ELLSWORTH THE RIDE RADIANT CARBON
Tony Ellsworth started designing his first mountain bikes back in the 1990s for his wife. Eventually, he started making bikes for others, and before long, the Ellsworth bike brand was formed. He started making cruisers under the name The Ride in 2006.
Fast-forward to today where he has fully embraced e-bikes, and his first entry in the category is The Ride Radiant Carbon, which features a full carbon and an asymmetric frame with an aluminum asymmetric fork. The radical-looking bike is spec’d with a Shimano E6100 mid-drive motor and a Gates carbon belt that drives a Nuvinci Enviolo SP automatic CVT (continuously variable transmission).
The bike is quite unique in the design and implementation of the automatic-shifting CVT. It draws immediate looks for the design. There’s a chainstay on the drive side and a seat stay only on the left side, using sturdy, wide bits of carbon fiber. The patented frame design integrates the rear fender as a structural part of the frame. The seat tube doesn’t extend into this and is at such a laid-back angle that it puts your feet far forward in front of you while pedaling, allowing full extension of your legs while also allowing you to stand flat-footed when at stops. The bike is designed to fit riders from 5 feet to 6-foot-4.
Lighting is fully integrated, with a bright white LED on the head tube and a bright red LED built into the seat stay. The Radiant uses Magura four-piston brakes with 180mm rotors for stopping prowess and an internal 630-Wh rechargeable battery that Tony claims has up to a 100-mile range.
We were given an exclusive advanced look and ride on the bike, and we have to say that it’s unlike anything we’ve ever ridden. The automatic shifting isn’t as stepless as you’d think, as it hops to a different place on the planetary system in very obvious steps. You feel that it has shifted if it isn’t a glissando transition.
The auto-shifting system takes a minute to get used to when you’re used to shifting manually, and it’s smart enough to know when you’ve stopped or slowed down (e.g. for an intersection), and it starts you off in a lower gear. You can manually shift, using a switch on the right side of the handlebars, but we found that we only used it when the bike shifted into a harder gear too early.
The only damping of the bumps comes from the 27.5×2.8-inch Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires. We were surprised they were 2.8 inches; they actually look larger than that. Because the bikes use industry-standard parts, they are completely serviceable at any bike shop.
The Ride has a crowdfunding page on Indiegogo.com, with about $2000 off the price of the bike for the first 200 bikes, which are actually already ordered and should be shipping to customers between November 2020 and January 2021. It’s available in Cobalt Blue, Obsidian Metallic or Radiant Red.
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.