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  1. #1
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    Ellsworth Bike

    Has anyone here had any experience with an Ellsworth bike frame? Curious, my local bike shop pushes this brand, a 'build it yourself' type bike package. Going to try one out in April (demo month), but looking for input.

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    Lowcel the mod had an Ellsworth Truth and an Enlightenment. Both were great lookin bikes. Im sure he'll fill you in, if not, shoot him a PM.

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    Thanks for the info. I'm a newbie here so where do I find Lowcel? Thats a techie I'm guessing? In a particular forum?

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    later free_pizza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cattrails View Post
    I'm a newbie here so where do I find Lowcel?
    http://www.bikeforums.net/members/lowcel-5429.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by cattrails View Post
    Has anyone here had any experience with an Ellsworth bike frame? Curious, my local bike shop pushes this brand, a 'build it yourself' type bike package. Going to try one out in April (demo month), but looking for input.
    I ride an Id, several friends have Truths and Epiphanies...we all think they're remarkable bikes, but not for everyone...essentially they're long travel XC bikes, very light, have a high bottom bracket, and a standover that takes getting used to (I now sing soprano in the church choir).

    Remarkable stability, no peddle bob, incredibly nimble on technical singletrack...quite the ride

    Check out the Ellsworth forum on mtbr.com:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/forumdisplay.php?f=4

    our gang is always happy to provide feedback, but we're somewhat prejudiced

    Happy Trails

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    Quote Originally Posted by cattrails View Post
    Has anyone here had any experience with an Ellsworth bike frame? Curious, my local bike shop pushes this brand, a 'build it yourself' type bike package. Going to try one out in April (demo month), but looking for input.
    Which frame are you looking into? I have an Ellsworth Moment that I bought a few months back and I have nothing but good things to say about the frame.

    Some negative stuff I found out about Ellsworth generally during my research is that: (i) a lot of people complain about Ellsworth's customer service, though this has gotten better in the last few years and there are many who have had no issues with its customer service; (ii) some Turner owners seem to really dislike Ellsworth; (iii) their frames are usually more expensive than comparable frames and, therefore, some people think it is an overrated company.

    I chose the Moment because it fit me better than many of the other comparable frames I demo'd (Specialized Enduro, Turner RFX, Foes 2:1 FXR, Intense 6.6, etc.). So far I have not been disappointed with the bike. It's extremely versatile -- from XC to light DH -- depending on how you build it up. Having ridden it for several months now, if I had to do it again, I would definitely get the Moment. It's a confidence inspiring bike and has helped me get better and have more fun.

    If you have any specific questions about the Moment, let me know and I'll see if I can help.

    Are you in So Cal, by the way? I'm curious which bike shop is pushing the Ellsworth on you.
    Last edited by KayGee; 01-09-08 at 01:21 PM.

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    Check out my Ellsworth in the sig. It's nice but the the 4-bar linkage design is dated.

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    Thanks for all the info out there! I am definetely going to demo some of the Ellsworth models in April (they do a demo weekend then) at the LBS. The Moment and Epiphany are on my list. I'm in NorCal Los Gatos, straight east and over some mountains from Santa Cruz. The bike shop is Summit Bikes in Los Gatos, they carry Trek and Fisher too but I've never been grabbed by them. I will most likely demo a competitor too, Specialized Enduro SL Comp and the Specialized SX Trail 1. Still miss that old Rockhopper I had back in the day sometimes

    I'm giving myself till June to save the cash, hence the research now, it's never too early. I'm thinking the Ellsworth are too pricey but then again I'm not doing this again for many, many years. I'm a decent mtbiker, love the downhills, looking to improve my steeper downhill skills and single track agility, I'm okay over smaller obstacles, my other consideration is overall bike weight, what goes down must sometimes climb first.

    Thanks for the photos too... The Dare is fantastic, luv it!!! Built like a tank and heavy I'm sure, probably to heavy for me, lil ms. petite.

    Anybody noticed the Nuvinci shifting yet? Not on the mountain bikes, only on the Ellsworth Ride bike I noticed. WDYT about that for shifting?

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    I rode an Ellsworth Subb22 for about a year and then went on to an Ellsworth Truth for quite some time. Both were outstanding bikes, Ellsworth is definitely top notch quality. The Truth was the best full suspension XC bike I have ever ridden. I only sold it to go back to a steel hardtail which is just my personal preferance.

    great bikes
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    Ellsworth are terrible, the frames break regularly.
    </Pete rant>

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFG View Post
    Ellsworth are terrible, the frames break regularly.
    </Pete rant>
    Pay attention in the future and you just might get it right.

