2015 Ellsworth Dare Carbon downhill mountain bike can switch travel to become freeride bike

The Ellworth Dare was one of those bikes that every downhiller drooled over ten years ago. Coupled with a Shiver fork, it made even the biggest huck-to-flat seem reasonable, but in the intervening years, the model has suffered from a lack of attention.

For the 2015 model year though, the Dare has been completely redesigned, and received a carbon frame, 27.5″ wheels, and a modern geometry.

2015 Ellsworth Dare Carbon downhill mountain bike can switch travel to become freeride bike

The carbon front triangle preserves the brands unique design language, but the smooth lines keep things modern.

2015 Ellsworth Dare Carbon downhill mountain bike can switch travel to become freeride bike

All routing is done internally.

2015 Ellsworth Dare Carbon downhill mountain bike can switch travel to become freeride bike

The frame can be run in either 160mm, 180mm, or 225mm travel, via the use of a different shock and shock shuttle. In the 9″ mode (pictured), the Dare has a 63 degree headtube angle, 14″ BB, and 17.5″ CS. The geometry was designed with input from professional downhill rider and Ellsworth Product Manager Andre Pepin.

2015 Ellsworth Dare Carbon downhill mountain bike can switch travel to become freeride bike

This preproduction Dare is the first to arrive and be built. Depending on how she rides, the company plans to make some tweaks before the bike is available to consumers.

2015 Ellsworth Dare Carbon downhill mountain bike can switch travel to become freeride bike

For the same size shock, you have four different mounting positions, which will adjust the headtube angle and bottom bracket height.

2015 Ellsworth Dare Carbon downhill mountain bike can switch travel to become freeride bike

The frame includes a removable front derailleur mount, to give users who choose to pedal the Dare in 160mm or 180mm travel different gearing options.

2015 Ellsworth Dare Carbon downhill mountain bike can switch travel to become freeride bike

The rear triangle is built using a combination of carbon and aluminum. Rather than using the more common 150 or 157mm axle standard for a DH bike, the new dare uses a 142×12, which will make it more pedal friendly when built up as a 6 or 7″ bike.

The frame will be offered in two different color options, this bright red and a stealth black.

The company was recently purchased by BST Synergy Nano (interview with Tony Ellsworth here), a So-Cal based company with a long history in carbon technology and bicycle manufacturing, so we look forward to seeing what other new products the future may hold for the iconic brand.



  1. I want to root for Ellsworth but that wheelbase looks short and the head angle looks a little steep. I missed dirt demo so I have no idea how it rides.

  2. :^/ The front triangle is beautiful, so Kudos to them. That said, I’d have to ride the bike in all three modes to see if they really designed it in a way such the geo allows for optimal performance in each mode (e.g. the BB is pretty high in 225 mm mode). That and I’m not certain the market is really asking for this range in one bike. 180 mm to 225 MM makes sense, 160 mm not so much.

  3. somewhere there has to be ideas on different rocker designs on a file in their office, yes? it’s impossible not to with all the advances in tech and progression in riding going on that they’ve never considered anything else structurally much less aesthetically. i dunno

  4. ^ I’m with you. I guess they feel the rocker design works and they’ve got it tweaked by now, but surely they can give the rocker a bit of a curve or something to make it look a bit more modern/updated. I know that doesn’t make sense mechanically or weight wise, but we like our bikes good look’n (:

  5. Most companies talk to designers all the time on new components and suspension designs. They start the process and it changes until it fits the brand and it’s requirements (function and just as important the aesthetics). Ellsworth needs to let some of these engineers and designers work with them on new suspension designs. The Ellsworth name is cool and has history that was “once” good. Does not matter if the current design works or not, consumers want the latest and greatest. They want to be associated with a brand that they connect with. Ellsworth does not have any brand mojo consumers want. They need to quit pushing what people do not want… and push what people do want. Innovate… or die right? Ellsworth is dying a slow death. It’s time to wake up and let the current brand manager go and bring in some new blood.

