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  1. #1
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    Kona vs Ellsworth ICT Suspension execution

    I have noticed that older Kona's and Ellsworth had the same rear four-bar linkasge suspension design. I have never ever owned or ridden either of the two.

    So the logical question here is, was there any difference in an Ellsworth and Kona then in terms of ride and performance? Plus, why did Kona abandon the said older suspension design?

  2. #2
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    they are not actually the same. the konas are a single pivot with a linkage that actuates the shock, both the "old" kona design and the "new" one. the rear axle and the main pivot are both on the chain stay.

    the ellsorth ICT bikes are a regular Horst link (like specialized FSR) with the rear axle connected to the seat stays.

  3. #3
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    What this means is that the Kona is as effective at pedaling as a simple swingarm bike is. (Chain gets saggy and sloppy at full compression) And the Ellsworth wheel path travels in a virtual path that keeps the chainline more uniform over compression.

    Ellsworth pedals better. is the TL;DR version.

  4. #4
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    All that axle path stuff is snake oil.

    Ask yourself how often you're pedaling your bike at full compression.

    It's a sale feature for something no one ever does. Dreamed up by marketing guys cost justifying a bike design with minimal functional features. It's like a Dilbert cartoon.

    The Elsworth has the potential to keep it's suspension more active under braking. It also has the potential to be more fragile.

    Do your best to ride both and see what you like.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agwan View Post
    (Chain gets saggy and sloppy at full compression)
    for the record, no geared single pivot bike ever sold has a chain that gets sloppy and saggy at full compression, the derailleur takes up any slack in the chain.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danke View Post
    All that axle path stuff is snake oil.

    Ask yourself how often you're pedaling your bike at full compression.

    It's a sale feature for something no one ever does. Dreamed up by marketing guys cost justifying a bike design with minimal functional features. It's like a Dilbert cartoon.

    The Elsworth has the potential to keep it's suspension more active under braking. It also has the potential to be more fragile.

    Do your best to ride both and see what you like.
    I've worked in the Automotive field with mechanics who think like you. the type who throw out moisture barriers because "how wet is it going to get, really?" and are good with the minimum effort.

    On the trail, I'd say I'd be pedaling my bike at near full compression about 15% of the time. (yes with a proper spring for my weight)

    now that's not a huge number, but it's big enough that it's worth considering.

    I will definitely concede that from what I've read on this forum I've heard a lot of negative about Ellsworth frames cracking and Tony not taking care of warranty on them. That's what this forum says. It's not what any Ellsworth owner has told me about. nor have any actual bike shop guys that I have discussed it with ever seen any issues with it IRL. But it is totally worth considering.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogbox View Post
    for the record, no geared single pivot bike ever sold has a chain that gets sloppy and saggy at full compression, the derailleur takes up any slack in the chain.
    For the record. that's not the record for a lot of people. I've ridden swingarm bikes that do that. severely.

    I've also ridden swingarm bikes that were a dream to ride (A lovely Santa Cruz Bullit comes to mind)

    there are a lot of factors at play there. stay lengths, gear inches and cage length. I don't think I'm any kind of expert at all. but I do know what I've seen and what I've seen documented.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agwan View Post
    I've worked in the Automotive field with mechanics who think like you. the type who throw out moisture barriers because "how wet is it going to get, really?" and are good with the minimum effort.

    On the trail, I'd say I'd be pedaling my bike at near full compression about 15% of the time. (yes with a proper spring for my weight)

    now that's not a huge number, but it's big enough that it's worth considering.

    I will definitely concede that from what I've read on this forum I've heard a lot of negative about Ellsworth frames cracking and Tony not taking care of warranty on them. That's what this forum says. It's not what any Ellsworth owner has told me about. nor have any actual bike shop guys that I have discussed it with ever seen any issues with it IRL. But it is totally worth considering.
    What kind of bike do you have that is hard bottoming out 15% of the time? Have you ever though that something's not right?

