Cyclocross Magazine - Digital Edition

Cyclocross Magazine Issue 9 - Digital Version

Cyclocross Magazine - The Digital and Print Magazine Dedicated to Cyclo-cross and Veldrijden

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From top: SRAM, Easton and Thomson form a true race-worthy spec; Roots get you ready to run with the most flattened top tube we’ve ever seen; Decent side mud clearance but a bit tight in front of the tire. on the previous model, but I still had a lot more confidence (the lower standover helped too). It’s not the lowest bottom bracket out there, but the frame now sits in a sweet spot of being racy, while still being true to its name and allowing a rider to pedal through a technical, rocky, rooty trail. Just as with the previous Roots, the aluminum/carbon combination offers a very good balance of stiffness and comfort. The frame is stiff and responsive—no chain rub by this 160 pound rider—while the full carbon rear triangle does a nice job of soaking up a good amount of road vibration and taking a bit of the sting out of bumps on dirt roads, trails or grass. It’s a good thing too, because the narrow 32c Kommando tires don’t offer much cushion for the pushin’, especially for the bone-dry, bumpy California courses typically found in Ellsworth’s backyard. Tony Ellsworth has told us that based on our comments, he’ll spec the wider 35c versions for next year. Up front, the Easton EC90X fork handles steering and cornering duties with no surprises— it’s sufficiently stiff, corners predictably and has a bit of give—but is susceptible to chatter under powerful braking with a cable hanger. The internal threading of the head tube (see our review in Issue 6) is a convenient feature, especially if you need to further cut the steerer tube later. The severely-flattened top tube on the Roots was as comfortable as any I’ve set on my shoulder. There’s definitely a sweet spot on the frame for your shoulder, and it’s correctly positioned for proper balance, unlike some other bikes that flatten the tube close to the seat tube, too far back for a typical ’cross run. Ellsworth did their homework in dressing up the retooled Roots with a sweet selection of components. Look around at any ’cross race and you’ll be certain to see these components on racers’ bikes, but together in one OEM package, it’s quite an impressive build kit. The made-in- America Thomson seatpost handled graceful and not-so-graceful landings without a creak or loosening, and the matching stem was stiff and gripped the Easton carbon bars well. I liked the slightly shaped flats and shorter drop of the handlebar, but since bars are so personal and often take the brunt of a crash, I would have opted for a lower-priced, high-quality aluminum bar. As for the SRAM Rival drive train and TRP EuroX brakes—what’s left to say? They’ve both become the dominant players in their classes and the default choice for bikes in this price range, and they’re light and functional. The TRP EuroX brakes add just enough toe-in ability, are light and offer mud clearance, while the Rival components perform reliably at a level hard to differentiate from the more expensive, lighter Force. I still think DoubleTap has a few funky quirks (needing a small ring trim and levers that get stuck on the bars) but it’s the best grouppo choice by Ellsworth, especially when combined with real cyclocross-sized chain rings. Ellsworth’s AL Road wheelset with medium- profile aluminum aero rims and bladed spokes stayed true and round over the month of riding, even after a few spills. The Verdict Ellsworth deserves high praise for being open to feedback and utilizing it to improve their products. The new Roots cyclocross bike isn’t revolutionary and doesn’t boast any particularly unique features beyond its severely flattened top tube, but that’s exactly what makes it a great cyclocross bike. It does everything well, rewards you with a great selection of proven cyclocross- worthy components and doesn’t beat you up in the process. Yet while it shares many traits and components of other bikes, it doesn’t look anything like them. You may love or hate the graphics and paint job, but it’s different. I personally loved how Ellsworth strayed from the common red, white and black and created a bike that both stays true to its roots (no pun intended) and separates itself from the crowd. Ellsworth also offers a Velo Bella paint scheme—the same colors the team flies at races across the nation. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that we like a CYCLOCROSS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 9 bike that we had the opportunity to help refine. Ellsworth wants to be a player in the growing sport of cyclocross, and based on their revised Roots offering, they should be well on their way. ⌂ Psyched: • Racers who want a well-spec’ed bike, out of the box • The design-conscious tired of the ubiquitous ’cross bike graphics • Ellsworth mountain bike owners Bummed: • Conservative types who prefer more subdued graphics schemes • Flattened top tube haters • Barrier hoppers and off-camber pedalers The Specs: Model: Ellsworth Roots Sizes: 48, 50, 52, 54, 56 (tested), 58 Frame: SST Aluminum with Rare Earth carbon rear triangle Fork: Easton EC90X Headset: FSA Orbit ZS3 Shifters: SRAM Rival Rear derailleur: SRAM Rival Front derailleur: SRAM Rival Crankset: SRAM Rival 38/46, 172.5mm Chain: SRAM PC-1030 Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 12-27 Brakes: TRP EuroX Aluminum Wheelset: Ellsworth AL Road Tires: Kenda Kommando 700x32c, folding Stem: Thomson X2 Handlebar: Easton EC90SLX Seatpost: Thomson Elite Saddle: WTB Silverado Ti Pedals: None MSRP: $999.00 frame/fork Country of Origin: Taiwan Weight: 17.9 pounds (without pedals) More info: ellsworthbikes.com 73

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