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2018 Specialized Diverge vs Sequoia

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2018 Specialized Diverge vs Sequoia

Old 07-05-17, 01:48 PM
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Boehmer
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2018 Specialized Diverge vs Sequoia

There are some comparisons between the new Diverge and Sequoia sprinkled on other forums, but would be interested to lay out opinions here, particularly from owners of either or from those who have ridden either/both.

Looking for an all-arounder/pavement/gravel/multi-surface bike for the Bay Area (~60/40 road/gravel). My LBS has a Sequoia Elite on the floor, which I've ridden, and am torn between taking it home or waiting for delivery of the 2018 Diverge Sport (carbon w/ Tiagra). Love the versatility of the Sequoia and came into this search believing I wanted steel. Like the ride, tire clearance, and fit is fine, though I'd prefer a bit more stack for this type of bike (Diverge). Seems like it would make a great everything bike. Primary knock on it is the weight - I'm no weight weenie, but was surprised how heavy it is, and fear that I may quickly get sick of pushing it up the hills of Marin.

Some key questions: How's Sequoia on road? gravel? smooth single track? How disappointed are owners in the weight after riding for a bit? How does the Diverge fare on the same gravel? Is the Sequoia "twitchy" due to the high bb? Does the lower bottom bracket add significant stability to the diverge? Is the bottom bracket too low for gravel/fire roads/moderate single track? Does the tire clearance difference matter (recommended max 45 vs 42). If you aren't bikepacking/touring, is there any real reason to get the Sequoia over the new Diverge, given the wider tire clearance on the new Diverge?

Sequoia: Pros - steel, durable, classic looking, no gimmicky future shock, slightly better tire clearance, higher bottom bracket may be better off-pavement, smooth ride, better spec (but this is not that important to me at this stage), and it's ready to take home today. Cons - higher bottom bracket may reduce descending stability, heavy, would prefer slightly more stack

Diverge: Pros - carbon, lighter, better on pavement in theory, future shock helps on gravel (maybe?), lower bottom bracket for stability, fit appears a bit better on paper. Cons - might prefer steel for gravel/off road, worse off pavement in theory, future shock might be gimmicky and short-lived (and it's ugly), less tire clearance, worse spec but upgrade worthy frame down the road, not in stock and don't yet have an estimated ship date on the carbon tiagra version.
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Old 07-05-17, 02:04 PM
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I haven't ridden either of those bikes, but my instincts tell me that Sequoia is going to be a classic. Seems slightly overpriced, but...

I think one way to think about is "do you prefer 30mm tires or 42mm tires?". The Sequoia comes with those wide rims and and 42mm tires.
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Old 07-05-17, 03:33 PM
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Pretty sure the Diverge will fit 40's.
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Old 07-05-17, 03:41 PM
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Specialized says the new Diverge will take up to 42's (comes with 38's), and the Sequoia will take up to 45's (comes with 42's); . I've seen people online putting 50's on the Sequoia, albeit with tight clearance. I haven't seen much info out there on the *actual* clearance on the 2018 Diverge.
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Old 07-05-17, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Boehmer View Post
Specialized says the new Diverge will take up to 42's (comes with 38's), and the Sequoia will take up to 45's (comes with 42's); . I've seen people online putting 50's on the Sequoia, albeit with tight clearance. I haven't seen much info out there on the *actual* clearance on the 2018 Diverge.
I thought the Diverge came with 30mm tires. But also (based on reading, not riding) the Sequoia comes with 25mm (internal) wide rims. and the Diverge comes with 21mm (internal) wide rims. Wider and heavier vs. skinnier and lighter. Taste great, less filling.
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Old 07-05-17, 04:35 PM
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Just looking quickly at geometry for the 56, the Sequoia seems pretty stretched out. Also a high bb, which to me makes it more difficult to get on and off.
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Old 07-06-17, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Just looking quickly at geometry for the 56, the Sequoia seems pretty stretched out. Also a high bb, which to me makes it more difficult to get on and off.
The Sequoia is definitely long and low for a gravel/light touring bike, and Specialized I think recognizes this which is why they spec it with their 'hover' bars which add 15 mm of stack. I imagine this allowed them to improve the geometry in other ways, for example the first thing that jumps out at me is much better standover compared to a lot of other gravel type bikes.

