Well, for me that’s a simple question. If you’ve ever had the chance to ride the ‘Future Shock’ suspension system from Specialized, you’ll probably know why! They’ve said ‘smoother is faster’ and it certainly is – I have it on my Ruby Expert 2017 and when I first tested the Future Shock I was no more than 100 metres down the road on a Ruby before I was screaming with delight…it turns a rough ride into a bearable one!
But the Future Shock isn’t made for large bumps and seriously rough roads. Instead, the idea is to minimize the road hum in the hands and arms over a longer distance…I proved that today! What was meant to be a 20km beginner ride with our Wheel Women group, ended up being a 75km thrill. Over gravel, grassy verges, gutters, muddy tracks cut by local commuting daredevils…woohoo!
Group ride complete, it quickly went to ‘maybe I’ll keep riding for a bit’, and pretty quickly escalated into ‘where can I go next?’ I didn’t want to get off the darn thing. And other than my first test ride around the block, this was the first ‘real’ ride! Hmmm…looks like me and the Diverge E5 Comp will fast become besties along with my Ruby!
WHAT DO I LOVE ABOUT IT?
I’ll admit, when I first saw the colour on paper I was less than impressed…’aubergine – are they serious?’ I wasn’t convinced it was ‘me’. I’m usually a fan of the ‘brighter is better’ philosophy. And yes, okay, I love a bit of pink! But ‘aubergine’?
The real name for this colour is ‘satin cast berry’ and it just didn’t look anything like any berry I know when I saw the pics…until we pulled it out of the box! Oh my goodness…yes, it is aubergine. A matte, luscious, velvet and pearlescent aubergine that just looks gorgeous! It’s matched with a fresh mint colour to really highlight the deep ‘berry’…yes, it’s a stunner! Even better now I’ve added the mint bar tape!
The Future Shock suspension has definitely hooked me – it smoothes the ride, leaves me feeling fresh after lots of bumps and it makes cornering unbelievably fast. A few of our riders had a little test spin today and their comments were unanimously that it ‘feels grounded’. I’d agree. When a bike corners with so much stability like this, it just feels safe…and the older I get, the better that feels. The slightly longer wheel base than my Ruby also adds to the stability. It just feels a little like a bike that will stick to the ground no matter what.
Obviously the wider tyres have an impact to feeling planted on the road – the new frame geometry can take up to a 38mm tyre which would be excellent on some real dirt, but for my city rides the 30mm Espoir tyres will be just fine for now. And for city riding the Shimano 105 with a 11-32t on the rear end means I can get up some of those ugly small hills close to home just as easily as I can on my Ruby…almost! (No, I’m just not a hill rider!)
The cable disc brakes performed well, though I am finding that they need to bed in a little and my hands were feeling the strain of new brakes towards the end of the ride. The stopping power was good, just not as good the hydraulic discs on my Ruby and I sense that on a long descent my hands could feel the strain after a while…in time I know they’ll feel a little better.
The saddle is the Myth that I am used to from my previous gravel bike, the Dolce Comp Evo. It’s a great saddle for me so I felt totally comfortable all day today – probably the reason I just wanted to keep riding! The bike feels quite different to the Evo, despite being the new version of a women’s gravel bike from Specialized. For a start, it’s lighter than the Evo, and I feel like I sit a little higher on the Diverge than I did on the Dolce. But sitting higher didn’t affect the ride – it’s fast, grips the road like it’s stuck to it and it’s easier to get up the hills.
One of our Wheel Women coaches Dianne wanted to check it out, have a ride then see if it passes the bike lift test!
No wonder I wanted to sit on this bike all day….I love my Ruby Expert and I would always choose to sit on that for a long ride. But the new 2018 Diverge E5 Comp is a treat to ride and I’m loving it…now to go find some mud and gravel! Yes, I loved it so much I bought one!
Note: full disclosure, I am a Specialized Ambassador…that’s because I love their bikes!