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2018 Road Bike Buyer’s Guide



Pfaffo's Passions

Road Biking
Mountain Biking

Pfaffo's Bio

filthy casual.


Pfaffowrote a review of on October 25, 2016

works like a dream 99% of the time
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

developed some play when i picked the bike up by the saddle while post was in the 'down' position. that sucked some air into the oil chamber. resulted in about 2 mm of play, but i could live with it. sent it in for service under warranty, experience was pleasant, quick, and the play was gone! then today i notice the post was slow to return to full extension, and then his happened! post pulled the top seal right out on extension. boooooo.

as for ergonomics, i have the gen 2 lever. no complaints. it's great that you can unscrew the cable mount from the bottom of the post for easy removal from the frame. makes warrantying this sucker a snap!

meanwhile the KS Lev Integra I've been loaning to a buddy for a year now has been going strong with nary a hiccup. hasn't even been serviced yet!





Pfaffowrote a review of on January 23, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

2000 miles with this helmet. positives are:

sizing seems right. i have a 58cm sized head; medium fits perfectly.

the harness that wraps around the back of the head. the ratchet dial is easy to use, secure, and well-made. the harness itself is designed to tilt above the ear for a more secure and comfortable fit. it's one of the best fitting helmets i've owned.

the bad-- it's slightly on the heavier side for those that care. the biggest issue was not being able to slide my glasses into the vents above the temples. the vents are too small and too narrow.





Pfaffowrote a review of on October 30, 2012

2 5

nice material, comfortable, fits as advertised.

the problem is the CamLock zipper which, as far as i'm concerned, tries to fix something that isn't broken and breaks it in the process. when the zipper is flipped down, it locks the zipper. you must flip the zipper up in order to release the lock and zip up or down. it seems like a clever idea, but unzipping usually means pulling the zipper into the down position, engaging the lock and *then* trying to unzip. i wasn't even aware there was a CamLock feature with this jersey when i tried to take it off for the first time... long story short, I ended up forcing it and making it impossible to re-zip the jersey ever again. $100 down the drain.





Pfaffowrote a review of on February 8, 2012

3 5

because it's not clear in the product page, this is a 2010 model (the only year, i believe, that ellsworth made this) with full 2010 sram force group.

first, some info about me:

5'10", 32" inseam, 155 lbs, 100 miles per week, rode a 56cm 2005 C'dale CAAD8 with Dura Ace 7800.

now, onto the review. the important stuff:

1) the top tube is LONG. pay close attention to the size chart and order accordingly. these bikes have weird geometry. the medium has a 58.5cm top tube, which is pretty gigantic for a bike with a 55cm seat tube. it gets even more confusing because it is a sloping top tube. to compare: my "56cm" CAAD8 only has a 54cm top tube and is generally considered to be a "medium" frame. after reviewing the sizing chart AFTER i received my medium frame, i now realize i ought to have ordered the small coercion instead. d'oh.

2) cracks in the finish. bought it off bonktown for ~$2200, which was a pretty good deal for a "hi mod" with full force build. service and delivery was excellent, it was packaged well, as usual for real-cyclist/bonktown. however, i noticed what appear to be cracks in the frame finish--namely, a 3 incher on the left side of the head tube and a small crack on the the external edge of the drive-side headtube cable stop for the rear derailleur. my hunch is this isn't a big deal, as i don't believe there's any pressure on the cracked part. but you never know, and it, along with the other headtube finish issue definitely curbed the endorphin rush of my newest consumer indulgence.

3) despite the sizing and frame issues, i took her for a spin around the neighborhood anyway. and she likes to go really fast really smoothly. at least compared to my aluminum '05 CAAD8. and the experience of going downhill is a weird, exhilerating experience, something both terrifying and extremely comfortable. force does the ride right; the positive feedback and swift actuation is something to behold after coming from dura ace 7800. oh, and this bike is LIGHT. the ellsworth website says the red-equipped coercion weighs 14.4 lbs out of the box; i estimate mine is around 15.5 lbs.

the minor stuff:

1) as advertised on real cyclist, it comes with a 90mm stem. not true, at least for the unit delivered to me. it came with a 100mm stem, which aggravated the long top tube issue. luckily i had a 90mm stem handy.

2) also, and this isn't a negative or anything, but the rear derailleur cable needed some tightening. expected with a few days of cable stretch. luckily, the bonktown/realcyclist wrench left me plenty of room with the barrel adjusters to tighten up the slack.


if you were wondering why ellsworth no longer makes these bikes, here's an email, straight from the company:

"We moved away from road because it is not our core competency. We are a small manufacturer and due to our capitol restraints we have learned that we must remain focused on what we do best. To truly be successful in the road category it must be promoted with demos, ideally a team, etc. We do not have the resources, at this point, to do this promotion in both the mountain and road categories. This certainly may change in the future, but this is where we are today."

my buddy's theory* follows:

"As for the Ellsworth… I’d approach that one carefully. They’ve been making mountain bikes for years, and in their mid-2000’s heyday were actually highly regarded for their suspension designs. As bikes have evolved, Ellsworth seem to be stuck in a bygone era of gaudy anodized color schemes and obnoxious suspension linkages. In a word: antiquated.

That road bike smacks of “Ooh! Oooh! Look, we make road bikes, too! Over here rich roadie guys!” A clear cut “me too” product; the death throes of a company whose market share is being quickly absorbed by the TrekCialized juggernaut."

*said buddy is a semi-pro mtb racer, former bike mechanic of 8 years, and professional grouch

i still think it's a fairly good deal for a good bike with funky geometry. get it in the right size!!