From the world’s finest carbon materials and leading edge layup process to the fast rolling 29’’ wheels, the full suspension Evolve is the highest level of cross country rig ever built. Mated perfectly with a Fox Kashima® tuned suspension, our highly refined, fully active platform provides climbing, cornering and descending traction that is the legendary trademark of Ellsworth. One look at the Evolve and you know it’s a piece of performance art. The low stand over height frame features beautiful swooping tubes made possible with Force Vector Anisotropic Design™ and accentuated with new super clean graphics that are all business. Look fast, be faster with the 2013 Carbon Evolve.
Strengths: Solid climber, stable, very comfortable, no pedal strikes, light, no bob on open shock
Weaknesses: noisy, no water bosses inside front triangle, derrailleur hanger breaks easily
This is my second Evolve, the first one was an 2012 aluminum sst2, this one is cf, feels lighter and reponses better, It doesn´t feels fast but it is FAST, corners like it is on rails, climbs like a scared goat, makes you feel safer any time, time goes too fast on this bike, I always want more time! I am 43 and this one is the right one for me, I got lucky I found this baby on ebay new, maybe I have never bought it at full price.
Similar Products Used: Evolve SST2, Salsa Big Mama
Bike Setup: Med frame, Sid XX 100mm, ztr crest, XX1 drivetrain and xx brakes
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 10, 2014
Strengths: This is one of the most comfortable bikes I have ever owned. It is made for all day trail rides. It is a great looking bike that gets a great deal of attention. It is very stable on fast rocky descents.
Weaknesses: This bike has a long wheel base compared to most bikes. While it is stable at high speeds, it is like a tank in the tight single track. While most XC bikes are designed to carve around corners, this bike is best taking slower sweeping turns. I did have a warranty replacement that took 6 weeks to sort out. The Ellsworth Wheels are flexy.
Due to the handing and maneuverability of this bike, I did not take it on rides with the fast group. Fast rides were reserved for the hard tail. It was best suited for slower paced casual rides over long distances. I ordered my bike with the Ellsworth Wheels. Those were total junk! They were flexy and did not do well tubeless. After trying 3 different tires, the Ellsworth rep stated that they had issues with tubeless in some wheels. Bad wheels and a warranty issue, not a good experience. It is comfortable! Almost like a beach cruiser for the trails. That can be good if you are into 4 hour trail rides.
Strengths: Despite it's wheight, it climbs like a goat. It descends on rocky terrain like a bullet train. On flats, it simply rides like a rolls Royce.
Weaknesses: Incredible to say, but none. Perhaps the weight, but the ride quality is that good that it's not really an issue.
I've been riding this steed for close to two years, racing it and throwing everything South Africa has to offer. And let me tell you that after 20 hrs plus of riding on the us east coast, it is simply bigger, rockier, rooter and faster here. I race competitively both road and mtb and have done several multi day stage races on the evolve. Simply put, it's fast, its comfortable, it's forgiving, and just keeps on going. I have used and abused it on rock gardens (climbing and descending) rode 100s of kms on rutted and dusty jeep tracks (yes, many a times surrounded by African wild animals of the hoofed variety), dropped over ledges, you name it. Yet, it still rides and looks like the very first day. I upgraded form my 26 inch steel IF hard tail, which I now turned into a SS, and it was like mtb had become a new sport. Actually my only regret is that it became easier and hence the reason I needed a SS. No kidding. I'm 6.9 and weigh 165 pounds. I honestly have a hard time thinking how someone can come up with a better xc and trail machine
I bought the Evolve frame and built it up after riding a Trek Superfly 100 for a couple months- got a great deal on the Trek, but never quite fit me. The Evolve geometry simply fits my build better than the Trek. I'm a long-legged 6-footer, 160lbs. The balance on this bike inspired confidence from the very first ride. I love how it handles on everything from long steep climbs and fast descents, to flowy, fast singletrack. I've spent 4 months on this rig, set up with full xt/xtr, easton haven wheels and 2012 Fox 100s front and back. Bike weighs in at 26.5 lbs-- not bad for a quiver of one rocket ship that handles like a 26er with all the benefits of bigger wheels. Simply the most fun I've ever had on a mountain bike.
Weaknesses: Bottle cage won't fit inside front triangle
I'm on my 2nd evolve. I started with the first generation and loved it. I now ride the stt2 version and still love this bike. The suspension is very good at absorbing both small bumps and large hits. It also feels great to me while pedaling and climbs efficiently. I've never been too concerned about pedal bob. Any bike will move up and down if you bounce all over it like a crazy person.
