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The Diverge versus the Crux: Which one should you get? 

The grin on my face won’t stop and I don’t want it to. The dust building up on my legs and arms is indicative of the dry nature of our area, but also that it is going to be a good day. I’m pedaling up the Micro Loop in the Bear Claw Poppy Reserve for the first ride on my brand new gravel bike. So far it’s been a smooth, and despite the head wind, fast spin, but the downhill is what I came for. 

I top out at the end of Jay’s Wash and turn to climb up to the point on Stucki. The bike continues to delight, being both smooth, agile and quick. At the point, I stop and snap a couple of pictures, still stoked on the ride, the weather and this bike. I jump on and that grin grows so big it almost breaks my face. The trail is fast and this bike can handle it. Even with the smaller than a modern mountain bike tires, it delivers confidence and plenty of giggles. I find myself looking for small rocks to boost off of and that tailwind that was a hindrance is now a good shove on my back accelerating my ride. 

I’m 100% hooked! 


The bike industry tends to niche itself almost to death. The idea of a “gravel” specific bike didn’t exist until recently and now it’s all the rage. To the point that Specialized actually has two gravel bikes, the Diverge and the Crux. And while being designed for the same terrain, the bikes are surprisingly different. 

But of course, we are just talking about nuances, both of these bikes rock. 

The Diverge 

The Diverge was Specialized’s first foray into the gravel discipline. While it was always a solid option, it felt just a little behind the curve. It would fit tires that were just a few months behind the trend leaving everyone hoping for more clearance. The geometry also felt dated leaning a bit too far into the road realm.  

This all changed with the last generation. 

Fitting up to 47 mm tires, the Diverge is meant to go hard. The geometry was tweaked, the Future Shock updated to include a lock out and the overall package is a crazy smooth bike that is confidence inspiring. It handles similar to a mountain bike, just quicker and more agile. It begs to leave the ground and loves anything that is rough. This bike was designed to smooth out rough, gravel roads. 

The Crux 

The Crux was Specialized’s cyclocross race bike for many years, but in its latest iteration it was transformed into a dirt road chomping machine. Specialized took what they learned from the development of the Aethos and applied it to the Crux resulting in the lightest production gravel bike ever produced. It fits 47 mm tires as well, loses the Future Shock and SWAT box to be the skinnier brother to the Diverge. Its geometry also falls on the “racey” side of the spectrum. 

Which one should I buy?  

Well, that depends.  

I’ve owned and extensively ridden both the Diverge and the Crux in the S-Works versions. Both bikes are incredibly capable, but have different strengths depending on what your idea of “gravel” is.  

Buy the Diverge if… 

  • You consider rocky, rough terrain a good time. 
  • You are more likely to go exploring than try to get from one point to another as fast as possible.
  • You are new to gravel or coming from a mountain bike background. 
  • You prefer a bike that almost rides itself. 

I found that the Diverge excelled at taking rocky, rough terrain and smoothing it out. It likes to get rowdy mostly because it is incredibly easy to get rowdy on. This will inspire confidence for even the most novice rider. I loved riding mountain bike trails on it and going on adventure rides where I wasn’t sure what the condition of the road would be. It handled all of it with a gritty smile on its face. 

Buy the crux if...

  • You like to have the lightest bike possible. 
  • You are most concerned about going as fast as possible. 
  • You are an expert bike handler and like a bike that requires some finesse.  
  • You want a bike that is light enough to double as your road bike. 

The Crux is light. It was lighter than the Diverge even with pedals, repair kit and handlebar bag installed. It’s fast, likes to climb and isn’t afraid of the rough stuff, but you have to know how to muscle a bike around if you want to get rowdy. It’s not afraid to leave the ground, but you better have a good idea of how to do that before you try. 

Either way, Diverge or Crux, I feel comfortable guaranteeing they will put a gravel eating grin on your face. You really can’t go wrong.  

Written by lukas brinkerhoff

Lukas, AKA Moose Knuckler, has been cycling for years. He spends his weekends cycling, running, and camping. He currently rides around on a Santa Cruz Chameleon and you can usually find him eating Peanut Butter Pro Bars.