Ellsworth Joker (2003) Freeride Full Suspension

DESCRIPTION

-International Standard disc brake mounts and replaceable derailleur hanger
-4 or 6" rear travel
-Extruded aluminum one-piece BB/pivot unit
-Shot-peened, anodized finish
-Compatible with up to 6" travel forks

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 19  
[Mar 24, 2011]
Treetrimmer
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Confidence oozes from this geometry, digs on the climbs and floats on the descents. Customer support has backed up this '04 frame with credit via RMA. NO issues there.

Weakness:

Rear shock setup for xc 6.5"X1.5" Vanilla Coil over seemed hard to balance out. Did not try other shocks. Eventually cracked on weld in front of bottom bracket.

This AM/FR geometry can work for XC. Off line? no worries, use the whole frikn trail and then some. I actually made 3 podiums with this bike with one 1st place and 3rd in 7 race series. T.E. made this bike bomb proof, I just had the unfortunate bad weld near the BB, but he took care of me. Now I have to choose Enlightment or Evolve :0. Four Chili's - Five before the crack.

Similar Products Used:

Amp B4, Jamis, and newer demo rides.

[Jul 13, 2010]
Jewcifer
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Simple design, Super strong/Smooth, Beautifully anodized and laser etched graphics.

Weakness:

None so far

If you want a bike that climbs well and is lightning fast on the trail whether its single track or DH this is it!

[Nov 30, 2009]
Pastor.Kevin
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Solid, strong, unique, good value, simple, reliable, plush ride but still climbs, versatile--XC to AM with ONE bile! ...never been disappointed on any trail. Either this bike is amazing or, well, maybe I am just a really good mountain biker. I really like the finish (anodized) and the quality details--you can feel the quality and see it; this bike is better than others at this price. An additional strength is the company: Ellsworth is a great guy who responds to questions with patience and helpful grace. Like with our Turner you can always eMail Tony E and get a helpful answer. And if you're a moron with malice and stupidity in your demeanor he might just point that out. I like that, because I see that some of the reviewers are haters. Stop it.

Weakness:

I have not found ANY weaknesses at all! I'm 225 and really ride hard...nothing has bothered me. No cracks, no broken welds, no issues. Whatever swingarm issues I've heard about never surfaced here. A+. But every bike has "quirks"--in 2 years I've found some quirks: Limited shock options--it's tricky to fit most "PiggyBack" shocks in there! the 8.5" i-2-i shocks will all scrape the top tube somewhere. With the adapter the 7.8" shock is perfect...but I squeezed an 8.5" into it. Main pivot bolt came loose one time on a ride; I tighteneed it and put on some thread-lock...never happened again. It won't take a tire bigger than 2.35. It might be heavier than other newer 6-7" bikes (but I'm heavier than most other riders!). It's a "do-it-all" bike and therefore not "perfect" for any one single application beyond FreeRide, so it's going to be too heavy somewhere but too flimsy elsewhere... but that's what I wanted: one plush/tough bike that I can take anywhere & everywhere.

Great ride, reliable, tough/strong, and great value. I compare this bike daily with other/newer high-end bikes and this is my daily trail bike. It's set up with about 7" of travel F&R and it goes everywhere. No problem. There just aren't many 7"-travel bikes on the tails out there. I'm giving this a 5-star "Value" rating because you can find these real cheap on eBay & PinkBike; the 5-star "Overall" rating is because I have checked it out thoroughly, experienced A+ customer service from Ellsworth, never had a problem with the frame, and only had awesome rides from square-one. Thank you, T.E. Keep up the great work and great service.

Similar Products Used:

Turner 6-pack, Intense Tracer, GT-LTS, McMahon Boom-Shaka, Santa Cruz Heckler.

[Jul 01, 2003]
Trond Olsen
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

-

Weakness:

-

Why bash a product that has been extensively redesigned for 2003? The two guys below who blows their snot all over this product have ridden the product for more than two years. Everybody knows the old jokers had problems. The 2003 Joker has a beefier swingarm at the dropouts, one-pice vertical block of alu near the pivot (last years was welded) and beefed up around the shock mount. It has been upped to 7" and using a longer stroke shock.

