One of the best ride qualities of any aluminium frame on the market

Product Overview

Specialized Chisel Expert


  • The D’Aluisio Smartweld frame provides one of the best ride qualities of any aluminium frame on the market, balancing comfort and responsiveness remarkably well


  • The geometry is shared with the lower level Rockhopper and keeps it firmly in the cross country camp


Specialized Chisel Expert (2018) first ride


Price as reviewed:


Specialized Chisel Expert is a fun mix of privateer race bike for those that can’t justify an Epic and a trail bike capable of long distance adventuring.

>>> Which Specialized mountain bike is right for you?

Specialized Chisel Expert need to know

  • Smartweld M5 aluminium frame keeps things strong, stiff and light
  • Rockshox Reba RL fork provides 100mm of supple travel
  • SRAM Level TR brakes provide adequate stopping power
  • Specialized spec a wider 2.3” tyre on the front of the Chisel for better control, 2.1” at the rear for better clearance

specialized chisel expert

You’ve probably never heard of Chris D’Aluisio but he’s the man behind many of Specialized’s top innovations. Take this new Chisel for example. It wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Chris’ SmartWeld approach to joining frame tubes.

By taking the end of the tubes and rolling them inwards, Specialized are able to increase the strength of the welds.

specialized chisel expert

Chisel Expert: lean, mean trail-riding machine

From a visual perspective the Chisel has striking size zero supermodel looks. Ogle it from the wrong angle and in this matte black Expert edition it’s like some of the tubes practically disappear.

If you were hoping that it would have the sort of vital statistics to get the average UK rider salivating, the Chisel will leave you a little disappointed.

specialized chisel expert

Race Face Aeffect 30t chainset

Despite of the marketing spiel, at its heart is geometry still stuck firmly in XC roots. In fact, a quick look at the geometry charts show it shares the same geometry as the lower tier Specialized Rockhopper.

But before you stop reading there’s one area where the Chisel really shines; it has a most sublime ride quality. You honestly have to keep reminding yourself that you’re riding an aluminium framed machine, as opposed to some mega expensive carbon option. It is one of those frames that deftly balance the line between comfort and stiffness.

specialized chisel expert

SmartWelds beef up tubing junction

Ride it along a rooted section of singletrack and it seems to absorb the impacts remarkably well, delivering a muted amount of feeback from the rear end. Stamp on the pedals though and it’ll sprint like a scalded cat. The flared and flattened seat stays and skinny seat junction certainly go someway to minimizing the normal kicking a stiff aluminium frame can give you.

specialized chisel expert

Skinny tubes make for a compliant, comfortable frame

The Rockshox Reba also helps deliver a muted ride. Despite it only having the Motion Control damper it provided a relatively supple action for the Chisel’s intended uses. In fact, almost the whole component list aids the ride.

The wheels are relatively light and responsive, SRAM Level TR brakes actually worked well. It’s only the Fast Trak tyres, with their dry condition tread, that let the side down.

specialized chisel expert