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Industry Digest: Tony Ellsworth Rejoins Ellsworth Bikes, the Possible Return of 'InterBike' & More

Jan 27, 2022
by Ed Spratt  
What's going on in the cycling industry this month? Industry Digest is a peek behind the curtain and showcases articles from our sister site, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. In each installment, you might find patents, mergers, financial reports and industry gossip.

Tony Ellsworth rejoining Ellsworth Bikes
By: Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

Ellsworth will take an active role in design and development of his namesake brand after a four-year absence.

Tony Ellsworth is returning to his namesake mountain bike brand after a four-year absence to become chief development/design officer.

"We're here sitting on my property in Ramona (California), which is the original home of Ellsworth Bikes, making plans," Ellsworth told BRAIN on Wednesday, hours after he rejoined the company, now owned by RP Designs CEO Rudi Pienaar. "We're pretty excited, both of us."
Ellsworth PR

Ellsworth, who last had an active role in 2018 under the ASG Group ownership, saw the opportunity to restore the brand with Pienaar, who acquired it in December. Ellsworth said he planned to start another mountain bike company and then heard Pienaar had purchased his San Diego-based company from the ASG Group, which acquired it in 2018. Ellsworth remained with ASG initially before leaving the same year "when ASG decided they weren't going to do product development anymore," he said.

(Read more.)

More than half of women cyclists started riding or returned to it during the pandemic
By: Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

Nearly 56% of female cyclists riding today either started cycling during the pandemic or returned to it after a layoff, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association's Bicycling Buying 2021 Consumer Research study.

"As consumers pull back from buying bicycles and e-bikes, the challenge bike shops face is holding on to these new and returning cyclists and keeping them on their bicycles or e-bikes as the pandemic continues and the economy reacts to shifting employment, supply chain problems, and price pressure," said Heather Mason, the NBDA's president.

"While 56.8% of adult bicycle and e-bike riders in 2020 and 2021 were male and 42.6 percent were female, our consumer research study found that 33.4% of women cyclists started cycling for the first time, and 22 percent returned to cycling during the pandemic. This totals 55% or over half of all adult female cyclists that started or returned in the last two years. These are the kinds of detailed, actionable facts the NBDA has made available to every segment of the bicycle business," Mason added.

(Read more.)

Emerald surveys industry on bringing back 'InterBike'
By: Steve Frothingham / Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

Many members of the global bike industry received email surveys this week from Emerald Expositions, a trade show company that produces the Outdoor Retailer expos and which owns Interbike, the bike expo last held in 2018 in Reno, Nevada.

The survey asked if industry members would be interested in a return of Interbike, where and when they would prefer it to be held, and whether they were open to combining the bike show with the Outdoor Retailer show, which is held in Denver.

Initially some industry members questioned whether the email came from Emerald, as Interbike was spelled oddly and the email contained some other errors. Emerald sent a follow-up email a few days later.

"To relieve any existing doubts: Yes, we Emerald, are considering a relaunch of Interbike and receiving the input and perspectives from this amazing community is one of our top priorities. Our commitment is to ensure your vision and needs are met and achieved," the follow-up email said.

Emerald has welcomed bike exhibitors at its Outdoor Retailer events in the past, although it stopped short of labeling the bike area as "Interbike." The fall 2019 Outdoor Retailer was to have included a bike expo, but that event was canceled.

(Read more.)

Wayne Stetina leaves Shimano after 37 years, joins SRAM
By: Steve Frothingham / Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

Wayne Stetina is leaving Shimano American, where he has held leadership and product positions for 37 years, to join arch rival SRAM, according to several BRAIN sources and an interview published Friday on RoadBikeAction.com.

BRAIN has not been able to reach Stetina yet, but he told RBA that he is leaving Shimano on good terms.

"(I) have to say that it’s actually been better than I thought it would be. Of course they were concerned about product confidentiality so I had to sign some papers, but I think they're also aware of my history of integrity. In fact, even SRAM made me sign papers that would hold me responsible if there was ever any information passing over," Stetina told RBA editor Zapata Espinoza.
Shimano Deore on Vancouver s North Shore 2020

Stetina joined Shimano in 1984. One of the most successful road racers in American history, Stetina was involved in product development and later served as vice president and road product specialist. He said that at SRAM he will become a “Senior Field Guide” at SRAM.

