Felt Z85 Road Bike

Frame: Felt Classic Racing Specific Geometry; Felt Superlite custom butted 7005 aluminum; CNC headtube & BB shell; forged dropout & replaceable hanger
Fork: Felt carbon design with 3K finish; carbon fiber blades with 1-1/8" aluminum steerer & aluminum crown
Drivetrain: Shimano 105 STI; 105 clamp-on front derailleur; 105 rear derailleur; FSA Vero compact 3-piece forged aluminum 50/34T crankset; 11-25T cassette
Components: Dual pivot brakes with cartridge brake shoes, stainless hardware & Teflon bushings; Felt 2.3 6061 aluminum handlebar; Felt 2.1 adjustable 6061 3D forged stem; Felt 1.3 carbon fiber seatpost, Felt 2.3 anatomic road saddle with D2 double-density base, custom embossed cover
Wheelset: Alex R500 aluminum rim with machined CSW braking surface & wear indicator; laced 32H radial front/32H 3x rear hubs with Cr-Mo quick release skewer & stainless 2.0mm spokes
Accessories: N/A
Finish: Matte Black
Sizes: 700c x 51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
Weight: 19.90 pounds (56cm)

User Reviews (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10  
Lane Lombardia   Triathlete [Sep 15, 2015]
Strength:

Great mix of componentry and frame materials. The use of carbon fiber for the fork and seat stem make the Z85 more forgiving on crummy roads than a pure alloy bike, and the $1500 I saved versus a fully carbon bike meant I didn't have to wait another year or two saving up for it. The handling and feel is a close second to the carbon bike I'd been considering; but struggling to scrape funds together for. The ~20lbs the bike weighs, the smooth Shimano 105 hardware, and the very versatile handlebar attachment allowed my bike fitter to accommodate the very low position I had gotten used to from riding an oversized hand-me-down (the only bike I could get at the time). The handling is crisp, and tenacious.

Weakness:

The tires are a middle of the road size that might be a trifle wide for faster, more powerful riders. The brakes are average (and I will likely replaced them with Shimano 105 brakes when they wear out).

My previous bike, which I had been using to train for and compete in triathlons, was a hand-me-down 25 year old steel Diamondback that was sized for someone at least 5 inches taller than me, and weighing in at 30lbs. The Z85 saves me 10lbs, has a great fit that I am very comfortable in, whether I'm training, racing, or just out for a long ride. While others seem to have trouble with the saddle, I find mine very agreeable. I've been competing with mine for 2 years now, and it's everything I need (that is, any lack of speed on my part is solely my responsibility and not, in any way, the fault of the bike). I believe my Z85 is a 2013; but this isn't an option on the year pulldown.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
The Baron   Recreational Rider [Jun 12, 2015]
Strength:

Smooth and very stable ride, lightweight, chews up hills, rides fine in hail/rain, durable, carbon fork and seat post very comfy, relaxed geometry great for long distance

Weakness:

No eyeholes for a bike rack, not the fastest ride compared to your buddy's all carbon velodrome special, uncomfortable bike seat, handlebar tape rips up easily, brakes could be improved

2015 Felt Z85

This is my very first road bike, so I'm not exactly a connoisseur roadie...and I'm also a "recreational cyclist", which means I'm looking more for long-distance comfort over time trials velocity. Having said that, my Felt Z85 feels like a Maserati compared to my station wagon of a hybrid bike. To give you an idea, my hybrid weighs in at 30 lbs compared to my Felt's svelte 20.8 lbs. Add road bike gears over hybrid/mountain gears, and my average speed jumped from 10 MPH to 14 MPH...and that's when I'm just slacking. It's like being on a motorcycle.

On my first real long ride, it started hailing all over me for a good half-hour. The Z85 shrugged it off with no problem, and there was no slipping and sliding. I had to take a uphill hairpin turn, and my back tire slipped a fraction, but instantly corrected itself. The stock "Felt All Weather" tires are surprisingly grippy and stable. The 700x25 width isn't fat, but it isn't thin either, and so far, I haven't felt a need to swap them out. The carbon fork and seat post won't prevent bone-jarring jolts on manholes and potholes, but they keep you in control of the pavement. I even took this ride on some loose gravel, and she did well, considered I still have these slick tires on 'em.

The Z's tube stem is significantly higher than the F-series, and the frame is longer. Open two tabs on your browser and compare a Z bike to a F bike, and you'll see the difference immediately. So, you'll cut back on your aerodynamics, but you'll have a ride that's much easier on your back, shoulders, and neck.

Gears are very responsive (Shimano 105 11-gear, can't really complain). The brakes could be a bit more responsive, but they're adequate to the job.

