All new for 2011, the ICT bred Evolution 29er boasts 120mm of fully active travel. From obliterating the local XC loops to tackling the all day epics, this bike does it all. Combine the Evolution sst.2 120 frame with a set of fast rolling 29" wheels and you have a machine that can take you further than you ever thought possible. Go ahead and get lost on the new Evolution sst.2 120, the legendary Ellsworth quality and performance will get you home. ICT? Technology: Instant Center Tracking? is internationally patented and quantifiably the most energy-efficient suspension design in the world, period. Internationally acclaimed, ICT four-bar linkage technology provides up to 100% pedal power efficiency by aligning the instant center of the linkage on the chain torque line and continually tracking it throughout the range of travel. What does that mean in layman?s terms? It means ICT allows pedal power to propel the rider forward without power loss, effectively avoiding the common suspension design flaw that divides pedal inputs into a wasteful combination of forward and vertical (jacking or bobbing) motions. ICT-equipped bikes are legendary for their rare combination of responsive performance and plush suspension that can be found nowhere else. All ICT-equipped bikes feature 12mm pivot axles and oversized bearings for superior pivot stability and lateral stiffness under power. Our commitment to raising the limits of suspension technology, innovation and performance.
We’ve had the Ellsworth Evolution for a few months now and have gotten to know it quite well. And that’s a good thing because it doesn’t come from the wave of new carbon full suspension 29ers with ultra-short chainstays and slacker head angles. Rather, it is a machine made with that familiar material called aluminum and a different approach to 29er geometry and suspension. It is beautiful to look at with its swooping top tube and long and elegant swingarm. It flows well and is nicely complemented by Loaded Components touches. Continue reading →
After test riding several 29ers, it came down to the Evolution or the Tallboy LT. Both are absolutely great bikes, and you won't go wrong with either. I opted for the Evolution for a couple of reasons. The ICT suspension, when dialed in, is simply incomparable to any other bike I tested. I am 6'2' and chose the XL, and it doesn't feel "big" at all. I've used it on some cross country trails, and it is just a very nimble bike for a 29er.
Similar Products Used: Tested Stumpjumper 29, Santa Cruz TallBoy and Tallboy LT, Cannondale Scalpel 29er
Bike Setup: F29 Fork, Fox CTD rear suspension, Fulcrum Red XL wheelset
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 1, 2012
Strengths: Fast Handling but not too twitchy
Solid Control through turns
Plush but efficient suspension front and rear
Rear suspension lightly digs into tight corners for great traction and control
Unbelievable traction, control and handling
Big wheels roll fast
Weaknesses: None, except maybe a little heavy at 28.5 lbs.
Price at $4700, but so far well worth the $ for a quality machine
A little slower to get up to speed than my old 26'er, but that was expected
Bought this bike after reading extensive reviews, because no dealers or demos available in my area (northeast FL). It just seemed like a good choice for a good all around trail bike from tight, twisty, rooty and sometimes rocky (Santos) single tracks in Florida to mountain trails (DuPont, Pisgah) of NC where I ride mostly. I've only ridden it once (today), but I'll have to say it rode very well for the first time out.
I'll post again after riding in the Swank 65 on Nov 11. My initial impression is that this bike rides/corners like it's on rails and eats up bumpy, rooty sections with great control. It's also very efficient in the pedaling department. I didn't want to stop riding it until forced to by darkness!
Who should buy this bike? Cross Country to moderate All Mountain riders looking for a great all around trail bike.
Similar Products Used: Trek Fuel 110 26'er (previous bike ridden for 7 years); Demo'ed on trails: Specialized Epic Expert 29'er, Specialized Camber 29'er, Ventana El Rey 29'er; Demo'ed on pavement: Pivot 429, Pivot 5.7, Yeti, Scott, others..
Bike Setup: Custom build with the intent to go as American made as possible: Fox Float 120 CTD, Fox RP23, Wheels (Stans ArchEx laced to Chris King Iso hubs), Thompson stem/post, Enve carbon bars, WTB rocket v saddle, Schwalbe Nobby Nic TL Snakskin, Ergon grips, 2012 Shimano XT components.
a Cross Country Rider
from Grand Junction,Colo, US
Date Reviewed: April 2, 2012
Strengths: climbing ,smooth pedaling, traction both climbing and descending , quality construction, finish. The evolution steers and corners like my 26" bike. The pedaling is firmer than my Epiphany and it accelerates better . The steering is light and quick not typical of a 29. The bike will climb up rocky/rooty, ledgy trails extremely well. The rougher the trail the better this bike performs. The sus. is active and descending rough trails the tires stick to the ground. The bike feels smooth and you don't realize how fast your going untill you compare it to others. The bike likes a smooth spin stroke which should be typical of long travel 29' bikes. The bike is a no drama ride ,smooth and efficient, with minimal effort. Great for long or all day rides. If you have ridden their 26" bikes , the Truth or Epiphany, this bike is similar only more efficient. Very predictable handling. Its made in the US.
