a Cross Country Rider
from Sunny U.K
Date Reviewed: April 20, 2006
Strengths: Ionised frame. Very rare in the U.K. Frame is very nice to the eye. 150mm travel F/R is all you need. Lighter than most suss bikes. Has a Bottle cage mount. MMMM
Weaknesses: Rear Hose guide. Just drill and grind them with a dremel. Sweet. Cannot fit a 5th ellement, Strange. 2.35 max tyre but....
Love this ride. As new as the day i bought it. None of this silly Cracked swing arm nonsence. 200lb riders, Buy a V10. 28 lbs on the scales is excellent. Suspension encourages confidence and speed. Have owned for 3 year now and not one single problem with the frame. Romic shock lost its rebound but freeborn sorted me out. Theres loads of other 6-7" freeride rigs about but none are as good as the joker. The ionised frame, light weight, Very thin on the ground, Chuck a 165mm fox float on and we have an ISIS. Cannot buy the joker anymore so iam gonna keep it.
Similar Products Used: Marin. Orange Patriot. Loads of silly linkage bikes.
Bike Setup: Med Joker. Marz Z150. All Hope richard. Saint and XTR respectively
a Cross Country Rider
from Fairfax, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: September 15, 2004
Strengths: This bike was fun to ride until ... check out the weaknesses section. No really it was a nice bike when it wasn't broken. Went uphill and downhill nice but it broke a lot!
Weaknesses: It freaking breaks. The swing arm is a piece of Cr@p! The main frame eventually broke. Ellsworth did replace the swing arm twice but I was fed up with the bike after the main frame broke. I am a 200lb rider but I am also not a hucker, in fact I go around big drops not over them. The main frame broke on a smooth downhill fire road where there was 3" inch root to bunny hop off of. When I landed after getting the bike a couple of inches in the air the front wheel shot out in front of me. I thought the front fork broke. After I finally stopped sliding and getting raspberries on my hip and butt I got up and realized the only thing holding the front end to the back end of the bike was the rear shock. I really wanted some type of compensation for this last failure I was going to endure from Ellsworth. So I picked up the phone and called Ellsworth, practically had the number memorized because I called so much, and I went through the directory and found Tony Ellsworth’s extension. Amazingly he picked up the phone and I began to explain to him who I was. He knew exactly who I was and told me that the customer service dept was doing more for me than he ever would. I was speechless at this @sshole's cockiness. He was the biggest jerk I have ever spoken to in the biking world. I made a promise at that moment to never ever purchase anything that is even closely related to ellsworth-less.
The bottom line is all in the pictures. If you have to cut and paste the following links into your browser for a show of what I went through with this piece of $%#$@# bike.
Crack #1 - Bike is 3 months old: http://www.cconsultants.net/joker/pics/crack1pic3.JPG http://www.cconsultants.net/joker/pics/crack1pic6.JPG
Crack #2 - Bike is 6 months old, this swing arm broke faster than the first swing by a few weeks: http://www.cconsultants.net/joker/pics/crack2picP7100002.JPG http://www.cconsultants.net/joker/pics/crack2picP7100004.JPG
Main Frame Broken - Bike is maybe 10 months old, at least the swing arm was still together! http://www.cconsultants.net/joker/pics/totalfailureP8110020.JPG http://www.cconsultants.net/joker/pics/totalfailureP8160002.JPG
Peruse all the pictures: http://www.cconsultants.net/joker/pics/
Bottom Line: If you're a rider weighing over 190lbs or so, stay far far away from Tony's bikes! And by all means if you're not happy with your bike I recommend not trying to talk to Tony unless you really want to get upset. It took me over a year to calm down enough to write this review.
Similar Products Used: Voodoo Canzo Specialized Enduro Specialized BigHit Fisher Mt Tam Titus QuasiMoto
Bike Setup: Joker set @ 6" of rear travel Marzocchi Z1 King headset King Hubs Mavic rims Raceface ISIS Crank triple ring XTR shifters DuraAce chain XT Cassette XT Derailleurs Hayes 6” Disc Brakes Thomson Stem and Seat Post ODI Grips
from columbia, mo
Date Reviewed: May 8, 2004
Strengths: Nice stiff geometry, easy to throw around, sweet on steep decents, not enough travel potential to hit the bombs.