To the OP, I think your decision comes down to whether you want to do some bikepacking or light touring which the Sequoia will be better for. I wouldn't worry too much about the weight, 3-4 pounds sounds like a lot but if you run the numbers it doesn't actually affect things all that much. You can play with some calculators around the web, but for example on a 5%, 5 km gradient you are only 18 seconds slower by adding 2 kg (Can't post links but I like the analyticcycling calculator). I've read the stock Sequoia wheels are very heavy so you can probably drop a pound or so off the bike by upgrading the wheels.
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Old 07-06-17, 08:57 AM
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While the Sequoia bb is higher than the Diverge bb, the Sequoia does not have a high bb in general. It's lower than most mtb bb's and many cx and road bike bb's. The Diverge has a much lower bb than usual so it just looks like the Sequoia has a "high" bb in comparison. I've found that the Sequoia's bb drop is the best for my mixed 50/50 on/off road riding. That bb drop is very stable in both conditions. No, I do not have a Sequoia or Diverge but have a Roger that has similar geo to the Sequoia.
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Old 07-06-17, 09:30 AM
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For Marin riding I'd want the Sequoia, with bigger tire capability to throw in rougher fire road sections.

I rode my AWOL from Terra Linda to Bolinas, all on pavement, and loved it. I also rode Loma Alta and the 680 trail and the AWOL was great. Its a heavy bike tho.
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Old 07-06-17, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
For Marin riding I'd want the Sequoia, with bigger tire capability to throw in rougher fire road sections.

I rode my AWOL from Terra Linda to Bolinas, all on pavement, and loved it. I also rode Loma Alta and the 680 trail and the AWOL was great. Its a heavy bike tho.
Appreciate the feedback - good to hear from someone who is riding Marin fire roads. Would you go Sequoia purely based on tire clearance? Or other reasons too? Given the 2018 Diverge can run up to 42's vs the Sequoia 45's, I suspect there wouldn't be much difference in that regard in practice as I'd probably end up running 40's or 42's on either bike.
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Old 07-06-17, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by rec View Post
While the Sequoia bb is higher than the Diverge bb, the Sequoia does not have a high bb in general. It's lower than most mtb bb's and many cx and road bike bb's. The Diverge has a much lower bb than usual so it just looks like the Sequoia has a "high" bb in comparison. I've found that the Sequoia's bb drop is the best for my mixed 50/50 on/off road riding. That bb drop is very stable in both conditions. No, I do not have a Sequoia or Diverge but have a Roger that has similar geo to the Sequoia.
Thanks for the feedback. Would you suspect the Diverge bb would be too low for off road riding? Off road / gravel etc is all pretty new territory for me.
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Old 07-06-17, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Boehmer View Post
Appreciate the feedback - good to hear from someone who is riding Marin fire roads. Would you go Sequoia purely based on tire clearance? Or other reasons too? Given the 2018 Diverge can run up to 42's vs the Sequoia 45's, I suspect there wouldn't be much difference in that regard in practice as I'd probably end up running 40's or 42's on either bike.
I run Trigger Sport 47s on my AWOL. Tire size is a big deal for me as I like to run them a little soft for dirt. My understanding is the Sequoia has a bit more off-road oriented geometry. But dont really know about this.

Mainly for me, I prioritize versatility over pavement performance. Any bike can run skinnier tires, but I like the option to go fatter.

I grew up riding Marin roads, but only get back there occasionally.
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Old 07-06-17, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Boehmer View Post
Thanks for the feedback. Would you suspect the Diverge bb would be too low for off road riding? Off road / gravel etc is all pretty new territory for me.

No, not too low for off road. It's only 15mm (5/8") lower than the Sequoia. You will have to be more careful cornering to not scrape a pedal. That said, I prefer the Sequoia because it has more braze-ons, doesn't have the future shock, and has a lower stack height.
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Old 07-07-17, 05:24 PM
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I want to know who the pinhead is in the Specialized engineering department who seems intent on making Specialized's BBs lower with each iteration of every bike. The 2017 Diverge was near perfect aside from tire clearance and somebody had to try and make it possible to touch your heel down while pedaling on smooth road on the 2018 version. Maybe somebody regraded all the dirt roads and singletrack in Silicon Valley around their HQ and they forgot about pedal strikes, or perhaps Flintstone brakes are making a comeback and they want to get ahead of the curve. Regardless, I'm definitely going to need a thorough demo before I can convince myself to purchase what had been the leading candidate for my next bike. It's one thing to clip the ground with a pedal on a mtb, but getting surprised that way when in the drops at 30kph is not on my bucket list.