    "Tony Ellsworth is a lying sack of feces and all around scumbag, his company has had many problems with customer service and warranty service and I wouldn't recommend buying an Ellsworth for those reasons."

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    Hmmm.. someone else also recommended the poor customer service, I don't like the sound of poor warranty coverage, the bike shop told me the Ellsworth frames are guaranteed for life so that would be a big issue with me. I don't think I'm aggressive enough to break a frame riding. Was your issue a bad weld or poor material? I'm taking ALL comments into consideration. Thanks for the input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cattrails View Post
    Hmmm.. someone else also recommended the poor customer service, I don't like the sound of poor warranty coverage, the bike shop told me the Ellsworth frames are guaranteed for life so that would be a big issue with me. I don't think I'm aggressive enough to break a frame riding. Was your issue a bad weld or poor material? I'm taking ALL comments into consideration. Thanks for the input.
    That's not true. They're guaranteed only for 2 years, like many boutique companies. They used to be guaranteed for life and that's what caused a lot of the CS issues. Based on the research that I did before buying the bike, their customer service has improved significantly in the last 2-3 years.

    The reason I bought an Ellsworth despite the customer service issue is because the bike fit me so well and I like their suspension design, they are very high quality frames IMO, and the issue relating to Ellsworth's poor customer service has been way over blown. Also, I don't really care about Tony's personality...
    Last edited by KayGee; 01-10-08 at 02:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cattrails View Post
    Hmmm.. someone else also recommended the poor customer service, I don't like the sound of poor warranty coverage, the bike shop told me the Ellsworth frames are guaranteed for life so that would be a big issue with me. I don't think I'm aggressive enough to break a frame riding. Was your issue a bad weld or poor material? I'm taking ALL comments into consideration. Thanks for the input.
    I agree with KG...the frames are now guaranteed for 2 years because of the customer abuse problems (one guy got 11 warranty replacements because he and his friends kept jumping off his garage roof) and that led to some very public disputes...but the actual number was very small.

    He also had some design problems...the 2001 Truth seat tube broke occasionally, and the first Epiphany rockers were prone to break...but all were replaced...no questions asked.

    Ellsworth frames are now made in his own factory in Vancouver, Washington. He is now able to control all aspects of quality control, and the new frames are remarkable. I own 2 Santa Cruz (Blur & VP-Free) and a Specialized Stumjumper FSR...none are close to the Id on fast technical trails...like comparing a Ferrari to a Camaro.

    I've had numerous reasons to work with his customer service...all questions were answered within 48 hours, and replacement parts arrived within 6 working days. Try that with Santa Cruz and Specilaized (Specialized is the only company I will never buy again because of my CS experience)

    Just a "heads up"...Ellsworth has been a little slow with their CS lately...their California office was hit hard by the wild fires and a lot of their people had to look after their families...but last I heard, they were getting back on track.

    Give them a try...they have some design quirks (they only vary the top tube length on the bike sizes so the bottom bracket and standover heights are the same with each size) but if they fit, I'm confident you'll be impressed.
    Last edited by jm01; 01-10-08 at 03:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jm01 View Post
    the frames are now guaranteed for 2 years because of the customer abuse problems
    Incorrect. Ellsworth changed his bogus "lifetime" warranty to a two year warranty only after he failed time and again to honor his lifetime warranty.

    The backlash (regarding his lifetime warranty that wasn't actually for a lifetime) got to be so bad that he switched to a two year warranty (which the company still struggles to warranty acceptably in some cases).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trimbler View Post
    Incorrect. Ellsworth changed his bogus "lifetime" warranty to a two year warranty only after he failed time and again to honor his lifetime warranty.

    The backlash (regarding his lifetime warranty that wasn't actually for a lifetime) got to be so bad that he switched to a two year warranty (which the company still struggles to warranty acceptably in some cases).
    Pete's back!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by harov3 View Post
    Pete's back!!
    ssssssh, keep it quiet

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trimbler View Post
    Incorrect. Ellsworth changed his bogus "lifetime" warranty to a two year warranty only after he failed time and again to honor his lifetime warranty.

    The backlash (regarding his lifetime warranty that wasn't actually for a lifetime) got to be so bad that he switched to a two year warranty (which the company still struggles to warranty acceptably in some cases).
    Any examples, other than anecdotal?

