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2025 Specialized Chisel vs Epic 8 vs Epic EVO 7

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2025 Specialized Chisel vs Epic 8 vs Epic EVO 7

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2025 Specialized Chisel vs Epic 8 vs Epic EVO 7

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In the world of cross-country (XC) mountain biking, the release of the Specialized Chisel for 2025 presents an intriguing alternative to the high-performance, but expensive, Specialized Epic. The Epic has been a rider favourite at Empire Cycles, with the trail-focused Epic EVO being our go-to bike for anything from the Kalamunda Circuit, to the Munda Biddi, to the more technical XC trails at Dwellingup and Nannup. Let's delve into how the Chisel stacks up agains the Epic EVO 7 and all-new Epic 8.

Frame Material and Design

The most notable difference between the Chisel and the Epic 8 lies in their frame materials. While the Epic boasts a lightweight carbon fibre frame, the Chisel utilizes Specialized’s advanced M5 alloy. This choice not only contributes to a more affordable price point but also enhances durability, making it ideal for riders who prioritize toughness over the ultimate weight savings provided by carbon fibre.

Specialized Chisel side view

The 2025 Chisel features Specialized's D'Aluisio Smartweld Technology, allowing for more material to be placed where it's needed for increased stiffness and compliance where you really need it.

 

Weight and Construction

Despite being alloy, the Chisel impresses with its weight. At 2,720g for the frame and shock, it stands out as the lightest alloy full suspension frame currently available. This is achieved through Specialized’s innovative D’Aluisio Smartweld technology, which optimizes welding points and ensures structural integrity without compromising weight.

The Epic EVO 7 features a lightweight FACT 11m carbon frame, with a simple, non-proprietary suspension design and two bottle cage mounts. In contrast, the 2024 Epic 8, with its updated carbon fibre construction and SWAT in-frame storage, achieves even lighter weights (1,795g to 1,965g depending on the model), but at a significantly higher cost.

Suspension and Geometry

Both bikes share similarities in their suspension designs, featuring 120mm front forks and rear travel that slightly varies (120mm for Epic 8, 110mm for Chisel). The geometry of the Chisel balances in between the Epic EVO 7 and Epic 8, with a 66.5° head tube angle.

Specialized Epic EVO 7
While it's no longer the flagship model, the Specialized Epic EVO 7 still provides a top-tier ride, with a FACT 11m carbon frame and well thought out component spec.

Components and Build Options

The Chisel lineup offers two main models in Australia: the base-spec Chisel and the higher-end Chisel Comp, priced at $3,900 AUD and $5,300 AUD respectively. These bikes come equipped with robust components suitable for trail riding, including wide handlebars, dropper posts, and capable drivetrains like SRAM Eagle.

In contrast, the Epic 8 features more premium components and technologies such as in-frame storage (SWAT) and remote suspension lockout (controlled by the TwistLoc handlebar grip), aimed at maximizing convenience and performance for competitive XC riders. 

The Epic EVO 7 is by far the best bang-for-buck option of the range, with modern XC geometry, a lightweight FACT 11m carbon frame, and GX and NX build kit options on sale for $5499 and $4799 respectively.

Model Comparison

Geometry & Specification

Specialized Epic EVO 7

Specialized Chisel

Specialized Epic 8

Wheel Size

29"

29"

29"

Frame Material

FACT 11m Carbon

Aluminum

FACT 11m Carbon

Frame Travel (rear)

110mm

110mm

120mm with remote lockout

Fork Travel

120mm

120mm

120mm with remote lockout

Head Tube Angle

66.5°

66.5°

65.9°

Reach

460mm (LG)

470mm (LG)

475mm (LG)

Chainstay Length

438mm

437mm

435mm

Seat Tube Angle

74.5°

75.5°

75.5°

Weight

12.22kg (Comp, MD)

13.87kg (Base, MD)

11.7kg (Comp, MD)

Price Range

$4799 (Base) $5499 (Comp)

$3900 (Base) $5300 (Comp)

$7500 (Comp) - $24000 (S-Works)

Summary

Specialized Epic EVO 7: Modern XC geometry, light weight FACT 11m carbon frame, excellent component spec, and great value at the sale price.

Specialized Epic 8: More progressive geometry with a slacker head tube angle, longer reach, and longer travel compared to the Epic 7, combined with a remote suspension lockout and SWAT frame storage.

Specialized Chisel: Aluminum frame with a focus on affordability and versatility, featuring a more traditional XC geometry.

The Wrap-Up

The Epic EVO 7 stands out for its carbon frame and great build kit, offering a blend of lightweight construction and durability. Positioned as the best value option at the current sale price, it’s appealing to riders seeking high-performance at a more accessible price point. With modern XC geometry, room for two water bottles, and a great component spec, this setup balances efficiency with capability, making it suitable for technical trails and endurance races. Looking for a capable carbon XC bike under $5.5k? Look no further.

In contrast, the Specialized Chisel opts for an aluminum frame, prioritizing affordability and robustness. It serves as a versatile XC hardtail, appealing to a broad spectrum of riders from beginners to enthusiasts. The Chisel maintains a more conventional XC geometry with a steeper head tube angle, enhancing agility and responsiveness on less demanding trails. It offers good value for money, allowing riders to upgrade components over time and customize their setup according to evolving preferences and skill levels. Looking for an affordable, unique, and agile alloy XC bike? The Chisel is the bike for you.

The Specialized Epic 8 represents the pinnacle of XC performance within the lineup. Crafted from FACT 11m carbon, it excels in delivering lightweight construction and advanced features. The Epic 8 introduces progressive XC geometry with a notably slacker head tube angle (65.9°), longer reach options (ranging from 390mm to 500mm), and increased rear wheel travel (120mm). These design elements enhance the bike's capability on technical terrain while maintaining excellent climbing efficiency. Equipped with an integrated remote lockout system (120mm front and rear), and innovative features like SWAT storage, the Epic 8 is tailored for riders seeking uncompromising performance and versatility. However, its premium materials and advanced design position it at a higher price point ($7500 - $24000 AUD), reflecting its top-tier status in the XC segment. Looking for the ultimate in modern XC performance? Choose the Epic 8.

By Sean Lee
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