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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to FS biking, just recently built up a 2004 Turner 5 Spot. I have been pleased with the handling of the bike and what it has added to my riding. The one component that was a holdover from my old bike is the wheels. In the quest for finding the right wheels for my continuous engaged suspension bike I stumbled across the Ellsworth wheels.
I have been intrigued with the idea of wheels designed to maximize the performance of a continuous engagement suspension bike. However, as I have tried to find reviews on Ellsworth wheels, I have been disappointed on the lack of the reviewers addressing the specific and unique design/performance elements of the wheels.
Who can give me a review, analysis based personal experience, someone that has actually critically ridden the wheels to verify/disprove the specific design elements of the Ellsworth wheels: 1) low freewheel resistance, 2) increased track-ability, 3) width allowing the tire to maximize its side wall stiffness and put more tread block on the terrain?
I know that I am a late comer on this issue, but any input that you have will be appreciated.
Thanks
 

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gnuH
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Don't believe the hype. The Ellsworth wheels are over-priced, have slow engagement and don't compare in quality to other similar (or cheaper) priced options.

Try asking for wheelset recommendations on the Wheels and Tires forum and I'd be very surprised if the Ells wheels featured in anyones top 10.

p.s. Running Ellsworth wheels on a Turner would be like putting a swastika on a Spitfire.
 

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ZEN RIDER!
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If your going to spend good money at a wheel set I'd grab a set of Fulcrums or I9's. I had a chance to ride on some Fulcrums on a test bike & was amazed at how they rolled & how stiff they were.
 

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Those who skibike, know..
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
kiwirider said:
Don't believe the hype. The Ellsworth wheels are over-priced, have slow engagement and don't compare in quality to other similar (or cheaper) priced options.

Trying asking for wheelset recommendations on the Wheels and Tires forum and I'd be very surprised if the Ells wheels featured in anyones top 10.

p.s. Running Ellsworth wheels on a Turner would be like putting a swastika on a Spitfire.
I agree with you regarding the hype, price, and engagement. However, I would like to know the actual performance elements of these wheels; Low weight wide rim allowing smaller tires, but providing wider contact patch.
 

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Rogue Rider x said:
Ellsworth AM Wheels - The Good
Very Stiff Build
Reasonable Weight for an AM Build
Look Great On My Black Frame
Wide 32mm Rim
Easy Axle Change
Ellsworth AM Wheels - The Bad
20mm End Caps on the Front Hub Fall Off Without Warning
Only 24 Points Of Engagement
No Color Options
Proprietary Spokes
More Expensive than the Competition
Honestly…the positives of these wheels do not outweigh the negatives for me at this price. When I am paying almost $1,000 for wheels…they need to be almost flawless. The annoyances of the axles makes the set feel "unfinished". Yes…they are stiff…but so is the competition at this price. When you are building wheelsets above the $800.00 range, there needs to be a multitude of options with near flawless manufacturing. The engagement of the rear hub also has to be 72 point or greater. I have had zero issues with the Chris King and Industry Nine hubs in terms of durability. There are people out there still using Chris King hubs that are over 10 years old. I was really missing the higher engagement on the trail.

I hope that TE and the guys over at Ellsworth can take my criticisms as constructive. They build an incredible frame, but these wheels need some work if they are going to compete in this price range. As they sit right now…they do not feel like $1,000 wheels.


that's the gist of it and it's not great. it's going to be hard to find a review of these wheels really. other than a die hard ells, fan not many people would drop this much cash on a wheelset that has the specs the ells wheels do. you could spend 500 max on a set of hope hubs with stan flow rims and they are going to do the same things as the ells wheels with back up and parts available at any lbs worldwide. hope have great sealing and are easily converatble to any axle configuration and the flow rims are decent and able to run tubeless with just the stans yellow tape in them and don';t need propietary spokes. there are a ton of options in wheels out there for way less money than the ells and the competition at the price for the ells wheels is very stiff and have the ells beat in poe and options and weight. the argument for 24 poe because they are reliable is retarded. if we were going to look at what was most reliable we'd all ride ridgid 36 spoked singlespeed bikes. the quality of king, hadley and i9 are exceptional and the high poe is worth the money in my opinion
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mt.Biker E said:
If your going to spend good money at a wheel set I'd grab a set of Fulcrums or I9's. I had a chance to ride on some Fulcrums on a test bike & was amazed at how they rolled & how stiff they were.
Ya, you are right, a guy like me that builds a 2004 Turner 5 Spot is not going to buy a set of wheels for more than he spent on the rest of his bike. In the world of building ghetto high performance bikes I have learned one thing. Bad press, bad reviews, and threads/postings on forums can make available some good bargains on the secondary market. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
qbert2000 said:
Ellsworth AM Wheels - The Good
Very Stiff Build
Reasonable Weight for an AM Build
Look Great On My Black Frame
Wide 32mm Rim
Easy Axle Change
Ellsworth AM Wheels - The Bad
20mm End Caps on the Front Hub Fall Off Without Warning
Only 24 Points Of Engagement
No Color Options
Proprietary Spokes
More Expensive than the Competition
Honestly…the positives of these wheels do not outweigh the negatives for me at this price. When I am paying almost $1,000 for wheels…they need to be almost flawless. The annoyances of the axles makes the set feel "unfinished". Yes…they are stiff…but so is the competition at this price. When you are building wheelsets above the $800.00 range, there needs to be a multitude of options with near flawless manufacturing. The engagement of the rear hub also has to be 72 point or greater. I have had zero issues with the Chris King and Industry Nine hubs in terms of durability. There are people out there still using Chris King hubs that are over 10 years old. I was really missing the higher engagement on the trail.

