2017 Ellsworth Rogue 60 XT 1X

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2017 Ellsworth Rogue 60 XT 1X  2017 Ellsworth Rogue Sixty (Foxy Orange)
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Review - 2017 Ellsworth Rogue 60 from Vital MTB Test Sessions

Ellsworth does a commendable job of catching up with the times with another beautifully crafted ride, but falls short in one key aspect.

Rating: Vital Review
Review - 2017 Ellsworth Rogue 60 from Vital MTB Test Sessions

"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby not bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tent show whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a muddled field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning." – Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian


What do we really know? We know that the story you want to tell can be so much more compelling than the story you need to tell. Redemption Read More »

"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby not bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tent show whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a muddled field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning." – Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian


What do we really know? We know that the story you want to tell can be so much more compelling than the story you need to tell. Redemption is a seductive mistress, we become mesmerized by stories of long awaited and hard fought victory, stories of being counted out only to rise through the ranks to the top. The phoenix rising from the proverbial ashes is what we wanted the Ellsworth Rogue 60 to be. Ellsworth has put up the tent and sung the praises of a brand new bike that is an aggressive and fast enduro capable ride that also climbs well. Purchased in early 2016 by Jonathan Freeman, an avid rider and business development and marketing executive, the brand is working hard to follow through on their promises.

The new carbon fiber 27.5-inch enduro/all-mountain whip has the look of a chimera in the marketplace. A smart high end part spec complete with a great shock and fork combination come together to make $6,495 look like a screaming deal. What makes it a little sweeter is that Ellsworth tries to do as much manufacturing in the USA as they can, with a goal of one day making their carbon frames in the USA. Well priced, American emphasized construction, and high performing? Will it fly in amongst the flock of the great enduro whips? We took it to some grueling trails in Tucson, Arizona during the 2017 Vital MTB Test Sessions to find out.

Highlights

  • Carbon fiber frame with aluminum chainstay
  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • 160mm (6.3-inches) of rear wheel travel // 160mm (6.3-inches) fork travel
  • Four-bar Active Energy Efficient Suspension (AEES) design
  • Tapered headtube
  • Internal cable routing
  • Hex Key Locker Rocker upper shock mount
  • Dual encapsulated pivots
  • Di2 drivetrain integration
  • 73mm BSA threaded bottom bracket shell with ISCG05 mounts
  • Boost 148mm rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Measured weight (size XL, no pedals): 29.7 pounds (13.48kg)
  • MSRP $6,495 USD

Straight out the box the Ellsworth Rogue has our eyes. A good looking bit of carbon with bold artistic lines galore hints at the riding potential beneath. The frame incorporates both a massive head tube junction and a svelte seat junction to make a unique and, in our opinion, pleasing looking bike. The frame is made with certified 4K weave high-modulus Toray carbon fiber that shows through the finish beautifully, and is protected on the downtube by a small integrated guard.

The details go beyond the tubing, with hexagon-shaped upper shock pin and rear axle interfaces to prevent unwanted torsion in the rear linkage. By removing the front derailleur mount and moving to Boost 148 rear axle spacing, Ellsworth was able to shorten their chainstays a good amount. They also widened the pivot just behind the bottom bracket and continue to mold a beefy looking Carbon Torsion Arch (CTA) uniting the seatstays, adding to the list of ways they've improved frame stiffness.

The 160mm travel four-bar Active Energy Efficient Suspension (AEES) design is paired with a FOX Float X Factory shock and follows the same principles behind Ellsworth's Instant Center Tracking (ICT) system, incorporating a Horst-link far from the axle.

There are some oddities lurking, namely that gigantic rocker link below the seat. Once upon a time the big rocker link was a common sight. Now patents have run out, shocks have advanced, and the big rocker has gone the way of the dodo. On the other hand, the size reduction already made is a major improvement for the brand and the aggressively machined rocker shows the time and care invested.

Anyone who changes their cable and housing will appreciate the internal tubing that the cables run through. As Ellsworth says, "Just pick the correct port, close your eyes, and slide your cable right through the frame." They've also cleanly integrated Shimano Di2 drivetrain compatibility with a port in the downtube to house the battery.

Additional key details included a threaded bottom bracket, ISCG05 tabs, and two water bottle mounts. Mud clearance is just okay with ~5mm of room for buildup at the tightest point while using the stock 2.3-inch Maxxis tires.

