Ellsworth Witness 2003 Tandem

DESCRIPTION

-International Standard disc brake mounts and replaceable derailleur hanger
-4" rear travel
-Oversized pivot bearings
-CNC machined swingarm linkage
-Compatible with 80 to 100mm travel forks

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-2 of 2  
[Aug 26, 2003]
Scott & Debe
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

As with any tandem it's a great way to spend time with a friend or significant other. My wife and I had ridden a road tandem for many years before buying the Ellsworth. This is an entirely different experience. The rear suspension is always active and makes for a buttery feel on the road and in the rough. The bike is very stiff otherwise which makes it responsive (for a tandem mind you). The workmanship is beautiful and I found all tolerances to be spot on during build up. The frame is relatively light for an FS tandem at 10.5lbs with our total build out at about 43lbs. Based on our experience the one size fits all 19-16 frame would fit a bunch of size combos. We're 6'1" and 5'3" and it works well for us. The component mix below has worked very well so far. The Magura Gustav M Brakes are excellent (although I do find the disc system a real pain in the butt compared to rim brakes when removing wheels for transport or maintenance reasons). This a great way to spend time on the backroads with a spouse/partner/friend or child. The stoker will reap the real benefit of the rear suspension and that's worth a lot in such a partnership. What's good for the stoker is good for the captain.

Weakness:

The coil over Romic shock blew out early but Romic fixed it quickly, under warranty and they were very helpful in the process. It's possible we were running it too soft but don't know. The rear top tube is long and our stoker has had a harder time seeing around/over the captain than on the shorter top tube road tandem. Taller stokers may not be bothered by this or maybe others will find this preferable as they won't want to see what lies ahead. Aluminum frames I have owned always seem to have more creaks than those made of steel. We've got a few minor creaks in the rear end but are working to find the joint-of-origin and hope to silence it soon.

Suggest working with Alex at Mtn Tandems if you go this route. He will work with you on building it up any way you like. We bought the frame then purchased most of the main components through him over the following 6 months. He was very helpful on the prices of components because I had purchased the frame from him. This bike is more than we need but it has a very high fun factor. We only wish there was more time to spend on it. Even in the flats of central Texas we enjoy the bike immensely. The occasional trip to Moab, Big Bend or the X Bar Ranch is icing on the cake and where it really shines. With any luck we'll be exploring trails and double track dirt on this thing for years to come.

[Mar 31, 2003]
Henry Abel
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

For those of you that want to take a less fit/experienced/aggressive significant other or friend on your favorite mountain bike ride - this is what you're looking for! I own 8 bicycles and this tandem gets more use than any other. The Witness uses a similar setup to the Ellsworth Truth single (4 inches of rear travel), and after riding it for over a year I can say that is has proven to be worth every dollar that I've invested in it. I've ridden with girfriends and racer-guys and they've all been very stoked on it. Much fun to be had here! It's about the best looking full-suspension tandem I've ever seen and always draws gawks and comments from other riders on the trails. Even my hardcore "never ride a tandem" riding friends think this bike is impressive. Mine is matte black. The orange (gold) version is sweet looking as well (Ellsworth was temporarily out of that color at the time I ordered mine, or else I'd have gone that route). And it's the one off-road bicycle I've owned that drew cheers from a pack of passing roadies that saw us bunnyhop onto the road while connecting some singletrack trails.

Weakness:

Well, it only comes as a frame - so you'll want a good tandem shop to help you spec it out. This is actually a plus, as you can then set it up exactly as you'd like. It's certainly not cheap (about $6000 if you really do it right), but MTBTandems.com had the best price I've seen on the frameset. Definitely have them, or a good tandem shop help pick the parts, as it'll save you some time in getting it dialed in properly with "tandem friendly" parts. There are a lot of things like suspension forks and disc brakes that you'll want to be "tandem approved" for the combined weight of your team. I'd say the main downside to the Witness is that once you set it up with a proper suspension fork - it's going to have a very high standover height for the rider in front. If you've got short legs you might look into a Ventana, which is similar in concept,but can be ordered with a lower (2 sections) top tube. Also, it only comes in one size, so captains may need to confirm that they fall into the Ellsworth category of "average sized rider". In my case (of being 5'9") it fits me quite well. My usual stokers are 5'5" and and 5'8" and they've both been very happy with the accommodations. As with all off-road tandems you'll likely encounter trouble attempting to ride very tight switchbacks, or nasty technical stuff. I can say that we've been riding more and more nasty terrain as we've become used to this tandem (and riding together) and have cleared some gnarly drops and ground over some small logs. Only problem encountered with long term use is that one of the woter bottle bolts/inserts has begun to come loose in the frame, so will need to call Ellsworth to see what the fix is. Worst case - superglue!

For those of you that want to take a less fit/experienced/aggressive significant other or friend on your favorite mountain bike ride - this is what you're looking for! This tandem is pretty hard to come by. Your everage Ellsworth dealer isn't likely to have one, or know much about building one - so I'd highly recommend talking with Alex at MTBTandems.com if you're considering ordering one up. He was very helpful and has ridden and built more off-road tandems than anybody I know of. I'd also be very happy to email photos of mine so you can see what it looks like when it's set up right. My email is [email protected] I give it 4 flaming chili's on value as it's dang expensive, even before you start adding parts to the frame - but if you're really looking to do some seriously aggressive off-road riding with your significant other on a tandem I'm not sure you can't do much better than this. And for that I give it 5 flaming chili's overall.

Similar Products Used:

I've owned two other off-road tandems - a Cannondale MT800 and a Burley Rock N' Roll. Neither had rear suspension. My current/main single bike is an Intense Tracer (which I totally love).

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