RoadBikeReview was recently invited to the Felt Bicycles World Headquarters in Irvine, CA for the introduction of their 2015 bicycle line. With their roots in road racing and tri/tt bikes, it’s no surprise that aerodynamics, stiffness and light weight all take top priority in the designs of their bikes. But that doesn’t mean it has to come at the cost of comfort or ride quality.
The range of bikes that Felt produces is quite amazing, including such performance oriented categories as aero road, road race, endurance road, track, cyclocross and TT/Tri. Felt also makes bikes specifically for women, kids, adventure road riding and even mountain bikes, cruisers, electric bikes and more.
Be sure to check out ALL the photos in the gallery below, but for now we are going to focus on 3 specific Felt 2015 models: the AR FRD Di2, F3 and IA2. We will also have information about more new models from Felt in about 3 weeks time.
Felt AR FRD Di2 – Top of the line aero road
The Felt AR FRD Di2 is the pinnacle of their AR (Aero Road) series and Felt’s engineers stressed to us how many hours they spend using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software as well as real world testing in the San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel to help determine what frame shapes should be used to create low drag and high lift all the while taking into account factors like high yaw angles (15 to 17.5 degrees, in this case). Felt also accounts for things like how the air flows around the bike with and without a water bottle in place on the down tube as the air is reattached behind the bottle. Every shape of the entire bike is taken into account. If you look closely at the photo above, you may notice that there is not rear brake on the seatstays. Felt mounts the rear brake in a more slipstream friendly position under the chainstays.
Aerodynamics are only part of the story, how the frame is constructed plays an even bigger part. For the AR FRD Di2, Felt uses their UHC Ultimate + TeXtreme carbon. TeXtreme is a lightweight and woven material developed by a Swedish company that used in Formula 1 racing applications. The structure of the TeXtreme carbon is called Spread Tow and provides thinner laminates, straighter fibers and lower crimp which saves weight and increases durability. Felt has used TeXtreme for a few years now and continues to do so for more models than ever this year.
This video gives us a quick look at the inner structure of TeXtreme:
Another stand-out feature of the AR FRD is their patented seatpost and clamp design. The seatpost is designed such that the material is soft, so soft you can squish it with your hands (in a lateral direction). The clamp is located inside the seatpost (there is an internal metal plate) and the seatpost itself is made from a lower modulus carbon. This creates a vibration reduction seatpost that provides excellent shock absorption without sacrificing frame stiffness and efficiency (the frame is the stiff member and the post is more compliant).
Felt AR FRD Di2 Specifications
- Frame: Felt Aero Road UHC Ultimate + TeXtreme® carbon fiber, MMC w/ InsideOut construction, carbon fiber BB30 & dropouts, 7075 CNC aluminum replaceable rear derailleur hanger, electronic-specific internal cable routing
- Fork: Felt Aero Road UHC Ultimate + TeXtreme® carbon fiber monocoque construction, AeroTaper 1.125″ – 1.25″ carbon fiber steerer tube w/ integrated crown race, crown, blades & dropouts
- Drivetrain: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifters w/ secondary sprint shifters, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 derailleurs, Shimano Dura-Ace 53/39T crankset, Shimano Dura-Ace 11-speed chian, Shimano Dura-Ace 12-25T cassette
- Components: Shimano Dura-Ace brakes w/carbon fiber rim brake pads, 3T Tornova LTD carbon fiber handlebar, 3T Integra LTD carbon fiber stem, Felt VariMount Aero Road flip position UHC carbon fiber seatpost, Prologo Zero II CPC Nack saddle, Vittoria Diamante Pro Light tires
- Wheelset: Zipp 404 Firecrest carbon fiber Wheelset
- Finish: Matte Carbon
- Sizes: 48,51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
- Weight: 6.89kg, 15.2 lbs (frame weight is under 900 grams)
- MSRP: $12,999
The Felt AR-series includes the AR FRD Di2, AR2, AR3, AR5 complete bikes and the AR FRD and AR1 frames.