    My experience is that he honored that warranty...A friend had a cracked chainstay replaced, a cracked Truth frame (2001 model) replaced, and I had my seatstay replaced at no cost...

    ...maybe because we're in Canada and have good consumer protection laws?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jm01 View Post
    Any examples, other than anecdotal?

    My experience is that he honored that warranty...A friend had a cracked chainstay replaced, a cracked Truth frame (2001 model) replaced, and I had my seatstay replaced at no cost...

    ...maybe because we're in Canada and have good consumer protection laws?
    By definition, the examples are going to be anecdotal (i.e. not a scientific analysis).

    As far as examples are concerned, you just have to have followed the old "what bike to Buy" forums on the old MTBR and then the Ellsworth forum on the new MTBR. Both forums are littered with horror stories about customer service issues/warranty issues as well as posts by Tony Ellsworth himself (although many of those posts have been purged from the new MTBR/Ellsworth forum) wherein he became caught in his own lies regarding a number of subjects, including his failure to honor his much touted lifetime warranty.

    The fact remains that Ellsworth has many, many more who are dissatisfied with the way that he handled his supposed lifetime warranty, and now his two year warranty, than similar manufacturers like Ventana, Titus, Turner, Intense, etc. And it's a problem that has been going on for at least six years.

    All bike manufacturers have bikes that break. What sets them apart is how they handle those problems.

    In Ellsworth's case, he has been consistently inconsistent.

    Here's a decent summary written by a well-respected dealer:

    "That's one of the problems is that they are so hot & cold. Some people get great service while others get royally f#%&#d for no apparent reason. Tony has a long history of questionable etchics, lying, and charging people for things that should be covered under their warranty. On some of the older Truth frames a lot of them were breaking due to a defect in the shock mount design. He had to redesign the shock mount to fix the defect (ie: his design mistake) but charged customers for new rear shocks because the new design didn't work with their shocks. If someone buys a 2003 frame and it breaks in a way that's covered under warranty, Ellsworth should replace the frame. If they're unable to replace it with the same type due to design changes (compatibility with the customers current rear end or shock) then they should replace it with the closest substitute, ie: the 04'. Instead they are charging people to "upgrade" to the newer design, even in cases where they admit it's a defect that caused the breakage. That's not only lame, it's illegal in many states.

    When Andy F (mtbr poster) sent his frame in for warranty Tony accused him of stealing it and said they wouldn't warranty the frame because it was stolen (even though Andy had proof of original purchase).

    They did some "creative editing" (cough cough) of magazine reviews posted on their site (without permission from the original authors), which totally changed the tone of reviews in Ellsworth's favor and in some cases changed it to say exactly the opposite of what was actually written. Then Tony himself came on mtbr and flat-out lied to everyone here about it. Said that they were typo's and words accidently omitted, when it was obvious to everyone who read the passages that there was no way that was possible."

  20. #20
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    I think a lot of the hate for Ellsworth is reasonable, but is also the result of old wounds that have yet to heal. I have heard very few valid complaints of Ellsworth since it instituted the 2 year warranty policy. By "valid" I mean reasonable complaints of the company by people who have actually owned an Ellsworth since it instituted its new warranty policy. You can also mitigate a lot of the CS concerns if you deal with Ellsworth through your dealer.

    Nonetheless, it does seem that similar manufacturers handle their warranty claims better or, at least, seem to have better PR about it. If you like other comparable bikes as much as an Ellsworth, you should consider buying them for peace of mind. But I would not be too concerned about the CS issues if you actually like Ellsworth more than the other bikes.

    Here is an interesting post by LowCel from the Bike Forums archives:

    "The problems with the frames were primarily from 2000 (or 2001) to 2003. They were having a lot of them break on the seat tube. At the time Ellsworth was offering a "lifetime" warranty. The problem with the warranty was that constant changes were being made to the frames. This meant if it was 2002 and you broke a 2000 model frame that they may not have the part that you needed any longer (making up years here). This meant that they would give you a new front triangle (example) however you had to buy the new rear triangle, linkage, etc to make it work. A lot of people were not happy with this (who can blame them). There are other reports from a friend of a friend's first cousin's baby's momma that they would not honor the warranty at all. So take that for what it's worth, it could be true, I dunno.

    Anyway, starting in 2004 they started making the frames stronger with more bracing. This did add a little weight but it made it much stronger. Since then there are very few reports of broken frames. Any that have been broken (primarily cracking on the chain stays) have been taken care of right away.

