I’m admittedly not a roadie purist and I’m OK with that. I still sport my mountain bike shoes and Crank Brothers pedals on my roadies. No, I don’t shave my legs, though maybe I’d shave some time off my climbs if I did. However, nothing beats putting miles and vert on like you can on a roadie.
Quietly zipping out the garage early in the morning, then climbing thousands of feet before most people roll out of bed–that’s just the job for an efficient and smooth road bike. True to my mountain biking roots, I seem to latch onto road bikes from manufacturers who are better-known for their singletrack offerings. This time, it’s the Ellsworth Scant.
About the Ellsworth Scant Road Bike
Ellsworth founder, Tony Ellsworth, will be the first one to tell you that he hates complexity. When he sees bikes with crazy frames and curved tubes, he just can’t understand why. I spent a fair amount of time picking his brain in both a phone interview and an in-person conversation at Interbike and I can definitely say Tony is passionate and opinionated–these are good things for a custom frame builder like Ellsworth.
That passion for simplicity, durability and good looks carries over to the Scant road bike frameset. The Scant differs from Ellsworth’s legendary mountain bike frames is that the Scant is built with custom-drawn Scandium anodized tubing up front which is mated to an Easton EC90 carbon rear triangle. However, all tubes are straight with only the right ovalization where necessary.
The wishbone seatstay junction is a nice, visible transition from Scandium to carbon-fiber. That beautiful Easton EC90 carbon fiber seat and chain stays provides the right suppleness and torsional rigidity to propel the Scant forward on sprints, climbs and flatlands.
More specs on the Ellsworth Scant:
- Frame Material: Custom-drawn Easton aluminum/scandium and Easton EC90 carbon fiber
- Fork: Easton EC90 Superlite
- Sizes: 52, 55 (tested), 58, 61 cm
- Top-tube Lengths: 53, 56, 59, 62
- Colors: Anodized Red Velvet, Nebula Blue, Smoke, Tiger Stripe
- Frame Weight: 2.8 lbs
- MSRP: $1995 (frame and fork)
Ellsworth Scant Review
With some great fall weather, I was able to slip out on the uber-light Ellsworth Scant to put it to the test. The test bike was decked out with SRAM Force components and Ellsworth wheels and the whole package felt absolutely feathery at sub-16 lbs.
Ellsworth is not one for flashy or crazy frame designs and the Scant delivers on that same philosophy as the only shaped tube is a teardrop-shaped downtube. The flaming red anodized look is unique to Ellsworth and makes this frame stand out from others on the market. Anodized finishes are also lighter than powdercoat, so not only do you get a great look, but you save weight and add durability in the process.
On the bike, I could instantly notice the carbon-fiber rear triangle smoothing the road out. While it’s nothing like riding an Ellsworth Epiphany, the Scant delivers with razor-sharp precision and quickness. Every pedal stroke felt smooth and my behind sure appreciated the reduction in road vibration.
The Scant has a pivot point just above the rear axle. This allows the rear to flex much more smoothly and simplifies the joining of the seat and chainstays. The Easton EC90 carbon-fiber fork also does a great job of smoothing out the road, but sometimes it felt a little more noodly than other forks I’m used to. Maybe this is due to the fork legs being more ovalized instead of bladed? This only became apparent on really rough roads.
This was the first time I’ve used SRAM Force components and I really liked them overall. The carbon-fiber levers are very comfortable in the hand and DoubleTap is pretty straightforward, but you’ve got to be quick about your downshifts, otherwise you end up doing an unnecessary quick upshift prior to your downshift. With practice, this should become second-nature. The only negative I found with them was the size of the hoods compared to my Shimanos. This is a personal preference, but I prefer the larger hoods to add to the variety of hand positions.
The Ellsworth custom wheels are very nice looking and smooth. The silver bladed spokes and silver hubs add to the package and provided just the right lateral stiffness and confidence-inspiring tracking.
The geometry of the 55cm frame felt comfortable overall, but I’d likely have a little shorter stem to keep things more compact. The included stem felt too low in negative travel mode, so I opted for a more upright stance. Again, had it been my bike, I could have tweaked things a little more, but I found it acceptable.
Steering is very quick–so much so that it can take you by surprise if you’re not careful. This thing wants to turn and arc through corners and is also very comfortable on climbs.
Though I may get more comfortable with the Scant at speed over time, its 98cm wheelbase is a little shorter than other bikes of comparable size (1-1.2cm shorter), which required a much more steady hand at speeds in excess of 40mph. Again, more time onboard and maybe I’d have this licked. And, this could have also been due to the cockpit.
- Unique anodized scandium front triangle
- Easton EC90 Superlite carbon-fiber rear smooths things out
- Swift and efficient climber
- You get to build it just how you like it
- Turns on a dime
- Can feel a little twitchy at speeds over 40mph (may just need to get used to it)
- Single color frames would are available, but at an upcharge
- Some may scoff at this price for a non full-carbon frameset
The Bottom Line on the Ellsworth Scant
I really like this bike and had a great time pounding out vertical. It feels uber-light and responsive while seated and standing. Ellsworth understands how to make bikes–mountain or road–and this one is great fun for action-packed pavement pounding.
More Info: Visit EllsworthBikes.com