  6. To be honest, I think a mass marketing campaign, Red Bull style or something, would make a lot of people think this suspension design looks cool/good.

    Its amazing what marketing can do to make people think something is good or bad, whether it is or not.

  7. @Von Kruiser the mountain bike industry is 95% hype and marketing. Something’s only as cool as you pay to get the mass market to believe so. Like @JBikes says, with the right marketing and marketing budget, you can buy all the right people/magazines you need to be cool. It’s really that simple in the mtb world.

    Brand loyalty, connection etc. etc. really play only a super small part in this game now. It once was everything but now it’s been almost totally replaced my marketing spin. I’ve seen great brands die off because the money was not there, and totally crap brands become objects of lust. Money talks and simply put, those with the biggest budgets win the masses – the fringes of the market, the ones that know what they want and the reasons behind it are a minority segment, and it’s always harder and more expensive to sway them, so why bother?

    I personally don’t like much of the current aesthetics coming out. It’s limited and tail chasing and a lot of it is like first year design student stuff, very little true refinement. As far as the numbers and the like, they are just those until you ride them; short, high and steep can provide some of the best rides going, while long, low and slack (the current trend) can be like riding a waterbed. As they say, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

  8. I just love the “but it’s not new!” comments. As if there is some need to tweak a design that works great. Not sure if I find the “make is prettier” comments funnier. The Big E figured out suspension 10+ years ago, they absolutely should not replace it just to ‘replace it’. My only criticism would be why they haven’t been able to make their bikes lighter!? They’ve had the same design for 10+ years, let figure out a way to bring down the weight. (My 29er Evolve had a SEVEN POUND frame). What?!?!? Loved the ride, but couldn’t justify pushing the beast around. I’ll be back the second they get the frame under 5lbs (in the largest size).

  9. Ellsworth has had customer service issues. Mostly due to their horrible warranty record and Tony, to be honest. They are pushing a Lifetime Warranty on their frames, first thing that comes up on the site (but no link to details), so that might be solved. They obviously are acknowledging it was an issue with their website. The basic yet proven suspension design works and has proven to work over many years/rides/reviews. This bike is a production prototype so hopefully the specs will change to meet current trends. The bike has an obviously steep head angle and high BB. Not sure anyone will use the “adjustable” shock mounts because every “adjustment” will REQUIRE a different fork to even be ride-able.

  10. what the hell is that thing?

    no one needs a steep HA DH frame or one that takes a front derailleur.

    I seriously hadn’t heard the name Ellsworth in 4+ years.

  11. I kind of want to stick up for ellsworth a little bit, not their supposedly terrible customer service or rude founder, but their bikes. I am one of the few lucky folk to have not just ridden but owned an ellsworth, in fact a 2002 Dare, the one everyone lusted over with the tribal tattoo paint (http://www.pinkbike.com/photo/6304585/). It is one of the best riding bikes I’ve ever ridden (owned various specialized, currently on a blur), the rear end was incredibly suppler and response and, as I think the founded of Ancilloti (?) said, you need a degree of flex in the rear end for tracking. If this bike rides as well as mine, albeit better HA and wheelbase, it’ll be a fantastic bike. I really don’t care that the back end looks the same as 10 years ago. Strip a car down and the suspension will look the same as a long time ago, because it works. Its just a shame they’re so slow to respond to the market, and then put a front derailleur mount on it!

  12. If you have a bike designed to be a downhill, freeride, and enduro bike, you’ll end up with a bike that at best sucks at 2 out of the 3 and most likely sucks at all 3.

  13. You all are freaking unbelievably. Pick any post about fat bikes, road disc brakes, or a drivetrain adding another cog, and the comments are saturated with complaints about “the marketers ramming something unneeded down our throats” and here you all are complaining about a company that’s NOT doing that. Listen to yourselves you shameless hypocrites.

