Specialized has launched a brand new Epic. By every measure, it is an impressive bike. But all that technology comes at a hefty price point. Even the cheapest model will set you back nearly $3,000. In the bike world, that's not a whole lot, but that's more than my (very reliable) car is worth.
Luckily, Specialized doesn't just make bikes for one percenters. Their new Chisel is surprisingly racy, incredibly light, and retails for between $1,500 and $1,850. The key is in the construction. Specialized used their M5 aluminum for this frame, but borrowed the SmartWeld technology they pioneered on the road side.
The Chisel is aluminum, but the SmartWeld process leaves a smooth finish that's reminiscent of carbon.
On a conventional frame, the tubes are joined together where everything meets. With SmartWeld, Specialized has moved these connection points. By rethinking where and how the frame pieces connect, they've been able to remove excess material and increase stiffness.
As an added benefit, the way the tubes are joined requires less heat, which allows them to use lighter weight materials. It's easier to understand with a visual aid, so press play on the video above to become more familiar with the concept.
Geometry wise, the Chisel is very similar to the Epic. It's a bit longer and slacker than the XC bikes of yesteryear, but you'll appreciate that new school geometry the first time you point it downhill.
Press fit bottom brackets may offer advantages on the weight front, but nothing beats the reliability of threaded (yet).
Other features worth noting are the use of a threaded bottom bracket, internal cable routing throughout (including a dropper post option), and boost spacing. Complete bikes are available at two different price points. The base level model ($1,500) ships with a RockShox Judy, Shimano Deore brakes, a Shimano XT 2x10 drivetrain, and Specialized branded wheels.
For $400 more, you can step up to either a Shimano 2x11 drivetrain or SRAM 1x. The Shimano equipped model retains Shimano stoppers, while the SRAM build is finished off with Level brakes. Both versions see the front fork upgraded to a RockShox Reba. You can also pick up a frame only for $750.
Specialized also offers a women's specific version of the Chisel. This model shares the same frame and identical price points, but receives different touch points (bars, stem, grips, saddle) and cranks. And it comes in pink, black, or light blue.
To learn more, visit www.specialized.com.