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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 09-11-17, 09:39 AM   #1
Flounce
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Any of you long distance riders have yet 2018 Specialized Diverge ? For brevets?

With its ability to accept wider tires and fenders, including 650 B wheels, as well as lower gearing options such as 48/32 chain rings and 11-32 cassette (IIRC) as well as microsuspension in the front and fancy suspension seatpost in the back, this seems to me like it would be a good option for lightweight long-distance road riding, even though it is marketed as a gravel / partial off road bike. Thoughts on this bike versus the Roubaix for doing well on 600km + brevets ?

My question doesn't include value proposition or longetivity of design, let's assume someone else was paying for the bike, be it this one or a custom steel Rando bike, and that you were switching bikes every five or so years .
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Old 09-11-17, 11:54 AM   #2
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I think most of the high performance gravel bikes would make a good bike for randonneuring. But it seems like the kind of person that would buy a bike like that probably wants to use smaller tires and skip the fenders, so you might not find anyone who has actually proved my thesis.
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Old 09-11-17, 12:46 PM   #3
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I think most of the high performance gravel bikes would make a good bike for randonneuring. But it seems like the kind of person that would buy a bike like that probably wants to use smaller tires and skip the fenders, so you might not find anyone who has actually proved my thesis.

Can we generalize what tire width the faster randonneurs are using on long brevets ? I have little experience with wider tires, as my bike only takes 23 and 25 mm , for which I've ridden close to double centuries . I imagine I would be happier on 28 to 33mm or even wider, but it's all theoretical to me.

Lots of lightweight endurance road bikes now take 28 mm tires, so perhaps I'm looking in the wrong direction (e.g. Specialized
Diverge) if all I need is a 28mm.
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Old 09-11-17, 07:20 PM   #4
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With its ability to accept wider tires and fenders, including 650 B wheels, as well as lower gearing options such as 48/32 chain rings and 11-32 cassette (IIRC) as well as microsuspension in the front and fancy suspension seatpost in the back, this seems to me like it would be a good option for lightweight long-distance road riding, even though it is marketed as a gravel / partial off road bike. Thoughts on this bike versus the Roubaix for doing well on 600km + brevets ?

My question doesn't include value proposition or longetivity of design, let's assume someone else was paying for the bike, be it this one or a custom steel Rando bike, and that you were switching bikes every five or so years .
I have both an older Roubaix and the new Diverge. TLDR: They're about the same.


I haven't done any 600ks lately, and have no interest in 650B so get your grains of salt ready.

I picked up the Diverge Comp a few weeks ago (E5 frame with 105, mechanical disc, standard seatpost), and put relatively skinny tires on it (25c Conti Grand Prix). Longest ride so far is 50 miles, on a mix of road and dirt. Both bikes have the same fit (which is a bit in transition right now).

General plan is for it to be a backup for my Roubaix, as well as for credit card touring, bad weather bike etc.

If you're considering an aluminum version: The Diverge transmits a bit more road buzz, is more stable, has a slightly wider turning circle. It's only a pound or two heavier. They seem to be around the same stiffness. Although I slightly prefer the ride feel of the Roubaix, I don't think I'd go for a CF Diverge.

The front suspension doesn't do much for road buzz. It seems designed more for bigger bumps, though obviously it won't be as good as a true suspension fork. Keep in mind that new Roubaix has the same fork design and seatpost option.

Neither one has eyelets for a rack. IMO that's a bigger oversight for the Diverge than the Roubaix.

The biggest question mark at the moment is whether the Roubaix is faster in a way that's detectable on long rides. In particular, the stock wheels are made more for gravel than brevets, and are on the heavy and chunky side. Then again, you'd probably want custom wheels for a 600k anyway, so....