    Maybe once per ride on a very big hit/G-out is going to be OK. Unless you are living the life at some bike park as a senior guide and full on pro you're not going to see that.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agwan View Post
    I will definitely concede that from what I've read on this forum I've heard a lot of negative about Ellsworth frames cracking and Tony not taking care of warranty on them. That's what this forum says. It's not what any Ellsworth owner has told me about.
    that's because those guys don't ride ellsworth anymore

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogbox View Post
    that's because those guys don't ride ellsworth anymore
    Hahaha! Fantastic Answer! I never really see people ride Ellesworth. Period. and it makes me kinda sad. They were like, THE boutique of boutique bikes when I was a kid.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danke View Post
    What kind of bike do you have that is hard bottoming out 15% of the time? Have you ever though that something's not right?

    Maybe once per ride on a very big hit/G-out is going to be OK. Unless you are living the life at some bike park as a senior guide and full on pro you're not going to see that.
    This is why I always hear from so many shop employee's about how much they hate MTBR.

    There is a difference between full compression and hard bottoming out. particularly when the shock has fully compressed, and stopped. and not gone BAM. I'm a big guy, 260 pounds. I hard bottomed out a bike, swapped out the coils for ones matched to my weight, and never "hard bottomed" again. I did acheive full compression though.

    If you're bottoming out you either did something really awesome or you didn't set up your bike very well. otherwise, with reasonable riding. it is possible to compress the linkage a great, great deal without bottoming out.

    Now. on a reasonable trail ride, at slightly more than reasonable speeds, I will at some point leave the ground, maybe not all that far. I will then land. often times as I land I will begin to maneuver, placing a large quantity of Torque on my drivetrain as I do so. In these instances a 4 bar linkage provides me better chain tension than a swing-arm or a false linkage like a lot of Kona's had/have. I will notice less chainskip. less as in usually none. but to be fair the chainskip before is minimal.

    That being said. It's a small issue, not even an issue at all to some. I've seen plenty of riders more skilled than me be incredibly satisfied from said bikes.

    the way I ride. I dig linkage. But even more than that I dig steel hardtails with fat tires and a good suspension fork.

    If it's not an issue for you. great. if it is. we live in a world packed with options to please all comers.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agwan View Post
    This is why I always hear from so many shop employee's about how much they hate MTBR.

    There is a difference between full compression and hard bottoming out. particularly when the shock has fully compressed, and stopped. and not gone BAM. I'm a big guy, 260 pounds. I hard bottomed out a bike, swapped out the coils for ones matched to my weight, and never "hard bottomed" again. I did acheive full compression though.

    If you're bottoming out you either did something really awesome or you didn't set up your bike very well. otherwise, with reasonable riding. it is possible to compress the linkage a great, great deal without bottoming out.

    Now. on a reasonable trail ride, at slightly more than reasonable speeds, I will at some point leave the ground, maybe not all that far. I will then land. often times as I land I will begin to maneuver, placing a large quantity of Torque on my drivetrain as I do so. In these instances a 4 bar linkage provides me better chain tension than a swing-arm or a false linkage like a lot of Kona's had/have. I will notice less chainskip. less as in usually none. but to be fair the chainskip before is minimal.

    That being said. It's a small issue, not even an issue at all to some. I've seen plenty of riders more skilled than me be incredibly satisfied from said bikes.

    the way I ride. I dig linkage. But even more than that I dig steel hardtails with fat tires and a good suspension fork.

    If it's not an issue for you. great. if it is. we live in a world packed with options to please all comers.
    The Kona bikes are 4 bar linkages also. When you map them out with kinematic software they are identical to a Horst bike or even a modern dirtbike with a linkage driven suspension.

    Saying that moving a pivot one inch turn a 4 bar into less than 4 is another piece of marketing snake oil.

    I'm even more puzzled now, if you're not in a big g-out but your bike is fully compressed It makes even less sense. what model of bike are you on, what do you weigh in at and what's your shock setup?