I did test ride the Sequoia Expert and came away feeling underwhelmed. Maybe it was the Cannondale Slate and the SuperX with 29x1.8 Renegades that I had as points-of-comparison yesterday, but the Sequoia felt sluggish. (Perhaps I shouldn't hop on such toys when shopping for an all-day do-it-all bike but they were there and ready-to-ride.) If I do go for a Sequoia, I would definitely be putting a lighter wheelset on it. Shedding a pound per wheel would certainly liven it up. I did get spoiled by that Lefty, however, so I do need to see how the Future Shock compares.
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Old 07-07-17, 05:42 PM
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ATPAH, it's interesting how folks like different geometries, thank goodness for choice! I like a low bb and have never had pedal strike on paved or dirt roads. I don't race, so no problem with not pedaling through corners. MTB, sure, when I wasn't paying attention or lacked the skill to avoid the offending rock or root. Actual CX racing bikes have higher bb than "gravel" bikes but I'm not sure why. What are you riding on dirt roads now, does it suit you?
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Old 07-09-17, 09:14 AM
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To each his own re: geometry, but FWIW, my custom road bike was built with 80mm BB drop, same as what the builder uses on his own cyclocross racing bike. I've done quite a bit of dirt road and light gravel on this bike with 32mm tires and have never had a pedal strike. The Diverge with 38mm tires should sit at about the same clearance and I can't imagine that being a problem for what I would use the bike for (50/50 paved/unpaved roads with maybe the occasional short section of smooth trail). I don't see this as a bike I would use for aggressive road riding with pedaling through turns at high lean angles or for rough singletrack where clearance for rocks and roots would be needed. I see the stability of a low BB as an asset for a gravel bike, not a problem. YMMV

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Old 07-09-17, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
ATPAH, it's interesting how folks like different geometries, thank goodness for choice! I like a low bb and have never had pedal strike on paved or dirt roads. I don't race, so no problem with not pedaling through corners. MTB, sure, when I wasn't paying attention or lacked the skill to avoid the offending rock or root. Actual CX racing bikes have higher bb than "gravel" bikes but I'm not sure why. What are you riding on dirt roads now, does it suit you?
I'm riding dirt roads on either a 5.5-inch travel FS MTB with 3-inch tires or a 1986 Bianchi with 27c tires, so when it comes to dirt roads, I'm pretty much in N+2 territory. I'll be test riding a Diverge soon, and I'll see for myself how the low BB behaves on the unimproved gravel roads necessary to link my local backroads to the more extensive gravel road networks in the next town over. I just felt like ranting on account of the FSR 6Fattie that I've been riding, which drags so low* that I've clipped 1.5-inch rocks when hammering fire roads. There will be way fewer surprises without FS, so I'm anxious for my Diverge test ride.

* So low also that the Big S is (as of this month) is selling replacement linkages that will raise the 6Fattie BB 6mm.
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Old 07-09-17, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ATPAH View Post
<<< I just felt like ranting on account of the FSR 6Fattie that I've been riding, which drags so low* that I've clipped 1.5-inch rocks when hammering fire roads >>>

* So low also that the Big S is (as of this month) is selling replacement linkages that will raise the 6Fattie BB 6mm.
Is this breaking news about the FSR replacement linkages? I have not heard of this and can't find anything about it on the internets. That would definitely be a welcome change for many people as the Stumpjumper FSR has a pretty low BB even with 29" tires.
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Old 07-09-17, 01:03 PM
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I'd heard they were coming, and somebody at MTBR said that his LBS had just ordered a few of them. I'm waiting to hear what it does to the HTA and the reach before I ask my LBS to do the same for me.
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Old 07-11-17, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Boehmer View Post
Thanks for the feedback. Would you suspect the Diverge bb would be too low for off road riding? Off road / gravel etc is all pretty new territory for me.
It would for me - I struggle with anything lower than 70mm, as I'll end up with pedal strike sooner or later. That lifts the rear wheel off the pavement and makes for a real handling mess.

