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Alley, Diverge, or something else?

Old 05-02-20, 09:46 PM
  #1  
phatcatkev
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Alley, Diverge, or something else?

Hi BikeForums!

First time poster here. A few years ago I purchased a Specialized Crosstrail Sport with the idea that I would be using it on some beginner mountain bike trails and also around the city for exercise. Fast forward 2.5 years and I am really just now starting to ride it consistently (7-10 miles a day) and Iím riding 95% of my time on the pavement. The other 5% of the time is on minor dirt/gravel. However, I NEVER ride on mountain bike trails like I thought.

Ive realized that the crosstrail is maybe not the best bike for me. I want to go faster and have a bike that climbs easier. Iíve never risen a road bike, but Iíd like to go that route. Iíd prefer to not break the bank, but Iíve narrowed my search down to an Allez and a Diverge but am open to other suggestions. This will just be a bike for exercise and max 20-30 mile rides.

Concerns with the Allez
- next to no versatility
- not as stable of a ride (again, never had a road bike)

Concerns with the Diverge
- too similar to the crosstrail
- will leave me wanting a road bike
- no LBS have the entry level model

any thoughts?
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Old 05-02-20, 10:12 PM
  #2  
veganbikes
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Diverge is similar to the Crosstrail in that they are both bikes and can do some off road. That is about it. They are two very different bikes. The Crosstrail is heavy for a hybrid and not really designed as a mountain bike and the suspension doesn't lock out (at least on the more recent models). The Diverge is designed as a gravel road bike and if you wanted a flat bar version the Sirrus X is a bit closer but different geo. However my choice would be to see if they have an old Sequoia Elites (Specialized had a few left as of early last week in a few sizes) I would also check out the Jamis Renegade S3 or higher or Expat or higher (depending on model year). Steel is real.

I would avoid the base model in just about anything unless it is a higher end bike to start with. Usually the cheapest components they use are a big turn off and certainly won't shift well for long if they shift well at all. Sometimes the brakes can be OK because in some cases they use TRP Spyres which are decent.

You will have a tough time finding much of anything these days unless your local shop has been stocking up like we have. A lot of shops who said "we will just order as needed" are going to be out because many distributors are out.
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Old 05-02-20, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Diverge is similar to the Crosstrail in that they are both bikes and can do some off road. That is about it. They are two very different bikes. The Crosstrail is heavy for a hybrid and not really designed as a mountain bike and the suspension doesn't lock out (at least on the more recent models). The Diverge is designed as a gravel road bike and if you wanted a flat bar version the Sirrus X is a bit closer but different geo. However my choice would be to see if they have an old Sequoia Elites (Specialized had a few left as of early last week in a few sizes) I would also check out the Jamis Renegade S3 or higher or Expat or higher (depending on model year). Steel is real.

I would avoid the base model in just about anything unless it is a higher end bike to start with. Usually the cheapest components they use are a big turn off and certainly won't shift well for long if they shift well at all. Sometimes the brakes can be OK because in some cases they use TRP Spyres which are decent.

You will have a tough time finding much of anything these days unless your local shop has been stocking up like we have. A lot of shops who said "we will just order as needed" are going to be out because many distributors are out.
thanks for all the insight! What are the benefits of steel?
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Old 05-03-20, 08:55 AM
  #4  
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I hate that saying "steel is real" because it means nothing. Frames can be made from wood, bamboo, aluminum, titanium, magnesium, steel and carbon fiber and they all can be good. They have different ride characteristics, but one is no better than the other. You may have a preference but lets face it all frame material is "real". Steel is real makes a cute rhyme but that is about it.

The difference between the two bikes you listed are one is more of go fast/race bike (not that you have to race with it) and the other is a more relaxed geometry endurance bike that can take larger tires. If you want the one that "feels" faster than the Allez it is. It won't be actually faster but that is for a different thread. If had to chose between those two for what you said you would like to do, the Allez is the one.

For the record I do own steel bikes and had a custom bike made from steel. I chose steel not because it is inherently better but because I like the small sizes of the tubes and I love lugs. I also own a carbon fiber bike and think that it rides well but is not as good looking as a steel bike made with lugs.
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Old 05-03-20, 09:29 AM
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Steel has taken on a steampunk cachet of late, in the vein of "vinyl is real," "tube amps are real," etc. You can safely ignore choice of frame material as a consideration. Millions of people ride and enjoy bikes built of all the different frame materials.