The handling is spot on for me. Ellsworth has the geometry dialed in IMO. The steering is very neutral and goes where you point it. This is especially noticable on tight switchbacks going up or down. Bikes with slack head angles have a heavy floppy feeling to me. Why people say slack HA's are more stable, I don't know? I've ridden many bikes and the bikes with slack head angles seem like they want to go left or right, but not straight when going to rocky rooty stuff. Perhaps at higher speeds on smooth singletrack the slack HA's feel good.
This bike is also a work of art. It's great to just look at!
I've raced semi-pro/cat 1 in the past and this this bike was perfect for it. Although, it seems like race courses are being groomed so that there is less carnage- there are times when a nice light hardtail would be good to have. But being I don't earn a living from racing and log most of my miles riding for fun I choose the Evolve.
a Weekend Warrior
from Pinehurst, NC
Date Reviewed: October 13, 2011
Strengths: Fast, nimble, well built, solid construction
Weaknesses: Expensive...but worth every penny!
This is a big boy bike, I'm 6' 4" and weigh in at a svelte 245 Lbs. and every bike I have owned up to now has always felt a little tight or I had to really baby them on the trails for fear of breaking something. This bike is fantastic!! It is nimble, quick, and so much fun to ride! I have over 1800 miles on it and it still looks brand new. The 29" wheels soak up bumps, rocks, and logs like they are not even there. I'm very confident riding any trail on this bike, from technical to single track this bike rocks! I just love it! This is one bike Tony Ellsworth and his folks got right!!
Similar Products Used: Ellsworth Isis, Trek, Diamondback
Bike Setup: Fox forks, stans no tube, hope hubs
a Weekend Warrior
from lewiburg PA
Date Reviewed: August 21, 2011
Strengths: unbelievalbe susspension, incrediblly built, fast, very fast
Weaknesses: none really, maybe weight a little
yeah its worth it, this is my first 29er, I have only about 50 miles on it but now that I am getting used to the geometry I can't imagine riding anything else. I will post again in about a year for an additional review, but the early result is this is a fantastic bike/.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: February 6, 2011
Strengths: Handling, suspension, build quality.
Weaknesses: Price (bought this frame on closeout for $1600)
This is an all around fantastic bike. Has enough suspension that it's fun in the rough stuff yet doesn't wallow. I have the 120 in the front which relaxes the head angle a bit making it nicer for the technical stuff and downhills. Overall, the bike handles extremely well and is extremely fun to ride. I know there may be other 29ers out there that are better in one area or the other but the Evolve seems to do everything well with no big weaknesses. I absolutely love this bike and think it will be quite a while before another 29er comes along that will tempt me to upgrade.
Bike Setup: Reba Team 120mm
SRAM X9 front/rear
Shimano Deore XT crank
Avid Elixir CR
WTB Devo seat
Mavic Crossmax C29SSMAX wheels
Ragley Carnegie bars
a Cross Country Rider
from miami springs
Date Reviewed: September 12, 2010
Strengths: Lightweight, climbs like a mountain goat, suspension is the best ever ridden. As nimble as any 26er that I've ridden.
Weaknesses: Too much trail time will put a strain on your family life.
This bike is an absolute pleasure to ride. the suspension is the best i've ever ridden. this bike handles very well. you will not miss your 26er at all, in fact you will actually sell all other bikes owned because once you ride an evolve everything else seems like a huffy. Just get it.
Similar Products Used: titus rockstar (which,btw' is an awesome bike too), salsa big mama
Bike Setup: xx group, american classic wheels. weighs in at 24lbs.
a Cross Country Rider
from Elk River, MN
Date Reviewed: May 19, 2010
Strengths: Suspension. It's full of strengths, but the suspension is incredible. It rides rugged trail like a very nice motocross dirtbike...fast, total confidence inspiring.
Weaknesses: I suppose price, but given how much better this is than any Fisher or Specialized I've ridden, it's probably worth it.
As I noted in strengths, the suspension system on this bike is so incredible. All at the same time, it is agile, responsive, plush, and aggressive. I can hammer up hills and only feel power loss to the front shock...which is inevitable. I can blast through absurd rock gardens knowing it will dance through. It's probably inspires too much confidence. I will probably wipe it out badly soon. But in the process of inspiring that confidence, I've cleared obstacles and hit times that I've never done before.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29er, Gary Fisher Supercaliber 29er, Salsa Big Mama 29er.
Bike Setup: Fox FIT RLC 120mm front fork
XT brakes, XT crankset
SRAM X9 drivetrain
Easton Haven wheelset
Maxxis Ardent 2.4" 29er tires
Salsa Pro-Moto carbon 17deg sweep bar
Bontrager RXXXL stem
FSA carbon seatpost
a Weekend Warrior
from San Diego, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: April 30, 2010
Strengths: Suspension, stiffness, standover height, endurance racing machine, climbing and descending abilities, and without a doubt Ellsworth bad ass looks.
