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  1. #1
    GNC
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    A visit to Ellsworth's New Manufacturing Facility

    This is my first post but I've enjoyed the reading and the insight. A collective thanks for all the info...my buying, and riding decisons have been affected positively.

    Recently (last week) I had the opportunity to visit to the Ellsworth Manufacturing Facility. As it turns out my boss is an old highschool buddy of Tony Ellsworth & upon learning this I immediately asked if he could "get me a deal on a new Epiphany." He responded with an emphatic, "Maybe". With my hopes faint but alive, he offered to arrange a tour of the Vancouver, WA facility. I jumped at the chance. "What the heck," I thought..."maybe I can grab a frame and make a run for it?"

    I invited my Dad and Brother (both are Fabricators & Machinists by trade) figuring that they would find the visit interesting. What I witnessed was impressive to say the least.

    On the day of the tour were met by two members of the production team: "Hag" (he builds the jigs and fixtures for production), & "Troy" (Master Welder, builds the prototypes). Both of these guys greeted us with smiles and showed us the operation. What I came away with was a profound respect for the craftsmenship and detail that goes into everyone of these bikes. These guys are much better descibed as artists than machinists or welders. The slightest flaw sends a frame to the scrap heap. Even under big production pressures these guys simply won't sacrifice quality. It was amazing. The detail and the steps involved in the build of a single frame are staggering.

    By the time I gazed upon a finished Epiphany frame, my thoughts of "snatch and run" had evaporated. First of all, I was not convinced I could outrun "Hag"...but more than that, I left with a feeling that even if I were offered a discount, my conscience would make it difficult to accept it after seeing the sweat that goes into these things. (OK...maybe I could accept a small discount???)
    We all left with smiles on our faces and real respect for Ellsworth and their team of artists.

    P.S. The wall hung with all of the Prototypes was amazing!
    P.P.S. I currently ride a Blur...but not for long...

  2. #2
    Brass Nipples!
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    Cool stuff. I think the company owning the manufacturing process now is a very big deal.

    I lived in Detroit for a while, and I met some guys that made prototype cars, virtually from sheetmetal. Artist isn't too strong a word for people like that. I would have loved to been on your tour.

    I had a Blur and I don't miss it. I think you'll like an Ellsworth if you end up getting one.

    The production run that day wasn't large green Epiphanies, was it?
    {Principal Skinner} Hmm. Whoever did this is in very deep trouble.
    {Martin} And a sloppy speller too. The preferred spelling of 'wiener' is w - i - e - n - e - r, although 'e - i' is an acceptable ethnic variant.

  3. #3
    "Its All Good"
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    I echo the thoughts in both posts. It was great forward thinking and looking outside of the square box to build a manufacturing plant. This will pay huge dividends in the near future. There is a segment of the market that will always pay for quality and not moan about the price. For me the saying "those that ride know" is such a true statement.

    Too many companies look at what the competition is doing, those that do there own thing and be proud of what they are doing and there product will always come out on top. Look at Dell, all companies poo hooed them for not worrying about the competition, now they seriousy kick butt.

    My 2 cents worth
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  4. #4
    "Its All Good"
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    Oh forgot to add some quality New Zealand Rotorua mud. This is where the world champs are this year.
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    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  5. #5
    GNC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob the Wheelbuilder
    Cool stuff. I think the company owning the manufacturing process now is a very big deal.

    I lived in Detroit for a while, and I met some guys that made prototype cars, virtually from sheetmetal. Artist isn't too strong a word for people like that. I would have loved to been on your tour.

    I had a Blur and I don't miss it. I think you'll like an Ellsworth if you end up getting one.

    The production run that day wasn't large green Epiphanies, was it?
    I saw one in green...lots of unfinished frames were on hand. I have taken a fancy to the "Nebula Blue." Pretty cool anodizing with a solid base color and a sort of marbling. They are doing this with a number of different color schemes. The gray and black on the Rogue is pretty appealing...sort of like urban camoflage. The website doesn't do this anodizing finish justice. I have not seen this stuff anywhere else and it seems like just another example of the difference between Ellsworth and the rest of the bike builders out there.

