The lightest model weighs just 12.87kg, could the Chisel tempt people away from more expensive carbon options?


Specialized has launched a full-suspension version of its aluminium XC hardtail, the Chisel. It’s been modelled closely on its carbon fibre cousin, the Epic 8, and benefits from shared geometry and kinematics. It’s equipped with 120mm travel up front and 110mm rear, dropper posts on all models and 29mm rise bars.

So could this be the ultimate aluminium race bike? It’s got a lot to live up to if it wants to compete with the new Specialized Epic 8, but the price is certainly appealing, with the top spec costing just £2,700. Guy Kesteven has ridden it for us, and you can read his review of the new Specialized Chisel FS here. Spoiler alert: He said it’s “a properly quick, responsive, and exciting bike”.

The Chisel was once a hardtail, but Spesh has added rear suspension and with it way more versatility: its XC, trail, down-country ready

Specialized Chisel FS need to know:

  • The Chisel has been reimagined as a full-suspension XC/downcountry bike
  • Borrowed geometry from the Epic 8, which is the carbon fibre racing cousin of the Chisel
  • 120mm travel up front and 110mm rear, with RockShox components
  • Two models to choose from, starting at £1,400 for the frame, and £2,700 for the Chisel FS Comp Shimano model

Is it just an alloy Epic 8?

Fans of Specialized may remember the Chisel as a hardtail only. Well now it’s grown up and it’s become a full-suspension bike. According to Specialized, it’s borrowed a lot of its geometry and kinematics from the carbon fibre Epic 8 – which the brand released earlier this year. So far, it’s seen a positive reception – we tested the S-Works Epic 8 earlier this year and loved the new AI suspension. We’ve also got a Specialized Epic 8 Comp being ridden around Yorkshire which you’ll be able to read more about shortly. So is the Chisel just the alloy version of the Epic 8?

Specialized Chisel FS

The Specialized Chisel FS comes with dropper posts across all models

The frame uses D’Aluisio Smartweld technology, which Specialized says helps to keep the weight at a minimum. Indeed, the Chisel frame weighs 2.72kg, and the full Chisel Comp Shimano build is just 12.87kg – which Specialized say is 18.4% lighter than the “closest competitor,” which presumably includes some of our best XC mountain bikes around.

Additionally, it allows Specialized to vary the thicknesses of the frame walls so they can smooth it out for areas that need to be more compliant and comfortable, and shape it to deliver stiffness elsewhere.  It also uses Ride Dynamics tuned suspension, courtesy of RockShox, and progressive geometry to make it more capable than your average cross-country bike. It uses a 75.5° seat tube angle and 66.5° head tube angle.

How good do those welds look? Specialized uses D’Aluisio Smartweld, which is a fancy way of saying the joins fit perfectly before any heat is applied

It’s not ‘too racey’, according to Specialized, who says it has designed the leverage rate and anti-squat together to balance pedaling efficiency with suspension performance. This reduces pedal bob, and allows for a more optimal position overall.

Specialized Chisel FS

So what options have you got? There’s the frameset, which costs £1,400, then the Chisel FS Base Shimano, which is £2,000. This comes with a Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain, RockShox Recon fork and X-Fusion PRO-02 shock. The most expensive model is the Chisel FS Comp Shimano, at £2,700. For your money you get a Shimano SLX 12-speed drivetrain, RockShox SID forks and Deluxe Select+ rear shock.

Specialized Chisel FS

The Chisel FS Comp Shimano comes with full RockShox suspension

All models are available in sizes XS to XL, and are available to buy from Specialized and their dealers now.

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