First Look: 2021 Specialized Chisel

Affordable alloy hardtail redesigned for 2021 with a lighter frame and race-ready geometry

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Specialized Chisel

Specialized focused on refining the Chisel with updates based on its Epic carbon hardtail.

Specialized is launching the next generation of its aluminum XC hardtail, the Chisel. For 2021, the Specialized Chisel gets a lighter frame and race-ready geometry that’s up to speed for today’s technically-demanding courses.

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Specialized focused on refining the Chisel with updates based on its Epic carbon hardtail. The aluminum frame uses lightweight hydroformed tubing along with Smartweld technology the brand originally developed for Allez to reduce the amount of excess material that adds extra grames.

Specialized Chisel

Traditional alloy welding (left) versus Specialized’s material-reducing Smartweld technique (right).

The result, according to Specialized, is an alloy frame that approaches carbon weights. The frame has a claimed weight of just 1,400g, which is respectably light for a 29er hardtail in aluminum, though heavier than the company’s own Epic carbon hardtail, which has a claimed weight of just over 800g.

The new Chisel also features sleek internal cable routing with the option to run a 30.9mm dropper seatpost and 148x12mm thru-axle rear end.

Specialized Chisel Geometry

Specialized Chisel geometry

Specialized Chisel geometry is longer and slacker than the last version.

The geometry of the updated Chisel is notably longer and slacker than the previous generation. The head tube angle is nearly two-degrees slacker, the bottom bracket is lower for improved stability, and reach measurements across the five bike size line grow substantially as well. All this has been done to keep this hardtail up to speed with today’s more demanding XC tracks. Last but not least, Specialized designed the Chisel around shorter offset forks.

The Specialized Chisel has been updated for today's more demanding XC tracks.

The Specialized Chisel has been updated for today’s more demanding XC tracks.

The result, according to Specialized, is “a confident, yet nimble, ride with incredible downhill stability at speed and no sacrifice to climbing or steering performance. It’s a winning combination you won’t find in any other aluminum XC hardtail.”

Specialized Chisel 2021 Models and Prices

At the time of launch, Specialized is offering the redesigned Chisel in two complete builds as well as a frame-only option.

Specialized Chisel Frame – $900

Specialized Chisel

Specialized Chisel frame-only.

The Specialized Chisel frameset is sure to be a hit with racers looking to customize it with parts waiting in a box in their garage.

Specialized Chisel – $1,500