The 2018 Specialized Chisel is an all-new alloy hardtail race bike and, along with the new alloy Epic FSR, marks the first time they’ve used the SmartWeld technology on the mountain bike side. It started on the Allez, then found its way to the Diverge. One of the challenges in using this design on a mountain bike frame was that 29er head tubes are usually pretty short, so the heavily formed headtube from the road bikes just wouldn’t work. Here’s how they made it happen…
SmartWeld construction allows for thinner tube walls because they don’t need to expose them to as much heat for as long during welding, which also means less risk of deformation or weakening. There’s more contact area between the tubes since each junction is hydroformed on both sides rather than just mitering a tube and adding a lot of weld material to help hold them together.
The result is a frame that’s 280g lighter than the alloy Stumpjumper or Crave hardtail from 2017. Claimed production frame weight is 1350g.
The result is also a very attractive bike. The front end’s welds are all smoothed over, making it hard to tell it’s alloy from a glance. Cable entry ports are angled to keep them running tight against the frame so you don’t rub your knee when standing up to hammer. On the driveside are ports for a dropper seatpost and front derailleur. They’re designed for full length cable housing for easier maintenance.
An oversized port and cable management clamp makes it easy to find the cables as they drop through the downtube. Everything runs externally from there back.
Their goal was to make an alloy frame that had the best ride characteristics of a carbon or steel frame, but be more affordable (we’ll update with pricing and options soon). Tire clearance is generous, easily fitting a 2.25 XC tire. Note the cable management for the front derailleur just behind the threaded BB shell.
A one-piece dropout puts the brake mounts on a single piece for optimized alignment and strength, and it looks darn nice.
Bikes will come with Specialized’s Fast Track tires with Gripton compound.
A complete bike with SRAM GX1, Race Face Aeffect alloy cranks and Specialized alloy cockpit came in at 24.40lb (11.07kg) with tubes in the tires (they’re tubeless ready). Check back by Monday for pricing and build options.