The Specialist is Ellsworth’s hardcore hardtail. It’s a great jump frame, but it’s much lighter than most pure jump frames and comes in a choice of top tube lengths – the 23.5in top tube reach of the long one makes it a great hardcore cross country bike.
Like most Ellsworth frames, the main triangle is very compact so you’ll need a long, strong seat post. But it’s that long post, and a suitably big tyre, that takes the hard edges off bumps and makes the Specialist a thoroughly enjoyable ride on the sort of terrain that would be an enormous challenge for traditional XC lightweights.
The geometry is perfect for a 130mm travel fork; there’s a single set of bottle cage bosses and you can run it with either rim or disc brakes. It costs exactly the same as the new Enlightenment – the race-ready model that’s nearly a pound lighter. We reckon that the Specialist is more relevant now than when it was launched, simply because a lot of riders are looking for new boundaries on cross country bikes these days.
The US build quality is superb. We particularly like the one-piece looped seat and chain stays, and the machined yokes bridging the stays into the seat tube and bottom bracket.