I've gone through 3 swingarms in 2 years. This is totally unacceptable. I've also posted many reviews to this point and they have all mysteriously been deleted. I pound the snot out of my Turner taking it off multiple 10-15 footers on a bi-weekly basis for almost 2 years and not one problem with that frame. My joker is my trailbike never seeing more than 5 footers and it still breaks. The guys at Ellsworth know it's a problem and they just don't care. Their answer to me on how to keep it from happening was to pay $835 and get the newest model. Nice answer after I just paid $1300 to get the stupid thing 2 years ago. After I told them that they told me to just sell it on E-Bay if I didn't like it. They suck and so does the Joker. I've got a friend who goes off on his 4 year old Iron Horse G-Spot and hasn't broken it. Many friends have Bullits with no failures. Don't believe the hype, Ellsworth just buys a bunch of add space which is why they get all the good press. Those who ride do know - buy something else.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: April 14, 2003
Strengths: Cool looks, rides great uphill for a 6 inch travel bike
Weaknesses: First, MTBR has taken down my other 3 posts?!? Anyway this is the third Ellsworth I have broken and the 2nd Joker I have broken in 6 months. First time, you may remember from my post, the rear swing arm snapped completly off! This time the frame craked right under the bottom braquet.
The same wheelset has been on all 3 Ellsworths that haven broken. When the last Joker broke, Andrew wrote me this email:
Hey Robert- Well, I am truly sorry that you have had bad experiences with us. We are a new group of people here... George, Jodi and Greg are all gone. It is me, Jim and Adam. I was here in the transition and can tell you that things are much better here now. Jim and I worked together in the past at RockShox and share the same views on Customer Service. I am glad you still like the bikes, and hope we can regain your confidence as a company. I may have a way to do that.... We have completely redesigned the Joker for late '03 or early '04. We will have rideable samples very soon and we were going to handpick 10 current Joker owners to swap a new frame to. We would want feedback as to ride quality vs. the old Joker, strength, etc. It will be 7" instead of 6". Let's communicate and see if you want to be a beta tester for us. Thanks,
Andrew Siminoff Sales Manager Ellsworth Handcrafted Bicycles, Inc. p 760-788-7500 x206 f 760-788-6212
When I call to get an RA#, Andrew is no longer there and they want $725.00 to upgrade to the new redesigned JokerSL. So my choices are get anther frame that I paid full price for that has yet to last more than 6 months or spend $725+ on a frame they said they where going to give to me anyway. Any suggestions on how to handle this?
I am a 33year old accountant. I weight 190lbs and the bike has never been more than 5 feet in the air. If I sent you a picture of the frame, you would think the bike had never been ridden, except for the large craks.
The jury is still out on this one. I will repost after Ellsworth gets my bike and gets back in touch with me.
Bike Setup: king/Mavic wheelset, raceface cranks, 02 JrT
from Jackson, CA USA
Date Reviewed: February 12, 2003
Strengths: Look, durability, finish, awesome ride
Weaknesses: none so far
I mainly freeride (northshore style and drops) and dirt jump. This bike rocks! It takes drops (8-10') no problem and I've ridden away from many botched landings because the suspension eats up the mistake. The bike climbs well and the frame is very light for its catagory. I took it on a shuttle day last weekend and it descended beautifully. It floats over rock gardens and steers precisely when you need to pick your line through the gnarly stuff. You can't beat this bike for a freerider that needs to take abuse yet still needs to be pedaled up hill. 5 flaming chili's!
Similar Products Used: Rocky Mountain Pipeline, SC Bullit
Bike Setup: Marzocchi Super T, WTB dual duty wheels, XT discs, Fox vanilla RC rear shock, TruVativ Hussefelt cranks
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: November 13, 2002
Strengths: Light. This seems to be Ellsworths mantra, and this bike is no different. Superlight for a freeride bike. Lighter than a Bullit or an SLX, and those frames are LIGHT. The straight seat tube is a very nice feature too. I also like the geometry, with shortish stays and a long top tube. Very nice for manuals and wheelie drops. The icing on the cake is the life time warranty.