  13. #13
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    I've seen them on Kinetic-Cinematic software (I believe those who actually use it call it things like Solid-works and Auto-cad, but I'm not the engineer here. I can ask an engineer about it. but she's pretty busy and it may take her a few days to get back.) and they're not the same. that linkage sure does something. but what it doesn't do is effect chainstay length. Moving a pivot off one piece of the bike, and ON TO A SEPARATE piece, definitely changes something.

    you're puzzled because you're not bright. and I no longer ride/own any of the rear-sussers I've ridden. one of which was actually a Kona Stinky. Frankly I no longer remember the coil weights because it's been about 5 years since I rode any of them. But I put saddle times in on a Stinky, a Bullit and a Big hit over a summer. and honestly the Swingarm bike won over all. then the Big Hit and the Stinky came last. The big hit was too twitchy for my tastes, The Kona steered very smoothly but was sloppy as all get out. The bullit and the Kona are the ones I got to swap coils on. honestly I found the bullit to be the perfect compromise between the big hits mistmatched and twitchy feeling and the Kona's Waterbed feeling.

    Also, stop bending the comparison here. It's not snake oil. No one is saying it's a magical cure all for all ails. no one. at all.

    It's undercoating for a Chevy, Does it do anything? probably. Does it do enough to make it worth it for you? ...That's going to be up to you.

  14. #14
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Ellsworth is still in bidness?
    Who knew?
    ;-)
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agwan View Post
    I've seen them on Kinetic-Cinematic software (I believe those who actually use it call it things like Solid-works and Auto-cad, but I'm not the engineer here. I can ask an engineer about it. but she's pretty busy and it may take her a few days to get back.) and they're not the same. that linkage sure does something. but what it doesn't do is effect chainstay length. Moving a pivot off one piece of the bike, and ON TO A SEPARATE piece, definitely changes something.

    you're puzzled because you're not bright. and I no longer ride/own any of the rear-sussers I've ridden. one of which was actually a Kona Stinky. Frankly I no longer remember the coil weights because it's been about 5 years since I rode any of them. But I put saddle times in on a Stinky, a Bullit and a Big hit over a summer. and honestly the Swingarm bike won over all. then the Big Hit and the Stinky came last. The big hit was too twitchy for my tastes, The Kona steered very smoothly but was sloppy as all get out. The bullit and the Kona are the ones I got to swap coils on. honestly I found the bullit to be the perfect compromise between the big hits mistmatched and twitchy feeling and the Kona's Waterbed feeling.

    Also, stop bending the comparison here. It's not snake oil. No one is saying it's a magical cure all for all ails. no one. at all.

    It's undercoating for a Chevy, Does it do anything? probably. Does it do enough to make it worth it for you? ...That's going to be up to you.
    Auto cad is a design program. Kinematic mapping takes the sum of the parts and lets you do things like look at where ever part of the bike is as it moves. It's phsyics.

    Everyone already knows what a "horst" (yes air quotes) link does. Not much; all the companies that grew weary of paying out to the Big S and switched found to their delight the bikes still ran great. It was an epiphany.

    And yes bike shop employees who can only parrot marketing quotes from a snake oil salesman wouldn't like this place. If someone doesn't know what they're saying means and they have to keep running back to the source for additional info they loose any credibility they might have had.

    Whatever you do; avoid picking up marketing buzzwords.

  16. #16
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    Bored now.

  17. #17
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    agwan, all your opinions are based on 5+ year old bikes.

    the new bikes from kona, specialized, santa cruz, etc are way different than those old bikes, so dont let that infulence your opinion about today's bikes until you ride them.

    except ellsworth, they are the same as 5 years ago

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogbox View Post
    except ellsworth, they are the same as 5 years ago
    Hahaha! So true!

    I've had some time on more modern bikes. one day I may even afford one!

  19. #19
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    Shock tuning is the name of the game these days. Proper spring rate tuning, compression tuning, and rebound tuning can turn a mediocre performing design into one that is excellent all around. Most people don't take the time to understand the most important part of the system, the shock: how it works, why, and how each element effects performance.

    Single pivot and linkage drive single pivot bikes can pedal extremely well, handle high speed chatter, big hits, and do it all in a composed manner, if you tune the shock correctly.

  20. #20
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    Shock tuning....so '2003 Manitou Swinger'.....
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

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