With five Shimano and SRAM labeled build kits to choose from, the Rogue 60 can be yours for prices ranging from $5,500 to $7,499. We tested the Shimano XT model.

Geometry

There's lots to like in the geometry department, and it's perhaps the first bike from Ellsworth with modern numbers. With a 66-degree head angle the bike has a downhill bias. A 74-degree effective seat tube angle helps bring you back up the hill. What gets our heart thumping is the generous reach of 490mm on the XL – that tells us it wants to go fast. Stubby in the back end, the Rogue sports a super snug 420mm chainstay length. Short stays combine with a boosted rear wheel to make a stiff back end that should hold a line. A long front end built for speed and short, stiff back end made to turn? Lazarus take notice. With the looks and numbers in a good place we rolled the Rogue from under the tent without bias, knowing anything is possible.

Suspension Analysis

Using the bike industry's leading linkage analysis software, André Santos, the Youtube suspension whiz, was able to determine a close approximation of the Rogue 60's kinematics for the purpose of this review. These charts provide great insight into several key factors that impact how it rides. Those unfamiliar with these types of graphs should watch André's excellent series of suspension fundamentals videos. The results of his analysis are as follows:

Observations:

  • The Ellsworth Rogue 60 is a moderately progressive enduro bike at 27%.
  • It has a low pedaling efficiency for a single-ring setup with anti-squat values between 60-70% in bigger cogs and close to 30% on the smaller cog. The anti-squat values are not stable in the pedaling zone since they significantly decrease throughout the travel. To achieve good pedaling efficiency the shock must be on trail/climb mode.
  • Given the low anti-squat values on the entire travel, pedal kickback and chain growth are quite low.
  • Anti-rise of 35% at sag, meaning that the brake caliper doesn’t have a significant rotation around the disc when the suspension compresses. Therefore the suspension is very isolated from braking forces.
  • Overall, the Rogue 60 is a moderately progressive enduro bike with a suspension design that is very neutral to braking forces. Due to the low pedaling efficiency of the linkage it's important to use the trail/climb switch mode on the shock.

How does science meet the dirt? Did our real life ride time confirm the analysis? It's back to Vital's testers to hear how the Rogue 60 performed on trail.

On The Trail

We took the Rogue all the way to top of Mount Lemmon to get plenty high for the Ellsworth to take flight. Aspen Draw trail was like no other trail we rode in Tucson, and at 9,000-feet the cactus had long since given away to tall pine and spruce. Good dirt and roots were interspersed with an inch of wet and sloppy snow. Some real faith riding was necessary when guessing what root or rock lay underneath. Snow and roots gave way to rock and cactus once again on the lower mountain trails. Bigelow, Bug Springs, Prison Camp, and La Milagrosa have a good mix of speeds, technical features, and corners to test a bike's capabilities and trail characteristics.

Sitting on the bike it seems Ellsworth got a lot right on the Rogue 60. A roomy top tube with a nice short stem and wide bars are the basic hallmarks of a fun bike and the Rogue had all of those things. Getting on the bike for the first time felt like clambering onto a horse – at a measured 345mm it was one of the tallest bottom brackets in the test and it felt that way. Setting the Float X at the recommended 30% sag was where we got clued into the problems that were to come. With both testers hovering just below the 200-pound mark, the pressure we needed to reach proper sag seemed excessive. Pumping a shock to 300psi is a workout in itself, and the idea of riding a bike that required such pressure left us concerned. Trying to match the feel of the rear suspension to the front FOX Factory Series 36 meant we had to run a fair amount of sag, pushing 30%.

While technical climbs went well and the orange and black machine provided more than adequate traction, staying seated and using the medium or firm compression setting on the shock are the keys to making the Rogue 60 a capable climber.

Looking to shuttle to the top of Mount Lemmon we found the gate closed and were given an early chance to inspect the climbing capacity of the Rogue. Turning the compression lever on the FOX Float X to the firmest setting was a pleasant surprise – it's not a lockout. A respectable climber, the Rogue has limited suspension bob while seated and a comfortable climbing position. That said, even with the use of the Float X’s firm setting the bike won’t be the fastest ride up the hill. While technical climbs went well and the orange and black machine provided more than adequate traction, staying seated and using the medium or firm compression setting on the shockare the keys to making the Rogue 60 a capable climber.

