In some ways this wasn’t really a fair fight: The Titus Racer X is a carbon frame bike, the Ellsworth Truth is aluminum; the Racer X I rode had XTR components while the Titus was SRAM; the Titus fit well and the seat height on the Truth was a little low. But these are both great cross-country bikes and depending on the build they are basically in the same price range making this comparison an interesting exercise at the very least.
Confession: I’m a bit of a weight weenie (I prefer the term gram counter) and it’s one of the big reasons why I still ride a hard tail mountain bike. The Racer X Carbon lives up to its billing as a super light weight bike and I’m pretty sure the thing weighed less than my Trek 7000 hardtail. The bike practically propelled itself up the hills and I found myself blasting past stronger riders with very little effort. The Truth wasn’t a heavy bike either and on washboard sections the slightly higher weight seemed to keep the bike in better contact with the trail.
In terms of geometry both bikes were size large but the Ellsworth felt very small to me – tiny in fact. I was convinced the bike wasn’t a large but the Ellsworth rep assured me it was. The Racer X, on the other hand, fit me like a glove and that’s pretty rare for a 6′ 3″ rider like myself.
Though it’s not always fair to judge a bike based on its components since they can be changed out, I have to mention the XTR shifters on the Titus Racer X Carbon gave me a bit of trouble. The bike made a constant grinding sound through most of the gear range and I found the shifting mechanism to be a bit clunky and confusing. The Ellsworth, on the other hand, performed well and gave a very smooth ride.
Now, for the painful part: pricing. Both of these rides are very high end mountain bikes and their prices reflect that. Of course component group choices dictate price to a large degree but expect to pay up to $5-$6K for a complete bike.
Riding a full suspension mountain bike is a bit of a change for me and I really loved the fact that I didn’t have to be as picky about my lines. If I were to buy a FS cross country rig (and had loads of money) I think I’d have to go with the Titus Racer X Carbon mostly based on the weight savings. Stay tuned for more full suspension bike reviews here and in the MTB Review section of singletracks.