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  1. #1
    over 50 years of cycling
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    Cool-blue Rhythm The REAL problem with Ellsworth

    Yah, I am new here. Just put money down on an Ellsworth that is being custom tweaked on a "budget build", so I am sold on Ellsworth and its too late for Blackfly to sway me.

    I was roaming around looking for a good mtn bike forum, when I stumbled into the mtbr pissfest, after using their reviews section for years. I have been mtn biking since 1985 and managed a bike shop waaaaay back in the '70's.

    Biggest problem, IMHO, with Ellsworth is FINDING one. They really need to do something about their Marketing.

    I live in the land of Santa Cruz, Intense, Konas and Giants.....because there are DEALERS of those in the Seattle area where I live. Of course even mentioning I am buying an Ellsworth has gotten me kicked out of the mtn bike e-mail loops where everyone is loyal to the brand they have just plunked down a few house payments on.

    I was sold on Ellsworth based on the few I have seen around and my interaction with a hardcore mtn biking bro-in-law in the Bay Area CA. Reviews in mtbr and elsewhere seem rock solid, other than that brief disaster of a bad run of Truths a few years ago and poor warranty coverage of that disaster.....which I am HOPING Ellsworth has learned their lesson and is not going there anymore.

    So I put in my area code in dealer finder on the Ellsworth web. ONE dealer listed in ALL of Washington, and that place was Hood River, a bunch of hours away, and seems to be out of business. California has 12 dealerships listed in contrast but other than that one state, the dealers seem spread out pretty darn thin.

    Whats up with this? You can't buy it if you can't find it!

    I contacted Ellsworth and they informed me that REI flagship store is apparently THE ONLY authorized dealer in Washington and is not listed on the website.
    Great....I head off to REI planning to bring home a basic Epiphany, dropping 4 grand in their store on a quick and easy sale.

    REI is NOT the proper outlet for selling high end bikes.

    Its a lonnnnng story in itself, but the sales-bots were literally clueless, they tried to push me into a Santa Cruz even though they had no clue about the SC either, and they finally lost me when they wouldn't even switch to a cheaper seatpost in the build kit to save a $4k quick sale, much less the other minor changes I wanted.
    It was like trying to buy an Ellsworth at Costco or Walmart. I literally left in disgust.

    The test ride was AWESOME....even though the bike was set up wrong, and reaffirmed my choice that the Epi was the perfect bike FOR ME.

    I am still buying an Epi. I am violating my ethics by buying a bike mail order. But its been a joy working through their authorized dealer in Illinois....a REAL bike shop.

    So, answer me this Riddler.... I live in the same state where they make Ellsworth, a couple of hours from North Shore(although I don't personally ride The Shore), in a major HEAVY mtn biking area, and I can't buy an Ellsworth locally at a REAL bike shop. Whats wrong with this picture?

    And what the heck DOES the local Ellsworth rep DO, besides get a good discount on his own Ellsworth. (The REI-bot was bragging about how they have the Ellsworth rep close by and he rides Tiger mtn and brags up the bike.)

    Is Ellsworth just supposed to be a California bike? They seem to have as many dealers there as in the rest of the USA combined!

    Other than that, I am EXTREMELY happy to have locked into an Ellsworth, no matter what the Fly says. And only wish I could have gotten it locally at a REAL bike shop, for any future support or gawd forbid...warranty issues.

    So I am wondering are the people that own Ellsworths just lucky to be living by a dealer, or has anyone else gone to significant effort to actually get one?

  2. #2
    zeb
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    So, answer me this Riddler.... I live in the same state where they make Ellsworth, a couple of hours from North Shore(although I don't personally ride The Shore), in a major HEAVY mtn biking area, and I can't buy an Ellsworth locally at a REAL bike shop. Whats wrong with this picture?






    If you are sure that you went to REAL bikeshop,maybe you were not buying mountainbike but s...... Ellsworth.

  3. #3
    over 50 years of cycling
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by zeb
    If you are sure that you went to REAL bikeshop,maybe you were not buying mountainbike but s...... Ellsworth.
    Ah, thats what I love.....constructive, intelligent posting. Which only tells me something about the caliber of people that are NOT buying an Ellsworth.

