Specialized 2016 Diverge vs. 2017 Roubaix - Why I Made The Switch

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a firm believer in the n+1 rule.  My wife....not so much. When I saw the new 2017 Roubaix on the shop floor and mentioned it casually to my wife, after the eye roll her response was that if I wanted it, at least one bike had to go to make room.

Many good rides were had on the Diverge.

Many good rides were had on the Diverge.

I make jokes all the time about my wife, aka the CFO, aka the boss, but in reality she's pretty awesome and doesn't blow off all of my random schemes or interests.  Her condition for all bikes in recent years is that I have to ride off the cost of the bike.  What that means is that I get one dollar per mile towards the bike.  In other words, if the bike cost 2000 dollars, I need to ride 2000 miles to pay off the bike.  It's pretty much a win win situation, I get a new bike and I get stronger/healthier so I can't complain about that.  If I wanted the Roubaix, the deal would be no different.

Having some single track fun with the Diverge rolling on slicks last fall...

Having some single track fun with the Diverge rolling on slicks last fall...

So why was I even considering another bike when I was thrilled with my Diverge Comp Carbon?  Specialized did some interesting things with the specs on the bike that created some issues when upgrading components.  Those specs made me nervous for the long term availability of replacement parts as well as roadside repairs at shops that aren't as well equipped as my LBS.  

Building a wheel set for the Diverge was also a hassle.  See, Specialized used this proprietary 'SCS' spacing which basically moved the wheel off center about 2-3mm for better shifting performance with shorter chain stays (don't quote me there).  This spacing caused a headache when I built my HED Belgium+ wheels (which I still have and love on the Roubaix) and I had to search all over the interwebs for ready-made spacers.  I didn't have a machinist or machine shop handy at the time.  Also, what happens when you drop a spacer while changing a flat on the side of the road (in tall grass)?  You spend 35 or so extra minutes looking for it of course.

I also upgraded the crankset to SRAM Red because of a creaking issue in the bottom bracket. Due to the large press fit bottom bracket, that was one of only a few choices where I didn't have to use any adapters to make the component work with the bike in stock form.  I'm not a fan of using adapters for anything.  To me, it's just adding in another point of potential failure.

A cold test ride of the Roubaix in February.

A cold test ride of the Roubaix in February.

At some point in February, with snow on the ground, I test rode a few bikes and decided to take the plunge.  I sold my Diverge at the same time I bought the Roubaix.  Thanks to my LBS, it was a pretty painless process other than the actual payment part.  That part hurt a bit.  The sale of the Diverge also reduced the number of miles I needed to pedal by the end of July, 2017 to 'pay off' the Roubaix.  

Pre-sale cleaning of the Diverge much to the dismay of the CFO...

Pre-sale cleaning of the Diverge much to the dismay of the CFO...

I went with the Roubaix Comp, a similar spec to the Diverge.  My reasoning for that spec over the Elite level was the hydraulic disc brakes, which are amazing by the way.  Plus, it was available in an awesome color that Specialized calls 'GLOSS BRIGHT YELLOW / MOTO ORANGE EDGE FADE /CLEAN'.  In person it looks like dark and light orange fade, but I'm a fan with or without the fancy name.  I've had many compliments on the color and I too like it much more than the highlighter yellow color on the Diverge.  I like the flat black or flat any color look as well, but I've found flat paint is much harder to clean and keep clean.  Gloss paint is the way to go for me when dealing with all of the gunk that ends up on your downtube from riding on roads in various stages of decay. (I forgot to mention another condition the CFO put in place: If the bike was to be ridden on the road, it had to be a bright color, no murdered out flat black paint and jet black Rapha kit for this spouse and father of two.  The CFO was a fan of the fancy bright orange paint as well)  

This was taken moments before the bike fell over.  Mental note: Don't use a empty water bottle to prop up your shiny new bike...

This was taken moments before the bike fell over.  Mental note: Don't use a empty water bottle to prop up your shiny new bike...

Do I regret the decision to switch out my main bike (I mostly ride on the road due to a dysfunctional relationship I have with poison ivy on MTB trails in the summer)?  Not for a second, I have come to like the bike even more than the Diverge.  It rides and has a geometry very similar to the Diverge, which is not a bad thing.  Also, the suspension components in the front and rear help reduce fatigue on the long rides I like to take (I'm not very fast, but I enjoy long distance rides).  

At first I thought the suspension components were a bit gimmicky, but after being much less tired and sore on the same triple century I did with the Diverge a year earlier, I'm sold.  I did ride more miles than last year so perhaps I was also more prepared, but on longer rides in general I seem to have less soreness in my back, neck and shoulders.  I would guess that has something to do with the 'Future Shock', lower seat clamp/seat stay height, and S-Works CG (Cobble Gobbler) seat post.

For complete transparency I did also change a few other things that helped provide a more comfortable ride, namely the Specialized Power saddle and HED Belgium+ wheels set up tubeless with S-Works Turbo 2bliss 26C tires.  I have been using Shimano XT SPD MTB pedals and Bontrager Cambion shoes with both bikes as well.

All in all, you can't go wrong with either bike and now with the introduction of the redesigned Diverge, they are very similar frame sets albeit with the Diverge allowing for a much larger 42C tire width (the Roubaix allows for up to a "32C", but the Roubaix 32C I tried didn't fit, go figure).  

I hesitate to go ride one of the new Diverge bikes, it may make me want to sell the Salsa Fargo and switch to an ultra light bikepacking setup, or maybe the Sequoia...hmmm...The n+1 wheels are always turning...

Smooth roads and wide bike lanes as far as the eye can see...or not...

Smooth roads and wide bike lanes as far as the eye can see...or not...

By the way, it is now August and the Roubaix is paid for in dollars and miles.  I'm currently paying off miles on a nice upgrade to the Roubaix that I'll get to in a future post.

As always, if you have any questions I did not cover in the post above, let me know and I'll answer them or find someone who can.