End result, I don't think there is a huge difference between the two. I'd probably go Roubaix for tarmac use, and Diverge if you plan to do some gravel riding.
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Old 09-11-17, 07:29 PM   #5
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Can we generalize what tire width the faster randonneurs are using on long brevets ?
Maybe

This is not exactly new, but in 2007, Bicycle Quarterly did a survey of PBP riders. What they found was that time at controls was a bigger variable than equipment choices. They also suggest that riders with fenders (and without Camelbaks) seemed more likely to finish.
http://postrestant.co.uk/wp-content/...quipsurvey.pdf
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Old 09-11-17, 08:01 PM   #6
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Maybe

This is not exactly new, but in 2007, Bicycle Quarterly did a survey of PBP riders. What they found was that time at controls was a bigger variable than equipment choices. They also suggest that riders with fenders (and without Camelbaks) seemed more likely to finish.
http://postrestant.co.uk/wp-content/...quipsurvey.pdf
That is a very nice article, thanks for sharing.

My takeaway is that gear choice is an output of the rider's mindset; it's that mindset that has the greatest impact on their outcome, rather than the gear itself. Randonneuring is a head game.
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Old 09-11-17, 08:18 PM   #7
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I have done the vast majority of my long distance (and other) rides on 25s and 23s.

I'll go to slightly wider tyres if the route contains stretches of gravel like our upcoming Ranelagh Ramble 100K.
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Old 09-11-17, 09:43 PM   #8
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There are high performance tires of any size. I know one rando that is very fast and rides 30mm tires. I know others that ride 44mm tires. But I see a lot of racing bikes that probably will not take anything bigger than a 28mm, and they are probably running 23 or 25mm tires.
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Old 09-12-17, 07:44 AM   #9
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Equipment choices are not that important relative to fitness. I rode a 600k last weekend where about 25 riders stared. Half of those were riding the 600k and the other half just the first 400k. I was out front with a group of 3 400k riders for most of the day until they started lingering longer than I prefer at the controls. Bikes were a custom 650b (42c), aluminum racing (25c), aluminum endurance (28c), and a touring bike (32c), so while anything can work, I can’t recall seeing any gravel bikes on the brevets I have done. In fact, several other riders I have talked to, myself included, also have a gravel bike that they don’t use for brevets. Must-haves for me on a long brevet are low gears and fenders, because I ride hilly brevets and don’t like road spray. If I had to choose between the Roubaix and the Diverge for long brevets, I’d get the Diverge because of the gearing and fender clearance. Realistically I wouldn’t get either because I think there are better choices out there.
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Old 09-12-17, 02:30 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the responses, very helpful.

Kingston - what other options, in terms of bikes, do you think are preferable?
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Old 09-12-17, 03:31 PM   #11
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This Velo Routier would be on the short list along with a few touring bikes that would be ready off the peg with fenders and low gears, but those are just my preferences. You will see just about every kind of bike on actual brevets.
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Old 09-13-17, 02:26 AM   #12
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what other options, in terms of bikes, do you think are preferable?
Back when I started randonneuring, bicycles that fell under the heading of "sport-touring" were popular.

Sport-touring were sort of a cross between a racing frame and a touring frame.
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Old 09-17-17, 03:58 PM   #13
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So, I did an informal test to compare the bikes, doing 55 mile rides. There were a few differences (e.g. weather, fewer stops on the Diverge ride) and many similarities (same position, same tires, same tire pressure, same route, etc). While this is certainly not a scientific test, there was essentially no difference in terms of performance. (In comparison, for those distances, cross and touring bikes seem to lose a bit of time.)

I also noticed that the Diverge can't use standard fenders, you have to use proprietary Specialized "Plug and Play" fenders.

IMO the Diverge has a small edge over the Roubaix. It's a little better set up for gravel; you can fit wider tires; it's easier to fit a rack, and can take normal-sized fenders (albeit proprietary); the geometry is a little more stable; aluminum frame options (if that matters).

For rides 160k - 200k, either one will work. Beyond that, you might want something set up better for fenders and racks, and with a less racy geometry. Or not.
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