Sprinting, you’re unlikely to make the Jamaican relay team. Pedal bob will keep from crossing the line until Usain has already finished his victory dance. That said, the Rogue does sprint admirably, just don’t expect to be needing your podium comb.

Having reached the top, we flipped the Float X to open and pointed the Rogue down the hill. It is here we once again questioned what we really know? Experience is isolated to the person, with two testers and two slightly different experiences. One tester got to the bottom with a smile on his face and the Ellsworth had turned the trail into a rumbly carpet. The other tester found the bike nearly unrideable. They agreed the bike reminded them of a freeride bike of old – the soft suspension made difficult sections easy and you could go down whatever trail at a good pace, but once you pushed the pace things got wild. Repetitive hits caused the wallowy/soft aspect of the suspension to get overwhelmed and suddenly we were riding off the back of the bike while the suspension bottomed over and over. Switching to a firmer compression mode helped, though it's not an ideal solution. Slowing the Rogue down there's lots of rear wheel traction under braking and its manners return.

They agreed the bike reminded them of a freeride bike of old – the soft suspension made difficult sections easy and you could go down whatever trail at a good pace, but once you pushed the pace things got wild.

The Rogue was a plush machine as washboard, chatter, and small bumps disappeared underneath its tires. Anything larger than small bumps is where things got interesting. The rear wheel would get taken hostage by square-edged hits or holes and leave the rider’s weight rushing to the stem while the rider pontificates on cantilevering. Landing off a drop or jump of any notable size and you’re likely to find the bottom of the suspension, but our experience was non-violent in nature. Dinging the bell (bottom out) on the Rogue felt controlled but simply happened far more often than we’d like.

It's important to note that our 195-pound tester found that he needed to go disturbingly close to the stated max pressure of the shock at 300psi, though we were informed that the shock can run safely up to 350psi according to FOX via Ellsworth. High pressures are required due to the bike's high initial leverage ratio and use of a shock with an EVOL air can and corresponding large negative air spring. Riders could try replacing the EVOL can with a standard can to be able to run lower pressure and get earlier support, though some small bump compliance might be lost. Also of importance is that the Float X came with the third largest (0.6 cubic inch) volume reducer, which could be swapped with a larger one for added bottom out support. Despite being a progressive design, more assistance is needed with this shock.

Contacting Ellsworth about the issues we were having, their response was that they were aware of the high pressures needed to set sag and were going to begin spec'ing bikes with "a larger air volume spacer in the shock to help get pressures down a bit." While this will no doubt help with bottom out issues, it's less like to fully address the issue of wallow or initial pressures. At the time (mid-December 2016) Ellsworth hadn’t received the updated shocks. As tested, this seems to be a bike that likes to stay in its comfort zone. Really testing the limits of the frame and geometry was difficult as it kept pushing through the Float X before we got near the edge of the frame's capabilities.

As tested, this seems to be a bike that likes to stay in its comfort zone. Really testing the limits of the frame and geometry was difficult as it kept pushing through the Float X before we got near the edge of the frame's capabilities.

The Rogue is a lightweight ride weighing in at 29.7-pounds (13.48kg) in the XL size. A great deal of work must have gone into getting this substantial frame to such svelte weight. It's certainly noticeable when climbing and pedaling out of corners. With the right rider, the Rogue could be taken on all day excursions and benefit greatly from the low weight.

Build Kit

The XT 1X build kit comes with a full Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes, DT Swiss wheels, and a proper Race Face cockpit. Smartly paying a little more gets the Di2 XT build which utilizes the frame's internal battery compartment. It's hard to pick any holes in the build kits as the only thing out of place is the 160mm rear rotor. Each bike features a 1X drivetrain, FOX 36 fork, 150mm travel dropper post, wide 780mm bars, and quality Maxxis Highroller II tires.

While we had no qualms with the Race Face Turbine/Atlas cockpit, the Turbine dropper post makes the mechanic in us concerned. A finicky piece of machinery, the Turbine has been known to be needy when it comes to cable tension as well as requiring regular resets to keep the post from sagging. Coming stock with around 40psi the post had adequate speed to launch tools across the shop. Lowering the pressure brings down the return speed to a level that is less likely to have you on all four on the trailside. The lever on the Turbine is quite nice but needs a fair bit of force to actuate.

