2008 Interbike Briefs - Part 8
I’m with Tony Ellsworth at the Ellsworth booth at Interbike. To give you an idea of my journalistic prowess, I’m going to guess there’s a connection between you and this company.
Tony: That’s a funny story actually. I was a financial consultant and 31 years old when I decided I’d like to name a bike and start making my own bikes mostly egged on by my friends. I hired some friends at an ad agency to figure out a name of the bike company. After a week or two of deliberation they decided it should be Ellsworth. I said c’mon, I paid you for that!
DO: Money well spent anyway. I see everything here Tony. Road, mountain, cross, cruisers. What a line.
Tony: I love bikes. I love to cycle on the road, I love to cycle off road, I love to cycle with my friends who are not avid cyclists who would be intimidated by one of my 14 lb road bikes or 6” travel mountain bikes. Yet, people still want to feel the wind in their hair and I believe that you still have to deliver on the promise of performance. That’s what prompted me to make the not cruiser but “mobility” line. The first one we did won an award from Popular Science, was in Wall Street Journal, was in Outside magazine, GQ, Playboy, so there were a lot of people who really loved the design of that bike. It made them want to ride, so I’m really happy to have made one that performance rewards that.
DO: In keeping with the performance theme, I see high-end units here. It looks like there’s been some thought put into what you’re offering to the consumer.
Tony: Ellsworth bikes started with me making a bike that I wanted to ride. It so happens that friends agreed with me and they wanted to ride them and their friends wanted to ride them. That’s how Ellworth's bikes started 18 years ago. There’s no interest in deviating from making the best of whatever we produce. With regard to the road bike, our 968g aluminum/carbon fiber frame has a buttery smooth ride from the damping characteristics of the carbon in the rear and a lively stiff lateral ride from the aluminum triangle in the front. It’s a crit bike with smooth style. I want to take my bike out and do 100 miles and want it to handle like a sports car. You know, everything’s carbon now. Chinese tennis racket factories are converted to bicycle frame factories. There’s just carbon everywhere. It’s going to be funny when people realize carbon is found in the ashes of your fireplace to the diamond on your wife’s finger.
DO: I like the variety in your line. Where can our readers learn more?
Tony: At www.ellsworthbikes.com. We’d love to have people check that out and also our social responsibility programs such as Project Pink and the Rain Forest Green Program.
DO: It’s good to know you have foresight into other aspects of the world.
Tony: With what’s going on with the financial markets and everything right now it really hits me that corporations need to have social responsibility. We need to be good corporate citizens. I think there’s a good opportunity for Ellsworth bikes, as small as we are, to set an example for other corporations. I hope it catches on and the ripple in the pond gets bigger. I’m excited to be able to participate in any small way we can.
DO: I want to say, with my keen reporting abilities, I’ve talked to some shop owners who sell your line and they reported to me an extremely pleasant experience with Ellsworth bicycles and with you as a person.
Tony: I pray we can keep that up!