The Ellsworth Enlightenment 29er hardtail delivers the competitive edge. Light weight, incredible power transfer, and handling geometry conceived by a true XC master. Ellsworth Rare Earth Carbon Fiber raises the bar for quality in a market flooded with sub-par carbon frames. Start with the best source for carbon fiber (Toray Carbon Fibers America) add superior carbon engineering, and maximum carbon compaction. The result is a tough, lightweight carbon frame worthy of Ellsworth's reputation. The Enlightenment 29 has a host of new features. Internal cable routing, BB30 bottom bracket, replaceable dropouts for geared and singlespeed application. The icing on the cake is the beautiful swooping paint job that compliments the shapely tubing so well. The Enlightenment 29 also features excellent stand over clearance. -Rare Earth Carbon Fiber -Internal cable routing -Tapered head tube -BB30 bottom bracket -Replaceable dropouts for single speed and geared applications -Cross Country race geometry
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 1, 2011
Strengths: Great trail feedback while smoothing it just enough, lightning quick to climb.
Weaknesses: First frame broke after 6 XC rides, the replacement frame broke after only 60 minutes while climbing.
Bottom bracket is too low for 180mm cranks -- constantly catching pedals on uphill slopes.
Bottom bracket is also too low for any sort of technical terrain -- expect lots of rock strikes and don't even think about rolling over that log.
As designed, the frame does a great job as a pure race bike with great acceleration and just the right amount of dampening.
The first frame they sent me shattered at four points after 6 east coast XC rides. But that's why there are warranties. The second frame sheared at the chainstay after 60 minutes of riding, and while I was doing nothing more than climbing a steep incline.
Unfortunately, Ellsworth has experienced what many small companies do when they move beyond their core competency. In this case, Ellsworth's manufacturing competency is in aluminum frames in their inhouse facility. Outsourcing manufacturing to Taiwan is very different game and they have completely failed at sufficient QA and QC. They told me that they had received a substantial number of broken frames during late 2010, and that they knew that there had been a problem with the lot. Yet they didn't have the quality control to send me a good frame the second time.
The Ellsworth warranty has a key flaw to it -- they will only replace your frame with similar technology. That means that if they discover a frame design has a fatal flaw and redesign it, they don't need to replace your junk with the corrected design. Other manufacturers are more reasonable. Fortunately, this time they just refunded my money and I took a credit with my LBS.
Strengths: Geometry wants more, downhill climbing doesn't matter. Absorbs rough down hill better than most hard tails. Can push through corners really well. Handles like a 26 but all the 29er advantages
Weaknesses: Creaky rear triangle. No matter how much adjustment. Went through three ellsworth drop outs takes them forever to get them in. Trouble with alignment with different componants
Fast and crispy. Handles better than the Super Fly. Has a lower center of gravity due to a low BB. Put your weight on the outside pedal and it corners very well. Lower BB takes some getting used to. I use 175 cranks and I seem to dab them often on this bike. Internal cable routing is sweet, but it rattles. The rattling gets a little annoying and takes away from the silent running of the belt.
The Gates belt pops loudly when I stand on it but it is not broken in yet.
Weaknesses: None after an entire week (will update later)
Ellsworth comes out with a winner again. The bike handles better than I had hoped. A climbing dream. The bike weighed in at 24.3#. Several rides and 9000 ft of climbing so far. Took one ride to dial in seat and headset, another to dial in the XTR (it was not incorrect, I just like perfection). The best thing about the bike so far is the geometry, the one thing that cannot be changed once you buy a bike. The bike allows me to stay in the saddle and push through the pedal stroke, without the front wheel popping you get on some bikes. I am quite impressed. Yea, it's only been a week, but hey, someone has to write the first review.