Review – Specialized Chisel Comp

For the budget-minded XC ripper

Riders can spend about as much money as they want on a new bike but not as little as they want. In an effort to attract riders looking for more affordable options, Specialized has released the new Chisel as a budget-friendly hardtail with all new geometry and a stiff aluminum frame that aspires to do more than the price tag would have you think. We picked up the Chisel for some hot laps on our local singletrack.


The Chisel was designed for the aspiring cross-country rider or racer who doesn’t want to break the bank on a new machine. Cross-country race bikes are known for their high price tags, but the Chisel was designed for the everyday rider who doesn’t want to refinance his home to buy a carbon “halo” bike. This bike leans heavily towards lightweight trail and cross-country riding with its svelte design.


Hardtails are known for their simplicity, but the Chisel has some enhancements built into the frame to help improve performance. Specialized uses its Smartweld M5 alloy for the frame with fully internal cable routing to keep the presentation sleek. The inside of the downtube features three different bolts so riders can alter the height of where they want to put their bottle cages. Specialized slimmed down the seat tube to accommodate a 27.2-millimeter post, giving the Chisel more vertical compliance over rough sections of trail. Complementing this design are slimmed-down seatstays with a slight arch.

Trick mount: The Chisel comes with a 2×10 drivetrain and a custom front derailleur mount that uses the water-bottle cage bolts.

The rear triangle has modern Boost 148 axle spacing and a 160-millimeter post mount. Adding to the simplicity and durability of the Chisel is a threaded BSA bottom bracket shell. The geometry of the Chisel is a combination of modern and classic lines with a fairly slack 69.8-degree head angle and longer reach.

Up next, see how the Chisel handled on the trail here


Shimano XT components have a reputation for being able to take a serious beating on a regular basis. The XT rear derailleur and Deore shifter provided consistent performance during our testing and didn’t require much adjusting. The RockShox Judy fork has a strong reputation in the suspension world, and it delivered a smooth ride and a good range of tuning abilities.


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