But, I corner aggressively - and those here that are more of the touring vintage would love the lower BB. I'm certainly not going to have pedal strike from aggressive cornering in dirt/gravel (although rock/root strike could be an issue off road).
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Old 07-11-17, 12:08 PM
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To summarize:

Higher BB
Longer reach to get your feet on the ground when stopping
More nimble handling (also allows shorter chain stays and a ridged and more responsive frame)
Less pedal strike in rough terrain or pedaling through a hard corner (paved)

If you like stability (ability to track better through tight turns (or even the ability to drift through dirt ) vs the ability to quickly change direction and jump into/out of a turn), low can be the way to go. Especially if you don’t have pedal strike and don’t mind slightly sluggish handling/acceleration.

Roughly speaking, 70mm drop is typical for a road bike. My track bike is 50mm (so it can corner at a 45 degree angle with no pedal strike). Cross bikes are typically in between those numbers, although recently they have been getting closer to 70mm. Some of the gravel bikes are getting closer to 80mm drop. Pretty low.
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Old 07-11-17, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Actual CX racing bikes have higher bb than "gravel" bikes but I'm not sure why.
Mostly because with riding with clips on your pedal you had to do a few pedal strokes to get up to speed, and those things would bang on the ground. Those days are long gone, and BB on cyclocross bikes in general have dropped down to the ~70mm range like a road bike.

A race bike for road or cyclocross needs to put the power down in a corner, and pedal strike is not your friend. just background, not so relevant here...
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Old 07-16-17, 06:30 PM
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I was riding a 2018 Diverge Comp E5 the other day. The bike was a size or two too small for a me. I had a pedal strike...could this be because of the size mismatch? Is there any well known effect that more lean is required for larger riders to turn on a small bike?
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Old 07-16-17, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by scurrier View Post
I was riding a 2018 Diverge Comp E5 the other day. The bike was a size or two too small for a me. I had a pedal strike...could this be because of the size mismatch? Is there any well known effect that more lean is required for larger riders to turn on a small bike?
No, the new Diverge's just have a loooow bottom bracket.
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Old 07-21-17, 09:35 PM
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I have about 1000 miles on a Sequoia (basically built up using an entry-level frame and custom everything else). The original wheelset that comes with the lower 2 models of Diverge is the Hayfield. Hayfield, translated, means "boat anchor". If you like riding a bike with manhole covers for wheels, then no problem. Otherwise, budget an extra bit of coin for your Sequoia purchase. I'm not sure if the Elite comes with the carbon or the steel fork. The bottom model comes with the steel fork. That's another set of boat anchors. I replaced the Hayfield wheels with a set of I9 Trail 245s and the steel fork with a Whiskey 9, and went Force for the drivetrain, 22 lbs with XT race pedals. The drivetrain on the Elite is the 48/32 Praxis with the 105, same as the Diverge Comp. I was pretty impressed with it (more than I expected). Shifted great, wasn't particularly noisy at all.

It is a lot "racier" of a geometry than I expected. Fun bike to ride, but it's not a singletrack slayer by any stretch.

I did a lot of testing the new Diverge and ended up putting $$$ down on one. The Diverge itself is a lot quicker and lighter, and a lot more "comfortable", i.e. more upright. Neither bike is really good for singletrack to be honest (I have a Salsa Cutthroat for that), both are good/excellent for gravel, and I didn't notice the lower BB to be an issue with the Diverge, although I ride a full suspension MTB and I almost never pedal strike anymore as a result (As opposed to constant pedal strikes when I first started riding a full suspension). If you aren't used to riding a full suspension MTB, you may or may not have issues with the Diverge off-road.

I'll say this much, both are fun as heck, but I wouldn't really want to race either of them in a cylocross race, for a few reasons. I'd definitely take the Diverge for the Dirty Kanzaa though.

Ultimately, your question:
"If you aren't bikepacking/touring, is there any real reason to get the Sequoia over the new Diverge, given the wider tire clearance on the new Diverge?"

I don't really think so. The extra few mm of width in the tires isn't going to matter nearly as much as the geometry
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