(Read more.)

Dorel completes sale of Dorel Sports to Pon Holdings
By: Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

Dorel Industries has completed its sale of Dorel Sports — which includes Cannondale, Schwinn, GT, Mongoose and other bike brands — to Pon Holdings, for $810 million. The planned acquisition was announced in October.

Dorel Industries said the sale will return $390 million to shareholders in the form of a special dividend of $12 per share.

“We are very pleased to have completed the sale of Dorel Sports to a great company like Pon. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I again thank the Dorel Sports team for their commitment to Dorel and their great achievements,” said Martin Schwartz, Dorel Industries' President and CEO.

“We believe that with this sale, Dorel has realized full value for Dorel Sports, for the benefit of Dorel and our shareholders,” Schwartz added.

(Read more.)

Cardinal Cycling Group, the owner of TIME bikes, buys Detroit Bikes
By: Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

Cardinal Cycling Group, a new company formed last year to acquire the TIME bicycle business from Rossignol, has acquired Detroit Bikes.

Cardinal has acquired assets including the brand, inventory and production facility. Zak Pashak, Detroit Bikes' founder, will remain a partner in the new company and continue in a factory management & business development role.

Cardinal Cycling Group intends to further develop its U.S.-made steel range and expand its urban e-bike offerings.

"From the moment I saw the Detroit Bikes launch video in 2014, I have loved the Detroit Bikes brand. Zak and I became friends over the years as we have been on a similar path of re-shoring bicycle manufacturing, getting more people on bikes and building brands that matter. We are thrilled to take the reins at Detroit Bikes and commend Zak for building a passionate and iconic brand," said Tony Karklins, the CEO of Cardinal Cycling Group. Karklins, an industry veteran, was a co-founder of HIA Velo, the parent company of the Allied Cycle Works brand. Karklins left Allied in 2018.

(Read more.)

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  • 213 3
 Tony saw that Ellsworth bikes were starting to look too good so he returned to turn back the clock.
  • 55 17
 The rumor has it he worked for Rocky Mountain and designed the Maiden.
  • 38 0
 I wonder what the 'news stories' to 'actual bikes made' ratio is at the moment?
  • 31 2
 A logo design from this century wouldn't hurt.
  • 30 2
 @thingswelike: I too have noticed pinkbike has been letting manufactures basically do all the work for them. Pinkbikes new directive... "Hey manufactures, write a press release for us and we will slap it on the homepage for a small fee"
  • 27 3
 @headshot So the new owners of Ellsworth have given Tony a second change at ruining the brand. This is like Groundhog Day v2.0.
  • 12 0
 @rivercitycycles: maybe there were worried the company respected its warranty a bit too much
  • 5 0
 @schulte1400: ahem...the "proper" name for it is "advertorial"
  • 10 5
 @Dopepedaler: Waiting for press releases in form of investigative journalism. Welcome to "Before the full review tomorrow" where Mike Levy asks the hard questions. In todays episode: Ellsworth the real truth
  • 2 0
 @schulte1400: "small" fee. Their advertising is pretty expensive from what I recall
  • 4 2
 The saddest news is, now they are guaranteed to not look like a Session!
  • 33 0
 "Have you considered longer rockers? Like a lot longer...."
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 @whateverbr0: these are simply press releases... PB (and all other media outlets) choose on their own to publish them. The advertising and paid content is a very different animal, and is likely quite expensive but I can't comment on that since I don't know details.
  • 1 0
 @redrook: He has one. He stole it from Revel.
  • 10 0
 came here for the Ellsworth comments...leaving satisfied
  • 2 1
 @thingswelike: 69:420 ratio
  • 11 1
 "Breaking News from Ellsworth!"

