The Scott Speedster Gravel 10 and Specialized Diverge Comp E5, are the two all-star gravel bikes, that we’ve summoned to go head-to-head. Scott and Specialized are both eager to puff their chests’ when it comes to claiming the best in the industry trophy. But which brand has it all together when it comes to gravel-bikes?
We’ve tested and thrashed both the Speedster Gravel 10 and Diverge Comp E5. The bikes are 2018 models of-course; and compete in the same price category. All two bikes, equally drove hard bargains’ during our tests. Nonetheless, there is one which we found to be more enhanced than the other.
Which has better frame tech?
The Scott Speedster Gravel 10 rolls out, with an alloy frame and rigid carbon fork. It features gravel-grinding specific dropper bars from Syncros, which give the bike a tailored feel. All while managing to weigh in at 10.10kg in total bike weight.
The Diverge is no stranger to frame innovation. Specialized, on the same page, went with designing the bike with a carbon fork and a lightweight aluminium frame. The 20mm Future Shock aims to suspend the rider, and soak up vibrations. While it does add slightly more weight to the bike, the Diverge Comp E5 maintains a weight of 9.8kg.
In the frame technology category, it’s clear, that the Specialized Diverge Comp E5 is a better elective. Since its essentially lighter, yet still performs with some great technological perks.
Which has better components?
At first glance, there seems to be very little between the components that you can differentiate by. A Shimano 2×11 drivetrain for both bikes, yet slightly different crank-sets. There’s not much difference between the wheel-sets either, besides the brand name.
The elephant in the room came up on the Diverge, however. Specialized have not applied hydraulic disc brake technology to the bike itself. Instead they went with weaker cable disc brakes. Which we suspect was to bring down the price tag a little. Needless to say your hands work overtime with the cable disc brakes, and it’s something that we would change.
While the Scott Speedster Gravel 10 definitely has hydraulic disc brakes, it also takes a leap ahead of the Diverge, with its 700x35mm tires. The Specialized has a 700x30mm tire size. Sure the sizing difference is not that hectic, but when it comes to gravel, you’ll appreciate that extra bit of rubber.
Components wise, we’re going with the Scott Speedster Gravel 10. Mainly because of the lack of stopping power on Diverge, and it just makes more sense to promote a bike that has more functional components.
Which has better geometry?
The Scott Speedster Gravel 10 sticks with more of a classic road bike geometry, with a 73-degree head-angle and 73.5-degree seat-tube angle. On the other hand, the Specialized Diverge has been developed with a more modern geometry. Featuring a slacker, 72.5-degree head-angle, and 73.5-degree seat angle.
For sole off-road riding, the Specialized Diverge Comp E5 does appear more appealing in terms of its slacker geometry. However, in the sense of open gravel roads, scattered with sections of tar here and there, the Scott Speedster Gravel 10 would be our choice in this category.
Which bike rides better?
The Specialized Diverge Comp E5 puts quite a lot pressure on your hands as the rider. Despite having the forgiveness supplied by the FutureShock, the cable disc brakes, tend to strain your hands. Thus costing vital amounts of energy when applying braking pressure.
There are some up sides to riding the Diverge, however. Its more capable over rough terrain, and you can still get a stiff ride out of it on the road. Despite having a more relaxed ride feel, the bike feels somewhat punchy, when tackling climbs.
The Scott Speedster Gravel 10 provides significantly more comfort on the ride, compared to the Diverge. The gravel-bike specific bars, have a wider design, allowing you to get decent leverage over the bike’s handling. However, the bike does keep you on your toes, due to the fact that it doesn’t feature any form of suspension.
Slightly wider wheels on the Scott chewed up mileage and gave the bike a more stable ride. One could also hardly tell if you were riding an alloy frame or not, as the weight of the frame didn’t affect the bike’s persevering nature.
Consequently, if we were put into the positon of choosing between the Specialized Diverge Comp E5 or the Scott Speedster Gravel 10. We’d be assured enough to know that piloting the Scott along gravel roads, is the ideal.
The Final Word:
Best Frame Tech: Specialized Diverge Comp E5
Best Spec/Components: Scott Speedster Gravel 10
Best Geometry: Scott Speedster Gravel 10
Best Ride: Scott Speedster Gravel 10
Best Overall Gravel Bike: Scott Speedster Gravel 10
There are very minor details in performance that split these two all-star gravel bikes. However, the compromise on the Diverge comes from the lack of stooping power. Which, if you think about it, contradicts the whole purpose of the FutureShock.
The Scott Speedster Gravel 10 is a better choice in this price category. Its recommended retail price is R28 000, with some retailers willing to drop the price slightly. On the Specialized Diverge Comp E5, we have a recommended retail price tag of R26 000, which leaves room to spend on upgrades if you want.