Ellsworth Rogue Sixty first ride review

Improvements to Ellsworth's enduro sled abound

2016 sees Ellsworth celebrate 25 years of making mountain bikes, and its new carbon Rogue Sixty is as about as modern as it gets with a long, low and slack geometry, 27.5in wheels and 160mm of travel on both ends.

Boulder City's Bootleg Canyon served up plenty of jagged rocks; perfect testing grounds for a 160mm enduro bike
Boulder City's Bootleg Canyon served up plenty of jagged rocks; perfect testing grounds for a 160mm enduro bike

Ellsworth Rogue Sixty spec overview

  • Carbon 4K weave
  • Fox Factory 36 fork and Float X shock, 160mm travel
  • Shimano XT build kit
  • DT Swiss M1700 wheels w/Maxxis High Roller II 2.3in tires
  • Back in Black, Foxy Orange, and Captain America R&B color schemes
  • ACTIVE (AEES) suspension with custom tuned Fox Float X shock
  • 66-degree head angle / 74-degree seat angle
  • 420mm chainstays 
  • Internal cable routing for dropper, Di2, and rear derailleur
  • English threaded 73mm BB
  • ISCG05 tabs
  • 27.5in wheels, Boost front and rear
  • Medium, Large, X-Large sizes
  • Frame weight: 5.5lb / 2.5kg (size medium with rear shock)
  • Complete weight: 29.4lb / 13.3kg (size medium)
  • US$6,500 XT build, UK and Australian pricing to be confirmed

Ellsworth Rogue Sixty frame and equipment

27.5in wheels and 160mm of squish put the Rogue Sixty directly in the enduro market. The geometry sits long, low, and slack, and the single ring Shimano XT crankset is helped by an MRP chainguide held on by ISCG05 tabs.

The cable routing is clean as it leaves the front end
The cable routing is clean as it leaves the front end

Rear end suspension action is handled by Ellsworth's Active Energy Efficient Suspension. It's the latest iteration of Ellsworth's ICT (Instant Center Tracking) design, which Tony Ellsworth has been refining for over 17 years.

The promise was of no anti-squat, just pure acceleration and forward momentum coupled with spot-on bump absorption

It's a fully active, four-bar linkage that prizes traction and efficiency everywhere, especially over challenging, technical terrain where most riders typically coast. 

Rear-end stiffness comes from the Hex Key 'Rocker Locker', which is a proprietary shock bolt and link interface to keep the bike tracking solidly. Aiding in the quest for overall rigidity is a hex-taper rear axle, dual row angular contact sealed bearings, and wide, machined threaded pivot bolts.

Shimano's XT and Fox's Factory suspension performed as expected, which of course means utterly brilliant. 

Ellsworth Rogue Sixty ride impression

Before going out into Boulder City, Nevada's harsh, ruggedly rocky desert singletrack, I spent some time talking with the man himself, Tony Ellsworth. He encouraged me to try pedaling through technical sections of trail where I would normally coast.

The promise was of no anti-squat, just pure acceleration and forward momentum coupled with spot-on bump absorption. Tall claims for any rear end to accomplish at the same time.

Reaches have been lengthened and the head angle slackened on the carbon front end
Reaches have been lengthened and the head angle slackened on the carbon front end

It took some time to readjust my riding style, fear of pedal strikes and years of jumping over and pumping through nasty terrain are hard to unlearn. But I forced myself to pedal through some gnar and was surprised to gain speed.

The rear end did its job incredibly well. I could feel the back end sucking up the hits and the bike scooting forward.  

The rear disc caliper is behind the chainstay pivot and neatly tucked out of harm's way
The rear disc caliper is behind the chainstay pivot and neatly tucked out of harm's way

Through the rough stuff and through the bends, the frame's stiffness was felt, it held a line very well and didn't get out of shape when landing crooked. The updated geometry paired with a wide bar and stubby stem felt as a modern 160mm sled should feel, roomy, confident and controlled.

Ellsworth Rogue Sixty vs. the competition

A mere paragraph won't do justice here, the Rogue Sixty is in what could be argued the most competitive product class in mountain biking. With that noted, I was impressed with the ride and the acceleration, and could feel its enduro racing ability. 

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