Specialized’s new Chisel is a fast, light and affordable XC race machine

Popular cross-country bike updated for 2021 with trickle down geometry, internal cabling and a lightest 1,400g build

2021 Specialized Chisel XC bike pack shot

The 2021 Specialized Chisel is a new-and-improved version of an already popular cross-country hardtail we gave 4.5 stars in 2019.

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This new Chisel is a “purpose-built XC machine,” constructed from M5 aluminium using Smartweld techniques to purportedly reduce the frame to “carbon level light weight.”

2021 Specialized Chisel XC bike internal smartwelding
Specialized has employed its Smartweld technology in the new bike.

Specialized claims the Chisel weighs in “as light as 1,400 grams”. In what size is not specified, so we’ll assume that is a smaller size.

For comparison’s sake, Specialized’s own high-end XC hardtail, the Epic, in its fanciest S-Works guise and size M weighs a claimed 800g. But many other companies’ carbon or alloy hardtails weigh considerably more.

The Chisel features 29in wheels and hydroformed tubing that Specialized says allows it to tune specific areas of the frame for a balanced ride.

Ovalised seatstays are laterally stiff to help with power transfer while retaining enough vertical compliance for a comfortable ride through the rough stuff, the company claims.

Lessons learned from the geometry of the brand’s Epic Hardtail trickle down to the Chisel, resulting in a slack 68-degree head angle, as well as an extended reach of 430mm, wheelbase of 1,124mm and bottom bracket height of 309mm (63mm drop) on a size medum.

There are five sizes available from XS to XL, and every size except the XS features 100mm of fork travel (80mm on the smallest size).

2021 Specialized Chisel XC bike internal cable routing
The bike features really neat internal routing.
Specialized

Fully-internal cable routing ensures a clean aesthetic and, as with its previous version, the new Chisel has a 30.9 seatpost diameter, meaning it is possible to fit a range of dropper seatposts.

2021 Specialized Chisel XC bike riding shot
2020 has seen the release of a swathe of XC bikes released.

In a year that should have seen racers take to the Olympic XC course, it comes as no surprise to see many brands launching new or revised XC bikes.

That event was, of course, cancelled, but an abbreviated XC World Cup series kicks off this week in Nové Město and if the fast-paced action gets you excited, perhaps the Chisel has your name on it.

2021 Specialized Chisel specs

Two build options are available for the 2021 Specialized Chisel. Both are equipped with solid components from reputable brands and we have little doubt they’ll be wildly popular in bike shops across the land.

2021 Specialized Chisel Comp

Specialized Chisel Comp 2021
2021 Specialized Chisel Comp.
Specialized

The 2021 Specialized Chisel Comp is the pricier of the two at £1,699, but you get a fair amount of bike for your money.

  • Frame: Specialized Chisel D’Alusio Smartweld M5 Alloy, BSA BB, 12x148mm axle spacing, 30.9mm dropper post compatible
  • Fork: RockShox Judy Gold, Motion Control damper, Solo Air, 42mm offset, 15x110mm axle, 100mm travel (80mm size XS)
  • Crankset: Shimano MT511, 32t chainring
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano SLX M7100, SGS, 12-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano M6100, two-piston caliper
  • Wheels: Shimano MT410-B hubs on offset 28-hole 25mm inner width, tubeless ready, alloy rims
  • Tyres: Specialized Fast Trak, Control casing, GRIPTON compound, 60 TPI, 2BlissReady, 29×2.3in
  • Seatpost: Specialized Alloy, Single Bolt, 30.9mm
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Colours: Gloss Red Tint Brushed-White
  • Price: £1,699 / $1,700 / AU$2,500

2021 Specialized Chisel Base

The cheaper Chisel Base shaves a few hundred pounds off the price but still features the exact same frame and many of the same parts.
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  • Frame: Specialized Chisel D’Alusio Smartweld M5 Alloy, BSA BB, 12x148mm axle spacing, 30.9mm dropper post compatible
  • Fork: RockShox Judy Silver, TurnKey damper, Solo Air, 42mm offset, 15x110mm axle, 100mm travel (80mm size XS)
  • Crankset: Stout Pro, 2-Piece Forged Alloy, Direct Mount chainring
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore, M6100, 12-speed, Shadow Plus
  • Brakes: Shimano M4100, two-piston caliper
  • Wheels: Shimano MT410-B hubs on offset 28-hole 25mm inner width, tubeless ready, alloy rims
  • Tyres: Specialized Fast Trak, Control casing, GRIPTON compound, 60 TPI, 2BlissReady, 29×2.3in
  • Seatpost: Alloy, 12mm offset, two-bolt clamp, 30.9mm
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Colours: Gloss Oasis-Forest Green, or Satin Gloss Smoke-Tarmac Black
  • Price: £1,399 / $1,500