Chris D’Aluisio realizes we need to Suspend the Rider, not the wheel
while descending rough and technical Eureka Canyon.
All-new Roubaix debuts with Future Shock 20mm of front travel above the
frame and dropped stays to Suspend the Rider front and back.
First Diverge with Future Shock front suspension launches, proving Suspend
the Rider is more than just for cobbles. It is ideal gravel technology.
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.
The final rear Suspend the Rider solution layout, dubbed “Rear Future
Shock”, is verified. Three years of development begin.
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.
2020 Diverge launches, setting a new standard for performance in gravel with
Future Shock 2.0 and Roval Terra seatpost.
2023 Diverge STR unveiled with front and rear Future Shock suspension, the
most complete and elegant Suspend the Rider solution ever created.
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
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.