Weaknesses: Mushy on up hill climbs, not alot of rear travel potential, stay off the 10 footers, been bottomed out many times and with the rear swing arms reputation you may be sending it back for a new one. also not a fan of the cable hangers, i've already gone though two sets of hayes steel braided trying to get it right
Not the bike to set up for downhill. Has excellent crosscountry/freeride potential. Mine weighs in at 41lbs and I think once I change out the wheels and put a lighter front fork it will be a lot more fun to ride.
Bike Setup: 6" Manitou Sherman Slider, Vanilla RC, XTR throughout, Ring god, face face cranks, 24" and 26" atomic labs with 2.6 Maxxis, Hayes purples
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: October 28, 2003
Strengths: Ano finish is the best, I will never buy another painted bike. After 9 months of riding it still looks like new. Good geometry - I like the longer-than-normal top tube and the extra standover clearance. Pedaling efficiency is great with the Romic. Ellsworth customer service was excellent! I received my new-redesigned swingarm in 4 days with new shock pivot bolts, pivot bearings and main pivot bolt and they called to follow-up with me a few weeks later.
Weaknesses: Original swingarm was flexy and cracked on the backside of the weld just above the pivot. Limited rear tire clearance. 2.35 Maxxis is about the biggest that will fit and leave some room for play. Cable routing is not so great. I drilled out the guides for the hyd lines.
With 15 years of riding under my belt and almost as many bikes this one is the best one I have owned. It handles all kinds of riding well and excels as a long travel trail bike. I have raced DH on it one day and rode 15+ miles of up-n-down singletrack the next.
I know you might be reading this and thinking "How can he claim this is the best with all the negatives he posted." Let me explain: The original swingarm was poor at best but the customer service and new product I received was top notch. A 2.35 is the biggest rear tire I need to run, it does not detract from the bikes performance, but the option to use a larger size would be nice but not necessary. The cable routing is a cosmetic thing and again does not affect the performance. Once I tried a few different setups and drilled out the guides for the rear Hyd line everything is fine.
All the nit-picking aside, the Joker really shines on the trails. The frame is increadibly lite for how sturdy it looks. The Geometry of the Joker fits me right. At 5'7" I have a short 29" inseam and a longer torso which plays into the geometry of the Joker perfectly. I use a 65mm stem and 2" riser bars which puts me in the handling "sweet spot". The cornering abilities of the frame are awesome and you need very little if any body adjustments to rail the corners.
The Romic is a perfect compliment to this frame. I run a 700x2.25 spring (recommended by Romic) with 2 turns of preload, 5 turns of compression("bob knob" which controls the force required to break the "locked out" threshold)and 4-5 turns from the slowest rebound setting. It has very little noticable "BOB" during small or middle ring climbing. Small bumps encountered while climbing seated are a little harsh (this can be reduced but may also cause pedeal induced activation of the shock) but not horrible. Big and medium hits are where this shock shines. There is no kickback fron big hits and I have yet to feel it bottom out.
The bottom line: a great all around bike that is well worth the money spent.
Similar Products Used: 01 Bullit, 01 Azonic Evolution, 98 GT STS-1000, K2 Razorback FS, and many various hardtails.
Bike Setup: 02 Joker SL w/ the Romic, CK Steelset, Fox Van RLC or Sherman Slider, XT cranks, shifter Fr derailleur, XTR rear derailleur, Heim 3 Guide, Hayes Hyd disc w/ Hope Gothic rotors 203mm FR & 185mm RR, Mavic 219s on XT rear hub Ritchey front, 646 pedals, Thomson post and stem, Fizik seat, Easton EA-70 bars, ODI Rouge lock-on grips, Maxxis 2.5 Mobster front and 2.35 DH-F Rear.
a Weekend Warrior
from san diego
Date Reviewed: October 19, 2003
Strengths: This is my cross country bully. I have enjoyed all 32 lbs. for a year now. It hasnt broken yet..
Weaknesses: The Ellsworth logo is permanent (etched). I like removable stickers personally. I called Ellsworth to try and get some different frames. I was told they were in stock by one person then a different story from someone else..
I am very happy it hasn't broken. KHS replaced their frames in just a couple of days but it still meant I was out my bike for 3-5 business days each break. I have been riding whenever I want for 11 months now. Watch out for the poison oak. It almost killed me!
Similar Products Used: I had a 2001 KHS Pro. I broke the frame three times in 10 months.