With respect to choosing between the Allez and the Diverge, consider what level of effort you're likely to want to maintain for most of your riding. If you're looking at the equivalent of brisk walking to moderate jogging = your Crosstail. Pavement or gravel, somewhat harder effort = Diverge. Pavement only, training-level effort = Allez.

Last edited by Trakhak; 05-03-20 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 05-03-20, 10:09 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by phatcatkev View Post
Hi BikeForums!

First time poster here. A few years ago I purchased a Specialized Crosstrail Sport with the idea that I would be using it on some beginner mountain bike trails and also around the city for exercise. Fast forward 2.5 years and I am really just now starting to ride it consistently (7-10 miles a day) and Iím riding 95% of my time on the pavement. The other 5% of the time is on minor dirt/gravel. However, I NEVER ride on mountain bike trails like I thought.

Ive realized that the crosstrail is maybe not the best bike for me. I want to go faster and have a bike that climbs easier. Iíve never risen a road bike, but Iíd like to go that route. Iíd prefer to not break the bank, but Iíve narrowed my search down to an Allez and a Diverge but am open to other suggestions. This will just be a bike for exercise and max 20-30 mile rides.

Concerns with the Allez
- next to no versatility
- not as stable of a ride (again, never had a road bike)

Concerns with the Diverge
- too similar to the crosstrail
- will leave me wanting a road bike
- no LBS have the entry level model

any thoughts?
I really think one should test ride bikes and compare in person before buying. As that may not be possible at the moment, I have a suggestion to make your current ride a little faster and more "road-like".

First, get more supple tires. I'm guessing that you are riding the tires that came with it which look like they are probably Specialized Trigger Sport tires. Even though they don't have aggressive off-road tread it looks like they have "micro knobs" on the tread, and slightly larger knobs on the shoulders....blech!

When I bought my Charge Plug in 2015 it came with Kenda Small Block Eight tires, basically similar but without the shoulder knobs. I replaced those with Kenda Kwests, 700x38, same size as your current tires probably are.

The Kwests are popular, smooth ,round-shouldered street tires with minimal tread/siping and fairly soft, pliable sidewalls especially considering the current "tough-casing/anti-puncture" trend. THe Kenda Kwests made the bike fasters and more sure-footed on the street, especially in turns. They will do the same for your bike.

Second, get bar-ends, and not short ones. Your current bike has straight bars and bar-ends will let you stretch out forward into a slightly more aero position. which will help with speed. Some folks even mount them "inboard" which gives you more of a "jockey" position and tuck. I did that on my old MTB-based commuter for years.

Third, get some sort of foot retention, if your bike didn't come that way. Of course, most road-bike riders buy "clipless" pedals and dedicated cycling shoes to go with them. But many mountain bikers use strapless toe clips, and many commuters and vintage cyclists use toe clips with straps. That's what I do. They were good enough for decades of racers, and they are perfect for me. They're inexpensive and you can wear whatever shoes you want, although, I like firm-soled skate-board shoes.

The tires I mentioned are inexpensive, bar-ends are inexpensive, and toe-clips are inexpensive.

Short of buying a new bike, steps four & five would be replacing your suspension fork with either a locking unit or a solid, unsprung fork, and possibly changing the gearing up front if it is too low for cruising on the street. (That was the first thing I did when I bought my MTB for commuting back in 1997. I wish I had bikeforums back then).

But of all the possible modifications you could do smooth, supple tires will yield the biggest positive change...(and not skinnier, higher-pressure tires.)

Then, when shopping returns to normal, or near-normal, go test ride some bikes and pick one that "speaks" to you...it's out there.
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Old 05-03-20, 10:33 AM
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phatcatkev,

I was literally in the same exact position as you about 3 weeks ago. I had a 29'er mountain bike that I bought with aspirations of trail riding. After multiple years I noticed that trail riding just wasn't for me. I started using this big, heavy 29'er for street riding of about 10-15 miles a day. It didn't take long to realize that the mountain bike was not the correct tool for the job.

I too wanted to ride faster and be able to conquer hills a bit easier, rather than trying to avoid them since my 29'er was a single-speed. Like you, I never had prior experience with a road bike other than a fixed gear I had 10+ years ago (I don't think that really qualifies as a road bike). So I made the switch and quickly found out that the Specialized Allez "checks all the boxes" for me.