    I hesitated signing up for the mtbr forums, just because of the high percentage of negativity I have seen in the posts when I was lurking. I must say, my first post and already eliciting responses from flamers that must have WAY too much time on their hands. I am impressed!

  4. #4
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    I'm lucky enough to have Rbikes.com as my LBS.

    You can always use REI as your place to do any warrenty work if it is necessary.

    No stupid Zeb flaming go back to turner.

    Edit: You own two Ellsworth bikes and that is your reply
    Team MOJO Wheels.

  5. #5
    zeb
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldsteele
    I'm lucky enough to have Rbikes.com as my LBS.

    You can always use REI as your place to do any warrenty work if it is necessary.

    No stupid Zeb flaming go back to turner.

    Edit: You own two Ellsworth bikes and that is your reply

    Sorry!I just got desparate while trying to get new chainstay.It really can get bad when my ULTIMATE(see my comments about ID,not just this whining about warranty/spareparts thing) trailbike is out of use!Ok i stay out for a while and hope i can come back with better feeling.Yeah i need to cool off,because of my recent posts.Keep riding

  6. #6
    over 50 years of cycling
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by coldsteele
    I'm lucky enough to have Rbikes.com as my LBS.

    You can always use REI as your place to do any warrenty work if it is necessary.

    No stupid Zeb flaming go back to turner.

    Edit: You own two Ellsworth bikes and that is your reply
    You are EXTREMELY lucky to live near rbikes.com! That is who I am mail ordering my Epi through. They have impressed me enough to almost make me want to move to Illinois.......NAAAWWWW.....wouldn't trade the Seattle area for there to save my life. Sorry.

    I checked out a bunch of other of the "usual suspects" for mail order and got hooked on the professionalism and great customer service of Richards Bicycles, so went with them even though they are halfway....or a bit more, across the country from me. I REALLY did not want to go back to REI and give them the satisfaction of having their poor sales tactics win, just because they have no local competition.

    Bummer about the warranty issues zeb! I can understand getting upset over THAT. The complaints about warranty followup is seriously the main point that came darn close to turning me off to buying an Ellsworth. I am really hoping they wake up and smell the coffee on THAT issue. It SEEMS like they are GENERALLY getting better, according to RECENT posts.

  7. #7
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    Go to Portland...

    That's what I did. I live in Seattle as well, but for my Epi the savings in sales tax alone was worth way more than the drive and the day spent coming and going. I was able to set it up as I wanted and they treated me well. Fat Tire Farm is not the best shop in the world, but they certainly know mountain bikes and they have good mechanics. It was ready when I arrived, but I changed saddles (I can't take junk saddles) and we decided on steerer tube length and they cut it then.

    I did have problems with my front brake (Juicy 7), but that's not the shop's fault. They mailed me a new rotor and pads, it just took awhile. Their warranty guy left the shop so I can't complain too much.

    I also think Downhill Zone can get Els as well, at least what they told me. I saw the Els at REI. They had one Epi built up really fine (XO, carbon cranks, Talas 32, etc.) but it was hanging from the ceiling. Couldn't tell the price. But I, as you, would never buy a bike like an Els from them. Their high school student staff have no authority and only enough knowledge to be dangerous. Totally unlike my experience at Fat Tire Farm.

    Enjoy the Epiphany. It's the perfect bike for rides like Mission Ridge and Sun Top (if you start from the bottom).
    I'm getting too old for this sh!t.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldsteele
    I'm lucky enough to have Rbikes.com as my LBS.

    You can always use REI as your place to do any warrenty work if it is necessary.

    No stupid Zeb flaming go back to turner.

    Edit: You own two Ellsworth bikes and that is your reply


    That Rbikes.com is just loaded with high end bikes....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by co_biker
    That Rbikes.com is just loaded with high end bikes....
    And great people and good service I have bought 4 bikes from them. It is cheaper for me to purchase from them than the internet. I've been going there for 5 years 6 forks 4 bikes and countless parts.

    Zeb you should ditch the ID and pay for the frame upgrade to the Moment(durability) or Epi(Same but lighter).

    The ID will break again. It is in the leverage of the rocker arm. It puts too much stress on the seat tube and the chain stay.