There are no eyeholes for a bike rack, which I hadn't noticed until I bought a rack. Doh'! I had to get a specially mounted rack with c-clamps, which was a royal pain. Also, the saddle leaves a lot to be desired, and I'll be replacing that soon enough. I mean, this is supposed to be a "Endurance" bike, right? So, you'll need to customize the Z85 a bit to make it a true distance hauler. The tape below the hoods ripped up quickly, and I rewrapped these two pressure points with new wrap and gorilla tape, which seems to have solved the problem.

All in all, the Z85 is a superb entry level road bike with very forgiving handling. I was afraid a road bike would feel like riding a unicycle, but the Z85 is very stable and has an almost hybrid-level of balance. I have wiped out once, and that was taking a wide turn at 10MPH with a heavy and badly attached pannier. (I have since purchased a pannier that properly fits my rack, which keeps the bag from swinging out and throwing off my balance).

I LOVE my Felt Z85!!

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Disappointed Felt Customer   Commuter [May 27, 2015]
Strength:

Looks nice, reasonbly fast and comfortable.

Weakness:

Very fragile frame, expensive given the poor material and construction. Felt will not sell end users parts. You are forced to take you bike to a shop for repairs.

I really liked this bike when I first got it but about month after I had it I had a minor crash at about 5 mph. This crash resulted in a bent wheel and a cracked fork. I took it to the bike shop I bought it from and they wanted to chrage me $550+ to fix it. I only paid about $1000 for this bike new. I picked my bike back up unrepaired and tried to order a new fork from Felt but they will not sell end users parts. Apparently they think we are idiots. Maybe I am an idiot for buying such an expensive bike that is such poor quality. Now I am stuck with $1000 dollars of broken bike. I wouldn't waste your time or money buying a bike from Felt,they obviously don't respect their customers.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
Dave   Road Racer [Apr 18, 2013]
Strength:

Value, comfort, performance.

Weakness:

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.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Paul McBride   Recreational Rider [Dec 27, 2012]
Strength:

Overall value for money. Comfortable to ride, confidence building. Mostly 105 Shimano spec. Wheels. Looks (I bought the 2012 model).

Weakness:

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.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
PF   [Oct 07, 2012]
Strength:

Carbon fork and seatpost, Puncture resistant tires, comfortable geometry. Shimano 105 components. Compact gears.

Weakness:

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!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jay Webler   Recreational Rider [Aug 19, 2012]
Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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.

Similar Products Used: Raleigh Sport.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Josh   Triathlete [Feb 21, 2012]
Strength:

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

Weakness:

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;
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
klmmicro   Recreational Rider [Mar 23, 2011]
Strength:

Good ridged and strong aluminum frame. 10 speed 105 drive group. The frame has a great geometry for the way I ride. At a hair over 20 pound curb weight without water, it is not too heavy. Swap out a few of the heavier components and you can easily shave a pound.

Weakness:

Brakes are no name that left a bit to be desired. While they stop the bike well on flat lands or light down grades, they are weak on steep or fast descents. I changed them out to Shimano BR-6700 series. The stock tires are serviceable, but heavy. Good for spares I guess. Seat is a gel type that is comfortable in the back, but the horn is pretty wide. It is also heavy.

Mine is a 2011 model with many pieces from the new 105 group set. This is a great all around fun bike. I ride it as a commuter and recreation/get in shape bike with the occasional street race. I tried several bikes when searching out a replacement for my aged Trek 1400. This one came home with me after only 5 miles of test miles. Comfortable and ready to climb the hills that are everywhere around my home town. The downhill bombing brought to light a lack of confident braking power, but that is easily fixed. I have shaved over a pound from the stock weight by just changing out a few simple components. Tires alone bit 12 ounces. Another 5 with a seat change. The brake swap was a wash. All in all, this would be a great bike off the floor for most flat land riders. It should be a great bike for climbers, though attention is required for downhill racers. It is not the latest carbon fiber racing frame, but anyone wishing to have a great aluminum road bike would be hard pressed to find a better value.

Similar Products Used: Trek 2.1, Fuji Roubaix.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Jason   Triathlete [Mar 18, 2010]
Strength:

Lightness of frame, components for the price, looks of the bike (its sexy and aggressive all at once)

Weakness:

Alex wheels - blah, I'll probably have to replace them after 1,500 miles so I've read.

The bike is the 2010 model, the dropdown only lists 2007 as the newest model. Whatever. So its my first road bike, using it in group rides and triathlons. I put on some Profile Design T1 Viper Aero bars and Shimano Ultegra pedals, and the bike has been a dream. Other makes and models cant compare the price for what you get. I was looking at similarly priced Trek, Specialized, Gary Fisher, and Cannnondale, and they all were at the Sora/Tiagra componentry for the same price as the Felt full 105. Boom. Easy decision. (Plus the current Trek's paint scheme is very ugly. Whats up with that anyway??)

Similar Products Used: Trek 1.3
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 10