Ellsworth – AM Wheelset Review

Pro Reviews

Post by Robb Sutton (198)
Mountain Biking by 198

Wheels are a very special part of the bike. They single handedly control how your bike feels on the trail and how your power is transferred to the ground. After my review of the Ellsworth Evolve and my recorded interview with Tony Ellsworth, Ellsworth sent me a set of their new $990.00 all mountain wheels to review.

At $990.00, these wheels are in the top of the mountain biking price bracket so the standard is set pretty high. For a complete spec on these wheels, you can check out the Ellsworth site or my preview post. For reviewing purposes, the wheels were mounted to my Ventana El Terremoto 6.0 (150mm travel frame) and they wore the new Schwalbe Big Betty UST tires (a true 2.4 tire – tubed). I have been riding these wheels for over a month and a half now in varying terrain. They have seen everything from local loops to shuttle runs to heavy rock gardens.

A Little About The Ellsworth AM Wheels

Picture by regularJoe

Highlights from the spec list include:

  • Each wheel is de-tensioned 6 times, and then re-trued and re-tensioned again by hand.
  • Each Ellsworth direct pull hub uses a full compliment of the highest quality Japanese EZO bearings.
  • All Ellsworth spokes are direct pull to achieve maximum tension and quadruple taper and butted for superior strength and stiffness to provide you with a faster rolling, more durable wheel.
  • Ellsworth rims have a wider rim profile that provides a wider stance of the tire on the rim. This gives the rider a larger contact patch of the tire on the ground. (32mm wide for this set)
  • Claimed 2,376 grams
  • Weight as tested on Ultimate Digital (QR rear w/20mm Caps on the Front) – 2,420g
    Front w/20mm End Caps – 1,100g
    Rear w/QR Axle and No QR – 1,320g

They are only available in the polished stainless and black rim which ended up looking incredible on my bike. They are a 32 spoke, straight pull wheel. The front hub converts from a QR to a 20mm and the rear will swap between QR and 10mm. These are the provided parts with every wheelset (QR’s included).

The other parts were installed on the wheels which you will see later in the article.

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  • Anonymous says:

    seems to be a staight talk review, no bias. the points of contention were exactly what i would consider to be deal breakers @ that price, mainly the slow hubs. i look forward to more reviews from the author.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sounder interesting but the slow engagement is a deal-killer. I mean, 24 points is just ridiculous and a cheaper way to manufacture durable hubs. My Kings have no drag on the trail and I have Hopes as well. It is not cheap to properly design and build a high-engagement hub…thus the easy way out.

    Bottom line- now way, I’d pay that much for thi swheelset. I can get a custom-built Chris King set laced to any rim for around $800. The I9s are a bit more but both totaly outclass the Ellsworth wheels. 24 points makes me smile, especially rge reasons used to justify it….amusing stuff 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Great review, by the way- detailed and clear with no hype or bias. Excuse my hurried and consequently, inaccurate typing.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the responses. I tried to be as complete and non-biased as possible while presenting both views.


  • Anonymous says:

    Excellent review. Thanks.

  • Anonymous says:

    “I have seen Trials riders, in highly technical position, need
    the pedal in a specific position for clearance and power to
    hop or step up the bike. But other then this the immiediate (sic)
    engagement feature is very cool, and feels very good, but to
    trade it for freewheeling friction makes no sense.”

    From the engagement PDF. I have found – as a mountain biker, mind – that I occasionally have to position “the pedal in a specific position for clearance and power to hop or step up” over trail obstacles. I’m sure I’m the only one, though, and it is obvious that I don’t need faster engagement since King and I9 hubs are known to have terrible build quality and most slow riders use them.

    Oh, wait a minute . . .

  • Anonymous says:

    These wheelsets are just rebranded Easton’s, what do you expect? Look it up.

  • Anonymous says:

    i really hate to bust some of people bubbles but these hubs are the exact same as the azonic outlaw and performance locos minus the way the flange is made. these wheel have straight pull spoke versus standard pull spokes. those hubs are good but def. do not belong on a wheel of this expense. i mean seriously these hubs cost them nothing to get made.

    i hate to say it ellsworth fails once again. i really want to see this company do the right thing. i love the way that their products look.

  • Anonymous says:

    A four page review and no weights are given for the wheels? Or did I miss that…?

  • Anonymous says:


    Claimed 2,376 grams
    Weight as tested on Ultimate Digital (QR rear w/20mm Caps on the Front) – 2,420g
    Front w/20mm End Caps – 1,100g
    Rear w/QR Axle and No QR – 1,320g

  • Anonymous says:

    Again why would one spend nearly 1000 buckaroos on these poor engaging wheels when you could build a set of Kings or order some I9’s for 100-200 doll hairs cheaper?

    It’s the same with their frames. Overpriced for what you get.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have CKs. I have for years, and probably will for several more. QR front, 20mm front, and a couple of rears with different rims. No way I’m spending that kind or coin on an inferior hub. Has anybody clued TE in on the reputation of King hubs?

  • Anonymous says:

    Tony E responded to your column posted in 2008 and suggested he was going to address some of your objections to the Ellsworth Wheelset. Has he done so and have you looked at them again?

  • Anonymous says:


    Haven’t heard anything back yet.


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