Weaknesses: Paint (USA - 2012 version ). Brakes - change them immediately if you live in hill country.
One of 3 Felt bikes in my assortment and arguably the one I like the most based on 8500 miles riding experience on this bike during the past 2.5 years. This was my first Felt bike (have also recently purchased an F4 and Z5).
Comfortable and predictable ride, good choice of components out of the box (2012 version anyway). Straight off the sales floor this is a great everyday training bike for the Cat 3-4 racer or the perfect tool for the weekend group rider. The OE build offers both great performance and solid value for the money. Can't add much more to the previous reviews other than to reinforce the positive and say you definitely need to upgrade the brakes. Immediately if you live in hill country.
For someone looking for a long term relationship with this bike note that it is totally worth upgrading the group-set (or individual components) as the stock 105 components wear out. The frame is worthy, even if others might laugh at the idea of putting higer level components on an alloy recreational frame.
I've upgraded my saddle to a Prologo Skratch Pro, the crank to a full size Ultegra 6601, the front and rear mech to Ultegra 6600 and my wheels to Ksyrium Equipe (which came from my F4, which wears Cosmic Carbones). I changed out the brakes to 105 very soon after initial purchase and started riding Conti GP4000s when the OE Vittoria Rubino's wore out. Built up with these components the bike is a very solid trainer or A level group ride bike. You could do a lot worse and might be hard pressed to do better!
The only minor issue I've had is with the paint bubbling-up around the breather holes in the seat stays, seat post clamp area and bottle cage holes. A little irritating since I basically put the bike thru a pro-level cleaning after every ride, but not structural and easily repaired. In fact it probably says a lot about how much I like this bike that I am considering investing in a custom paint scheme in the near future.
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: December 27, 2012
Strengths: Overall value for money. Comfortable to ride, confidence building. Mostly 105 Shimano spec. Wheels. Looks (I bought the 2012 model).
Weaknesses: Non shimano 105 brakes, crank and bottom bracket.
Great higher-end beginners bike for €1K. Very comfortable for a first time cyclist to start off on and gain confidence with. Good spec with carbon forks and although this isn't a big one, it looks great. I invested in upgraded brakes, crank and bottom bracket with shimano105 equivalents to complete the set. Delighted with it so far.
Weaknesses: At first, I liked the idea of 23 mm tires, but I accepted the 25's as fine, especially coming from 32's on a hybrid. Brakes are adequate, but not great, as a previous reviewer stated.
This is the first road bike I have owned since Peugot 10 speeds were the style, back in the early 1970's. I must not have ridden much in the mid 1980's to the mid 1990's. I have been using hybrid bikes for the last 17 years, specifically a Trek 7.5FX since October of 2008.
I recently decided to join a bike club, and it seems that everyone in the club is riding a road bike. So I opted to get one as well. I did not want to spend the additional money on a carbon frame at this time, although I can see the wisdom in that choice! I just wanted to be able to "keep up" a bit easier on club trips. I have only logged in 60 or 70 miles thus far on this bike, none with a club,just getting used to the different ride. The compact gearing system is an improvement for me. I am going up moderate inclines much easier. I am not sure about the gearing system going downhills, as I am uncomfortable going more than 25mph anyway. The bike is fairly light, and once I had the stem adjusted during the fitting, I was comfortable. The frame is on the small size, and I am a 6' tall male with a 32" inseam. A 58cm frame is fine for me. I can't say that it would be my size with another brand, due to my lack of experience. As previously stated, the tires are 25mm puncture resistant. Maybe a bit heavy, but....I ride a lot on NYC streets and I don't feel like fixing flats all the time. Perhaps if I had experience with other tires, of if I soley took a train to the suburbs or rural areas, I might change my tune. I don't know. Mine is a 2012 model with a retail list price of $1249. I think that the 2013 is $1349. I bought mine at a discount price of $1060+ tax. I paid an additional $80 for a fitting at the store after I found the bike to be too uncomfortable for me to ride, making the switch from a more upright position to a more agressive stance. That was money well spent! Prior to this purchase, I was thinking of a Trek 1.5 or 2.1, either of which probably would have been a fine choice. Those bikes also come with pedals! However, I have no regrets with my selection of bike or the store which I chose to buy from. I am looking forward to years of riding with this bike, upgrading it as the need arises, or possibly buying a new and completely upgraded bike if that makes more sense. For now, this one is fine!
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: August 19, 2012
Strengths: When you want the power to ascend hills this bike we give to you. Much smoother that the CAAD10. The Mavik wheels are perfect for a heavy rider like me.
Weaknesses: I have not discovered any at this time. I thought about changing the seat at first but I have grown used to it as I get stronger.
I purchased my felt Z85 about 2 months ago. I am a rider that weighs about 260 lbs. and needed a bike that would help me with the hills in North Georgia. I was riding a great deal with my previous road bike but it would dog down on the hills, even though I had triple crank on it. From the first time I tried the Z85 I immediately noticed that it would give me the forward motion that I wanted. I had previously tested a new CAAD10 and a Specialized Roubaix and found that I had the same since of forward motion for a smaller price. Since getting the bike I have been improving greatly. I can now make all of the hills in my neighborhood numerous times and I am not beat to death when I finish. I often get off of the bike and feel like I could go longer if I had the time. I have also been able to increase my distance and flat speed. I can now do rides of 30 and 40 miles without excessive fatigue. I highly recommend this bike for anyone who doesn't want or need to spend $2,000 for a carbon bike.
Bike Setup: Stock parts as listed on the Felt web site.
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2012
Strengths: 105 compos; Stiff frame; more relaxed geometry; Personal preference is the color scheme (I like black/red/white) (not the most visible bike if you desire this); Compact Crank (2 X 10); Very smooth ride
Weaknesses: Saddle - I know this is a very personal area but the saddle has excessive amounts of padding and for the weight wennies out there it isn't the lightest thing
Brakes - I haven't done it yet but I will switch out to Kool Stops once the original pads wear out. When applying the brakes they make a rough scratching sound. I have read this is eliminated once the pads are replaced.
Personal Preference here - Wheels - I do enjoy the white tires but I don't like that they are 25mm, I would rather they be 23mm. I will ride them until they give up and switch them to Michelin Pro 3's potentially (probably red in color).
Overall a great bike (review on a 2011 Z85). I looked at the 2012 and the 2011 and the only difference I noticed was the change in the color scheme, other than that the compos and setup was identical. The bike looks great other than the stem (glossy white) which does not mach the matte black bike. I plan on changing that out to a black Devox stem. The bike came with a compact crank which works well for where I ride and the 105 compos work great. The bike is stiff and handles very tight I feel very comfortable when riding 40+ mph down the hills. The best thing about the Z series is the more upright riding position. Compared to other bikes I have riden (specialized, cannondale, schwinn) I come off the bike feeling more refreshed (disclaimer - I did also put more effort in getting the geometry correct with this bike). But with the drops where they are it is still possible to tuck and ride as desired.
Similar Products Used: Cannondale CAAD7; Specialized Allez;
Bike Setup: Changed out seat for a Specialized Toupe with Ti rails. This made all the difference in the world. Plan on changing the brake pads to Kool Stops. Will change out the stem to either a Devox stem or Ritchey. Tires will be changed later.