    I'd like to here about your transition from the Blur (VPP) to your Ellsworth. What was the most notable difference? Any adjustment period? Any insight you could offer would be appreciated.

  6. #6
    GNC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe
    I echo the thoughts in both posts. It was great forward thinking and looking outside of the square box to build a manufacturing plant. This will pay huge dividends in the near future. There is a segment of the market that will always pay for quality and not moan about the price. For me the saying "those that ride know" is such a true statement.

    Too many companies look at what the competition is doing, those that do there own thing and be proud of what they are doing and there product will always come out on top. Look at Dell, all companies poo hooed them for not worrying about the competition, now they seriousy kick butt.

    My 2 cents worth
    Whafe,

    I did a little recon. It sounds like Tony Ellsworth is absolutley committed to manufacturing his bikes in Ellsworth owned and controlled facilities. In fact, I heard rumor of more growth and a bigger manufacturing plant. I don't know about you, but I can envision a sort of destination for Ellsworth buyers... A place for the faithful to go to pick out there new bikes and get immersed in the entire process. Go on vacation, pick up your new bike, and take it for a ride before heading back to the real world.

    Maybe I am just dreaming here, but that sounds pretty cool to me.

  7. #7
    "Its All Good"
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    My 2 cents on going from a Santa Cruz to an Ellsworth.

    A good riding buddy of mine went from a Heckler (he had this for some 4 years) a good rider too I might add. He purchased a Moment. His riding has moved to another level. One area I really notice differences with the Ellsworths is on tight technical rutty climbing, the traction just blows me away, the wheel is always driving. Where has he mentions that the Heckler would skip and lose traction.

    Just a point worth mentioning that I have felt and seen
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  8. #8
    El Malo
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    True.
    I believe that there are some good upgrades when you jump from a Heckler to a Moment.
    But I can't really say my Heckler is that far less capable than the Moment.
    As you know, the bike is as good as the rider handling it.
    The fact is that these are very different designs and it's hard to get more bang for the buck these days than with the Heckler frame equiped with a nice coil over platform shock.
    I have put that bike under the most rugged conditions for over two seasons now, taking it thru anything ranging from 60 mile mountain rides to everything in Whistler to the urban dirt jumping scene.
    The build kit on that Xlarge frame since it's birth is all DH stuff. So, at 37lbs, it's obvious weight is less an issue than durability.
    Now, I also own a Dare that I absolutely love, so when a friend gave me his credit card to build him a solid trailbike, I chose the Moment because I am an avid fan of the ICT design, the craftsmanship and because money was not much of an issue.
    There's no question that there is more detail and engineering in a Moment, and that costs money.
    You'll notice some improvement in performance over the single pivot design of the Heckler mostly while braking under load (in steep technical terrain).
    If you set the platform and tune the 5th Element properly, trust me, you will not have troubles climbing the Heckler.
    I've ridden the Moment I built and really like it, but unfortunately, it's hard for me to love it as much as my Heckler because I feel just a tad cramped in the cockpit of my friend's 19" frame; the largest size available.

    I would love to hop on a Nomad and make a more fair comparison... but that's for another thread...

    Glad to hear Ellsworth has more control over manufacturing... I have visited the hole in the wall they have in Ramona near SanDiego, I wonder if that will also move up to Washington or if they'll keep the HQ down there...
    "... the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - "

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GNC
    I saw one in green...lots of unfinished frames were on hand. I have taken a fancy to the "Nebula Blue." Pretty cool anodizing with a solid base color and a sort of marbling. They are doing this with a number of different color schemes. The gray and black on the Rogue is pretty appealing...sort of like urban camoflage. The website doesn't do this anodizing finish justice. I have not seen this stuff anywhere else and it seems like just another example of the difference between Ellsworth and the rest of the bike builders out there.

    I'd like to here about your transition from the Blur (VPP) to your Ellsworth. What was the most notable difference? Any adjustment period? Any insight you could offer would be appreciated.
    The big difference I see is in climbing traction as Whafe mentioned. My Moment will maintain traction on sketchy steep climbs in the little chainring. The Blur would tend to spin in those situations. I use minimal propedal damping, so I can see the rear shock activationg a little when I'm not pedaling smoothly, but that doesn't seem to translate to any significant inefficiency. The Blur seemed plush when coasting, but stiffened noticably when pedaling. That makes for a fast fireroad bike, but it didn't translate well to my style of riding. My climbs aren't smooth, I don't coast very much and I need my suspension to perform all the time. I noticed this difference right away and it was a positive from the start. No real adjustment needed.