FOX's 160mm travel Factory Series Float 36 Boost fork performed admirably as we relied on it to save us while steering the bike from the backseat. The fork's smooth and supportive ride gave us some assurances that the front of the bike was going exactly where expected.

2.3-inch Maxxis Highroller II 3C EXO Tubeless Ready tires are a fine tire choice that perform well, particularly when new. While not as strong in the braking and cornering performance as a few other Maxxis offerings, it's a very reliable tire that can be drifty fun when pushed.

DT Swiss’s M1700 wheelset was likely the most common in this year's Test Sessions, and for good reason. Aboard both trail whips and the latest freeride/enduro/whathaveyou category, the wheels are light and stand up to abuse. The days of DT wheels looking like icosidodecagons (32-sided polygons) after just a few runs are long gone, and the lovely M1700 wheels were stiff, rolled well, provided good tire support, and held up to Tucson's rocky terrain with only one small dinger to show for it. They did not arrive tubeless but the conversion was easy to do.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Shimano's XT 8000 brakes did their job. The 160mm Ice-Tech rear rotor was the only out of place piece on the bike, though there's a 180mm rotor doing double duty up front. Large rotors are especially important with a bike that feels out of place at speed. A fair bit of brake use is necessary to keep the bike in its happy place speed wise, and those small rotors heat up quickly.

An all Shimano XT 11-speed drivetrain usually leads to the smooth and quiet type of shifts that wouldn’t wake a bum sleeping on the side of the trail. The introduction of the 46-tooth cassette has changed that. While not reaching the full clunk zone, the overall noise of XT drivetrains in the test has come up. The lag in shifting either on or off the easiest gear was noticeable in all the 46-tooth Shimano cassettes we tested. While adjusting cable tension and B-screw height it seemed impossible to find a happy middle ground. Did Shimano sacrifice smooth shifting in the name of greater range?

Ellsworth wisely includes a MRP AMg V2 chainguide with bash protection, ensuring that dropped chains are much less likely to happen. The guide contacts the pivot when in the correct orientation, however.

With so many of the frame details sorted so well, the amount of noise emitted from the back end of this bike was a surprise. Most of the lines on the Ellsworth are smooth and modern looking, but take a closer look at the blocky aluminum chainstay and neoprene chain guard and you’ll be transported to a time fifteen years ago. Our advice would be to remove the guard and replace it with some 3M Mastic tape, being sure to add some to the inside of the seatstay as well. Watch out mid 2000s, here you come!

Long Term Durability

On the big side, the number of bottom outs the back of the Rogue went through in just a few days riding are higher than a year’s worth of the same riding on many similarly classified bikes. Hitting the bottom of the rear suspension puts a lot of stress on the frame and shock, and these repeated spikes in force will eventually be an issue for both.

On the small side, the level of cable rub is an issue that needs to be addressed either by the rider or the company. After just a few days of riding, cables were marring the seat tube and would likely compromise the carbon given enough time.

The bike's pivots rotate on eight commonly sized dual row angular contact sealed Enduro bearings, which have proven to have good longevity. All Ellsworth bikes are backed by a five year warranty and crash replacement program.

What's The Bottom Line?

While "going rogue" has recently become a catchphrase for doing whatever you want, displaying some degree of independence, or failing to follow an expected script, the alternate definition is an elephant that is forced out of its herd (aka memory). Ellsworth did a commendable job in updating its image, catching up with the times, and adding versatility to the Rogue. The geometry, spec, frame construction, and aesthetic of the Rogue 60 show lots of potential. Seduced by stories of redemption, we desperately wanted the Rogue to be the aggressive high speed machine it is claimed to be. We were assured Ellsworth is working on it, but what forces this bike out of the herd of great bikes is the shock tune. The level of wallow and lifelessness we experienced in the rear suspension severely limits those who will enjoy this bike, though riders in search of comfort as the first and foremost concern will find it agreeable.

This bike is an odd chimera of modern geometry and materials meeting the soft cushion of older freeride and downhill designs. The Rogue is best for a rider whose pace is modest and wants to ride tough and technical terrain in a controlled manner. But what do we really know? As tested, riding the Rogue as Ellsworth promotes will result in a destination calamitous beyond reckoning, though there's still hope the phoenix can rise above the ashes.

Visit www.ellsworthbikes.com for more details.

