By Maurice Tierney
Felt Bicycles held their 2012 model year press outing in their parking lot in Irvine, CA the other day. I flew down to see what was up. Good to meet the principle people behind the brand, and get a handle on what the company is all about. One thing is for sure, the Felt line is growing. There really is something for everyone, a broad range of bikes at a broad range of pricing. Let’s get started.
Lucky me, I was getting ready to bring some time trials and triathlons into my life. Felt is a key player in this game, with many, many accomplishments in this field ever since Jim Felt welded his first Tri bike 20 years ago. This is the $4,999 DA 3. If you want a really nice bike you’ll need the $12,999 DA 1.
But this is a mountain bike story, no? Ooops! Let’s talk MTB. Felt showed us their new Edict LTD race bike. Acronym here is F.A.S.T., or Felt Active Stay Technology, where the seatstay/chainstay unit is molded to work as a spring, a spring that keeps the suspension biased toward the optimum sagged position, much like a platform valve on a fancy air shock. It will be cool to ride this some time. Light weight, simple 26-inch race bikes. $5,500 Pro, $10,000 LTD. Here’s the pro:
Yes, a simple but effective suspension.
For the longer travel crowd we have the Virtue line. Retaining the Equilink suspension design, these bikes are adjustable between 120 and 130mm for your larger needs. The Virtue line is also more adjustable in it’s price points this year with models being available from $2,300 to $10,000.
But the welcomest news is Felt’s increased line of 29ers, the Nine Series. Here at Dirt Rag we’ve been preaching the benefits of the big wheels for some time now and it’s awesome to see them finally taking off in Europe as well as the U.S. Now companies like Felt are offering a full line of 29ers for every budget.
Again it’s about racing. The philosophy for Felt has been steep 72˚ head angles for quick steering, short stays, and short fork travel. The claimed-21lb. Nine Team will run you $5,999. But I really dug the orange Elite model at $2,799. Check it out:
All told there are seven, count ‘em, seven 29ers to choose from, all the way down to the $599 Flow model. Yea, something for everyone!
On the tech side, if you’re reading this far, I’ll continue. Carbon fiber. Many of Felt’s bikes use this material, and it’s fascinating to see how it’s put together. The way I understand it is like this. Each individual piece in each frame size has it’s own mold, and as the carbon is laid into the mold, the air bags you see in the picture below are inflated to press the material toward the outside of the mold. This can leave it a little messy inside the frame, maybe leaving a little too much material and bringing the weight up. With the goal of keeping the inside of the frame nice and clean with just enough material, Felt uses additional molds like you see in the top of this photo (yellow) to leave us with a nice clean frame. Sweet.
So there you have it. I’m sure we’ll be able to ride some of these bikes at a later date, but until then this is all I can tell you. Felt does have a well-rounded line of bikes, I’ll be blogging at Bicycle Times shortly with the scoop on Felt’s everyday transportation bikes, their swell cruisers, and even a fixed gear to go with the time trial bike.