I’ll admit it: I’m jaded about bikes. Because I ride hundreds of models a year, it takes a lot to make me notice—much less get excited. But when I saw this new collaboration between Calfee and Ellsworth, I nearly fell out of my chair. I forwarded it along to dozens of friends, all of whom oohed and ahhed in response, and I even asked my wife if we could get one.
Few bike manufacturers would make a better match than Calfee and Ellsworth. Based out of his Northern California headquarters, Craig Calfee has long produced some of the most distinctive and forward-thinking bikes on the market, including fine custom carbon fiber frames, gorgeous bamboo bikes, and even two-wheelers built from salvaged wood. Calfee’s Dragonfly is perhaps the pinnacle of road tandems.
Meanwhile, Tony Ellsworth has long built superior Made In The USA mountain bikes around his proprietary Instant Center Tracking (ICT) suspension. The design makes for extremely efficient pedaling with almost zero pedal bob, while still allowing for an extremely plush and nuanced ride. Over the years, two bikes from Ellsworth, the Truth and the Epiphany, have won Outside’s coveted Gear of the Year award.
The Witness mates a hand-wrapped carbon fiber frame from Calfee to a ICT rear triangle from Ellsworth. The stock bike is built around 27.5-inch wheels, with 140mm of travel in the rear. But it can also be ordered as a custom-built 29er with 120mm out back for a $500 upcharge. The frame weighs just 10.5 pounds and a complete bike should be able to be built up under 30 pounds without too much effort.
This could just be the ultimate Valentine’s Day present, though not every couple is made to ride a mountain tandem together. Nor is it guaranteed your sweetie will appreciate the $8,295 charge on the Visa. My wife, for instance, said I should feel free to buy it—as soon as I’ve sold off six other bikes to foot the bill.