I made a pun Beer
  • 1 0
 Exactly! @ryan83:
  • 1 0
 @schulte1400: Just for the record. I don't think there's anything untoward going on here. Site visitors demand news. Ellsworth is 'newsworthy' as seen by all the comments here. It's just that I've seen about 5 different press releases published in about 20 different news outlets over the last few years (whatever happened to Lopes - seems to be on some ugly ebike?) and precisely zero owners with bikes.
  • 3 0
 @redrook: Yes, and they need to remove all of the vowels from their name to be be a player in today’s market.
  • 95 0
 In tomorrow’s news: Ellsworth’s R&D Department consists of nothing more than Tony smoking a bowl in the break room.
  • 59 0
 *bong bubbles*
“Sometimes, man, you just can’t tell how much standover a bike has until you throw a leg over it.”
*lighter strike*
  • 34 0
 @melanthius: “Links baby, we got the longest lin....” Fades into 20 second coughing fit.
  • 12 0
 *bong hit*
"3 things: we're bringing back tiger stripe ano, adding electricity, and including a Van Halen hits CD with every frame"
*falls asleep*
  • 4 0
 IIRC, Tony doesn't do alcohol or drugs. And yes, I'm about as fun at parties as... as... Tony Ellsworth.
  • 4 0
 A quick glance at any Ellsworth should confirm this guy doesn’t take the pot, and that may be the problem. Golfing vibes.
  • 54 2
 Elsworth Bikes YIKES!... If this were the year 1999, I would be excited right now. But I DARE say, I don't give a sh1t.
  • 13 0
 In with the puns, guys we have a Joker here
  • 31 0
 For a Moment, I wondered if this headline was Truth or a Joke. Then I had an Epiphany that I didn’t give two shICTs.
  • 4 0
 They think he's had an epiphany but the moment will fade. Hopefully they've gotsome budget loaded up to hire a real specialist to clean up the mess.
  • 3 0
 We're Witnessing Enlightened times
  • 34 1
 I literally can't wait for the Ellsworth e-bike. It'll make the Intense Tazer look classy.
  • 9 1
 "Hold my beer." - Niner e9
  • 7 0
 This could complete the Trifecta of atrocious e-bikes, consisting of
1) the Pole Voima
2) the Orange Phase MX
3) the Ellsworth Rogu-E
  • 2 1
 @BetweenTheCircles: thanks mate, I haven't seen this one before, this is probably the most awkward frame shape ever
  • 3 0
 @hardtailpunter: like a kid was playing with a magnifying glass in the sun on their toy bicycles...
  • 30 0
 so did doc go bac to the future
  • 9 0
 Actually the past. 1997, when Ellesworth had the slightest potential to become cool one day.
  • 36 13
 - Heeeeeeey!
- Hey!
- What is your naaaaame?
- Tony!
- ....
  • 14 0
 Don't you dare bring my linkage into this
  • 4 0
 “FU$K YOU, Tony!!”
  • 16 0
 Tony still owes me $1800. for a warranty frame he never returned to me in 1998!
  • 25 0
 User name checks out.
  • 14 0
 Why would anyone buy a name, aka Ellsworth, that has negative consumer sentiment instead of just starting a new brand? Makes absolutely zero sense.
  • 1 1
 They have their fanboys
  • 8 0
 @JohanG: but do they though? In the last 15 years I believe I’ve seen a single Ellsworth in the wild. It was so shocking to see one in person that I did a double take and took pictures just to prove it actually happened
  • 2 0
 I find this totally confusing. Maybe they’re planning on doing ironic marketing? That’s the only thing I can think of.
  • 2 0
 @surfhard987: I see Ellsworth pretty often.

Oh, disclaimer. I am pretty sure they were free/super cheap bikes for NICA riders in the area where Ellsworth is from.
  • 3 0
 @JohanG: They ain't boys.
  • 4 0
 @JSTootell: ahh operating at a loss for tax reasons. Good plan Ellsworth
  • 2 0
 @JohanG: Ellswerth fanboy here, I mostly love the CNC work on their rockers
  • 13 1
 In other news: When will Angel and Mille on Commencal be announced?
  • 4 0
 Article is just sat there, waiting
  • 12 0
 who remembers the Tony Ellsworth thread on MTBR? that was epic. it is probably still going.
  • 10 0
 I think from an optics standpoint, the best thing the new Ellsworth company had going for it was he was not involved.
  • 7 0
 Anyone here into the Ellsworth name? I'm asking honestly, cause I can't imagine anyone I know from the last 20 years of riding who would be stoked on this, or even knows the name. There has to be a market, I've just had no exposure to it in decades.
  • 2 0
 I owned 3 Ellsworths from '99 to 2009 and I can't say I'm excited about this at all
(that last alu Moment was a fun bike in its day tho)
  • 3 0
 @chrod: I recognize they had a moment in MTB history, but I just find it strange they keep trying to reboot this brand when I feel like the brand is so tarnished to me. It's like Pintos, we don't need them back, let's just leave them in the storybook of MTB history.
  • 2 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: their moment was frames that broke all the time.