I have been riding my Orbea Alma 29 for the past 3 years and decided to build up an Evolve after owning 3 Truths for the last 15 years. All I can say is it is a real game changer. I raced the 24 Hours of Adrenaline on the Orbea and thought this was the best hands down 9er until putting some saddle time on the Evolve. This is the best climbing bike I have ever ridden. There is zero energy loss with the RP23 rear shock and the ICT design. I do prefer to switch to Pro Pedal on the climbs and open it up on the descents. Perfect combo for all out weekend assaults. The Ellsworth wheelset and amazing build make this my favortite ride to date. Still love the Orbea, but must say the Evolve has it beat. FS 29er buyers should without a doubt have the Ellsworth Evolve on the top of their list!!
Similar Products Used: Ellsworth Truth, Orbea Alma 29, Specialized Marathon Epic 29
Bike Setup: Full XTR, Ellsworth 29 wheelset, 15mm Fox F29, RP23, Maxxis Ignitor, Crossmax Tires
a Weekend Warrior
from Poway, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: April 3, 2010
Strengths: Suspension, geometry and overall ride characteristics.
Weaknesses: Absolutely none.
This bike is a GAME CHANGER! Incredibly nimble. Tracks so cleanly over incredibly rough terrain. As a former racer and now (an out of shape) weekend warrior, I remember why I love this sport so much. Getting out somewhere beautiful, hilly with some wicked single track. This bike is so amazing, you almost forget about the machine propelling you through space. It climbs predictably with a direct transfer of effort into the rear wheel with the front tracking well. The big ole 29rs roll over obstacles that I would brace for the impact and be surprised as I cleaned them - one after the other. The big footprint in back also grabs the terrain so effectively, I may just get in better shape to motor up those "impossible" ascents now made possible. Descents are incredible. Ellsworth geometry is so dialed. Some of the hairiest technical downhills, I can now clean and my aging back doesn't, well, feel its age. I just love this bike. The folks at Ellsworth are obviously doing their homework and their attention to detail is unparalleled. The paint (nebula blue) is actually anodized and is over-the-top beautiful. Grip collars, and seat post quick release all anodized to match. The 15 mm front skewer/fork set up is rock solid and the 4 inches of travel front and rear is so plush! At 27.6 lbs for the XL frame, it is the perfect combo of lightweight yet fully suspended bike. I've been an avid mountain biker for 20 + years (ouch I'm old!) I've ridden, tested or trialed dozens of bikes. Nothing even comes close to this rig.
Similar Products Used: Marin Mt Vision Pro, Trek Fuel, Gary Fisher Pro Caliber LTD
Bike Setup: XTR, Fox front 15 mm axle, Fox rear.
a Weekend Warrior
from San Francisco, CA
Date Reviewed: November 20, 2009
Strengths: Perfect geometry makes for a smooth but fast ride in just about all types of terrain.
I've had plenty of 26ers and one other 29er - Mamasita. I bought this bike because somebody stole my GT from my garage when I wasn't lookin. Now I'm glad it happened (the new bike anyway...not the $$ loss). Anyway, this bike is the all-around fast rider and fits perfect if set up correctly, which is easy.
Overall, it's a bike for exploring with confidence. Anyone that cares about XC riding in new places without having to worry about bike issues should have one. I love it and will keep it for a long time.
This is the one bike I take on the rides that mean the most to me. Rides on road trips where I don't really know what the trail conditions will be like - because this bike DOES IT ALL. And does it FAST. I ride a Carver 29er Ti Hardtail day in and day out and I take the Evolve out on the rougher trails or on any ride where I want to turn the brain off and just focus on FLYING. This framset RAILS and will soak up any mistakes you make and also climbs like the goat that it is!
Bike Setup: Five inch travel White Bros. coil sprung shock up front and many other goodies from Chris King and Sram
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 18, 2009
Strengths: Frame stiffness, Suspension
Weaknesses: Initial customer service with Ellsworth was challenging (Trying to get a torque spec on a pivot bolt that kept backing out), but worked through the issue, and once I finally got a response, haven't had any issues with service on subsequent questions.
Of all the bikes I demo'd this was the best geometry for me. Not being a beanstock, I can assure clydesdales that this bike has little flex even with 250# aboard, which was one of the main selling points. My only issue to date is with the wheelset I went with, but that has nothing to do with the bike, other than it pains me not to be riding it.