With being in the same in the boat as you, my opinion? Go test ride the Allez if possible. I did and quickly realized it was the right bike for me. It did take some time to get used to as it has a more aero seating position. The bike shop I bought it from did a great job of helping with the adjustments and even swapped on a shorter stem for me (60mm). Now that I have it set up to my liking, I couldn't be happier with the bike.

Last edited by bran1986; 05-03-20 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 05-03-20, 09:44 PM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I really think one should test ride bikes and compare in person before buying. As that may not be possible at the moment, I have a suggestion to make your current ride a little faster and more "road-like".

First, get more supple tires. I'm guessing that you are riding the tires that came with it which look like they are probably Specialized Trigger Sport tires. Even though they don't have aggressive off-road tread it looks like they have "micro knobs" on the tread, and slightly larger knobs on the shoulders....blech!

When I bought my Charge Plug in 2015 it came with Kenda Small Block Eight tires, basically similar but without the shoulder knobs. I replaced those with Kenda Kwests, 700x38, same size as your current tires probably are.

The Kwests are popular, smooth ,round-shouldered street tires with minimal tread/siping and fairly soft, pliable sidewalls especially considering the current "tough-casing/anti-puncture" trend. THe Kenda Kwests made the bike fasters and more sure-footed on the street, especially in turns. They will do the same for your bike.

Second, get bar-ends, and not short ones. Your current bike has straight bars and bar-ends will let you stretch out forward into a slightly more aero position. which will help with speed. Some folks even mount them "inboard" which gives you more of a "jockey" position and tuck. I did that on my old MTB-based commuter for years.

Third, get some sort of foot retention, if your bike didn't come that way. Of course, most road-bike riders buy "clipless" pedals and dedicated cycling shoes to go with them. But many mountain bikers use strapless toe clips, and many commuters and vintage cyclists use toe clips with straps. That's what I do. They were good enough for decades of racers, and they are perfect for me. They're inexpensive and you can wear whatever shoes you want, although, I like firm-soled skate-board shoes.

The tires I mentioned are inexpensive, bar-ends are inexpensive, and toe-clips are inexpensive.

Short of buying a new bike, steps four & five would be replacing your suspension fork with either a locking unit or a solid, unsprung fork, and possibly changing the gearing up front if it is too low for cruising on the street. (That was the first thing I did when I bought my MTB for commuting back in 1997. I wish I had bikeforums back then).

But of all the possible modifications you could do smooth, supple tires will yield the biggest positive change...(and not skinnier, higher-pressure tires.)

Then, when shopping returns to normal, or near-normal, go test ride some bikes and pick one that "speaks" to you...it's out there.
I have thought about this a lot...any recommendations for the foot retention?

also..going to ride a few early this week
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Old 05-04-20, 02:20 PM
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I was in a similar place last year was looking for something more road capable but as a bigger guy (getting smaller) I was scared of the tiny 25c tires and wanted something I could use on a dirt walking trail occasionally. I looked at the Diverge, Checkpoint, REI ARD models and the Topstone. In all honesty I probably liked the Checkpoint the most, but the deal I got on the topstone was hard to beat. I also bought some 32C road tires and have been quite happy. The next bike might be something racier but this was the right bike for me to get going as a novice roadie
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Old 05-04-20, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by phatcatkev View Post
thanks for all the insight! What are the benefits of steel?
Steel is a very comfortable and forgiving ride. Steel can have a livelier more springy quality so it helps absorb vibrations and bumps a lot better than stiffer materials. It is also very easy to repair just about anywhere in the world and can be pretty abused and keep going. If I get a dent in steel unless it is a super light S3 tubing (or similar) or something really thin walled I am not worried about a crack forming or it failing on me right away like I might with aluminum.

People who haven't ridden a quality steel bike just dismiss it because they haven't ridden it and may not fully understand it or just see it as heavy because that is what people have said. If it was a poor choice for frames they wouldn't have made frames from it for so long and continue to do so and people wouldn't keep buying them. Having 7 steel bikes 1 2 ti bikes and 2 aluminum bikes (though one I am selling) I enjoy the ride of steel and with modern steel it is even better. Steel is not just so vintage material it is still very much modern.
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Old 05-07-20, 02:27 PM
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Roubaix. Relaxed geometry, 28mm tires. Looked at Diverge and lots of road bikes. Test ride sold me on the Roubaix. Didnít hurt that it was a quantum leap from my Giant Roam 1, which is much like your Cross Trail.

Try it...youíll like it, I think.
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