One of those brands where I don’t understand why suckers kept paying for the crap on offer.
  • 2 0
 @wyorider: Remember it wasn't just about the frames breaking, but the poor treatment of customers... and workers.
  • 2 0
 I'm super excited to see what they come up with, whether good or bad, but I'm hoping for the best
  • 5 0
 While we’re at it, let’s get the Maverick team back together! I had an ML-7 years ago and it was amazing. Boy if I had that bike today, it would suck..
Just when you thought we have too many current brands, apparently it’s time to resurrect the ones that went belly up.
Economies have highs and lows, and if we go into an actual rescission again, the bike industry is going full avalanche!
  • 4 0
 I still run an ML7/5 and it's still an incredible bike. I also have modern bikes that are great too, but there was something special about that Maverick that hasn't been repeated.
  • 4 0
 @thingswelike: wish I could get my hands of one of their prototype carbon duc forks. Dang that would be siiiiiick
  • 1 0
Amen. They worked. I now ride Santa Cruz because their take on rear suspension lets me stand out of the saddle.
Only reason I say it would suck is the frame geo!
I feel like if you want to throw your hat in the ring again, rebrand!
  • 1 0

I lusted so hard over the featherweight dual crown duc back in the day. Now everything is sorted and boring like my grip 2 bla bla bla.
  • 1 0
 @WasatchEnduro: yeah, the purchasing decisions are getting boring if all you want is a great product. But throw some smaller manufacturers in to spice things up and suddenly you could get a new air spring concept coupled with a custom damper that assures it rides deep in the travel and really knows how to access the bottom half of the stroke but maintains the harshness we all seek off the top. Then you can spend months tuning it (bonus points if you adjust the shim stack) before finally giving up and buying a lyric.
  • 7 0
 How many brands are under pon now? Getting up there for the American brands. Maybe they should revive iron horse.
  • 4 1
 @sewer-rat: ya because his craftsmanship is really on point...
  • 4 0
 Ellsworth... meh. That's about as interesting as a Season 9 of Game of Thrones. What crushes me a bit is Schwarz's quote on Dorel. “We believe that with this sale, Dorel has realized full value for Dorel Sports, for the benefit of Dorel and our shareholders,” Schwartz added. Note that there isn't a single mention of riders, retailers, etc. If ever there was an indicator of corporate speak and the dying soul of increasingly large bike conglomerates, that sums it up nicely. Not that any of Dorel's brands interest me, mind you, it's the precedence.
  • 12 7
 While it's none of my actual business I wonder how many of the people here trashing Ellsworth bikes actually ever rode one to have an opinion about them?
  • 3 5
 If you find a bike ugly, it won't feel good on the trail, even if it's the best bike in the world. So it doesn't matter if they rode it or not. Contextual effects are a big part of mtb.
  • 16 0
 The problem was never the bikes, the problem was Tony and his 'you gave me the money now f#ck off,' attitude to his customers.
  • 8 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: ^ Half truth. Worked in a shop and 2 cats had Dare FR frames. Both cracked through the chainstay yoke, both under a year old, both were told $500 for a new chainstay. Shop stopped carrying Ells after that.
  • 5 0
 Been seeing Ellsworths break with disturbing regularity since they sponsored the RockShox Devo (kid’s) team in the 1990’s.

Their reputation for alarming fragility has been cemented by producing decades of flimsy frames.
  • 10 0
 I bent/cracked at least 5 of them. Living in SD I went straight to them, Tony just told me to re-dish my rear wheel to account for the bending.
  • 2 0
 I rode one for a few months about 2000. Broke it, was told that it wasn’t covered under warranty because apparently I weighed more than it was designed to carry. I weighed 90kg at the time.