I hope that TE and the guys over at Ellsworth can take my criticisms as constructive. They build an incredible frame, but these wheels need some work if they are going to compete in this price range. As they sit right now…they do not feel like $1,000 wheels.


that's the gist of it and it's not great. it's going to be hard to find a review of these wheels really. other than a die hard ells, fan not many people would drop this much cash on a wheelset that has the specs the ells wheels do. you could spend 500 max on a set of hope hubs with stan flow rims and they are going to do the same things as the ells wheels with back up and parts available at any lbs worldwide. hope have great sealing and are easily converatble to any axle configuration and the flow rims are decent and able to run tubeless with just the stans yellow tape in them and don';t need propietary spokes. there are a ton of options in wheels out there for way less money than the ells and the competition at the price for the ells wheels is very stiff and have the ells beat in poe and options and weight. the argument for 24 poe because they are reliable is retarded. if we were going to look at what was most reliable we'd all ride ridgid 36 spoked singlespeed bikes. the quality of king, hadley and i9 are exceptional and the high poe is worth the money in my opinion
Ellsworth
The width allows a tire to maximize its side wall stiffness and put
more tread block on the terrain.
A wider contact patch without a bigger tire saves over all wheel
weight, and the sidewall of the tire is able to function better and
not roll under side load.
This enhances the handling, traction and control of the bike.
MTB Review
The 32mm wide, low profile rims gave the Big Betty's a very wide profile (BB's are 2.4 at the casing and 2.5 at the tread). It was actually so wide that at 60 psi, the tires rubbed the stays.

I was disappointed that this review skimmed over the Ellsworth performance claim of, a light wide rims, smaller (lighter) tires, wider tire contact, and stiff wheel build; provides a light weight, high performance (traction and handling), durable Wheelset.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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DFCall said:
A wider contact patch without a bigger tire saves over all wheel
weight, and the sidewall of the tire is able to function better and
not roll under side load.
It's not that a wider rim is good or bad, but when it gets too wide it has to be reinforced to be structurally sound and it makes the rim more subceptible to flat-spotting. Do you want to put a big dent on the rim of your $1000 wheelset? There is a range of widths that work well, but too skinny and the tire is too "rounded", although this is generally good for rim strength. Too wide and the tire is too "square", generally bad for rim strength. Saves weight? Seriously? What makes tires heavy or light is the sidewall reinforcement, not so much the size of the tire. If we're talking 2.0-2.3" tires, it's the thickness of the sidewall, not the small change in circumfrance, that makes them heavier/lighter.

I suspect that the Ellsworth "wheels" are just catalog wheels out of Taiwan that other manufacturers can buy and spec. This IS the case with their "glimpse" bike. Ellsworth kind of dropped that entire "our bikes are made in the USA" thing when they went with these wheels and the new line of ICT bikes out of Taiwan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Jayem said:
It's not that a wider rim is good or bad, but when it gets too wide it has to be reinforced to be structurally sound and it makes the rim more subceptible to flat-spotting. Do you want to put a big dent on the rim of your $1000 wheelset? There is a range of widths that work well, but too skinny and the tire is too "rounded", although this is generally good for rim strength. Too wide and the tire is too "square", generally bad for rim strength. Saves weight? Seriously? What makes tires heavy or light is the sidewall reinforcement, not so much the size of the tire. If we're talking 2.0-2.3" tires, it's the thickness of the sidewall, not the small change in circumfrance, that makes them heavier/lighter.