    I ride my Moment 5 times a hard as I ever did my ID and no problems.

    See my old post.

    peace
    Team MOJO Wheels.

  10. #10
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    I can relate to these comments

    I would be interested to find out how people in Australia got their Ellsworth. For me it was a difficult process securing a frameset. Still I did get one of the first epi's made but that's info I recieved from across the ditch based on the serial. Anyway its a challenge buying Ellsworth in Australia epecially if your waiting on Jerkworks. But their uselessness is another story.

  11. #11
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    Guys, I have an easy solution to this problem. Why don't you go into your local dealer/favorite bike shop and request that they start carrying Ellsworth's? This is usually the way this works. Is the dealer see there is enough intrest, then they would be stupid to no carry them. I agree with some of you, I use online retailers as a last resource. I'm lucky enough to have a great shop called the The Path close by

  12. #12
    YOUREGO ISNOT YOURAMIGO
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    Have you thought about a Turner

    Yes, Monday and Tuesday are now no longer weekdays. Trust me. LP.
    No Rep/No Problem
    Banned For Boobies WTF?
    Don't PM Me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoGoGordo
    Have you thought about Turner?
    Or a Kona?

    There are a couple of Ells dealers in our state, but I didn't use either of them. I bought the frame from the Path in Cali and there's a shop here that I get all my parts and service from. I saved money on sales tax by buying out of state and the closest dealer to me list bikes at about $100 over MSRP, so I saved on that, too.

    It's an either/or proposition with buying a frame out of state. You save on tax, but pay on shipping. So which is more? It's about the same in the end, depending on your tax, but I think you can actually get a bike shipped for less than the tax on a $2300 frame. The biggest drawback is not being able to test ride. Ellsworth had a three/four month demo tour going this summer so I got to ride at one of those.
    Last edited by chad1433; 10-14-2006 at 03:46 PM.

  14. #14
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    ... and if we just ... Maybe move to Los Gatos...

    I just bot the Epiphany from Summit in Los Gatos, CA. And I do feel lucky to live near this shop... Move on down this way, the hills here are full of good trails...

    BTW, have had the Epiphany for three months and am totally in love with this bike. So efficient *and* so comfortable at the same time!!! It would be my dream bike, so I'm livin' the dream!

    -b

  15. #15
    over 50 years of cycling
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by brucemit
    I just bot the Epiphany from Summit in Los Gatos, CA. And I do feel lucky to live near this shop... Move on down this way, the hills here are full of good trails...

    BTW, have had the Epiphany for three months and am totally in love with this bike. So efficient *and* so comfortable at the same time!!! It would be my dream bike, so I'm livin' the dream!

    -b
    indeed, there are some good trails in the Bay Area....some of them are even legal. ;-)
    My bro-in-law rides the trails off of Skyline(and in the Sierras) on his Truth. He was one of the key people that convinced me get an Ellsworth.

    Buying a new Ellsworth is my shot at buying my Dream Bike. I am hoping it lives up to my dream. :-)

  16. #16
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    the dream

    I often stop in at Summit and ask them for a refund, but always with a big, ****-eating grin on my face.

    It can be a relatively high-dollar experience, buying a dream bike... that said, I cannot think of a better purchase I've made than the Epiphany - it is just that good! The feel of this frame, with the Talas RLC on the front, is just really sweet and responsive.

    Every time I get on this bike, it's "oh, yeah, baby!" No regrets here.

  17. #17
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    i am lucky. here in singapore, Ells dealership is handled by one of the best in the trade Hup Leong. reliable, knowledgeable and will not sell crap! so much so that he will tell me what other stuff to purchase, even if he doesn't sell it! thats wat i called integrity

    ever since i tried the Turner 5 spot and Ellsworth Epi... I AM SOLD! trade in my month old stumpjumper immediately! very satisfied customer

  18. #18
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    Australian Epiphany owner

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmy L
    I can relate to these comments

    I would be interested to find out how people in Australia got their Ellsworth. For me it was a difficult process securing a frameset. Still I did get one of the first epi's made but that's info I recieved from across the ditch based on the serial. Anyway its a challenge buying Ellsworth in Australia epecially if your waiting on Jerkworks. But their uselessness is another story.
    tell me how is the epiphany? i cant get a test ride anywere in Sydney.
    Did you consider the 5 spot

  19. #19
    El Malo
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    You don't have to move to the Bay Area, Twisted. If you did lived down there, you'd either A) have enough money for it not to matter and be bothered griping on this forum or B) live in a shoe box packed like all those sardines down there and ride and Ellsworth.
    Plus, wasn't there a "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos" some time ago ?
    Just kiddin'... I love it down there, just too crowded and xpensif...