Vital MTB Rating

  • Climbing: 3 stars - Good
  • Descending: 2.5 stars - OK
  • Fun Factor: 2.5 stars - OK
  • Value: 4 stars - Excellent
  • Overall Impression: 3 stars - Good

Bonus Gallery: 24 photos of the 2017 Ellsworth Rogue 60 XT X1 up close and in action


About The Reviewers

Mint Henk - Age: 32 // Years Riding MTB: 18 // Height: 6'0" (1.83m) // Weight: 180-pounds (81.6kg)

"Ragged, with a hint of Neanderthal." We decided to bring Mint onboard after watching him absolutely rocket up and down Colorado's high country like it was no big deal. Meanwhile we were huffing and puffing trying to keep up. Mint is the real deal, and he brings a fresh eye to the Vital MTB testing game backed with years of relevant experience.

Dylan Stucki - Age: 28 // Years Riding MTB: 17 // Height: 6'5" (1.96m) // Weight: 195-pounds (88.5kg)

"I'm a fun-haver, always looking for new ways to interpret the trail. Gettin' sidewayze and balls out fast is rad too!" Dylan brings some serious speed to the Vital test crew, a heavy dose of hijinks, and routinely breaks things you think can't be broken. He's been testing mountain bikes and parts for several years which gives him good perspective on the full spectrum of what's on the market.

Which reviewer resembles you the most? Don't miss our Q&A with the testers for more insight about their styles and preferences.

About Test Sessions

For five years a dedicated crew of Vital MTB testers have been bringing you the most honest, unbiased reviews you'll find anywhere. This time around we rode 2017's most exciting trail, all-mountain, and enduro bikes on a wide variety of rowdy trails in Tucson, Arizona. Reviews can be accessed 24/7 in our Product Guide. Test Sessions was made possible with the help of Arizona Cyclist. Tester gear provided by Troy Lee Designs, Specialized, Five Ten, ZOIC, Sombrio, Race Face, and EVOC. All photos by Lear Miller.

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Specifications

Product Ellsworth Rogue 60 XT 1X
Model Year 2017
Riding Type Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
M, L, XL View Geometry
Size M L XL
Top Tube Length 600mm 634mm 667mm
Head Tube Angle 66° 66° 66°
Head Tube Length 129mm 143mm 157mm
Seat Tube Angle 74º 74º 74º
Seat Tube Length 432mm 483mm 533mm
Bottom Bracket Height 13.74" 13.74" 13.74"
Chainstay Length 420mm 420mm 420mm
Wheelbase 1169mm 1207mm 1241mm
Standover 705mm 732mm 759mm
Reach 432mm 462mm 490mm
Stack 605mm 621mm 638mm
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Internal Cable Routing and Internal Dropper Post Routing
Rear Travel 160mm
Rear Shock FOX Float X Factory
Fork FOX Factory Series 36, Boost
Fork Travel 160mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset Cane Creek Tapered ZS44/56
Handlebar Race Face Atlas, 20mm Rise x 780mm Width x 35mm
Stem Race Face Turbine Basic, 35mm
Grips Lizard Skin Charger Ellsworth
Brakes Shimano XT 8000 with Shimano Ice-Tech 180mm / 160mm Rotors
Brake Levers Shimano XT
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters Shimano XT 8000
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT 8000 GS
ISCG Tabs Yes
Chainguide MRP AMg V2 I-05 26-32 Tooth
Cranks Shimano XT 8000 1X Boost
Chainrings 32 Tooth
Bottom Bracket Shimano BSA 73mm
Pedals N/A
Chain Shimano HG-700 11-Speed
Cassette Shimano XT 8000 11-Speed 11-42 Tooth
Rims DT Swiss M1700 Wheels
Hubs DT Swiss M1700 Wheels
Spokes DT Swiss M1700 Wheels
Tires Maxxis Highroller II 2.3
Saddle WTB Volt
Seatpost Race Face Turbine, 150mm
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Standard
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions Boost
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Back in Black, Captain America, Foxy Orange
Warranty 5 Years
Weight 29 lb 11.5 oz (13480 g)
Miscellaneous Hex Taper Rear Axle
Hex Key “Rocker Locker”
MIL-SPEC DRAC Sealed Cartridge Enduro Pivot Bearings
Di2 Drivetrain Integration
Price $6,495
More Info

Ellsworth Website

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