The Birth of Suspend the Rider
and Diverge STR

Eureka on Eureka

The Birth of Suspend the Rider
and Diverge STR

Eureka on Eureka

May 2014

Eureka on Eureka

Chris D’Aluisio realizes we need to Suspend the Rider, not the wheel
while descending rough and technical Eureka Canyon.

August 2016

Future Shock

All-new Roubaix debuts with Future Shock 20mm of front travel above the
frame and dropped stays to Suspend the Rider front and back.

June 2017

Future Shock Goes Gravel

First Diverge with Future Shock front suspension launches, proving Suspend
the Rider is more than just for cobbles. It is ideal gravel technology.

Spring 2018

Suspend the Rider Testing

Multiple new damped and increased rear travel Suspend the Rider solutions
ridden and validated on Kansas gravel with Unbound winners Ali Tetrick and Dan Hughes.

February 2019

Rear Future Shock

The final rear Suspend the Rider solution layout, dubbed “Rear Future
Shock”, is verified. Three years of development begin.

April 2019

Future Shock 2.0

New Roubaix debuts with Future Shock 2.0 and a new dropped seatpost
clamp design to Paris-Roubaix victory, further validating our Suspend the Rider philosophy.

May 2020

Diverge with Future Shock 2.0

2020 Diverge launches, setting a new standard for performance in gravel with
Future Shock 2.0 and Roval Terra seatpost.

October 2022

Diverge STR

2023 Diverge STR unveiled with front and rear Future Shock suspension, the
most complete and elegant Suspend the Rider solution ever created.

“The potholes come at you pretty fast.” That was how one of our team described a descent down Eureka Canyon outside of our California innovation center. It’s 8km of technical, fast, rattle-your-fillings-out descending. Halfway down this descent also happens to be where one of our Concept Engineers, Chris D’Aluisio, had an epiphany—we need to suspend the rider, not the wheel. So yeah, it was a eureka moment on . . . well, you get it.

As Chris ripped the Eureka descent on his fully rigid road bike, he realized his body was the perfect suspension. He could suspend himself over the bike, be totally in control, and the bumps essentially disappeared. Could this realization lead to a bike that did the same thing while in the saddle? Retain the instant acceleration and nimble handling of a rigid frame, but suspend the rider over the bike while allowing them to efficiently deliver power in the saddle. Easy, right?

We knew a thing or two about suspending the wheel from decades of full suspension mountain bike development, but that wasn’t a path that made a lot of sense for the road or gravel. It’s heavier. It sacrifices the glorious direct and immediate power transfer of a rigid frame. And a narrower tire on a hard bump requires almost endless travel not to feel like it bottoms out. We needed to suspend the rider above the bike.

“It’s all about preserving that out of the saddle ‘snap’, the traditional road bike feel, and keeping the wheels connected to the ground for ride feel. That’s super important on gravel.”

- Chris D’Aluisio, Diverge STR Concept Engineer

This was the moment that created Future Shock and the most successful bike over the cobbles of Roubaix in the modern era. The Future Shock sits above the frame, isolating you from road harshness. This gives you all the benefits of a compliant ride without taking a hit on handling or efficiency over any road condition. But what about a balanced ride? What about the rear end?

With Roubaix and Diverge, we achieve a significant amount of rear-end compliance with seat post deflection and a dropped seat post clamp. That kept our riders comfortable and powerful in the saddle over cobbles and rough roads, but that solution had its limits.

As gravel continues to evolve, our suspend the rider technology has to evolve with it. Riders are going farther, going faster, and riding ever more challenging terrain. Over really rough gravel and washboard, we needed more deflection and in a very specific direction. Saddle movement needs to counteract the wheel’s path as it moves over bumps. This keeps our riders in a consistent position regardless of terrain, so they travel over the bump without noticing it and can stay on the power and confidently in control.