Weaknesses: High BB takes getting used to but lack of pedal strikes is a plus.
This is the easiest bike to ride rough trails with I have ridden. Smooth pedaling , efficient climbing, quick steering. This bike will out climb my TallBoy on rocky/rooty trails. The TB is slightly lighter and faster but requires much more effort to ride than the Evolution. On rides over 2hrs. the Evolution is def. the bike to ride. Its smooth , fast and efficient, on climbs and descents. Very high quality construction. My previous Epiphany went for 8 years with no problems, no bearing issues, nothing. The Evolution should do the same. If you ride smoother trails their are a few faster bikes or just ride a hardtail 29, If you ride rocky rough trails this bike is one of the best.
Similar Products Used: Pivot 429, Specialized Epic, TallBoy, Rocky Mtn. 29, Gary Fisher Superfly, Many 26" bikes.
Bike Setup: Large Evolution, XTR Kit, Easton wheels, Thompson stem +seatpost, Haven bar, candy pedals, Fox suspension, Chris King headset+BB
a All Mountain Rider
from Punta Gorda, FL USA
Date Reviewed: February 22, 2012
Strengths: All moutain bike, attention to detail, surprisingly agile and fast, fast, fast!!!! This bike, plain and simple, brought the joy back to riding (mountain biking). I drool just thinking about riding this thing!
Weaknesses: I feel all the high-end bikes are over priced but after riding the demo, my wife and I both knew we would have to beg, borrow or steal to have one of these! (this is the only reason I am giving the value 4 chilis...Ellsworth knows that once you ride this bike they got you by the **lls). Not sure if this is a weakness but the down hills don't last long anymore...this bike eats up everything we can throw at them!
True all moutain bike. Love it! Coming from a 24 lb. hard tail, it was hard to justify going to a bike with 120mm of suspensoin and a 29er on top of that. Debated with the lead mechanic at the shop that we wanted to stick with the 26er because we ride lots of technical trail..."do we really need 120mm of travel and can we do everything we can on our hard tails?" ...."just demo and then make up you minds". All I can say is after the demo....sold! Felt as though we were riding more upright and seated high like on a on a moto bike but we found ourselves making stuff we couldn't clean on our 26ers within a few minutes on the demo. After nearly four months on these bikes we have found no reason to ever ride our 26ers agian. I will play on it trials-like but I fear my ole 26er will NEVER see the trail again. We would NEVER consider a 26" bike again...dinosaurs ...a thing of the past and simply not "real" mountain bikes anymore. If you have a 26" bike, sell it now or you will have to give it away soon. We find ourselves not wanting to ride with folks on the 26ers...not that we're snobs but most of them are just not in the same league anymore. Sorry.
Definite learning curve to transition from hard-tail to full. Much less fatigue. Rides that were once epic are merely warm-ups now. This bike is a rocket ship in the saddle but no slouch when standing either and it's an absolutely "sick" climber! Even though the bike feels slightly flexy riding skinnys it is awesome with slow speed maneuvering and we can easily do sationary, no-handed, seated track "stands" on these bikes...very stable and nimble. The Evolution has great stand-over height and with 29ers, it rolls over everything! I'm 5' 10" and 140 lbs. The medium is comfortable but a bit tight for me. I tend to like bikes on the smaller-side so I can throw them around easier.
I'm not completely sold on XO SRAM but slowly warming to it...just liked my XTR stuff so much. We will be upgrading to Chris King hubs with a little heavier spoke for stiffness (instead of the Stan's) beacause it's just one of those things.....once you've ridden them you can't go back.
Give the guys at The Bike Shop in Winter Haven a call (863) 299-9907 and ask for Ed or Dave. I believe they are one of he largest sellers of Ellsworth bikes in the US...who would have thought...being located in Florida :-)
Favorite Trail: Jimmie Cotton's, Alafia and all technical trails
Duration Product Used: 3 months
Purchased At: The Bike Shop Winter
Similar Products Used: Purchased Oct 28, 2011.
