Eurobike 2012: Special Report – Ellsworth Evolve C: by c_g

Usually I don’t get blown away by a bike but when I roamed the trade show halls of Eurobike and caught sight of the ELLSWORTH Evolve C, I couldn’t but go up to the folks there at the booth and let them know what I thought. It turned out I had expressed my enthusiasm directly to Tony Ellsworth whom I had to promise that if my opinion still would last until after the show I would write that publicly – I do and so here it is again: „The Ellsworth Evolve C to me is the sexiest 29er bike of this year´s Eurobike show – I would even go as far as saying it is the sexiest bike in general.“ … there you go Tony ;) .

2013 Ellsworth Evolve C

But now away from the visual to what tech features ELLSWORTH has put into this pre-production sample of the never before shown Evolve C.

Of course the new Evolve C features Ellsworth´s patent pending „Instant Center Tracking“ (ICT) suspension with 100 mm travel front and rear. By precisely positioning the pivots and putting the lower links in line with the chain pull – the virtual pivot point of the system is located far in front of the bike … thorough out its travel. By this the rider´s weight shifting and pedaling forces are said to affect the suspension to a very small extent – creating a very stable, yet smooth suspension action. (I have not ridden any of their 29″ers but had an Ellsworth Epiphany to ride some years ago and I can pretty much confirm the claim.)

The carbon frame of the Evolce C utilizes a special carbon technology, by which every area of the frame, down to the most recessed edges and curves, receives an extremely high compaction pressure, to keep resin content as low as possible. An extremely low weight and superior structural integrity are the the result. (… plus a stunningly beautiful appearance)

While the main frame and one piece seat stays (142 x 12 axle config on the Evolve C) are executed in carbon, the asymmetrical chain stays are still made of alloy. According to Tony they are designed so well and constructed with such pedigree, that there is little weight to be saved with carbon ones and no increase in stiffness could be achieved, but it would bring a considerable increase in production cost … so why go this road at all. If we recall correctly – the claimed frame weight (incl. shock) is about 1.95 kg (4.3 lbs)

There are myriads of beautiful little details that show why ELLSWORTH bikes are rightfully considered a premium frame builder. If the look at the awesome machining of the anodized rocker arm are not enough, look at the seat post clamp, head tube badge, the cable routing , the one bold special pivots or the execution of the Press fit bottom bracket, …..

The cable routing is a good example of ELLSWORTH´s attention to detail – the hoses enter though either side of the head tube and exist right where the top tube splits in two near the seat tube. Tony promised some trick intake ports (not shown on the sample yet) that will either take 2 or 3 hoses if you wanted to run a remote activated dropper post). From they pass openly to the the carbon seat stays where both the rear brake hose and shifter cable intersect then internally … simply awesome.

The Medium is soon going to be available – Larges and Smalls will follow later this year. Prices for the frame are in the 3k range - USD, that is .

As far as GEOMETRY and HANDLING go, the new Evolve C will be very close to what the alloy Evolve SST2. Here are the details straight form Tony himself:

"The geometry is tuned to showcase the additional stiffness of the Evolve C. There’s a subtle difference in how well the suspension articulates, due to increased chassis stiffness and the lighter unsprung weight of the Carbon rear linkage. The head angle in the 100mm configuration is 71°, seat tube is 73.5°. That is about 1 degree slacker then the Evolve. Yet, it’s handling has the same super sharp race driven handling goal, but we have accomplished it with a slacker head angle. Usually, with head angle slacker, you start to sacrifice precise climbing ability—not so with the Evolve Carbon, the LOW front end, due to the DUAL ZS headset, and use of carbon to keep it low, and the Force Vector Carbon design with the loads in the steering area, so perfectly captured, it’s a climbing demon, and a stable high speed descender in all terrain conditions, even loose big rocks and ledges, it’s a point and shoot line grabber. In the 120mm configuration, the head angle comes back to 70 degrees, seat angle at 73°, and bottom bracket height stays the same."

Tony confirmed that this may not be everyone's piece of cake as it requires a bit of handling skills to really enjoy in technical stuff, but that this is exactly how he likes his bike to ride on the challenging terrain of his home trails.

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If you prefer a more planted trail handling, there still is the Evolution with 120 mm of travel. Same technologies, only now executed in highly manipulated alloy (Ellsworth´s own shaped, swaged and tapered tubes) plus the upgrade option of the carbon seat stays as shown.

Talking about looks, there are several customizing upgrade options to Ellsworth bikes, like anodized rocker arms, and colored pivots, head badges and for the alloy frames there are multiple finishes available.
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Of course also on display – the Enlightenment 29″er hardtail.

The ELLSWORTH booth and especially the Evolve C – definitely one of the show´s highlight for me.

Next we will focus on Interbike and corresponding news (by Guitar Ted and Grannygear) but I will be back after to cover the remaining news and bikes from Eurobike´12.

Stay tuned,
c_g