Weaknesses: Light. It's so light in fact that if you are a very aggresive genuine big hit rider I'd say you are bound to break one eventually. Mind you from what I've seen this makes up about .005 percent of the riders out there, so everyone else should rest easy. In a fleeting moment of insanity recently, I did a big scary drop and snapped mine. I called up Ellsworth and told them I was out abusing my Joker and did a big dumb drop and it broke, and they in response sent me a new frame out as soon as I got my broken one to them. Inside the box was a note "to keep going big". Only other weakness is the cable routing is stupid. Go look at a Bullit and run your cables exactly like they have them.
If the top tube on the Bullit is too short for you, this is the bike for you. It's superlight, pedals really well for a single pivot, and has the most stable geometry of any bike I've ever ridden. Buy the Romic shock with your frame, it'll make you twice as fast on the downhills.
Similar Products Used: Orange Patriot, SC Bullit etc...
Bike Setup: Boxxer 151, Hope Enduros, Mavic 321, Fox Vanilla RC
from Santa Barbara
Date Reviewed: April 14, 2002
Strengths: Light for 6" travel. Climbs well. Solid.
Weaknesses: Probably not at your LBS, to test ride.
The Joker is a great freeride bike. I can give XC riders a run for their money on long climbs, and bomb the trails you can't ride up, with my DH buddies. If your a freerider that can only afford one quality bike, this is probably the frame for you.
Bike Setup: Jr. T, soon to be Super T Pro, Hope Mini's, King hubs and headset, XTR, Mavic 321's, Easton Cully's... etc.
from Danville CA
Date Reviewed: March 30, 2002
Strengths: STRONG, FAST, PLUSH, Black Annodized! doesn't scratch no creaking at all and fits 8 inch rear, unlike silly bullit, buy a new rear triangle, u gotta be kidding me.
Weaknesses: didn't put the right spring rate on my bike bottomed out a lot until i got it swaped at fox.
OK here it is have ridden both the bullit and the Joker on the same trails. Both have Super T forks and 8 inch xt brakes. North shore cranks..... Well they ride the same as far as i can tell. The joker does pedal better uphill because of the location of the chainline. I use this bike from Dh to XC, it works wonders
Similar Products Used: Bullit (extensive riding on it), Haro MX3 broke after 2 months =( what a POS
Bike Setup: 2001 Super T (soon to be monster), North Shore splined, 8inch XT, Mammoth Dh Intense 2.7, Maxxis high roller 2.5, XTr rear.
Date Reviewed: March 25, 2002
Strengths: strong, pretty light, chicks dig it, needs zero maintenance.
Weaknesses: The paint peeling off my swingarm. Useless in a bar fight. That, and B. Hind Bikes where I purchased it. Not the friendliest bunch once they have your $$ in their paws.
After 6mo.s and 1300 miles the only maintenence this frame needed was to replace the eyelet bushings on the Fox shock, which really is a shock thing, not a frame one. As a trailbike this is ideal for me.Strong, plenty of Bounce, not too heavy, and climbs very well. I found that any questions I had about the bike i could get answered by the friendly folks at Ellsworth with no prob, which totally compensated for the lack of interest the humanoids who sold me the frame showed.
Speaking of customer service, I don't have any gripes w/ Ellsworth whatsoever. When I developed a bit of play in the rear shock eyelet they sent me a set of replacement bushings for the Fox and framebolts for free, and fast, too. Fox SOLD them to me, and took a few more days to get them here as well. As far as I'm concerned Ellsworth Customer Service is as solid as their product.
If I ever do break the Joker jumping it off a 3 story rooftop and Ellsworth is dumb enuf to warrantee it, the whole company should be forced to migrate and re-register in Florida to vote!
Bottom line, buy a Joker if you want a strong plush long travel frame that climbs well and needs no maintenance.
