Sarah Sturm’s Specialized Diverge STR

The thoughts, bike choice and confidence behind the her podium performance at the 2023 Unbound 200

Clock20:57, Sunday 4th June 2023
Sarah Sturm and her Diverge on the eve of Unbound

Logan Jones-Wilkins

Sarah Sturm and her Diverge on the eve of Unbound

It was two in the afternoon and Sarah Sturm still had a choice to make for the 205 miles of racing that awaited her the very next day. On one hand, she had a brand new S-Works Diverge STR, a bike that is theoretically optimised for a race like Unbound.

On the other hand, was her tried and true, artistically designed crux. One was built for the race, the other was built for her. In the end, after the pros and cons were discussed, Sturm went with the Diverge STR and the comfort that comes with the suspension.

The downside of the Diverge is certainly the weight of the suspension systems, but, for Sarah Sturm this was not necessarily a net negative. With Sturm being one of the smaller riders in the women’s pro field, and speed on gravel depending on smooth ground contact, having a bike with more heft – paired with the gravel suspension – would keep her from bouncing around on some of the larger, meatier stones.

Throughout our conversation about her prep and about the race that was one sleep away, Sturm had a certain amount of confidence and level headedness that came from real interest in doing well at Unbound and the Lifetime Grand Prix this season.

That attitude, however, is not one that she has always had when it comes to events like this. Last year, it is unlikely that she would have had the same energy behind her preparations.

“Last year I was unsure if I even belonged,” Sturm told GCN the day before Unbound as she was mulling over the last choices she and her fiancé/mechanic had to make before race day. “I am sure people will be surprised but most people in the sport go through that at a certain point.

“Then, through the off season, something shifted in me and I am more excited to just be here and not put on the extra pressure on any of the extra pieces of labelling what I am or what I am doing. I am actually grateful to do it. This year, I don’t know what changed, but I am almost nervous that I am not nervous. Maybe it is confidence?”

To compliment the Diverge STR, Sturm ran all of the staples of Unbound success with a SRAM Eagle XX1 rear mech, 42mm Specialized Pathfinder tires and tire inserts on moderately deep Zipp 303 rims and a 46t front chain ring, a size which was standard amongst the pro women who were on 1x setups.

By the time Sturm wheeled to a halt on Commercial Street Saturday evening she had surprised herself with a third place finish after battling back from a chaotic tromp through the mud to begin. Sarah Sturm is now second in the Lifetime Grand Prix standings after two rounds.

Bike Specification
  • year


  • model

    Diverge STR

  • Manufacturer


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