Bash your own model (2001 or whatever), don't talk about products you don't know.

Similar Products Used:

-

[Aug 27, 2003]
Quentyn Seamster
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Light, strong, looks great, pedals like a dream

Weakness:

none so far

I am posting a follow up review on my 03 Joker. The reason for the new review is that I have gone from a 7.5 eye to eye fox rear shock to an 8.5 eye to eye romic, and the bike is totaly different. It's hard to believe that a bike can get less bob and a better ride by adding more rear travel, but the Joker did! I had 5 1/2 inches of rear travel on my Joker when I wrote my first review. The bike had a fox rear shock with a spacer to hold the 6.5 eye to eye shock in place. I added a romic 8.5 eye to eye shock and took out the spacer, and I couldn't believe the difference with the correct shock in place! Before, I compared my Joker's ride quality to that of the Yeti ASX. They felt very similar. However, since adding the romic shock in the rear, the ride quality had surpased that of the Yeti. (By the way, both bikes are equipped with similar gear. The Yeti had a 5th element rear shock.) The ride quality is much smoother while pedaling. When I stand on the pedals to sprint, the rear of the bike dosen't dip down, in fact it firms up! Awsome bike, fun to ride. 5 little peppers for the Joker!

Similar Products Used:

yeti ASX

[Jun 18, 2003]
Scott Greig
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Light weight for what it is, Build quality,When you call Ellsworth you get a person on the phone who knows answers to your questions.

Weakness:

None so far. Not even the price.My vee brakes do not slow me down fast enough any more.

I did not have the luxury to ride one of these before I ordered one. I relied on reviews I read and tests in the magazines and could not be happier.The people at Ellsworth talked me into the romic with 7'' of travel even though they knew I was building the bike up as a premium trail bike.I must admit I was nervous about that set up for climbing but they reassured me that it would climb better than my old bike. I estimated it would weigh about 30 lbs built with the parts I had and thats about right. It climbs almost like a hard tail with the romic shock anti-bob feature and descends like a downhill bike.Amazing.My friend rode it up a series of switch backs and was impressed to say the least.This was alot of money for me to spend on a bike but was worth it.The fit,finish,welds,machining are about as good as it gets and the ride and climbing ability are pure genius from the gang at Ellsworth and Romic. The add says it all People Who Ride Know.

Similar Products Used:

Schwinn hard tail, Norco full suspension

[Oct 25, 2003]
Nelson Sommerfeldt
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Gorgeous anodized finish
Very light considering travel and strength
Stiff, stiff rear swingarm
Perfect pivot location

Weakness:

A bit pricey, but worth every single cent!

I am a very firm believer that there is no best suspension or frame design. It's all subjective, and what feels best to you, may feel like poo to the next guy. With that said, I'm writing this not to quantify this as the greatest bike of all time, but as the perfect fit for my riding style and personal preferences. I've riden pretty much every suspension design out there, so this review is for the rider that hasn't and is looking for an honest look at where this bike stands, and if it's right for them.

I'll start with everyone's favorite debate, the pedaling. I truly think that Mr. Ellsworth has found the perfect position for a single pivot design. This bike climbs like a mtn goat. For fast, cruisin climbs, the middle ring has virtually no bob. For steep, technical climbs, the granny gear pulls the rear wheel down, helping you get a little more traction. Now I can talk all day about how there is little or no bob, but honestly, most of that has to do with the rider, not the suspension. If you are Joe Chugsalong, and mash down on the pedals in pulses, of course you're gonna bob! Smooth power delivery makes a huge difference in any suspension design. Think cicles right? Well thats the key to making this suspension perform its best; smooth, constant power delivery. And like I said, I've ridden almost every suspension design out there, and the only one I feel does a better job of reducing bob is the lower travel VPP's (rode the new 8" travel VP-Free, not as good, good for being 8", but not really in this category either). Not even the Id, which is supposed to be the technically superior Ellsworth design felt as good. The weakest point in the pedaling comes with the big ring. If you are spinning like you would in the middle ring, bob is about the same, just in suspension compression instead of extension. The reason I say its worse is because if you sprint in the big ring, the compression effect gets worse, where as in the middle ring the reaction is much less. And this isn't to say its a problem, cause it totally isn't. The design just doesn't perform as well in the third ring.

