Sunday, January 1, 2006 12.00am
By Guy Kesteven
The single pivot Ellsworth Distance sits between the Isis and Joker in terms of travel and weight.
The extruded front end is also somewhere between the two with a longer neck section and no reinforcing gussets except those that hold the front end of the shock. The CNC bottom corner and complete swingarm assembly are also the same but this time you get V- brake stubs as an option. Again this means sideways tyre clearance is tight although the lack of bridges means there's plenty of space for taller not broader tyres. Bearings are left unprotected again though, and it's belly-positioned bottle only, but you do get a choice of blue or black anodised finishes with Ellsworth's usual lavish laser etched finish.
The 200mm stroke gives decent control of the 5in of rear travel, but you've got the option of using a shorter stroke 165mm shock in a more progressive position if you want. The Swinger's SPV damping works well to stop pedalling bounce from the swingarm and it collects big hits nicely, albeit at the expense of some small bump sensitivity. The usual forward pivot swingarm comments, about slight disturbance of pedalling rhythm and braking traction being offset by intuitive suspension feel, also apply to Ellsworth's relatively low ATLAS pivot point.
Combined with the recommended 125mm travel fork, a relaxed 69 degree head angle with a standard 72.5 degree seat angle stops the bike feeling nervous at speed and centres weight nicely for cornering traction. The generous top tube stretch on the 17in and reasonable weight for the travel mean you won't feel cramped on climbs or long cruising sections. The stiff, communicative frame also makes it a really enjoyable all rounder for whipping round the woods or crossing whole map sheets.
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