I suspect that the Ellsworth "wheels" are just catalog wheels out of Taiwan that other manufacturers can buy and spec. This IS the case with their "glimpse" bike. Ellsworth kind of dropped that entire "our bikes are made in the USA" thing when they went with these wheels and the new line of ICT bikes out of Taiwan.
No I do not seriously believe this, that is why I am asking these questions. :) But, most of the reviews and comments regarding the Ellsworth Wheels go off on the price, hype, and engagement. It has made me wonder, am I missing something? So, the whole rim size/tire size, performance thing is as far off as the engagement issue?
 

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I run, and like, my AM wheeset. They're plenty strong for jumps and drops without problems. I don't think I've put a wrench on them after a couple years of use.
I did not pay full price tho, picking them up on Ebay, for like $450. I think they're a pretty darn good wheeset if you can find them half off (or less) than what they go for new.
They seem to track the rough better than my Havocs, but are slightly heavier. They are pretty beefy, and not too bad on the eyes. Freehub feels the same as he Easton, as far as engagment; chain drag's not evident. 20mm caps rarely fall off, same as the Havoc design, but then again I rarely mess with the front wheel. I run 20mm/10mm (f&r) on both.
I am not a fan of TE, but I do like my AM's alot. Hope this helps-
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Heavier than the Havocs, boy was my perception regarding these wheels goofed up. {: I was under the impression that the AMs were a burly XC/light Freeride wheel. However, what I had really bought into was the TE’s story about the rim and wheels, and how together they created some sort of handling/performance enhancement for a continuous engaged suspension bike. Ya, you are right you can find them on e-bay and other sources for a lot less than from Ell.
Thanks for the input, the good part about this story is I could find all of this out without spending $. It’s almost like the people on MTB have your back. :}
 

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Ells have apparently addressed some of the issues that were highlited in that review but that is still a lot of money to fork out.

I personally run Mavic wheelsets and love the 2009 sx. Very reasonable weight (50g approx lighter than a set of hope/dt/stans flow) and very very strong. They are reasonably wide so you get the tyre width advantage ie they don't round the tyre they leave it reasonably square. Plus they are properly tubless not sealed using a rim strip.

I have been running them hard for almost a year with no sign of them going baggy or needing a service.(older mavics needed constant care)

If I was spending that kind of money I would buy them again. (there was a pair on ebay last month too that went for £300)

Thats just one example, there are lots of good wheelsets out there and as the review says at $1000 they need to be almost flawless
 

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DFCall said:
Ya, you are right you can find them on e-bay and other sources for a lot less than from Ell.
QUOTE]

There is a pair on fleabay right now, and are like the AM version I'm running.
While they're not close to being worth MSRP, if you can find a new pair shipped for under $500, that doesn't seem too shabby. (Just my $.02 being a current owner of them.)
Like I mentioned, not a great deal at 1k, but a seemingly better deal at half (or less) of that....

My pair of older Havocs are around 1950g with the "fun" bolts. Not a bad wheel either for only having 24 spokes.
 

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The Homers would burn you at the stake.

The best advice I could give would be to never read any of TE's pseudo-science marketing drivel. He can get away with it since most people can't tell the difference. His products aren't all crap, but everything he writes (or approves) is. Five or more years ago the suspension system was one of the better ones, but that time has passed now, too.
 

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I rode and raced a set of the AL Xc wheels on my Epiphany for this year and good enough for a couple of podiums. I too scored them at a favourable price point which I ultimately contributed in me choosing over a set legendary Chris Kings. I didn't buy into the whole contact patch thing as I couldn't see how Ellsworth reckons he thought of it but must say from a rider's persepective these wheels are good. After a full season they are still true and fast. I broke one spoke which was quickly replaced by the LBS so the whole propeiratey drawn thing and availabilty is bollocks to me as well.
I'll be continuing to race these in 2010 at the 24hour World Cup, I'm sure there is lighter and faster ones but they perform well and get the job done so I am happy.
If I rode a Turner I'd put them on it to insense the MTB fashionistas because again that whole thing is bollocks to me as I mainly just pedal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
sid vicious said:
DFCall said:
Ya, you are right you can find them on e-bay and other sources for a lot less than from Ell.
QUOTE]

There is a pair on fleabay right now, and are like the AM version I'm running.
While they're not close to being worth MSRP, if you can find a new pair shipped for under $500, that doesn't seem too shabby. (Just my $.02 being a current owner of them.)
Like I mentioned, not a great deal at 1k, but a seemingly better deal at half (or less) of that....

My pair of older Havocs are around 1950g with the "fun" bolts. Not a bad wheel either for only having 24 spokes.
Thanks for the heads up, but the Ells on e-bay went for more than I was willing send for them.
 
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