Review: Ellsworth Epiphany 27.5 Enduro bike

Bike has all mountain intentions, but better suited to aggressive XC/trail riding

27.5 Enduro
Ellsworth modified its Epiphany chassis to handle the 27.5 wheel size.

Ellsworth modified its Epiphany chassis to handle 27.5” wheels.

The Lowdown: Ellsworth Epiphany 27.5 Enduro

The Ellsworth Epiphany 27.5 is a trail bike with some all mountain intentions, yet it sports the ‘Enduro’ name. It has a 50mm stem but the top tube is not quite long enough and it’s shipped with trail-ready Kenda Honey Badger tires. It has a dropper post but it doesn’t quite know how to handle all that cable movement. But it does climb and corner well, as the ICT suspension does a good job of keeping the rear tire on the ground on rough terrain.

So we took our time with it and made some customization adjustments that helped expose the best qualities of the bike, including the active ICT rear suspension. On the rockiest climbs, one can simply sit and spin. The bike will claw its way up the hill without losing traction. On rutted or choppy cornering, the bike also maintains traction quite, the rear wheel staying firmly planted on the ground.

But this bike is not without flaws. It’s simply not on par with the descending abilities of the new breed of 27.5 or 29er all mountain bikes. It’s also pricey at $2500 for the frame that’s aluminum with external cable routing. The look of the frame is a bit dated too with the massive swingarm extending all the way back to the middle of the rear tire.

Bottom line, it climbs well and can provide enough plush to handle most rider’s descending needs.

Stat Box
Rear Travel: 140mm Frame MSRP: $2,495 w/ factory tuned FOX shock
Head Angle: 68 degrees XTR LT MSRP: $7,360 w/ Thomson dropper post
Frame Weight: 6.2 lbs (medium) Rating: 3.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 3.5 Chilies-out-of-5

In the same league: Santa Cruz 5010, Ibis Ripley, Trek Remedy, Specialized Camber EVO

  • Supple rear suspension
  • Pricey for aluminum bike
  • Great climbing traction
  • Dated frame look
  • Good cornering abilities
  • Cable routing is messy / dropper routing is difficult
  • Available in both aluminum and carbon (with different geometries)
  • Not as capable a descender as most modern all mountain bikes

Full Review: Ellsworth Epiphany 27.5 Enduro

The greatest asset of this bike is its climbing and cornering traction. The bike claws up technical climbs while transferring power with a fully active suspension. And laying down the power out of rutted corners, this bike keeps the wheels planted on the ground. One has to stay seated under heavy climbing efforts though, as the active rear suspension can bob.

There’s just enough plush suspension to get around many riders’ descending needs.

There’s just enough plush to accommodate most riders descending needs.

But the design is a bit dated with it’s long swingarm and longish chain stays. The ride is fairly stable but it’s not the quickest on twisty singletrack.

Bike jump on a fun, techy local trail.

Bike jump fun.

On the big, rowdy descents, this is not quite at the level of many all mountain bikes of today. We put some meatier tires on it and it managed drops and rocks but it didn’t really thrive.

The alloy frame and the externally routed cables that bow out are all a bit dated; this bike needs an update. But with all the carbon and new funding going to Ellsworth brand right now, we believe that some refreshing updates are coming.

Cable routing is messy and dropper post routing is difficult.

Cable routing is messy and dropper post routing is difficult.

The cables of the Epiphany bow out under full compression and the dropper post cable can run out of room in the swingarm area.

Ellsworth Epiphany aluminum chainstays.

Ellsworth Epiphany aluminum chainstays.

The rear seat stays are made of carbon and the chainstays are aluminum.

Our cockpit featured a stubby stem and fairly wide bars. The XTR bits performed flawlessly.

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About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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