    As far as their warranty they have changed that as well. In 2005 (or late 2004) they went from a "lifetime" warranty that they honored most of the time to a two year warranty that they do honor. Personally I would much rather have a warranty that I can rely on even if it is for a shorter period of time.

    Take a little time to check out the Ellsworth (http://forums.mtbr.com/forumdisplay.php?f=4) forum over at MTBR. It's pretty interesting if you check out posts now verse posts a couple of years old. The posts have gone from pretty much negative to mostly positive. People now stand in line to defend Ellsworth where they used to just love to bash them. Now there are still plenty of bashers out there, most of which have probably never even ridden an Ellsworth.

    Just keep in mind, bad news spreads much, much faster than good. I hope this helps out a little, I went through all of the same questions when making my decisions to purchase my Ellsworths."
    Last edited by KayGee; 01-11-08 at 10:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KayGee View Post
    I think a lot of the hate for Ellsworth is reasonable, but is also the result of old wounds that have yet to heal. I have heard very few valid complaints of Ellsworth since it instituted the 2 year warranty. By "valid" I mean reasonable complaints of the company by people who have actually owned an Ellsworth since it instituted its new warranty policy.
    Once you are directly lied to by the owner of a company (multiple times), I don't think that "wound" will ever heal. You just share your experience and warn folks about dealing with that kind of person.

    As far as recent issues, after the 2004 cut off that Lowcel established, they certainly are there, if you look.

    For instance:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=292359
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=321510
    etc.

    p.s. :

    Quote Originally Posted by jm01
    and I had my seatstay replaced at no cost...
    Why would you write that they replaced it at no cost when you claim to have had to pay for your crash replacement?

    "Ellsworth had a replacement sent to Toronto within 6 working days at a fair price"

    "Last year I needed to replace a bent seatstay but was told that this was crash damage and wasn't covered."

    "yep, they still had an original...price was OK too"

    "So today Ellsworth tells me to bring the part to the LBS and they'll issue an RA# and sell me a new part as a crash replacement."

  22. #22
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    All I can say is that I was very happy with both of mine while I owned them. Keep in mind though that I never had to deal with their customer service. I can't say how I would feel about them if I would have had a problem. I would like to believe that I would have been taken care of but I can't swear to it.

    As far as performance goes both of my Ellsworths were awesome.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trimbler View Post
    Once you are directly lied to by the owner of a company (multiple times), I don't think that "wound" will ever heal. You just share your experience and warn folks about dealing with that kind of person.
    Very true. Though I think, based on both first hand experience and supposition, that many of the people continuously complaining about Ellsworth have not been lied to directly by Tony, but have only heard about the issues, lies, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trimbler View Post
    As far as recent issues, after the 2004 cut off that Lowcel established, they certainly are there, if you look.

    For instance:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=292359
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=321510
    etc.
    I actually had seen both of these posts immediately prior to purchasing my bike. They did give me pause as they were some of the few complaints that I was referring to in my above post. In the end, however, I felt that it was worth the "risk". For example, the secondary issue in the second link you posted discussing the cranks on the Moment didn't really concern me because my cranks had enough clearance -- not really a CS issue but one that was discussed a bit and had people bashing Ellsworth about it in other posts/forums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KayGee View Post
    Very true. Though I think, based on both first hand experience and supposition, that many of the people continuously complaining about Ellsworth have not been lied to directly by Tony, but have only heard about the issues, lies, etc.
    In addition to the folks with first-hand experience, there are the folks that have read about those specific situations, including the responses from Tony himself. Many folks have formed their opinions based upon those public statements made by Tony.

    I think this is an interesting phenomenon regarding Ellsworth:

    Sharing a bad experience = complaining
    Sharing a neutral experience = sharing an experience
    Sharing a good experience = sharing an experience

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trimbler View Post
    In addition to the folks with first-hand experience, there are the folks that have read about those specific situations, including the responses from Tony himself. Many folks have formed their opinions based upon those public statements made by Tony.
    I think this is an interesting phenomenon regarding Ellsworth:

    Sharing a bad experience = complaining
    Sharing a neutral experience = sharing an experience
    Sharing a good experience = sharing an experience
    No doubt it appears that Tony's personality and principles leave much to be desired.

    I'm interested (though fearful) to see if/when I have a CS issue, how I will be dealt with by Ellsworth. Hopefully it won't involve me "sharing a bad experience."

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