If there is one thing I miss the most about my bike when I ride someone else's is the braking. I'll contribute most of that to the brakes though. I love the XT's. And once I got the 8" rotors on, there has been no going back. I've yet to find brakes that I like more than my own. But enough about this, I'm not reviewing brakes right? So the rear swingarm makes the most of the great brakes. My last bike was an RM6, and that thing was terrible at braking. Grabbing the rear brake even moderately hard pretty much locked out the suspension, and was very noticeable in bumpy sections. This is due to the caliper positioning on the disk relative to the pivot. Geeky engineering stuff I wont get into. The important thing is its never an issue on the Joker. I've read other reviews mentioning brake jack, but I've never noticed any. If my engineering knowledge serves me right, this suspension should squat under braking if anything. Techno mumbo jumbo translation is it brakes awesome!

When plush comes up in conversation, this bike will not be the first mentioned. This sounds bad, but let me explain. My RM6 was crazy plush, by far the best big hit absorbing suspension I've ever felt. However, it lacked in handling all the small, stutter bumps of trail riding and downhilling. Kinda like an off-road truck made to bomb through big holes. The Stinky suspension does a very good job of taking small bumps and big hits, great suspension design. However, it isn't very responsive. Think of the it like a Cadillac. Great, smooth ride, but not very sporty. Now think of a Joker like a Porsche. You'll feel everything, but the control and response is amazing. Some of that can be attributed to the Romic shock as well. The suspension stays firm in the corner, making turns quick and snappy. This isn't to say a Stinky can't rip like a Joker the way a Caddy wont keep up with a Porsche, because it certainly will. Here, more than anywhere, its all about what you think suspension should do and how it should perform for you.

Finally we come to geometry. Ellsworths are known for having long top tubes, and I personally love it. I'm a tall dude (6'3"), and having the long top tube gives me the ablitiy to move around the cockpit and get positioned for cornering. It also lets me run a short stem for more prescise steering without sacrificing body position for xc riding. I find the head angle is perfect with a 130mm fork. I replaced the fork that the previous owner had with the new 150mm Z.1 this spring when they came out. It slacked the steering enough to where I couldn't get it to snap around corners anymore. I gave it all summer, but have gone back to an '03 130mm Z.1 (fantastic fork). Ellsworth measures the Joker with a 180mm fork now, which jacks it back to 67 degrees. General rule of thumb is about a degree per inch of travel (25mm). You can do the math. I personaly like 69 degree head angles, and it really works with this bike. Other reviews have mentioned the bottom bracket being high, I totally disagree. Its only 13 inches, almost XC range, but not too low. Perfect in my book. Besides the long top tube, the other somewhat unusual dimension is the wheelbase, very long as well. I haven't had any problems manuvering around corners, trees, or skinnies, and it's super stable downhilling, so I see it as a good thing. To sum it up, of all the bikes I've ever ridden, none have had better geometry than the Joker. Jen at Barnett's agrees. :-)

So who buys a Joker? I own one because I like to do everything. I XC race it. I trailride it. I dirt jump it. I freeride it. I downhill it........You get the idea. Sure, it isn't the best in each category (except trailriding, its perfect there), but it does so well covering all bases. If you don't have the money for a quivver of bikes, I highly recommend this one to do it all. On the word of my roomate, the new Kona Coiler DeeLux is another nice bike that fits this bill if you can't put out the cash. The Joker costs a lot, but its worth it. The anodized paint and lazer etched graphics are engineering art. The most beautiful collection of metal you may find.

