Back to the real stuff with one of the most popular gravel bikes around, the Specialized Diverge. Yes, you can get it for under 1,000$ if you go for the E5, mounting a Shimano Claris 8-speed groupset and Axis Sport Disc wheelset.
The Diverge by Specialized is a very sporty bike with a geometry slightly more compact than most competitors. It’s a responsive and agile bike that goes fast on tarmac and grinds the gravel pretty smoothly, with a max tire clearance of 42mm, pretty standard on gravel bikes.
You can think of the Diverge’s geometry as a road version of a modern trail bike. It cuts the corners and skids on dirt quite playfully but keeps stiffness up enough to satisfy your inner-racer.
To achieve this, Specialized lowered the bottom bracket (over a half-centimeter lower than the previous Diverge), slacked-out the head tube angle, shortened the chainstays and the overall wheelbase.
The aluminum frameset and carbon fiber fork are high quality, but for its geometry and general built, the Diverge is certainly not a bike meant to carry heavy loads.