Similar Products Used: Titus, Turner, Norco, R.M., Kona---- tried most all of them.
Bike Setup: 01 Joker w/ Fox RC, MCR, Thompson, Easton, Bullbuster Elektrik Cattle Prod™ attached to Bottle cage (for unruly Sierra Clubbers & equestrians), etc... setup as a trailbike- total weight under 30lb.s w/ BIG tires.
a Weekend Warrior
from Kapaa HI
Date Reviewed: March 16, 2002
Strengths: Laterally stiff, good climber, descends well
Weaknesses: came with a weak swingarm that broke, sold by Beyond Bikes, not a Turner
Look, I'm spoiled and I know it. My other bike is a Turner RFX with a Super T and every freeride goody you can think off and only next to that set up does the Joker look cheap. Of course not everyone can or will shell out the cash needed to upgrade a Turner and if you are one of these people then the Joker is the best of the rest in my opinion. Of course, I'm letting the catastrophic swingarm failure go based on Ellsworth's word they fixed the problem but still be careful and check your welds for crack often otherwise you might get a nasty wake-up call one day on the trail. BTW, Beyond Bikes is the worst company to buy a bike through. They will tell you what you want to hear to get your business and then jerk you around for weeks while they try to make up for the fact that they are cash poor and can't keep items instock and can't get items not included on their pre-made build sheets in a timely manner.
Similar Products Used: Turner RX (the ultimate freeride frame), Kona Stinky
Bike Setup: Z1 QR20 fork, race face cranks, 8 speed XTR drivetrain, Kujo tires, Avid 25 V-brakes (and I still rock this thing off 10 footers)
I eat crayons
from Seattle, WA
Date Reviewed: February 26, 2002
Strengths: Frame is bomb proof and so is the finish Execellent climbing.
Weaknesses: Ellsworth wasn't very helpful.I cart wheeled my ride down Crack addict at whistler and bent the rear rotor. I asked ellsworth a few questions and the guy was short with me. He kept telling me everything the warranty didnt cover instead of being genuinely helpful with my problem.But it was the end of the day and I'll assume he was tired. THey've been pretty cool in the past with my Truth.
First of all, do not buy from Beyond BIkes or Seattle's Downhill Zone. Second of all, do not buy from Beyond bikes or Seattle's Downhill Zone.
Beyond BIkes are a bunch of dishonest @#*&^%'s. They told me that BIke Co. is not a licensed Ellsworth dealer and I wouldn't get the lifetime warranty with the frame(total lie). Also the told me they had everything I ordered in stock just to get the sale. They didn't. Oh well, here is some free advertising for ya! Downhill Zone- we bought parts from this place. We asked one of their mech's were a particular trail was(exit 38). This mudflap from Indiana(or somewhere flat like that)told us that he and the downhill zone built the trail and didnt want anyone else riding it. Anyways, we hooked up with the real builders of it and they substantiated our thoughts of the DHZ. If you want to climb and then bomb down hill, this is for you. The Frame- stong as hell(c'mon, dangerous Dan rides it). the six inches hasn't bottomed yet. No squeeking or creaking. Single pivot/swing arm is simple and laterally stiff. CLimbs great even with a DC fork. If you have a good pedal stroke, then you have minimal bob. Decends like a missile. I thought it was slightly more solid on the down and a little better climber compared to the bullit. I like the bullit as well. The difference was small but worth the extra snaps. You will never have a second thought after you ride it.You'll really never want another ride, maybe a dare. But then you'll need more change and grow a third testicle to be worthy. BUy it from ON Top BIke shop in Vancouver! The owner lets you ride his!
a Weekend Warrior
from Calgary, Canada
Date Reviewed: August 21, 2001
Strengths: Quality, versatility, appearance (sweet, anodized black finish, weight, stiffness. Tony, you were right!
Weaknesses: Bolt attaching shock to swingarm continually loosens.