I know this review is lengthy, but I feel that it gives you a true review, a good idea of what its really like to ride this bike. I hope it was informative, and happy trails. :-)
Oh! And if you are looking for the best riding in the Midwest, look up the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. More specifically Copper Harbor. I promise you, it is the best. Check out www.keweenawadventure.com for more. Peace. :-)

Similar Products Used:

Kona Stinky DeeLux, Rocky Mountain RM6, Ellsworth Id, Intense Spider 5.5 VPP

[Oct 14, 2003]
Andrea F.
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Single pivot design,simple and efficent!
The geometry of the bike fit me as a glove.
Light enough to pedal in all situation but still rock solid.

Weakness:

the bottom bracket height could be a little lower but this depend also from the rear shock.

the Bottom line is that the bike do is Job of beeig a real freeride bike in the best way!
I take no lift to go uphill,so i need a bike that pedal as good as possible because I'm not John Tomac! The Joker is super efficent in climbing,very rigid laterally and light enough if you consider that is a 150mm rear travel. I guess is one of the lightest in his category.
YEEEES my friends, now is time to go down!!! Bombing down fire roads and singletrack is a blast on the Joker, very balanced on jumps too,in a word inspires you confidence.
I was afraid to sell my old San Andreas which is a superbike too, but the Geomety of the Joker in the large size (I'm 189Cm Height)fit me better.
If you're serching a do it all bike,rock solid ,with no manteneance problems buy the Joker, I'm sure there are more sophisticated suspension systems out there, but the single pivot of the joker works great.
Thank you Ellsworth.

Similar Products Used:

Specialized Enduro/Mountain Cycle San Andreas

[Oct 26, 2003]
Martin S
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Geometry, anodized finish is cool, Romic, 1.5 headtube, has a waterbottle mount for light battery, machined (instead of forged) derailleur hanger,long toptube, reasonable weight, warranty/customer service, cable guides are finally hydraulic friendly.

Weakness:

Cable routing is so-so, but that's a single pivot thing.
Not a prob with the bike, but Ellsworths website desperately needs an update.

I chose to do the upgrade thing with Ellsworth when I broke the stays off of the left hand side of my old beat up '01 frame (first failure) and it was totally worth while. Now I've got a 7" romic equipped machine with the option of running a 1.5 steerer and Ellsworth gave me an adapter so I can use my old Fox RC as a backup when I send the Romic in for it's regular service. The anodized finish looks killer, and I don't have to use cable adapters to run Hydraulic lines. The Romic shock is pretty cool, it's very noticable on the climbs, I can't wait to get the SPV Breakout to match the rear.
Ellsworth has redesigned the machining on the swingarm, gone is the weld that produced many of the failures of the old design, and the pivot on the mainframe is pared down and allows a larger weld surface for the downtube. The new machined swingarm yoke also reduces the stress raiser the old style had on the swingarm where the chaistay is joined, where I broke mine.
Other than that, rides like my old one, which is awesome. Like the guy below I'm 6'3" and the long toptube is perfect.

Similar Products Used:

'01 Joker, Bullit, Stinky, RM 6/7, ID

[Dec 11, 2003]
Jim Sladeck
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

7" of Travel via Romic shock, lightweigth @ 7.2 lbs. Super plush suspension - 1.5 headtube

Weakness:

NONE

This bike is the best I've ever ridden. It's as plush as a DH rig, climbs as well as a 4" bike and can handle whatever you throw at it. I was amazed at the stiffness of the frame and how active it is. The Romic on the rear works perfectly, thanks Jimmy/Romic for tuning it for me. The 1.5 system with Sherman is the way to go.

I've jumped and dropped this bike in Utah, climbed up Harding truck trail 11 miles with 5,000 feet of gain, gone down the backside of Aliso/Laguna trail and it just gets better and better. The value is unreal and unmatched with any other frame. 7lb frame with 7" of travel for $1,300. Too good to be true.

Similar Products Used:

Intense Uzzi SL and SLX, Tracer, M1

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