Bike Setup: dirt jumper III
from Eleele HI
Date Reviewed: June 29, 2003
Weaknesses: it freakin' breaks
I've gone through 3 swingarms in 2 years. This is totally unacceptable. 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.
Bike Setup: I've got a Turner and I know you're jealous...;)
Date Reviewed: January 29, 2003
Strengths: First: Out of every true freeride frame I have weighed, this one is the lightest. Second: They give the frame a lifetime warranty! Somehow this seems an insane combination to me as a light freeride frame is sure to break, but anyhow THANK YOU Ellsworth...Long top tube is nice, short stays (for super manuals) are rare on freeride bikes and much appreciated, stiff rear end, huge standover clearance makes me feel oh-so-much more confident, elevated chain stays leaving room for single ring/double bashguards with narrow chainline, straight seat tube so you can run your seat all the way down, good pivot point, simple durable rear suspension design, 24" wheel compatible, very nice low stable feel. The customer service is fantastic! I ran into Andrew, the guy who warranteed my frame, and he remembered my name and everything about our transaction. These guys are really good.
Weaknesses: Stock cable routing is poor, but fixable. If you run a long fork (7"+)the front end gets too slack and the wheel base gets too stretched out, which sucks on the skinnies. (If you can find a 6" fork though, it's perfect). I busted my 2000 Joker in 2 places, front and rear tringles. I must add though that I was pretty much abusing the bike on dumb drops. Oddly enough I've had the second Joker for about a year and have done all kinds of hard riding (including multiple 12' drops) with no problems at all. I can only conclude that they must have had a bad egg or few that has come out of their welding facility or something. Anyhow, the whole story was I called them after teh bike broke and told them I was an idiot and tried to honestly tell them how I busted the frame, but they kept the giving me the "send the new frame first and ask questions later" attitude. I never did get to tell them how I broke it, I did however get a brand new 2002 complete frame inside of a week.
I believe that if you are hesitating on buying this bike because you heard about so and so who busted his ancient old jalopy Joker on a small hit, you are missing out on a really fun light bike. The warranty is unbeatable and Ellsworth totally takes care of their customers. There are very very few free ride bikes around that are this light, and none with geometry this good. If you are a light rider who doesn't want to ride a whale ,or just someboldy who appreciates how much better a light bike will make your jumping, gap distances, bunny hops, climbing, etc, etc, then this rig is the ticket. I've ridden EVERTHING out there, and after riding them all I think the Joker is the most stable light weight frame out there.
Bike Setup: Super T, Mag 30's, Purple Hayes, Romic shock, etc. Second mortage on the house basically.
from Wells ME
Date Reviewed: December 9, 2002
Strengths: Handles well. Simple, single pivot. Good all-arounder. Had endured up to 10 foot drops.
Weaknesses: Supposedly Ellsworth has revamped their customer service as well as their swingarms. This would be great because when I spent my life savings on this bike thats what I wanted!
Ellsworth has said they have changed their company for the better and if thats true then I will continue riding their equipment. At least they were concerned about my previous review and have promised to remedy the situation.
a Cross Country Rider
from Fremont, CA
Date Reviewed: November 21, 2002
Strengths: Lateral stiffness, nice finish, all-purpose handling, indestructible, good pivot placement, quality workmanship all around. Climbs better than most 6" bikes.
Weaknesses: Weird cable routing. It's multi-purpose nature might not appeal to XC weight-weenies or bong-sucking hucksters. Derailleur hanger stinks for the B-tension adjustor.
A few years ago when you looked at FR bikes, the Joker was THE bike to have. Just ask Digger. But since then, everyone has started making a 6+" bike that takes a front derailleur, and calling it better than the Joker. The market has changed, and these "bigger" bikes have replaced the Joker in the huck-category. Nowadays, the Joker has a better purpose...
Even though it's stout and has 6" of travel, the Joker is more of an all-purpous kind of ride. It has quicker handling and lighter weight than the average freeride huck-bikes out there. With that said, buy something else if all you're ever going to do is ride off the garage roof. This is a bike that's made to be ridden hard, out on the nastiest rocky/sick/steep/nasty terrain you can find. Unlike DH bikes, it has about a 69 degree head tube angle (depending on what fork you run). That means it handles a little quicker. This isn't ideal for DH and hucking, but it's great for riding rough trails.
For me, the average 4" trailbike wasn't stout enough. But I didn't want to lug around a 40 pound bike, and push it around every switchback because it's to sluggish to ride. The Joker fits my riding style perfectly... Ride the uphills, then take the downhills fast & hard. It's an excellent bike.
