All-new Specialized Chisel XC bike is lightweight AND affordable

The Specialized Chisel full suspension cross-country mountain bike weighs about 30lb and costs $2,600, making it a good option for high-school athletes.
Specialized Chisel full suspension XC mountain bike
Photos provided by Specialized.

The all-new Specialized Chisel cross-country bike claims to be “the lightest, fastest alloy full suspension bike in the world,” and with builds priced starting at $2,600, it’s also one of the most affordable. With a patented welding process and smart component spec, Specialized was able to keep the weight under 31lb for the base model.

Starting with the frame, Specialized developed a new welding process dubbed D’Aluisio Smartweld. We’re told the process involves hydroformed tube junctions that create recesses for weld beads while maintaining the necessary strength. The Specialized Chisel also features a one-piece seat tube that integrates the bottom bracket and pivots, eliminating the need for welds in those areas.

Specialized says the Chisel, with 120/110mm of travel front and rear, has kinematics that sit roughly between the brand’s Epic 8 and Epic EVO cross-country mountain bikes. In another weight-saving move, the Chisel utilizes a flex-stay design.

The Chisel formerly existed as a hardtail mountain bike, and we’ve confirmed the Chisel Hardtail will remain in the brand’s line. Currently, the Chisel Hardtail mountain bikes are discounted on the Specialized website.

Stack (mm)602.3593606620629
Reach (mm)390415445470495
Head Tube Length (mm)9595110125135
Head Tube Angle (low) (degrees)66.566.566.566.566.5
BB Height (low) (mm)326336336336336
BB Height (high) (mm)332342342342342
BB Drop (low) (mm)4636363636
Trail (mm)113113113113113
Fork Length, Full (mm)530530530530530
Fork Rake/Offset (mm)4444444444
Front Center (mm)682706742773802
Chainstay Length (mm)437437437437437
Wheelbase (mm)11151141117712081237
Bike Standover Height (mm)756777777787790
Seat Tube Length (mm)375392410450500
Seat Tube Angle (degrees)75.575.575.575.575.5
Top Tube Length, Horizontal (mm)527565602634664
Specialize Chisel frameset geometry

Like the Epic 8, the Specialized Chisel features a two-position flip chip that adjusts the bottom bracket height and the head tube angle. Specialized barely explains the geo changes for existing bikes with flip chips, and the press materials for the Chisel launch offer a similarly confusing picture. As best we can tell, the Chisel has a 66.5° head tube angle in low mode and a 336mm bottom bracket height for most sizes. In high mode, the Chisel supposedly has a 70° head tube angle (!) and a 342mm bottom bracket height for most sizes. That’s a huge jump, perhaps one of the largest we’ve seen from a flip chip on any mountain bike. The flip chip on the Epic 8 appears to adjust the head tube angle by a more modest 0.5° angle, in which case the Chisel would be 67° in high.

The head tube angle is pretty similar to the Epic 8, but is more upright than the Epic EVO by about a degree. Rounding out the geometry highlights, the Chisel has a 437mm chainstay length and size large frames have a 470mm reach.

Specialized suggests that the Chisel geometry makes it “a capable, downcountry weapon,” though it’s clearly not as downcountry-capable as, say, the Epic EVO. Compared to the average downcountry mountain bike, the Chisel is about a degree too steep and needs another 10mm of suspension front and rear.

Where it seems the Specialized Chisel will really find traction is as a bike for NICA and high school athletes. The affordable price, along with lighter weights and limited travel, make the Chisel highly competitive. Compared to the $2,700 Trek Top Fuel 5, the Chisel base weighs nearly four pounds less and is priced $100 cheaper, too. Upgrading to the $3,400 Chisel Comp drops another two pounds or so, for a complete bike weight under 28.5lb.

All builds feature a dropper post, Shimano or SRAM 12-speed drivetrain, 29×2.35″ tires, and 2-piston hydraulic disc brakes. The Comp build upgrades the fork from a RockShox Recon Silver RL to a RockShox SID.

In addition to the two Specialized Chisel builds, framesets will be available for purchase as well. See the Specialized website for more details.