    Anyway, you saw my reply to your comments on the other thread last week, and it sucks that REI didn't work out for you. But I hope you understand that not all REI employees are uneducated high schoolers. The mistake was made when the REI employee went over his head and didn't pass you onto a more qualified person.
    Next time you need tech advice at REI, don't be shy and ask for someone who has more information. Chances are, you'll get it.

    There is a place called Downhill Zone by the Udub on University that does handle Ellsworth. That's where I got my first Ells. Those guys know bikes in and out and where I go to get stuff done when I need help from a shop, which happens to be rare nowadays.
    They are more geared towards the freeride and downhill facets of the sport, but are also extremely knowledgable about mountain bikes and will talk your head off with more information than you'll ever need and help you get into the bike that best suits your budget and application.

    When you get your Epi, we should go for a ride and I'll give you more good information.
    So, let me know when you're ready.

    Ciao !
    "... the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - "

  20. #20
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    Too much credit to REI

    Quote Originally Posted by Arm@ndo
    But I hope you understand that not all REI employees are uneducated high schoolers. The mistake was made when the REI employee went over his head and didn't pass you onto a more qualified person.
    Next time you need tech advice at REI, don't be shy and ask for someone who has more information. Chances are, you'll get it.!
    Unfortunately, the shopping I've done at REI, the uneducated high schoolers predominate among the staff. Pretty much in all departments too. Skiing, climbing, biking, etc. There are a few knowlegable people, but not very many and not often around. So I've come to expect any salesperson to quote whatever the current magazine reviews are saying and not much about what their own experience has taught them, because they usually don't have very much. That said, they're awfully enthusiastic, and if you totalled the bike in a massive wipe out, the next day you could get a full refund.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arm@ndo
    There is a place called Downhill Zone by the Udub on University that does handle Ellsworth. That's where I got my first Ells. Those guys know bikes in and out and where I go to get stuff done when I need help from a shop, which happens to be rare nowadays. They are more geared towards the freeride and downhill facets of the sport, but are also extremely knowledgable about mountain bikes and will talk your head off with more information than you'll ever need and help you get into the bike that best suits your budget and application.
    I completely agree. I would have bought my bike there were it not for the approx. $400 savings in sales tax. As it is, when the brakes (Juicy 7s) started with the turket gooble I went to Downhill Zone for help. They were knowledge, skilled, and flexible. Just what I would have hoped from a bike shop and all that REI is not.
    I'm getting too old for this sh!t.

  21. #21
    El Malo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old and Slow
    That said, they're awfully enthusiastic, and if you totalled the bike in a massive wipe out, the next day you could get a full refund.
    "Too much credit to REI..."
    EXACTLY !
    Everyone knows that your comment alone is worth buying from REI.
    No one can touch their "satisfaction guaranteed" refund policy...
    I imagine the unfortunate side to this is seeing all the losers who abuse this policy.
    But hey, everyone loves those "Scratch and Dent" sales, eh
    Not that you'll see Ells at these sales, but how would you like to find a used Epi in like-new condition for $1,200 just because some lunatic never got used to riding the X.O shifters... don't laugh, it happens with stuff at the sales !
    "... the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - "

  22. #22
    over 50 years of cycling
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! REI warranty IS a plus...the only plus

    I actually lived a major chunk of my life in the Bay Area and still have some family thats managed to hang on there. I left when our second child was born and I realized I could never afford more than the dumpy townhouse with the upstairs bathroom literally about to fall through to the first floor. Moved to the Seattle area in 1985 and haven't looked back.

