Specialized Chisel

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Release Year
Wheel Size
Number of Gears
Gearing Type
30.6, 30.3, 28.4 lb
Brake Type
Frame Material

Summary of Reviews

We have read all expert and user reviews on the Specialized Chisel. In summary, this is what cyclists think.

11 reasons to buy

  • This bike comes in two tiers and three builds: SRAM SX (Chisel), Shimano Deore (Chisel Shimano), and SLX/Deore (Comp Shimano).
  • Experts agree the geometry, which is shared largely with the Epic, makes the Chisel a great XC race bike.
  • Testers appreciate how well the suspension balances pedaling performance with a supple ride.
  • The 2.35" Specialized tires are lightweight, “quick,” and have great traction.
  • Reviewers say that despite its weight, the Chisel doesn’t feel heavy while riding, thanks in part to the super-light Specialized tires.
  • There’s room for two bottle cages inside the frame.
  • Specialized’s attention to detail impresses experts who cite the size-specific crank length and dropper stroke, Torque Cap hub end caps, and “quality” dropper lever, grips, and saddle.
  • An expert says the suspension provides a lot of traction and floats smoothly over small chatter.
  • Specialized’s Smartweld process results in an aluminum frame that is clean, light, and comfortable.
  • The cables are routed outside the headset, making the Chisel easy to service and upgrade.
  • A reviewer calls the Shimano SLX/Deore components a highlight of the Comp Shimano build, underscoring the shift performance.

7 reasons not to buy

  • Reviewers describe the SRAM SX groupset (Chisel) as heavy and basic.
  • The “overly sensitive” rebound adjustment is hard to set up on both the RockShox Recon Silver RL fork and X-Fusion 02 Pro shock (Chisel, Chisel Shimano), says an expert.
  • The SRAM Level T brakes (Chisel) are effective but a reviewer calls them lifeless, lacking the power needed for racing.
  • Experts recommend setting the tires up tubeless as the "paper thin" Control casing is unlikely to survive hard riding on sharp trails.
  • One expert complains that the narrow 27mm rims result in the tires squirming when they absorb impacts in corners.
  • Aluminum doesn’t take kindly to bending. Only time will tell how durable the Chisel’s alloy flex stays are.
  • The Shimano Chisels don't have a choice of color, and the Chisel SRAM build only offers two options.

Bottom line

Specialized's Chisel is a full-sus alloy XC race bike that borrows much of its geometry from its carbon-fiber cousin, the Epic. The energetic handling, excellent traction and pedaling performance, and supple ride impress experts. Build-kit quality, especially on the Shimano builds, wins praise. Complaints are mostly minor. The SRAM brakes (Chisel) aren't up to the demands of racing and the suspension on the two base builds is fiddly to set up. The suspension and lightweight tires aren't well-suited to aggressive trails. Nonetheless, experts deem the Chisel, especially the higher-end Comp build, fantastic value as an affordable race-ready XC steed.

Expert Reviews

88/100 based on 3 rated expert reviews
Bike Perfect

I Tested the New Specialized Chisel FS and It’s an Awesome ‘Economy Epic’ XC Mountain Bike for Cash-Strapped Speed Fiends

[The Chisel is a] superfast, impressively light suspension bike for the cash, with excellent pedal / plush suspension balance, sorted geometry, great contact points and proper all-weather race tires.

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Specialized’s New Chisel Blends Price and Performance

Riding the Chisel made me just as giddy and happy as riding mountain bikes that cost five times as much. So while there’s nothing wrong with aspiring to a carbon bike, the aluminum Chisel has no real downside.

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BIKE Magazine

First Impressions: Specialized Chisel Full Suspension

I think the Specialized Chisel is an amazing bike for anyone… who wants to race XC or ride smooth trails really fast but doesn’t want to shell out big bucks because they also want to own a second bike for gnarlier riding.

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Bike Network

New Specialized Chisel Lightweight Alloy XC Bike | First Ride

It’s a base level build, and measuring it from what a base level build should feel like, it’s quite phenomenal the performance that you get out of drivetrain, suspension, brakes, dropper post. Absolutely nothing wrong with this bike.

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Specialized Chisel FS: Not an Entry-Level Full Suspension Alloy Mountain Bike

The Chisel FS Shimano Comp build is right in the sweet spot of being raceable and sendable—where many riders will find a perfect fit.

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User Ratings

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