  14. Ellsworth has no brand mojo. Define it any way you want but their sales are going down year after year. Blame the design, Tony, frame details, customer service, market… whatever. They are not considered cool anymore and they are dying. You can say their frame design work great but nobody wants to buy it. They have been overrun by progressive brands in a saturated market. Look at a kick ass bike brand like Norco. Amazing riding bikes, look great, long term history… and they barely grow in the USA market each year (at least they are growing and not shrinking). Kona is in a rut and going down now… great bikes but something is off with brand loyalty. Smart brands go after an emotional connection with their customers in a limbic response. Less technical and more emotional (ex: Apple, Enve, Transition, CrankBros, Specialized, Lezyne). Brands like KHS, Jamis, Ellsworth have no emotional trigger with their customers. It’s all spec, value or nothing current to offer (Ellsworth). Smart brand managers understand this. Ellsworth can pull themselves out of this rut with something new to offer in design and emotional connection with the brand in marketing… and make some money.

  15. Von Kruiser makes a good point. It’s been years since I’ve heard anyone at a DH race or bike park talking about Ellesworth, yet alone someone ACTUALLY RIDING a Dare.

  16. Von Kruiser makes excellent points. I am just not sure something “new” is needed rather than the perception that something new is being provided (design vs function which may not need a change). I’ll frankly say Ellsworth’s suspension design lacks visual strength. We don’t associate strength with long arms, significantly differing from the “2 triangle” norm we’ve grown accustom to. This is the suspension’s “failure”, whether or not it is or isn’t strong enough is beside the point.

    This can all be solved with marketing. But bike marketing is expensive and frankly difficult, especially for a small boutique brand. You are chasing a very fickle market, pushed by a minority with very fluid trends (yesterday it was 29er, today Enduro, tomorrow ?).

    Personally, I don’t think a compromised bike like this is ever a good idea. I also don’t think Ellsworth needs to change their basic suspension design from a technical perspective. But, I do know they probably can’t afford the market blitz and rider sponsorship needed to push their bikes, as they are, back to popularity. It may very well be cheaper to come up with something “new” (i.e. the same as 90% of other good bikes).

  17. While I agree that the longer rocker looks ugly, it does also look like it has superior suspension dynamics. The long rocker means the two horizontal bars and the two vertical bars of the 4-bar are closer to parallel, which in theory should allow the rear wheel to track better. I have never ridden an Elseworth, so no idea if that computes to better performance in real life.

  18. People are wrong to assert that Ellsworth had figured out suspension design. Ellsworth got suspension design completely wrong while the competition figured out what was important and left Ellsworth in the dust. Sticking to visual cues of an inferior design approach is not helping the company here even though they’ve modernized their kinematics to some extent.

    Of course, treating customers with hostility is the primary reason for their demise, it’s just that their product sucked as well. Negative anti-squat is not the way to make a rear suspension even if downhillers don’t really care about pedaling performance. The Truth was easily the worst FS bike I ever owned. Worst pedal bob on the planet.

  19. I say wait until the take over shows up in their production runs that they claim will be in the usa. Hopefully tony will have less and less to do with the company that bears his name. Ellsworth has always been a boutique bike, or at least thrust themselves into that ring back in the day. About 15 years ago you could find them in the hi end shops-not anymore. Sure, lots of brands came up or stepped up to offer some really amazing bikes, but the decline and rider distrust was born of bad design bad quality and absolutely horrible customer care. The shop I worked at ordered 5 dares and they arrived with cracks along all the head tube and seat tube welds…brand new, in the box. Pics were taken, calls were made. Tony’s response was that they were fine when they left the factory and it’s not his problem! Lifetime warranty if he’s in the mood. Every Ellsworth sold came back within the first season with a frame failure and sometimes it was warrantied, most of the time not. Customers were lost, brand confidence was lost. Yeah, norco’s snap like twigs, but they’re warranty and customer care is awesome. That’s what brings riders back. With brands like Santa cruz, yeti and ibis, it’s gonna take lots of rabbits out of hats for Ellsworth to gain any foothold back into a market that’s left them behind a decade ago.

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.