    It is more than VERY spotty finding competent people at REI. At the Redmond store I usually frequent I go in knowing exactly what I want to buy, and/or try to spot the one or two people I recognise as being knowledgeable from being a customer there for 20 years.

    Their "warranty" is awesome! You cannot believe how badly I WANTED TOspend $4K at that store that day and their policy on returns was a major factor.
    Unfortunately I have SOME ethics and standards. It is a flaw that gets me in trouble often in my life. I occasionally have to draw the line and stand on principle. They crossed over the line on that day. I was seeing red by the time I left. I cannot encourage that sort of treatment for JUST ABOUT ANY cost savings, and I figure this will indeed cost me. I could not penalize REAL bike shops and the service they provide by supporting REI's sales approach that is more akin to Wallmart than a REAL bike shop.

    Downhill Zone is not listed on the Ellsworth site as a dealer. I already had a deal in work when I finally found out they are a dealer, otherwise I might have checked them out more closely. (they REALLY need to update the Ellsworth site!!!) I have definitely heard EXCELLENT praise about them. I called them and a Elli is a special order bike for them. That makes it ALMOST like buying mail order, but paying the sales tax...which is considerable. I am also budget restricted and I am guessing and only guessing that they would have had a hard time competing with the slightly customized, "low end" but solid, package deal I am getting through rbikes.com.

    I almost went back to REI even after I walked out of there, when there was some confusion on pricing at Richards bike shop, but that got cleared up. I did have some timing issues as there was a shipment problem with Ellsworth frames(Ellsworth had sent them a 19" instead of a 17") and some family tragedy thing that happened right at the time I ordered from Rbike, but their long distance support and customer service and willingness to work with me has been INCREDIBLE...its just taking one heck of a lot longer to spend $3600 than I ever could have imagined.

    I would definitely enjoy going on a ride after I get my Epi. I have been too embarassed to ride with mtn bikers while I have had to use my Epic. I think I might pass on Angel's staircase. Hey, is any XC trail left at The Ridge or has it ALL been converted to Big Hit and death defying structures?

  23. #23
    El Malo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twisted Trail
    It is more than VERY spotty finding competent people at REI. At the Redmond store I usually frequent I go in knowing exactly what I want to buy, and/or try to spot the one or two people I recognise as being knowledgeable from being a customer there for 20 years.
    Ok, I guess this is the part where I tell you that I have been a part time REI employee for some time, until I recently was laid off my day job after 12yrs with the same company.
    Too late for me to help you with your Ellsworth at REI, but next time you want to talk mountain bikes for set up or whatever, come see me.
    Also, you can't possibly have been a customer at the Redmond store since it has only been open less than 10 yrs, but I know what you mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by Twisted Trail
    I could not penalize REAL bike shops and the service they provide by supporting REI's sales approach that is more akin to Wallmart than a REAL bike shop.
    Downhill Zone would have had a hard time competing with the slightly customized, "low end" but solid, package deal I am getting through rbikes.com.
    I almost went back to REI even after I walked out of there, when there was some confusion on pricing at Richards bike shop, but that got cleared up. Their long distance support and customer service and willingness to work with me has been INCREDIBLE...its just taking one heck of a lot longer to spend $3600 than I ever could have imagined.
    True, the REI bike shop does not operate like your typical ma'&pa' store where depending on how hard you play ball with the owner and how badly they need your money, you might get a free seat post and a saddle with your purchase. But I can't even think of how much service work I've provided to customers at no charge or get them in and out when it gets busy and there's a 2-3wk wait on service work.
    I hope that the $400 you saved will be worth all the time you've spent dealing with long distance transactions, and may you never have service issues with them.
    Personally, I like to deal with ppl I can see face to face when sh!t hits the fan or when I can just pop in and drop off some beers, like at DHZ.

