Open U.P. vs. 2021 Specialized Diverge Pro

I’m a roadie interested in a gravel bike for 20-60 mile group rides on relatively hilly, mild to moderately loose stuff. The bike would ideal serve as a winter road rig as well but otherwise is exclusively gravel. If spec’d identically which is the better ride? Go…

Open. Not even a question.

  • Ah, ok… care to expand on why?

The geometry differences between them are worth noting. Not saying one is better than the other as an absolute, but it’s very likely that one may serve a person and their needs better than the other.

I have no idea what size the OP needs, but here is a range of 2 sizes in each bike (sorted by Reach dimenion, left to right):

  • Head Tube Angle, Wheelbase, Chainstay Length, and BB Drop are notably different, and may well lead to a very different feel. Again, neither is “right” on it’s own, but one may be better for each individual.

Then there’s the question of price, as I suspect there will be a difference (even with equal spec). Hard to compare since it seems OPEN U.P. is frame only, and Diverge is completes.

Edited above to include the larger frame sizes that are most likely here.

I’m 6"0 and currently ride a Tarmac.
Per Retul fit current handlebar stack from BB is 624mm and handlebar reach is 485mm.
For the sake of argument lets assume the prices are equal with equal spec.
I am of the impression the Open has more of a roadie geometry vs. new Diverge more MTB, true?
As someone coming off the road is it best to get something closer to the road rig or recognize that greavel is a different beast and accept the bikes shouldn’t feel the same?

BTW frame stack is 564mm and reach is 395mm

  • Correct, with the slight change from “MTB” to “Gravel”.
    • Notably, Spesh set the latest Diverge geo more like the modern MTB concept, with a longer Reach and Front Center, coupled with a shorter stem. Goal to keep the rider position similar to road, but give stability for looser and steeper terrain.
  • Highly individual.
    • Some roadies like a “roadie” gravel bike since the handling is more like what they know. Sharp steering and a more “on top” feel between the wheels.
    • Some roadies (especially those with little to no dirt riding experience) prefer a “graveL” geo since it makes the bike more stable in rough and looser dirt/gravel road conditions. The longer wheelbase and slacker geometry are more like MTB (so you comment above has merit with the Diverge design).

I have no idea what is right for anyone without more info. It can depend on your past experience, comfort level with a bike at the limit of traction, and actual road conditions you will see. “Gravel” is a HUGE range from pavement smooth dirt to huge and loose rocks. Each of those and the range between can lead someone to one geo vs another.

PS, Edited the post and link above to include the larger frame sizes that are most likely here.

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Thanks for a well thought out and insightful reply. I’m not sure it gets me closer to knowing what I should get (LOL) but it is great food for thought. The gravel in my new home (North Carolina) is what I would consider moderately loose (not like the packed crushed limestone I’m used to in the Midwest trails). My concerns are more stability and long ride comfort so that leans me to the diverge, but I test drove an expert level one the other day and it felt unresponsive, a bit sloshy like an old slipper as opposed to an uncomfortable new shoe. The aesthetics also didn’t rock my world the way the Open would, but I can see the appeal of the futureshock and SWAT storage.

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Yup, the D will feel “slow” for sure, even if you had identical tires and wheel between the bikes. Some may not like that, but the purpose is to make it more stable and predictable in “bad” conditions.

The discussion in the podcast is worth a parallel consideration:

It focuses on MTB, but the concept of getting a bike that is SUPER capable in tougher conditions (Diverge better than the OPEN) can give a rider more confidence to learn and improve. That is compared to “under-biking” with the OPEN and riding something that takes more skill to do the “same ride”. So the Diverge geometry is the “aid” in this instance (like the geo/tires in the MTB), with an aim to making difficult terrain easier and less scary.

Both can be ripped to a similar result, but what they demand from the rider, and the experience in doing so will vary.

I believe the open has faster geometry and also has more tire clearance. That makes it a no brainer to me.

  • Diverge max tire sizes:

    • 700c x 47mm
    • 650b x 2.1" - (no mm listed on the web)
  • U.P. max tire sizes:

    • 700c x 40mm
    • 650b x 2.1" [47mm] - (both values taken directly from their text on the web)
  • 700c for Diverge is wider, 650b is equal for both.

  • …and there in lies my ultimate point. Making a recommendation so short as your original, is lacking in rationale behind it, not to mention the potential that your needs/preferences (previously unstated) are polar opposites to the OP.

Making recommendations for others, it’s important to look at their needs and preferences more than yours.


I think you mentioned that your new home is NC, so this may not matter, but Diverge has mounts for fenders, and the OPEN does not. That would matter a lot to me, since I live in Seattle and think the bodged-on fenders are not a great long-term solution in terms of functionality or aesthetics.



I like bikes without gimmicks generally, but I know lots of people love the Diverge–I just couldn’t get used to the future shock. The Open, Stigmata, Ibis Hakka, etc., those are all great road bikes that happen to have generous tire clearance, which sounds like what you’re looking for.

I wouldn’t buy the Diverge without trying the futureshock for at least a 10-20 mile ride that covers some bumps, gravel, rough roads, etc. to get a feel for it first.

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Are fenders a thing in the gravel world? I never used to see them and hadn’t considered it a major variable.

Not at all, just keying on the part of your OP where you mentioned using it as a winter bike. For me, that means tons and tons of rainy rides, where full fenders are a necessity.


Great advice. My LBS will let me take a road bike out for a ride like that but aren’t keep on my doing it with a gravel bike on the tough stuff. I did take it out on a long grassy park and dint mind I don’t have access to an Open and would have to buy without a test ride.

I did say winter rides…good call.

hmm…so is it 2.1" or 47mm? I would contact Open for clarification about that if you are thinking of purchasing it and have any possibility of running 650b.

For anyone wondering…2.1 inches = 53.34mm so 6mm is a pretty big difference.

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Oh, trust me… I saw the discrepancy :stuck_out_tongue:

Their wording is interesting, and I combined both, assuming the MTB & R+ were effectively referencing 650b wheel (which is the only real conclusion, since 700c is also “MTB” in the 29er sense, but no chance that is what they mean here).

So I have no idea why they have it listed that way. Confusing for sure.

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Definitely interesting. I would have thought that you would be able to fit a larger road-ish tire than MTB tire just because of the additional knobs and such.

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I have 45s on my Diverge. It could fit 50s (700c).

In my experience, the FS does its job very well, and is not noticeable in any other way when you’re in the middle of a ride - you just pretty much forget that it’s there.

The newer generation has an adjustable damper that can change the FS to feel stiff vs “springy”. I leave it in the “springy” setting when I’m riding gravel, and adjust to the stiff setting when I’m on the road - when I remember.