Bike Setup: Nickel finish (medium) with red rocker and bling. XO build with the Stan's no-tube (no charge for the upgrade) wheels. Also did away with the big ring and installed a red Race Face bash-ring. Exchaged the long cage derailleur for a medium to reduce chain slap (the 29ers have some long chain stays) and we didn't use the big ring on our 26" bikes.... gives us more clearance for logs and rocks. The Bike Shop in Winter Haven, Fl took care of us and blinged the bikes out a bit more at no charge. The bike looks sharp! 27 lbs. with some aggressive platform pedals.
a Cross Country Rider
from Boulder, CO
Date Reviewed: February 2, 2012
Strengths: Geometry and fit are spot on for this bigger travel bike. This is a very comfortable ride. Descending on the Evolution is a dream! Incredibly responsive descender. Stiff frame. Design feels bombproof.
Weaknesses: Ellsworth wheelset is a bit on the heavy side. Rear has needed re-trueing.
You won't go wrong with this bike. When I ride the Evolution, I feel dialed in and the bike feels like it was made for me! Geometry is relaxed and is less of an XC racer, which I prefer. I rode the Evolution on the Crested Butte 100 and came home feeling strong and relaxed, not beat up. The 5" travel is a luxury. This is not the best 29" climber out there, and the suspension definitely feels softer than some of the other bikes I demoed, but what it lacks in climbing efficiency it more than makes up for in overall fun factor. Trails that used to feel like rubble piles (Heil Ranch) now feel buttery smooth. I can't wait for springtime to get back on her.
Weaknesses: No product manuals come with frame or shocks. 2-year warranty is a bit short for a frameset of this cost, however the Ellsworth staff will work with you.
It's Christmas Day, but every day feels like Christmas on this bike. I find myself mowing down sections of trail that I'd walked in the past. The ride is very plush and I'm not fatigued, even after epic adventures. It's not the best climber, but not bad as long as you maintain a steady pace and stay in the saddle.
Ellsworth has made some noticable improvements to the construction of their frames to address some weaknesses inherent in their earlier design. My Ephiphany frame cracked at a weld just below the main pivot so I asked them to replace it with the Evolution frame, which they obliged. They gave me a good deal, including disounts on the fork and headset, but I still needed to pony up a considerable amount of cash. The Evolution frame has shaped tubing and considerably less welds which I would assume translates into better strength and durability. Only time will tell.
Bottom line - if I could only have one MTB in the arsenal, this would be it!
Similar Products Used: Ellsworth Epiphany, Gary Fisher Rumblefish
Bike Setup: Fox Talas 29, Shimano XT groupset, Dave's Speeddream wheelset with Hadley hubs/Notubes Crest rims, Avid BB7, Thompson seatpost.
a Cross Country Rider
from Bend, OR
Date Reviewed: October 20, 2011
Strengths: This is for the Evolution. Absolutely amazing, versatile, smooth, well balanced. Gobbles up pretty much anything.
Weaknesses: BB may be a touch high, cost of the bike is way up there, but worth it
There is not a category for the Evolution (not evolve), but since it's the same frame anyhow, I suppose this will work fine.
I have only had this bike for a few rides (week or two), but have been looking for a while for that perfect ride. I will follow up later with a review after more miles have been consumed.
This bike is amazing, and is my new swiss army knife! It does it all - there are bikes that do things better - for example, the Jet 9 climbs like a hardtail and is really amazing at the race-y type aggressive feel, but does not have the comfort or downhill feel that this bike does. I laugh when I ride this bike, and at the end of the day, that is what I am looking for! I also will mention that this is a complimentary bike to my quiver, and although this is a well rounded bike, for where I live (flat and fast) I think the Jet 9 would work best as a single bike, but the evolution is the king when paired with a SS for those days when you just want to blow off some aggression.
The Evolution pedals better than my old Epiphany, which surprised me, I think the ICT actually works better on a 29'er for some reason, and you can feel it. SO smooth! So sexy - really, this bike is a piece of art, and made in the USA! Ellsworth has not (really) made the jump to carbon yet, or may not, but this bike is pretty much in the price range of it's competitor's carbon version, so that is something to consider when shelling out this much cash.
The geometry is also spot on, for me and where I ride, and I have to give it to ellsworth for sticking to what they do - they have had this figured out for quite a while, and keep fine tuning it for the current model and it just works, very well. I am looking forward to longer rides / races, as this bike will destroy terrain on long rides.
Ellsworths do take a different style of riding, which I am used to and love, but many would call less efficient. As long as you are seated, this bike climbs as good or better than anything else out there. For standing, not quite as strong, but still pretty darn good. Teh good news is that if you are climbing, that should mean you will be going down soon, and where it really shines.