Bike Setup: Fox 125 fork, Hayes 6" hydros, RaceFace Turbine ISIS cranks w/ Evolve BB, King HS & hubs, Mavic F519's, SRAM rocket shortys, XT derailleurs, Shimano 424 pedals, Thomson stem & post, Easton bars
a Weekend Warrior
from Midwest USA
Date Reviewed: November 18, 2002
Strengths: Geometry, Construction, Anodized Finish, Set up Flexibility, Standover, Handling, Pedaling
Weaknesses: Disc Brake Cable Routing
I love this bike. I set it up with a SuperT for DH/Freeride or a Vanilla R for aggressive XC. Either way this bike shines. Pedals extremely well for a 6" travel bike (adjustable to 4"). I've heard its even better with a Romic but have no complaints with the Fox. Climbs great but descends even better. Stable at high speed yet handles slow technical riding with ease. Fun to jump. But what I like the most is the geometry. It just fits me so well and feels balanced under any circumstances. I was more comfortable riding the Joker the first time than I am on my Tracer after tweeking it for 3 years. Ellsworth has this frame dialed in. The anodized finish and lazer etched graphics blow away any paint/decal job except for maybe a Klein. Try it...You'll buy it.
Bike Setup: Fox Vanilla RC rear, SuperT or Fox Vanilla R, Hope Bulb Hubs, Rhyno Lites, MotoRaptor 2.4s, Turbine cranks, 32-22 Rings with Bash Guard, ZuZus, ProMax Discs, XTR, XT, Azonic
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 8, 2002
Strengths: High Quality frame. Crafmanship is second to none.Very efficient Monopivot design. Outperforms all the other full suspension bikes that I have owned. Bike performs very well on the down hills, laterly very stiff. Bike climbs exceptionally well for a mono pivot. Bike handles well in the turns even w/ a 100mm front fork. Probably would handle a little better w/ an 80mm. So far, this frame has been the best I have ever ridden. Great bike for an aggressive cross country rider who likes to push the extremes a little. True cross country rider/racer would be better suited on the Truth. That is bike I wanted, Ellsworth did not recommend it due to my size and weight, 215 lbs.
Similar Products Used: K2 full suspension bike, GT i-drive 1.0
Bike Setup: XT components, Chris King hubs on Velocity rims, Easton stem w/ answer carbon bars, selcoff seat post, selle Italia ti- flite saddle, Magura Louise disc brakes, oury grips
from Danvers, MA USA
Date Reviewed: October 25, 2002
Strengths: Stiff as all hell. Incredible Climber. Beautiful Finish. Good Customer Service.
Weaknesses: Ellsworth sent the wrong size spring for rear shock, which caused me to break many pivot bolts and possibly crack swingarm.
This bike is really great. Given I had some problems with the initial shock setup, causing me to break some bolts and possibly crack the swingarm, Ellsworth has helped me out. They sent me a new spring, correcting the problem, and are sending me out the new swingarm which i should have soon. I heard of some "weak batches," and seen another Joker cracked in the same spot. But I have a track record of breaking frames. I weigh 220, and I beat the hell outta bikes. Other than that, this bike is SICK!!! For a bike that weighs as much as mine, It climbs out of this world! Epic trail rides? No problem. I think Ellsworth hit the nail on the head with this one. A heavy, long travel freeride bike, that can keep up with the X-Country Hammer Heads. The bike is wicked stiff, too. Point and shoot, it handles like a dream. Who should buy this? Everybody... If you need a bike that will do anything and everything, this is it.
PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW MUCH IT COSTS AND HOW IT ALWAYS BREAKS ON THEM, THATS A BUNCH OF CRAP! FIRST IF IT COSTS TO MUCH THEN DON'T BUY IT, THIS BIKE IS WORTH EVERY PENNY. THIS BIKE IS THE BEST, AND WILL ALWAYS BE THE BEST. DON'T LISTEN TO THE REVIEWS GET OUT THERE AND TEST RIDE ONE AND LET THE BIKE DO THE TALKING AND NOT THE IDIOTS WHO PROBABLY DON'T EVEN HAVE A JOKER AND ARE JUST JEALOUS. THE JOKER WILL DESTROY ANY BIKE BY FAR. JUST LET THE BIKE DO THE TALKEN I GUARENTEE IT WILL.
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 »