While seatpost deflection can provide this optimum direction of travel, as a bump is hit and the seat post deflects, it stores energy. This is not an issue with the levels of deflection we see with Diverge or Roubaix, even with its dropped clamp design. Creating the increased level of travel we needed to soak up bigger hits resulted in significant energy being stored by the seatpost. Once the bump is absorbed, that energy works like a catapult to eject the rider. Suboptimal, to say the least. We knew what we needed to do—create more rear travel in the optimal path, and we knew the problems to solve—control the energy that travel creates.

We got to work. We tried bikes with travel occurring in an eccentric bottom bracket. We tried controlling travel with air shocks in the down tube. We tried seatposts with integrated shocks and dampers. As effective and promising as these were, they didn’t provide the function, simplicity, or lightweight we knew riders needed. Many of these concepts also lacked another key ingredient—adjustability. Travel and its control need to be adjustable so every rider, on every size, can get optimal performance.

In most cases, failing fast is a key component of innovation, and the evolution of suspending the rider was no different. One by one, as we tried and eliminated solutions, we realized that we had the right suspension—seat post deflection. We just needed to increase it, control it, and make it adjustable.

Making this inspiration a production reality for riders everywhere was no easy task. Enter Luc Callahan, our Leader of Road and Gravel Engineering, and the longest period of committed development for any single road or gravel technology. We created 352 frame post samples to support testing and validation, developed an entirely new battery of standards, and then ran literally millions of cycles to validate this new technology was ready for gravel roads everywhere. After three years of long days and late nights, Luc and the team had taken D’Aluisio’s inspiration and made it a reality for riders everywhere.

“After riding some earlier prototypes, I was a believer in the technology. We had to make this happen! This was truly to be an evolution of Rider First, like we’d never done before. The scope was huge: nine distinct Frame Posts… to be paired with six different frame sizes… the validation testing matrix alone gave me a mini heart attack. It was blood, sweat and tears…literally. Long days and late nights for sure, as well as the inevitable moments of doubting if you’ll ever make it to the finish line. But with a team like we had, how could we not? Plus, we were too stoked on the product to not dial it in just right.”
- Luc Callahan, Leader of Road and Gravel Engineering


The result is what you see today—Diverge STR with front and rear Future Shock. As a system, rear Future Shock delivers up to 30mm of travel in the perfect curve, is fully tunable for riders from 100lbs to 275lbs, features hydraulic damping to control travel, and has three levels of adjustability, as well as rebound adjustment.

Using bikes equipped with sensitive telemetry equipment our Human Performance team set out to validate rear Future Shock’s effectiveness. Its increased, damped compliance resulted in more than a 20% reduction of vibration on rough surfaces as measured at the saddle. 20% compared to what you ask? The already industry leading previous Diverge with its Roval Terra seatpost.
See The Data

To provide the right “spring” for every rider, each bike size has two different frame posts, and each frame post can be oriented in a stiffer or softer orientation. While the vast majority of riders will find the perfect setup with the posts that are included with their bike, we make nine different posts, each with a soft and firm setting, so every rider can experience the incredible ride Diverge STR delivers. This frame post works with the seat post to provide the optimal amount and path of rear travel for every rider, regardless of their bike size, weight, or the length of exposed seat post. Riders can even dial in the optimum level of rear compliance with an alloy dropper post, thanks to the Rear Future Shock system.

Rear Future Shock travel is controlled by a hydraulic damper fitted in the top tube and attached to the frame post by the “tendon”. A lever on the damper provides three levels of compression damping, while rebound speed can be adjusted with a hex key through a hole in the base of the top tube.

It all started on that descent of Eureka and the realization that a rider floating above the carnage at the wheels is a happy, powerful, and confident rider. Suspend the rider was born at that moment and created the most successful bike ever on the cobbles of northern France. Diverge STR with font and rear Future Shock takes that legacy and delivers even more suspension for the unique challenges faced by the gravel rider. It’s the most elegant, adjustable, and seamless solution to suspend the rider we’ve ever created. Don’t worry about the years of blood, sweat, and tears that went into creating it. Just enjoy the ride.