Felt F3 – Affordable road racer
The Felt F3 is the affordable racer from their F-series race pedigree line of bikes. With the F-series, the focus is on a great stiffness to weight ratio with racer first geometry. This means that it has incredibly steep angles and low headtubes. The F3 lies in the middle of the model range and is their “workhorse” race bike and is popular with Felt’s young racers and development team riders. Instead of sending their racers one top-of-the-line bike, the team manager can get three of these models (and equip them differently or use them for back-up) and still come in within their budget. The carbon on the F3 is slightly different from the top of the line F1 PR or F FRD, the F3 uses Felt’s UHC Advanced+TeXtreme whereas the top line models use UHC Ultimate+TeXtreme.
Felt F3 Specifications
- Frame: Felt Race Road UHC Advanced + TeXtreme® carbon fiber, MMC w/ InsideOut construction, carbon fiber BB30 & dropouts, replaceable rear derailleur hanger, electronic compatible internal cable routing
- Fork: Felt Race Road UHC Ultimate carbon fiber monocoque construction, ControlTaper 1.125″ – 1.5″ carbon fiber steer tube w/ integrated crown race, crown, blades & dropouts
- Drivetrain: Shimano Ultegra STI shifters, Shimano Ultegra derailleurs, Shimano Ultegra crankset, Shimano 11-speed chain & cassette
- Components: 3T Ergosum Pro handlebar, 3T ARX II stem, 3T Stylus 25 Team Stealth seatpost, Prologo Nago Evo T2.0 saddle
- Wheelset: Shimano RS11 wheels w/ Vittoria Rubino Slick tires
- Finish: Satin Carbon (Charcoal, Silver, Red)
- Sizes: 48,51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
- Weight: 7.73kg, 17.0 lbs
- MSRP: $2,999
The Felt F series includes the F1 PR, F2, F3, F5 carbon models, the F75 aluminum model, the F95 JR 650b model and the F24 kid’s model. Frames are available in F FRD, F1 PR and F1 levels.
Felt IA2 – Cheat the wind
With it’s beginnings in the Tri arena, it’s no surprise that the Tri/TT line from Felt is their biggest with a whopping 12 models (including 3 framesets). The IA2 shown here is one step below their $13,999 IA FRD top line model.
As previously mentioned, aerodynamics is a major factor for Felt in developing new bikes and frames and their Tri line is the ultimate showcase for how efficient these bikes cut through the wind. In fact, the IA line is so good, they are not UCI compliant for racing (for UCI races you will have to select the DA, B or S series of TT bikes from Felt.) Felt’s senior product manager Dave Koesel states, “there were no rules to govern the shapes and we didn’t use shapes to govern the rules.” Not everyone who races Tri needs a UCI compliant bike and if you want an all-out wind cheating weapon, you’d do well to take a sharp look at the Felt IA series.
Felt IA2 Specifications
- Frame: Felt Integrated Aero Tri UHC Advanced carbon fiber, MMC w/ InsideOut construction, BB30 & carbon horizontal dropouts w/ integrated chain tensioners, internal cable routing (mechanical compatible)
- Fork: Felt Dagger UHC Advanced carbon fiber monocoque construction, 1.25″ carbon fiber steerer, brake covers, blades, dropouts, crown w/ Felt compression device
- Drivetrain: Shimano Dura-Ace TT Di2 shifters, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 derailleurs, Shimano Dura-Ace 53/39T crankset, Shimano Dura-Ace 11-speed chain, Shimano Dura-Ace 12-25T cassette
- Components: Felt Aero Tri integrated brakes w/ integrated covers, Felt Dagger UHC Ultimate + Nano base bar w/ Felt ƒ-Bend carbon fiber 3-position extensions, Felt Dagger stem, Felt Vibration Reducing Aero Tri UHC carbon fiber w/ 3T DiffLock™ Comfort Module internals seatpost, ISM Attack saddle, Felt Aero TTR2 700x23c tires
- Wheelset: Felt TTR1 and TTR0 Wheelset (by Novatec)
- Finish: Satin Carbon (White, Fluoro Green)
- Sizes: 48,51, 54, 56, 58cm
- Weight: TBA
- MSRP: $9,999
The Felt TT/TRI series includes the IA FRD, IA 2, IA 3, IA4, DA1, B2, B12, B14, S32 complete bikes and the IA FRD, IA1 and Da1 framesets.
For more information visit www.feltbicycles.com.