The evolution of new combinations of bacterial properties contributes to biodiversity and the emergence of new diseases. We investigated the capacity for bacterial divergence with a chemostat culture of Escherichia coli. A clonal population radiated into more than five phenotypic clusters within 26 days, with multiple variations in global regulation, metabolic strategies, surface properties, and nutrient permeability pathways. Most isolates belonged to a single ecotype, and neither periodic selection events nor ecological competition for a single niche prevented an adaptive radiation with a single resource. The multidirectional exploration of fitness space is an underestimated ingredient to bacterial success even in unstructured environments.