    Quote Originally Posted by Twisted Trail
    I would definitely enjoy going on a ride after I get my Epi. I have been too embarassed to ride with mtn bikers while I have had to use my Epic. I think I might pass on Angel's staircase. Hey, is any XC trail left at The Ridge or has it ALL been converted to Big Hit and death defying structures?
    The only thing to be embarrassed of is not getting out to ride !
    I was looking at the pic I took of my bike last weekend atop 8,000ft on the Angels Staircase... pretty nice, actually. I ought to post it here for the E crowd...
    Well, it depends what you consider XC and "death defying"... here are some pix of me out there recently...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "... the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - "

  24. #24
    over 50 years of cycling
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    I must say you guys have done an amazing job on the structures on The Ridge! I used to work up at Philips up there and Dan and I were the original trail builders up there. I put in a LOT of the XC trails up there, but the housing developments came as expected and Dan went the way of the Big Stuff. Downright amazing stuff to see but possibly out of my league.Maybe with the new bike though.....

    Yes, I remember when the Redmond store went in. That convienence is rather recent in my history with REI. The Bellevue store was around long before the Redmond store.

    >"...True, the REI bike shop does not operate like your typical ma'&pa' store where >depending on how hard you play ball with the owner and how badly they need your >money, you might get a free seat post and a saddle with your purchase."

    I fully admit I am a tightwad, but I used to manage a bike shop "in another lifetime", and I understand tight markups and the workings of a bike shop. I did not expect or ask for a PRICE reduction at REI, but I did not want to buy a fully setup $4000 bike, and have to immediately toss out a bunch of parts and buy a bunch of new ones before even riding the bike. I EXPECT a bike of that caliber to be set up to work for ME.....For $4000 I am funny that way. Some people may not consider that much to pay for a bike, but for me it is a lot.(I just put two daughters through college, and my wife only brings in a pittance) I finally compromised away any of the changes I would have liked, and figured I would just use my good WTB titanium rails saddle I already own, to replace the usual toss away saddle everyone always includes. But then I noticed it was a funky proprietary post that wouldn't work on a normal saddle. ALL I REQUESTED was to SWAP the graphite seatpost for a basic CHEAPER aluminum post and sell the bike to me for the same price. THEY would have made MORE money on the bike. They refused even when I explained that was the last straw and I was going to bail on the sale if they woudn't AT LEAST do that ONE thing. And by that time the store manager was involved so this can't be blamed on a maverick REI sales-bot.

    So I could have bought a $4k Ellsworth at REI and immediately had to buy/replace:
    Seat
    Seatpost
    pedals (NONE are included with the bike at REI, a practice that seems to be unique to them)
    Grip shifts and grips to replace trigger shifts.
    Bash ring to replace the big ring.
    I wasn't asking for half off or a complete rebuild, and I was negotiable up to a point.

    Toughest part would be explaining to my wife, who was already freaking out about the purchase, as to why I had to immediately replace a bunch of parts on this pricey bike that the store could have swapped for components of the same price or cheaper.

    They also did a poor job of setting up the bike for the test ride, even though they brought in one of their "pro-mechanics" from the back to set it up. Who sends a full sussy with the front fork locked out for the test ride and no explanation of how to unlock it? I started riding thinking the bike was really feeling odd, and had to figure out to unlock the suspension and how to do it. This did not give me a high degree of faith in their followup service!

    REI certainly does NOT act like the local Ma and Pa store. I have to agree with you on that! But I would rather support "Ma and Pa" than a Walmart of outdoor equipment. To me that is worth paying EXTRA, and going through some hassle.

    REI is good for hiking boots and rain jackets though.....

    I wish I had heard that DHZ was an Ellsworth dealer. That just might have been worth paying an extra $400 -$800. I will have to lay the blame on the Ellsworth website for that. They don't have DHZ listed. In fact they said they were going to update their site and fix that and even after the update they STILL do not list REI or DHZ as dealers.

    Definitely post that Staircase pick in the Ellsworth section. As someone said, that should be featured in the Ellsworth catalog!

    Good luck working at REI. It seems like it would be a good place to work. Its great they are getting someone knowledgeable by getting you in there. I hope they appreciate that. Maybe you can take over Scott's hours and send him over to another dept to sell kayaks or something.

  25. #25
    over 50 years of cycling
    Reputation: Twisted Trail's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    533

    Cool-blue Rhythm The Ridge evolution

    interesting seeing the evolution of The Ridge structures, based on your recent pics. Here are some pics of some of the orginal structures. Sorta like the difference between an old rickety roller coaster and a modern sleek tight roller coaster, both are cooool....Both will give a thrill.....
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