Ellsworth is one of the premier US mountain bike manufacturers. Everyone drools over their aluminum works of art, and on the trail, you just about have to beat away onlookers with the bar-ends you keep in your back pockets for just such an occasion.
The Id is a brand new bike, splitting the difference between the super-solid Dare, DH machine, and the Truth, a svelte cross-country racer. Using the same rear triangle technology, the Id accomplishes near-zero bob for efficient climbing, yet remains active enough to help you motor up difficult sections. Going downhill it is just as capable, with proven lateral stiffness and plush bump absorption.
The technology behind the rear triangle is what Ellsworth calls Instant Center Tracking or ICT. Basically, ICT “allows pedal power to literally ‘squirt’ the rider forward without power loss, instead of dividing pedal inputs into a wasteful combination of forward and vertical (jacking and bobbing) motions.” Sounds like a good thing. I’ve never really considered jacking and bobbing to be good things, so a rear suspension that avoids those has got to be good.
Ellsworth Id Review – On the Trail
After waiting awhile to get on the Id, I finally got dialed in on one and took it for a spin. At first, I did notice that the rear suspension was very solid while climbing with minimal bob. These days, I don’t really notice much bob on any bikes except for my hillbilly uncle’s Huffy, so bob to me is a non-issue. The bike was lightweight as equipped: Magura Julie’s, RockShox Psylo 120mm, yadda yadda yadda.
As I said, climbing uphill was a breeze, it wasn’t until I turned the Id downhill that I noticed something strange–the head angle seemed identical to the cross-country Truth! I was moderately disappointed as I expected to descend with the confidence of a freeride/DH rig’s slack head angle, but was met with an endo-inducing cross-country feel.
The Bottom Line on the Ellsworth Id
After some thought on this bike and its intended purpose, I came to understand that it lives up to the definition of a true all-purpose trailbike. It climbs like a billygoat, yet does have almost 6-inches of cushion for those bomber descents.
Overall, I feel this bike has a niche. It would be great for those afraid of going to a slack, freeride bike, but still want 5+ inches of travel. This bike hits that market square on.
My biggest complaint was the head angle, which could be slackened with a triple-crown fork with 6-inches of travel. That type of fork may slacken the head angle just enough to make this ride as capable at downhilling as it is ascending.
If you are looking for a lightweight all-around trailbike, and you’re more concerned with climbing well than descending like a banshee, this is your steed.