HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Moving out: Swinging a leg over the Chisel, we noticed that
the sizing was accurate. The size large we tested did not make
our taller test riders feel crowded in the cockpit. The stock 90-
millimeter stem was a touch long, but the 740-millimeter-wide
bars felt just right for all-around riding.
Suspension setup: The Judy has an air spring and external
rebound adjustment that doesn’t require a degree in engineering
to set up. We ran the sag at 20 percent in the fork. This setup
felt just right and gave us all the support we needed during our
Climbing: The Chisel has a surprisingly stiff frame that our test
riders noticed on the first steep climb we hit. Out of the saddle the
frame responded, and the rear triangle felt as stiff as that of any
carbon frame we have ridden. The double crankset gave us plenty
of gearing to crush long grinds and steep sections of singletrack
comfortably. The compression adjustment on the Judy fork allowed
our test riders to stiffen up the travel and transform the Chisel into
a rigid hardtail for long, smooth climbs.
Descending: Opening up the fork, the Chisel could rip down
any groomed singletrack. On smooth, flowing trails, the Chisel had
confident handling, especially with the wider 2.3-inch front tire,
giving us a little extra confidence. The slacker head angle gave the
front end a comfortable amount of stability to let us ride at higher
Braking: Shimano makes some of the best brakes in the
business, and the MT500s delivered plenty of power during our
testing. The rear 2.1-inch tire didn’t hook up quite as well under
hard braking efforts but rolled quickly on smooth terrain.
TRICKS, TIPS OR UPGRADES?
The stock tires are tubeless compatible, which is a quick way for
Quality stoppers: Shimano has a broad range of disc brakes,
including the MT500s that came stock on the Chisel. Even
though these brakes are considered entry-level, they pack
more than enough power for XC and light trail riding.
Smooth it out: The Chisel has thinned-out seatstays to help
absorb rougher sections of trail. Road bikes and hardtails
rely heavily on frame manipulation to provide more vertical