    The second is the Blur's bottom bracket was too low for my local rides. I hit the cranks as well as the chainrings on things I hadn't had trouble with with my other bikes. I have ridden the Maestro and DW bikes and I had the same feeling on them. It seems like that style of bike has more movement of the bottom bracket in relationship to the bike's travel or something. I don't know if that is an accurate analysis, but that's the feeling I get on those bikes.
    {Principal Skinner} Hmm. Whoever did this is in very deep trouble.
    {Martin} And a sloppy speller too. The preferred spelling of 'wiener' is w - i - e - n - e - r, although 'e - i' is an acceptable ethnic variant.

  10. #10
    "Its All Good"
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    I agree with Bob T W.

    I feel I have to say this, I am not at all knocking the Heckler. I speak (Type) from what I have been told first hand and what I have experienced. As BTW said, the high BB for me is a huge plus. As I have mentioned, when I get on a mates 5 Spot it biffs me off, the terrain we ride in is not good for a low BB. So am not knocking the 5 Spot as a scooter.

    Hope that makes sense.

    And for the record, I had a VP Free until the Uzzi came out in a large frame. I have not had huge amounts of time on the Uzzi, but the VPP works nicer on the Intense, once again not knocking the Santa Cruz.
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  11. #11
    Leash Law Enforcer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arm@ndo
    Glad to hear Ellsworth has more control over manufacturing... I have visited the hole in the wall they have in Ramona near SanDiego, I wonder if that will also move up to Washington or if they'll keep the HQ down there...
    They are no longer in that "hole in the wall." Check out the new 2006 catalog and the pic of the new environmentally friendly facility. It is still in Ramona though.

  12. #12
    GNC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob the Wheelbuilder
    The big difference I see is in climbing traction as Whafe mentioned. My Moment will maintain traction on sketchy steep climbs in the little chainring. The Blur would tend to spin in those situations. I use minimal propedal damping, so I can see the rear shock activationg a little when I'm not pedaling smoothly, but that doesn't seem to translate to any significant inefficiency. The Blur seemed plush when coasting, but stiffened noticably when pedaling. That makes for a fast fireroad bike, but it didn't translate well to my style of riding. My climbs aren't smooth, I don't coast very much and I need my suspension to perform all the time. I noticed this difference right away and it was a positive from the start. No real adjustment needed.

    The second is the Blur's bottom bracket was too low for my local rides. I hit the cranks as well as the chainrings on things I hadn't had trouble with with my other bikes. I have ridden the Maestro and DW bikes and I had the same feeling on them. It seems like that style of bike has more movement of the bottom bracket in relationship to the bike's travel or something. I don't know if that is an accurate analysis, but that's the feeling I get on those bikes.
    Thanks for the insight. I can defiantely relate to the low BB. Interestingly enough I have experienced some traction concerns on the climbs as well. I guess I chalked these up to the rider...and tires. It seems clear that I need a demo ride.

  13. #13
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    do they have regular tours? i'll be in vancounver on a monthly basis and would love to go through the place sometime.

  14. #14
    GNC
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    I don't believe that EW is doing regular tours at this point. As I mentioned, they were so busy that I did my best to stay out of the way so as to avoid creating any delays for expectant owners. I do fear however, that I may have accidently drooled on an unsuspecting Epi frame.

    I am so very close to pulling the trigger on a new Epi. My Blur Classic is headed to Ebay minus a few components.

    I appreciate the feedback on the difference in ride as between SC and EW. I am looking forward to testing the previously posted suggestion that climbing traction is improved with the EW design. I have just the hill in mind...the day I finally clean it you will all hear my victory holler. I'm not sure that the BB height will be an issue, as I have adapted my riding style to compensate for that concern on my Blur. I'll keep you all posted when I finally get off the fence.

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