Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking Gear Reviews and Roundups





Ellsworth Distance Freeride Full Suspension

4.56/5 (9 Reviews)
Weight : 5.75 lbs

Product Description

  • Rear Travel: 5 in.
  • Shock Options: Air: Fox Custom Tuned Float R, Swinger Air 3-Way
  • Coil: Romic D
  • Fork Travel: Recommended 105-125mm

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Reviews 1 - 9 (9 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Brian Finley a Cross Country Rider from Songtan, Korea

Date Reviewed: May 23, 2006

Strengths:    Light and agile. Looks good.

Weaknesses:    Read below for a long list.

Bottom Line:   
I have had nothing but problems with this bike since I bought it last year. First, although not a huge problem is that the SPV valve is unreachable without taking off the entire shock, but I can live with that. The bushings for the shock don't fit the frame and it either rattles incessently or self-tightens and makes a horrible creaking noise. During a marathon last week I had to stop 4 times to loosen the shock bolt. My bottom bracket was 1mm smaller than it should be on one side to I couldn't fit a race face BB shell and had to stick with a crappy old used XT. I called Ellsworth with these problems repeatedly and was told that they design bikes not shocks so it's not their fault that the Manitou doesn't fit quite right. I would never ever buy another Ellsworth, this was not what I expected from a company with a great reputation. If you want a cool name on a crappy bike, buy this.

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Favorite Trail:   Brown Ridge

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $700.00

Purchased At:   Cambria

Similar Products Used:   KHS, Fisher

Bike Setup:   Fox Float, Avid BB7, Dave's Speed Dream Wheels, Chris King everything, Race Face Atlas Crank and Deus XC Stem and Bar, XT front and rear

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Norm a Cross Country Rider from Citrus Heights, CA, USA

Date Reviewed: March 20, 2006

Strengths:    lite, look great, really does climb like a goat, quick and responsive

Weaknesses:    wouldn't take my SRAM X-Gen front derailuer :-( had to use Shimano

Bottom Line:   
I was looking for a full suspension frame to build up after my old trusty hardtail Giant was stolen last year. I had heard good things about Ellsworth frames and found a great deal on the 2005 Distance. I've been slowly building this bike for 5 months now and I can say that after riding it (finally) it was worth the wait. Lite and quick, it climbs as well as my friends' hardtails and descends like a champ. Very little suspension bob when I really get on the cranks (I weigh 200lbs). The most fun I have had riding in a long time. If you're looking for a great trail/x-country frame I highly recommend the Distance. Maybe not beefy enough for those who like to ride off cliffs, but people will envy your really sweet headtube badge and flashy blue paint job. (jk)

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Favorite Trail:   Folsom Lake

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   Cambria Online

Similar Products Used:   Giant XTC SE-1

Bike Setup:   FOX Vanilla RLC 130, MotoRaptor DNA, SRAM X.9, Hayes HFX-9 Carbon, RaceFace Evolve Cranks, Thomson post and stem

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Philip Chu a Cross Country Rider from Hong Kong SAR

Date Reviewed: December 29, 2005

Strengths:    A real mountain bike you can enjoy the riding all day, plush, good for both climb and descend. Ano black, elegant & looking cool.

Weaknesses:    None so far, may be the cheap price of it.

Bottom Line:   
I used the bike for almost over one year, It climbs well and descends plush. Think about the price of the frame, its made in US with good craftsmanship in welding, design and printing but only cost less than one thousnad US$, What can I say? For people looking for a good all mountain bike and just don't want to pay too much, this is your choice. But one of my friend said he will try another Ells "Moment" if its price falls to a reasonable level.

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Favorite Trail:   Tai Mou Shan Ho Pui - Tai Lam

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   Flying Ball

Similar Products Used:   Giant AC1.

Bike Setup:   Cane creek headset, XT crane, XTR rear del, chain & cassette, Azonic handle bar, Thomson seat post, Fox TALAS R & Manitou 3 way swinger coming with the frame.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Billy Blanks a Weekend Warrior from Melbourne

Date Reviewed: November 19, 2005

Strengths:    Geometry inspires confidence in all areas, looks the shiznit, swinger 3 way nicely adjustable, beefy and stiff but not heavy

Weaknesses:    on rough downhills under brakes the rear end isnt so active, but just dont use rear brake :)

Bottom Line:   
As the marketing behind this bike says its all about getting out on the trails and riding, and with this bike you can go all day. It just does everything so well. Get your suspension air pressures sorted and just ride it- you'll never look back.

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Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $799.00

Purchased At:   CambriaBike on sale

Similar Products Used:   none-its my first dually

Bike Setup:   Fox Talas R, Easton carbon bar/ea70 stem, C4 headset, SDG bel air seat, raceface post, XT cranks, XTR rear derailleur, candy sl pedals

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by the Cowboy a Racer from Cowboy's Fuzzy Duds

Date Reviewed: August 23, 2005

Strengths:    I rode the Isis for 2 years and recently moved up to the Distance. The bike is amazing to ride!! It does everything 25% better than the Isis. I put a 2.35 on the back then immediatly road it up Mt. Diablo in 1 hour and 26 minutes. So basically it climbs like a goat. Downhill is about the same story. Very fast, steering percision (Minute 1) and it floats through rock gardens like it means buisness.