This bike was built with the intention of bombing down everything which it has and then some. It's helped elevate my riding to a new level albeit one with a decidedly downhill bias. As great a bike as the Bullit is, I think the Joker improves on it especially with respect to bottom bracket and swing arm stiffness. I can deflect both on my room mate's Bullit with dramatically less effort that I can on my Joker. You can really feel the difference when you've ridden the two bikes back to back on a trail with lots of hard, aggressive turns. It's also a remarkably efficient bike to pedal. In the rapidly developing world of FS mountain bikes, one where a frame is lucky to see 3 seasons before it's obsolete, my Joker is a keeper! I may one day change the mission of the bike but the frame is here to stay.
a Weekend Warrior
from Orange, CA
Date Reviewed: June 26, 2001
Strengths: Lifetime warranty, Frame Geometry, Single Pivot and Customer service (they actually called me!?!?!)
Weaknesses: Frame color - Dark Green looks Black.
First of all, I weigh 300lb. I destroy bikes. I break or bend stuff all the time. Two broken bike frames this year. I wanted a bike frame that can hold up to the abuse I dish out. With that said, THE JOKER KICKS ASS! The frame geometry allows for better climbing (chain tension reduces rear suspension bob)while having great control on the descents. This bike/frame is a blast to ride! Will the frame last? Only time will tell. I will keep you posted.
Purchased At: The Bike Company - Lake Forest (They know their SH*T)
Similar Products Used: None similar - Last Bike Jamis Dakar Pro (ouch!)
Bike Setup: Marzocchi 01' MCR, Rynolite wheels, XTR Brakes and XT Drive.
a Weekend Warrior
from B.C. Canada
Date Reviewed: November 5, 2000
Strengths: This is no doubt my favourite bike yet.Nice looking frame the colour options are ok.Bottom line is does the job.The single pivot and frame design was my selling point.I find it easier to climb with than my old Giant 980ATX which was a full suspension cross-country bike.
Weaknesses: I broke my swing arm,there is apparently a recall on it but my bike store never informed me about it.The rear shock(Stratos Pro DH) is not in my best books.Aeon is changing to Fox RC in 2001 to my knowledge.I would wait for it.
Overall I`m pretty happy with the bike.My friends want one.It turns heads on the trails and I get asked alot of questions about it since its not a very common bike yet.It tracks well and the 6" of rear travel soaks those big drops nicely.If anyone is considering the Joker I would recommend it,but wait for the 2001 to come out.They should have the swingarm problem taken care off and have the Fox RC shock instead of the Stratos Pro DH.
I just got a (what I think to be) a pretty good deal on an Ellsworth Joker frameset off of craigslist. I built It up using parts I had laying around in my backyard, but the build raised some questions.
First off, this thing is SLACK. Like to the point that it's hard to hold the bike straight. jus ... Read More »
Hey guys I am new to the forum but have lurked for a while.. I am in need of some help!!
I currently own a Jamis Dakar XC 2009 and am looking at getting and Ellsworth Joker with some upgrades (fox vanilla rear shock, marzocci drop out fork) but it has the original swing arm
Worth getting? I am ... Read More »
Hey guys I am new to the forum but have lurked for a while.. I am in need of some help!!:D
I currently own a Jamis Dakar XC 2009 and am looking at getting and Ellsworth Joker with some upgrades (fox vanilla rear shock, marzocci drop out fork) but it has the original swing arm:madman:
Worth get ... Read More »
Got this bike in May 2011, been loving it ever since. Always wanted a full suspension bike with disc-brakes, and I've always held Ellsworth's up there with the best of em, so I finally bought one!
[IMG]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-dLK7j9KtHrQ/TcqYIkZqqXI/AAAAAAAAAdQ/hV640I2wCJM/EllsworthJok ... Read More »
I am in the process of buying a 2003 Ellsworth Joker, for a allmountain/trail bike.
I was advised against it because they said it was hard to get parts to fit and alot of the newer rear shocks don't fit and its hard to put newer type of components didn't know if that was the case or not.
Let ... Read More »