I was quoted $1200 aud for the replacement part (I can’t remember if it was a chain or seat stay). The LBS had it out with the distributor and after a couple of months of back and forth they replaced the part.

A few weeks after getting the replacement, the main triangle broke when I was riding up a fire road to the trail head. This took about six months and letters from lawyers before they were willing to resolve the issue. I ended up getting a refund and bought a Santa Cruz. In retrospect I feel really sorry for the local distributor.

The bike itself rode alright. Compared to the Foes I owned before it and SC after, it wasn’t too impressive. Bikes from those days all sucked but single pivots sucked a bit less due to their simplicity.
  • 3 0
 I demoed a Rogue 60 and Rogue 40 in Moab back in 2016. I actually really liked how they rode, and looked for them on discount or used but moved on when I didn't find one. As for looks the frame styling was pretty loopy, but the finish which showed the CF weave was really nice. The machined rocker link was pretty alien looking too. I'll demo most bikes and give them a fair shake.
  • 1 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: Actually, I gotta say that Tony and Company were pretty good to me. They warranteed my medium Joker frame when I broke the triangle after many years of abuse, and they gave me a " L" frame,
Which is the size I shoulda been riding all along.
Plus, They even machined a custom travel reducer piece to bolt on to my frame, so I could continue using the shock I had.
How can I complain?
Today, one of my best buds has taken over the Joker for the last year and some, and he thrashes it almost daily.
A 2005 frame, that was built up in 2007.
  • 1 0
 The first full sus bike I had was the Joker, and I loved it. That was at least 20 years ago though. Chain stay cracked like a lot of the others. Those were the days...
  • 4 0
 I owned 3 of Tony's bikes over the years and I will trash them on the basis of:
- Lack of durability: 2 frames snapped at the seat tube-to-down tube welds
- Manufacturing problems:
--- 2 frames had bottom bracket tolerance issues with threads and had to be re-faced/chased by local bike shops.
---- One frame's head tube was so bad the headset rocked in place. (Solved with green loctite and a Chris King Steelset)
- Design issues: E lagged behind the industry in geometry and failed to update their ICT design, resulting in rise during braking, pedaling inefficiency (despite claims) and lackluster handling
- Ugly: While I personally liked the big rocker link and the old-English logo, their bikes got fuglier year-to-year after they peaked in 2010
- Customer service: Actually was pretty OK. Though Ellsworth did bully my LBS into becoming a "dealer" just to warranty my frame (no E dealer close by at the time)
- Tony: Met him in person twice and he definitely typified the "short-guy" attitude lol
  • 1 0
 @salespunk: re-dish the wheel! lol

Did you ever get see or ride their test track in SD (around Ramona I think?)
  • 1 0
 @chrod: I saw it, but never rode it. Looked interesting, but was really short since it was on Tony's property.
  • 1 0
 I had a joker back around 2000. Cracked the chainstay. Wouldn't warrenty, got it welded and rode it a bit more but was scared to do anything big on it so ended up recycling the frame.
  • 3 0
 A cracked frame isn’t a subjective thing that has to happen to you to understand. Warranty service is a little more squishy but at the end of the day if it takes someone months to get a replacement, it takes an act of congress to convince them it’s their fault m or they don’t get one at all that’s pretty solidly in the “fact” department. These factors are totally independent from whether you’ve personally ridden the brand.

It would be different if people were trashing the ride itself, but I haven’t seen a single post doing that.
  • 2 0
 @chrod: He gives you 100% efficient pedaling, and you're still not satisfied!
  • 3 0
 Paging Tony Ellsworth…please, oh please, come back to MTBR. We need you there. And please bring back all the archived exchanges you had with forum members over the years. This could be the best thing that has happened in a long time. I’m stocking up on popcorn.
  • 5 0
 I'm missing at least two other Ellsworth logo's on that frame, must be a prototype
  • 6 0
 the "Ellsworth" Font is the Papyrus of the MTB world
  • 6 0
 Now if Fezzari adopted the Ellsworth font...haha
  • 3 0
 Is the sale price of Ellsworth published anywhere? I’m legit curious what it went for. I can’t imagine it was anything higher than just the landed cost of whatever old stagnant inventory they had on hand
  • 2 0
 So Ellsworth bikes will continue to have a ridiculous logo on their downtube and reliability worth petitioning to improve?

