they do, the Crux is a far different animal from its Diverge counterpart. The high bottom bracket and shorter wheelbase make it great for pedaling through tight cross courses. The high top tube makes for a great bike for shouldering the obscure obstacles. This is even further improved with a significant weight drop of over 400 grams from its predecessor. Then when you add in that Specialized is using a type of hydrophobic paint to minimized mud and grime collecting on the frame this bike is meant for pure cyclocross racing. They have also moved to what is now becoming the standard 12X142 mm rear axle spacing allowing for the use of many more aftermarket wheels and hubs.
Last but not least is one that may be overlooked by most brands, the entry level. The Allez has gotten a facelift and a new price point too. The new 2018 Allez starts at an amazing $750 but packs may style points that are throughout the Specialized line. Honestly, when we were looking at many of the bikes in a line most, were hard pressed to notice it till they looked much closer. This is important because the person that is buying this bike is most likely just entering the road market and to have a bike that looks as good as bikes three and four times its price is confidence inspiring. The new 2018 Allez has an alloy frame matched with a full carbon fork. Yes, even the $750 entry level model will come with a carbon fork matched with Shimano Claris. The Allez line has a lot of models and not all will have the same geometry but on the entry level models, the geo is relaxed allowing for a larger range of fit options.