Always advocates for a good bit of aluminum engineering, Specialized has released the latest version of its popular Chisel cross-country hardtail.
Aluminum often plays second fiddle to carbon fibre composite frames and in many instances it ends up just being the cheap version of the top end fibre-ridden bikes. In reality, it's actually a fantastic material with lots of smart and clever engineering still left in its development. Specialized, amongst others, is one to see this and endeavour to up the level of its aluminum frames.
The Chisel is Specialized's 29" aluminum cross-country focussed hardtail and, while it may be appealing to people more on a budget, that doesn't mean that the frame is lacking in technology.
Frame weight is claimed to be as low as 1,400g. This starts to embarrass other companies carbon fibre offerings and actually comes in at only 610g heavier than the brands own Epic hardtail, which has a claimed frame weight of 790g. Weight claims are currently not allocated to a particular frame size or which bits of hardware are included. Either way, it shows how good aluminum can be if you develop a bike with this material as the focus.
Specialized employed its Smartweld idea to the Chisel to use more complex tube forming and welding techniques to remove as much excess material as possible while boosting the overall look of the junctions to be smoother and cleaner. This can be most notably seen on a cross section through the headtube, top tube and down tube junction when compared to a more traditional tube forming and welding technique. It even extends to the internal cable routing entry on the downtube which, when finished, sits completely flush with the tube surface and hides the small forged part on the inside of the tube.
Specialized also sought to increase the comfort of the hardtail structure, with attention paid to the shape of the seat stay tubes to allow them to flex to provide some impact absorption while staying stiff in the directions of loads coming from cornering or hard pedalling.
The Chisel has all internal cable routing and uses a 30.9mm diameter seat post which opens it up to the possibility of running a dropper post. Frames also have two water bottle mount possibilities and lovers of threads can rejoice at the inclusion of a threaded bottom bracket too.
Also related to the Epic is the geometry, with the Chisel seeing much of the same flavours that were recently added to the Epic with changes in head angle, lengthened reach numbers and altered BB heights.
Five sizes from XS to XL are available ranging from 385mm to 480mm reach with a 68° head angle, a 74° seat angle and 432mm chain stays. BB drop is a tiny bit lower, at 68mm, on the XS compared to 63mm on the remaining sizes. The XS also uses an 80mm travel fork compared to the 100mm on the other sizes, likely done to help drop the stack height for the smallest of riders.
There are two build options available for the new Chisel. The Comp uses a RockShox Judy Gold, a Shimano 12-speed drivetrain with a mix of SLX and MT511, Shimano M6100 two-piston brakes, Shimano MT410 hubs on 25mm inner width rims clad in Specialized Fast Track 2.3" tyres. It retails for $1,700 USD or £1,699.
The Base uses a RockShox Judy Silver, a Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain with Specialized Stout Pro cranks, Shimano M4100 two-piston brakes, Shimano MT410 hubs on 25mm inner width rims clad in Specialized Fast Track 2.3" tyres. It retails for $1,500 USD or £1,399.
A frame only option is available for $900 USD and includes the seatpost. All bikes and frames are available now.