New for the 2018 Specialized lineup is the Chisel. The Chisel effectively replaces the Specialized Crave as their sub $2,000 hardtail 29er. The main difference between the Chisel and Crave is frame geometry. The Chisel geometry bridges the gap between traditional cross-country geometry and modern trail geometry by offering a head tube angle of 69.8°.
There are three options for the men’s Chisel:
Chisel Expert 1x ($1850)
Chisel Comp 2x ($1500)
Chisel Frameset ($750)
I chose to build up a frameset. Going the route of a frame gives you the option of two colors that are not available as complete builds. All Chisels are built with Specialized’s M5 aluminum.
The frame has internal cable routing, boost spacing, and a threaded bottom bracket shell.
My intentions were to build a lightweight cross-country bike that still felt fun/stable on the descents.
For the fork, I chose the 2018 Fox 32 Step Cast with Kashima Coat.
The fork is light (a hair under 3 lbs). I chose the Fit4 3 Position Damper without the remote lockout. The Fit4 damper offers more adjustment when the fork is in its open position.
The wheels are built around Hope Pro 4 hubs which are high quality hubs at a relatively affordable price.
I chose Stan’s No Tubes Crest rims which are plenty light and far more affordable than an average carbon rim. The wheels are laced with DT Swiss Competition spokes and purple alloy nipples.
Finishing off the wheels are WTB tubeless valves, Orange Seal rim tape and sealant, and Maxxis 29×2.35 Ikon tires.
The drivetrain consists of a Shimano XT 11-speed 11-46 cassette, KMC X11SL chain,
Shimano XT shifter and derailleur,
Race Face Next SL G4 cranks, and a Wolf Tooth 30t oval chainring.
The brakes are Shimano XT with 160mm rotors front and rear.
The cockpit contains a Race Face Next 35 20mm rise 760 width handlebar,
Race Face Turbine 35 stem,
ESI Fit XC grips, Origin8 VEX platform pedals,
Specialized Phenom Expert 143mm saddle, and a KS LEV Integra 27.2 internally routed 100mm travel dropper post.
Finding a 27.2 dropper with a decent amount of travel and internal routing proved to be difficult but this dropper seems up to the challenge thus far.
The Chisel is for a rider looking for a lightweight cross-country rig that is stable enough for fast and challenging descents without totally breaking the bank.
The price gap between the Chisel Comp 2x and Chisel Expert 1x is somewhat negligible. It really just depends on wether you prefer a 1x or 2x drivetrain. Each has its upside and downside. The 1x is clean and simple but lacks the high end gears that a 2x provides. On the other hand, 2x drivetrains are a little heavier and less pleasing on an aesthetic level.
My particular build retails somewhere around $4,300 with every component at full price. However, If you choose to build up a frame, you should be able to get a shop to give you a break on at least some of your components.
Let me know what you think of the new Specialized Chisel. Also, how about my build? What would you have done differently?