Their bikes have been fragile since the 1990’s when the RockShox Devo kids were breaking them.
  • 4 0
 I used to work with the Devo team a little bit for custom wheel building, and those bikes cracked all the time
  • 3 0
 Does anyone buy these bikes? They have always been fugly. Can’t believe the company is still around
  • 3 1
 Wayne is almost 70(born in 53).You know the bike industry works you to death for sh*t money when you still can't retire at 68.
  • 3 0
 Who says he couldn't retire if he wanted to - do you really only go to work for the money? This sounds like a pretty fun job to me.
  • 1 0
 The "dream rides dude" in Moab was super mean and an Ellsworth fan, what happened to him, aside from throwing all the legit Moab local mtb businesses under the bus? no good doode!
  • 1 0
 The Ellsworths were well finished; anodising etc was on point but wow I've never owned a bottom bracket as high as a table top before or since.

I credit my I.D for trying to kill me. Thankfully it was sold.
  • 7 8
 Ellsworth made some sick ass bikes back in the day, there is no denying this. Have a look at the new Truth frame and tell me your not stoked to see something unique, its a beauty looking rig. I would be 100% stoked to see a modern geo 160mm enduro version of this frame. those lines are soo sleek
  • 2 0
 Thank you for that comment and if you have a little patience ...
  • 6 0
 If by sick ass, you mean poorly engineered/built and liable to crack, you’re onto something.

All bikes break if ridden hard enough. All Ellsworths break if ridden at all.
  • 1 0
 That Truth is not new it was announced 3 yesrs ago. Mfer lied about brimging them out to a demo day. Then it never turned up. i wasted $40 and he acted like he never said they were coming out to be rideable. . Probably becasue it kept breaking. Vaporware.

Did you see those hideous e cruisers tony tried to put out?
  • 1 0
 Would've probably put any number of the other headlines in the article title...just another unpaid, left-field opinion. Wink here be pinkers
  • 1 0
 Did anyone else click into the Ellsworth article and see Rudi Pienaar's arms? Maybe we shouldn't be insulting his new acquisition!
  • 2 0
 Interbike and Ellsworth are making news? Where's my no doubt/sugar ray compilation tape?!? I'm in!!
  • 2 1
 So RatBoy is back under the same roof as Santa Cruz! That should be fun to watch
  • 1 0
 But Tony, think of the implication on toilet seats! They are not ready.....
  • 1 0
 I confuse Tony with Brian from Tantrum Cycles (oh gawd, did I just open Pandora's Box?).
  • 1 0
 Can't we get something like the eBike filter to filter all ellsworth content from our feeds?
  • 1 0
 Hey what do you mean? my Ellsworth bike is still going form 2004 and I ride it once every 2 years... maybe.
  • 2 0
 Is that Tori Wood (PB Academy Series 2)? By the way, she got robbed.
  • 1 0
 it is Smile )
  • 1 0
 Tony Ellsworth left because they stopped doing development? That seems like exactly what he was into…
  • 1 0
 lets be serious...good luck guys but these bikes are where you found them haha....trash is trash.
  • 2 0
 Ellsworth, GT, interbike. What year is it???
  • 1 0
 There's a lovely Truth on Ebay at the moment. No pun intended.
  • 2 1
 Sad to hear hardcore riders favorite brand, Detroit Bikes, has been sold.
  • 1 0
 links zwo, links zwo, links zwo drei vier, links
  • 1 0
 I feel like Ellsworth is the Buell Motorcycle of the Bike industry.
  • 1 0
 I thought I saw King Buzzo of the Melvins.....
  • 1 0
 tori 3
  • 3 6
 Wayne Stetina has to be given recognition for having been for such a long time working for a company with such a toxic corporate culture.
  • 2 0
 What crank failures?

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