I could probably just quote Ryan and be done with this review, but that wouldn’t give you all the details, the nuances and things I love about this bike. It does however, cut to the chase and tells you how much I dig how this bike shreds.
He said, “I’ve never seen Lukas so excited about a bike.” That was accurate. I was ecstatic after my first rip.
I’m following the white ribbon that is the Bear Claw Poppy early on a Saturday morning. The BCP isn’t typically one of my go-to trails, but I had a new bike, a new Diverge to be exact, and this trail seemed like the perfect place to take it for its first ride.
I brought my dog Jax along as a witness.
Heading up the Micro Loop, the first thing I notice is how smooth the bike is. The obvious is the Future Shock. I had high expectations having spent some time on a Roubaix and I was not let down. What surprised me was how smooth the rest of the bike is. I could feel myself getting ready to take the impact of a small rock that the front had just swallowed and then not feel anything. It took me most of the ride to get over this and not tense up for hits that didn’t come.
As I veered from the main trail and began to climb up Jay’s Wash, I came around a corner leading into one of the many quick ups. I stand up and stomp on the cranks, the bike catapults forward making me giggle. There is a serious headwind as I make my way up to the top of Stucki. You could call it new bike legs, but it felt like the Diverge was climbing the hills by itself.
And then for the best part yet, the downhill.
This bike rips. It’s confidence inspiring. It wants to go fast and hard. And it really likes to jump.
That tailwind that had been in my face on the uphill was now pushing me down Stucki. The bike hugged the corners and gave me the confidence to let it rip. I dropped the saddle and got one of my fastest times back to the BCP. At the junction, I run into couple of peeps and stop to chat. They ask about the bike as I’m the only one out here with curly bars. I can barely contain my excitement.
Getting back to the trailhead was the most fun shred of the claw that I have experienced. It handled everything like a champ. The Acid Drops, Clavicle Hill and all the lower ups and downs. Absolutely stellar.
Back to the car, Jax was dead, not something that is easy to do and I was grinning from ear to ear wishing I had time for several more laps.
I’ve now had this bike for several months and have put it through it’s paces pretty hard. These are the thing I love about it.
Big tires. Those skinwalls are 47 mm wide and still have room for rock/mud shedding. In our dry climate, you could probably get away with even a little bit bigger.
Ride quality. This bike is smooth in all the right ways and yet jumps forward any time you put down some power. The front end is stiff enough to handle high speed, bumpy corners and the Future Shock handles the rough stuff better than I expected.
Aesthetics. This bike is pretty. The color is almost a patina and the best part, it looks even better with some Poppy dust on it. Less washing, more riding.
Shifting. The Red AXS is what you would expect. It shifts quickly and flawlessly. I’ve been super stoked on how long the battery lasts. I usually go a few months and then charge it despite it saying it doesn’t need it just cuz. I love that I can customize what shifter does what. I have mine set up so the way the paddle moves is the way the rear derailleur moves. It works for my brain.
Dropper. In my humble opinion, dropper seatposts are more important than any other aspect of a bike when you are trying to get shreddy. The 50mm of drop that the X-Fusion post offers is perfect. It gets the saddle out of the way but is still close enough to full up to be able to pedal requiring less up and down. It’s basically full extension or in cruise mode.
And the Cons
Brake Lever Throw. After playing with the reach, height and angle of the brake levers, I cannot find a sweet spot. For them to be in the right spot for the drop, I can’t use them from the hoods effectively and vice versa. I have opted for drop bar access because that is where things get rowdy. In my opinion, the Red shift paddle could be about 1/3 of the size putting it closer to many of SRAM’s past shift paddles and this problem would be fixed.
Dropper Post Lever. I love the dropper, but the lever not so much. Again, I have tried every position that I can conceive and while some of them “work” none of them are rad. I haven’t found a spot or orientation that allows for easy, quick use of the post. Luckily, the drop is short enough to allow you to still pedal and vice versa. I find myself lowering it as soon as I’m headed downhill and leaving it there until I need to spin again.
Headset Adjustment. This is a bit nitpicking, but the Future Shock does make the headset a bear to adjust. Once you’ve done it several times, it’s pretty straight forward. Luckily, once done correctly, you shouldn’t need to do it again.
I feel super privileged to have this bike. Several months later, I still love this bike. It always makes me smile which is my benchmark. If I go for a ride and don’t giggle to myself at some point, it wasn’t a good ride. I’ve had zero of those rides on this bike.
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