Specialized’s latest bikes for Unbound Gravel 2023 are inspired by their Technical Support Team

Allison Tetrick, Matt Beers, and others will ride Specialized Diverge STR and Crux race bikes using the 1988 Support Team Livery.

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Specialized has made a bit of a habit of bringing custom-painted gravel bikes to Unbound Gravel. First, it was the Rockcombo and its painfully 80’s teal and cream paint. Then in 2022, their athletes raced on vibrant pink Diverge bikes based on the Team Stumpjumper.

This year, their bikes pay homage to the 1988 Specialized Technical Support program with custom-painted Diverge STR and Crux bikes.

(Image: Specialized)

According to Specialized’s own 1988 press release, the Technical Support team was a “highly recognized road and off-road Support Team that’s been at major cycling events the world over, providing neutral assistance to all racers – no matter if they’re at the front or back of the pack.”

Technical support is always a benefit at races, but the brown-red-orange-yellow striping of those support teams immediately reminds me of Specialized.

As mentioned, there are two different frames Specialized athletes are using at Unbound Gravel 2023: the Diverge STR with suspension and the lightweight Crux. Below is Allison Tetrick’s Diverge STR, Matt Beers’s Diverge STR, and Sofia Gomez Villafañe’s Crux.

Read more: Unbound roundtable: Gravel beef, the women’s race, and contenders

Alison Tetrick’s Specialized Diverge STR

The Diverge STR is the latest gravel bike from Specialized, utilizing their 20 mm Future Shock suspension found just under the stem. Alison’s S-Works Diverge STR features a set of Roval Terra CLX II wheels paired with the ever-popular Specialized Pathfinder Pro tires in a 42 mm width. (Image: Alex Roszko/@roszko)

The drivetrain is a mix of SRAM parts. A SRAM RED crank and brake/shift lever is combined with an XX1 Eagle AXS derailleur and 10-52t cassette. (Image: Alex Roszko/@roszko)

Interestingly, the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame inductee will be using a Lezyne saddle bag rather than the in-frame storage found in the downtube under the Lezyne bottle cages. As nice as downtube storage can be, a saddle bag is ultimately just a bit faster when having to access tools in the heat of a race. (Image: Alex Roszko/@roszko)
Cowgirl up, folks. (Image: Alex Roszko/@roszko)

Matt Beers’s Specialized Diverge STR

Matt Beers has also elected to use an S-Works Diverge STR to smooth out the flint-laced hills around Emporia. His setup is a bit different from the Ali Tetrick bike, however. (Image: Alex Roszko/@roszko)
Besides Matt’s bike being considerably larger, Matt has also elected to use a larger SRAM aero 1x chainring, here using a 48T option paired with a SRAM RED crank. Elsewhere are SRAM Red shifters with an XX1 Eagle AXS derailleur and 10-52t cassette. (Image: Alex Roszko/@roszko)

A cSixx chain catcher is paired with the 1x chainring. This is particularly noteworthy because the bike has neither a front derailleur mount one would use for a chain guide nor ISCG05 tabs to make this work. We’ve asked Specialized for details and will update our story accordingly once we know more. (Image: Alex Roszko/@roszko)
Like Alison, Matt looks to be using 42 mm Specialized Pathfinder Pro tires with Roval Terra CLX II wheels. (Image: Alex Roszko/@roszko)

Read more: Unbound tech roundtable: The best gravel tire and the gear we’d bring

Sofia Gomez Villafañe’s S-Works Crux

The Roval Terra CLX II wheels make another appearance with Sofia’s S-Works Crux, as do black sidewall Specialized Pathfinder Pro tires in a 42 mm width. Like nearly every other Specialized rider, Sofia is using a SRAM Red crank combined with an XX1 Eagle AXS derailleur and a 10-52t cassette. Her SRAM Force shifters are slimmer than SRAM Red AXS levers, an easy pick for many. (Image: Alex Roszko/@roszko)
We’re sure Ace Hardware’s paint stick will be a must-have accessory in 2024. (Image: Alex Roszko/@roszko)
We all need motivation. Sofia gets her’s from her headset cap. (Image: Alex Roszko/@roszko)

Unlike the others, Sofia Gomez Villafañe has opted for one of the lightest gravel bikes in the world for the Unbound 200: the S-Works Crux frame weighs a quoted 725 grams in a size 56 cm, With complete bike weights likely under 16 lbs (7.3 kg), the Crux is the featherweight choice for Specialized athletes. (Image: Alex Roszko/@roszko)

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