Specialized brings Smartweld technology to the new Chisel

Specialized unveils its all new aluminium hardtail for 2018

It's important to remember that carbon isn't the only frame material out there. While most brands are keen to push their high-end, premium, carbon offerings as being the best of the best, there's still a great number of amazing frames being made out of titanium, steel and aluminium.

Specialized has being using its 'Smartweld' technology since 2013 on its popular Allez road bikes, and now, thanks to the all-new Chisel hardtail, us mountain bikers get to experience it for ourselves too.

Smartening up

The hydroforming process is used to shift the weld area away from the highest stress points on the frame, meaning less material can be used in the weld and lighter butting can be used in the tubing
The hydroforming process is used to shift the weld area away from the highest stress points on the frame, meaning less material can be used in the weld and lighter butting can be used in the tubing

As I've already mentioned, the new Chisel is an aluminium hardtail that uses Specialized's Smartweld technology. By constructing the frame in this way, Specialized not only optimises each tube shape for stiffness and weight, but the hydroforming process also helps with how the tubes are joined together.

By forming corresponding 'domed structures', when the tubes are offered up to each other, the area at which they're now to be connected (welded) has been moved away from the point of highest stress. This means less material is needed in the welds and thinner butting can be used in the tubing all the while, Specialized claims, creating a lighter and stiffer frame overall.

The skinny 27.2mm diameter seatpost coupled with the inbuilt flex in the rear triangle is said to help add a bit more comfort when pedalling over rough terrain
The skinny 27.2mm diameter seatpost coupled with the inbuilt flex in the rear triangle is said to help add a bit more comfort when pedalling over rough terrain

The Chisel frame weighs in at an impressive claimed 1,350g and will accept an internally routed dropper post. That dropper does have to be of the 27.2mm diameter variety though, which does limit choice somewhat.

In terms of numbers, the reach on a large is a reasonable 441mm, while the chainstay sits at just 430mm. Head angle is a lively 69.8 degrees while the 74-degree seat tube angle should help keep things nicely efficient when getting the power down while seated.

Neat internal cable routing — including provsion for an internally routed dropper post — keeps the Chisel's lines clean and tidy
Neat internal cable routing — including provsion for an internally routed dropper post — keeps the Chisel's lines clean and tidy

Unlike the latest Epic, which Specialized has just launched, the Chisel doesn't use a custom offset fork crown, instead it's sticking with the 51mm standard offering from RockShox.

The rear axle uses 12x148mm axle spacing and to help keep things nice and neat, the Chisel uses internal cable routing.

What's on offer and how much will it cost?

Specialized Chisel Expert 1x

The top tier, M5 alloy Chisel uses SRAM's 1x11 GX gearing along with its Level TL brakes and a RockShox Reba RL 29er fork with 90mm of travel.

While Specialized provides all of the finishing kit, it also covers the wheels. The alloy rims are a decently wide 25mm internally which, coupled with the 2.3in Specialized Fast Trak Gripton tyres, should make for a reasonably comfortable ride.

  • Price: £1,700 / $1,850 / AU$TBC (men's and women's pricing is identical)

Specialized Chisel Expert 2x

While you're getting the same M5 allot frame and RockShox Reba RL fork as the 1x bike, the 2x uses a Shimano SLX transmission with, you guessed it, a 2x crankset and 11-speed cassette and mech.

Otherwise, the spec is identical to that of the 1x offering.

  • Price: £N/A / $1,850 / AU$TBC

Specialized Chisel Comp

The Comp uses the same M5 alloy frame as its pricier counterpart but receives the cheaper RockShox Judy fork up front and a mix of Shimano Deore and XT 2x10 gearing with a Stout crankset.

Shimano's MT500 Deore brakes handle speed management and the Comp also gets the same Specialized Fast Trak 2.3in tyres and 25mm rims.

  • Price: £1,300 / $1,450 / AU$TBC (men's and women's)
Rob Weaver

Technical Editor-in-Chief, UK
Rob started riding mountain bikes seriously in 1993 racing cross-country, though he quickly moved to downhill where he competed all over the world. He now spends most of his time riding trail bikes up and down hills. Occasionally he'll jump into an enduro race.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Natural trails where the loam fills my shoes on each and every turn
  • Beer of Choice: Guinness

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