Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Big Wheels

Sure, we've alluded to it, directly mentioned it, and promised that it was nearly finished. Now you can hop on over to and check out our review of the Ellsworth Evolve for yourself.

Bottom line? It is quite possibly the nicest riding 29er I've thrown a leg over. But I'll stick with 26" wheels, thanks. I prefer the snappy feel of the smaller hoops, though the stability that the bigger wheels lend is very nice when bombing technical singletrack. And, even though this isn't a road bike, the Evolve was laterally stiff, yet vertically compliant. A good thing too, since it's a full suspension bike.


Anonymous said...

OK, for the uninitiated, can you explain what "laterally stiff, yet vertically compliant" means? How do you go about assessing such a quality on a frame?

James said...


Sorry for the confusion, I made that comment as a tongue in cheek jab at nearly all road bicycle reviews. Grab any road bike review in any magazine and that line will be in there, be it a racing frame or a touring frame. What they are referring to is that the job of the bicycle frame is to get the power you put in at the pedals to the wheel without undo flexing. That's the "lateral" part.

The "vertical" part has to do with the fact that even though we are out to punish ourselves, we don't want to feel the bumps in the road any more than we have to. If a frame is "vertically compliant" it can absorb minor bumps and take the sting out of pavement roughness. Since the bike I reviewed was a mountain bike, it has 4" of "vertical compliance".

Just a little humor.