Somewhat lost among Specialized’s more splashy drop-bar bikes is the Diverge. Described by Specialized representatives as a bike for 80 per cent road and 20 per cent off-road, the Diverge is more of an adventure bike than a Roubaix, but more of a road bike than a Sequoia.

This makes the Diverge a bit of a curiosity by Specialized’s standards. It is a very versatile higher-performance drop-bike without a specific purpose from a company that tends to build focused-performance bikes. (One could almost feel the company’s marketing department struggle with how to position it.)

For 2018, it appears that Specialized’s product team has decided to overhaul the Diverge, and give it a bit of a sharper edge. Seen above is a prototype of the 2018 Diverge currently undergoing testing by Specialized’s Ned Overend. Though he allowed me take a photo, Overend refused to provide any details or answer questions. But that won’t stop me from making some educated guesses about the new model.

Most obviously, the new Diverge receives the FutureShock suspension system that debuted in the 2017 Roubaix. With 20mm of travel suspending the handlebars, the FutureShock should enhance the Diverge’s smoothness.

Another Roubaix-influenced design change comes in the form of dropped seat stays, which now attach to the seat tube below the top tube. However, the Diverge uses a standard seat post clamp and not the Roubaix’s low-clamp design. Overend’s bike was equipped with Specialized famous/infamous CG-R seatpost which offers 18mm of vertical deflection.

A new cable management system that looks borrowed from Specialized’s mountain bikes provides compatibility with electronic and mechanical drivetrains, and, it would appear, dropper posts. Also new is the adoption of the flat-mount standard for disc-brake calipers.

Overend would not confirm, but the frame looks more svelte than the outgoing Diverge—though any weight savings may be offset by adding FutureShock—and I’d wager the 2018 Diverge can take a wider tires than the outgoing model: I’d guess a max width of around 40mm, give or take.

Based on Overend’s bike, some features are carried over from the outgoing model: thru-axles, 30mm OSBB, fender mounts, rack mounts at the fork, and three inserts in the downtube for mounting a bottle cage and Speciliazed’s SWAT storage box.

Notably absent from the new frame and fork: Zertz, the rubberized frame inserts that, Specialized claimed, damped vibrations.

Further details about the new Diverge, and other 2018 Specialized bikes, should be revealed at their June product launch.