Weaknesses:    ???, ahhhhhhh, Hmmmmmmm, ahhhhh, no weaknesses that come to mind yet

Bottom Line:   
One very bad ass bike frame!!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bullards bar

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   factory direct

Similar Products Used:   Isis/Id/Truth/Specialist/ENlightenment/

Bike Setup:   Romic -n- back Minute 1 up front. Old XTR/XT/ Race Face in between. Mavic wheels/

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dave Wisenteiner a Cross Country Rider from Denver, CO

Date Reviewed: August 21, 2005

Strengths:    The best ride of my life

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
I got this bike through a special deal and was not too psyched to go back to s single pivot and was even less psyched to get the Distance when I saw the real bad boys of the Ellsworth fleet. Then I rode it and that shut me up. It is simply a remarkable design. Single pivots are not sexy compared to all of the stuff out there right now but I decended stuff that I would never have attempted on any of my other bikes. It was one of those moments when you fell the suspension doing it's thing and go "I get it now, this is what it is supposed to be like." I kept thinking I was going to bottom the bike out fatally but no matter what I went off, it just kept on responding right down the trail. Once I made sense of the 3-way, the climb was just superb. Another reviewer wrot it best, the bike is so forgiving on rough stuff that you push yourself down bingger and bigger things and find yourself cleaning them. By a woild chance, I had the opportunity to tour the Ellsworth Facility recently--cool green sustainable building all run off of solar. And they had some of the 06 bike out and they are not to be believed. I can only imagine how they ride. Well done, I may own other bikes but they will always be Ellsworths. This is what it is about.

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Favorite Trail:   ApEX

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Similar Products Used:   NRS 1, S-10 Carbon, Fetish

Bike Setup:   Reba, swinger 3-way, Sram 9.0

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Colin a Weekend Warrior from Youngstown, NY

Date Reviewed: June 15, 2005

Strengths:    very light for 5in travel, standover, stiffness, climbs like a mt. goat, reponsive,

Weaknesses:    brake jack

Bottom Line:   
I just got this frame from Ellsworth bout 2 weeks ago and have managed to squeeze in 6-7 rides. Ellsworth has exceded my expectations with the distance. Not only is it light and tuff as nails, but the astetics are a knockout. Love the laser etching and badges. So many bikes these days have no eye candy bout em, plus it will look good for years..The ride is great. I knotice minimal bob when climbing. I can keep up with the seasoned hardtails on most of the climbs. The decending is the best part. For a bike that can climb so well, the travel feels endless and super sensitive. ATLAS has changed my thoughts on single pivot designs. Lots of stability at speed. I can now ride through anything. Travel feels like my old giant ac and still climbs like a HT. I think for all mountain type of use, rides nicer than anything in its class while looking way more bling.

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Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1095.00

Purchased At:   Ellsworth

Similar Products Used:   santa cruz heckler, giant ac & vt, gf cake, rm slayer,

Bike Setup:   raceface ns cranks, avid juicys, marz mx pro 120, xt drive train(8spd rocks)thomson stem & post. wellgo flats, wtb ddfr wheelset (28.4lbs)

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Chris Froman a Cross Country Rider from Cincinnati, OH, USA

Date Reviewed: April 19, 2005

Strengths:    Bottom bracket - top of seat, back tire - front, this bike is nothing but strenghts. Climbs like a scared cat, drops like a dress on prom night. For serious though, in the few short months I've had this beautiful machine I've take it all over the east coast, from OH KY TN NC FL. Check my reveiw of Oleta state park, Miami FL amazing trails.

Weaknesses:    Thats a joke right?

Bottom Line:   
Best bike I've ever touched. Love of my life, heartbreaker and money taker. I've had more wrecks in the last few months than in the last year with my hard tail, not cause the bike isn't doing somthing right, cause I'm pushing my self harder and harder. The Ell's has given my huge confidence.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Disco monkey, Slick Rock, Gilligans Island

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $3000.00

Purchased At:   Bio Wheels

Similar Products Used:   NONE, but my last two bikes were hard tails, one trek and one marin.

Bike Setup:   Marzzochi 120mm, in Manitou swing arm. Hayes Hydrolics, XT drive train. Hutchinson Tubles, Mavic mx comp. Ritchy stem and bar, truvative crank.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Chris a Cross Country Rider from Los Angeles, CA, USA

Date Reviewed: February 8, 2005

Strengths:    Build quality, finish, stiff rear end, plush, pedals well w/ Swinger shock, good tire clearance, basically does it all (climbs, pedals, bombs hills and can take a decent sized drop), looks awesome built up, Ellsworth customer service.

Weaknesses:    Single pivot, so it stiffens under breaking. Cable routing isn't very elegant, especially considering the quality of the frame. A couple other color options would be nice.

Bottom Line:   
In my experience, this is pretty much the best single pivot trail bike you can buy. It rides a lot like a Heckler, but I think it looks better and unlike Santa Cruz, Ellsworth doesn't subcontract frame-building to Kinesis. An Id or Moment will perform a little better, but they cost a lot more. The Distance does stiffen under breaking, but it pedals great, weight is reasonable (mine is around 30 lbs with big tires and downhill pedals) and downhill performance is flat out blazing. I recommend coughing up the few extra dollars for the Swinger shock. It's nice to be able to tune the pedaling platform. If you've got over $2000 to drop on a frame alone, there are 4-bar bikes that will outperform this one, but I was trying to keep total cost of my bike under $3500, so that was out of the question. One final note, Ellsworth customer service has been first rate. I even got a call saying my warranty card had arrived and wishing me good times on my new bike, along with a number to call with questions or problems. I've owned a lot of bikes, but I've never gotten a call like that before.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1170.00

Purchased At:   Wheelworld

Similar Products Used:   I've ridden just about everything, but owned mostly Santa Cruz and Specialized until now.

Bike Setup:   Swinger Air 3-way, Vanilla 130 RLC, mostly XT, Thomson, etc...

Reviews 1 - 9 (9 Reviews Total)

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