Hot News: Felt all in with disc brakes on cyclocross bikes

Cross Sea Otter Classic

The new F2x comes stock with disc brakes, thru-axle dropouts front and rear, and this lovely pistachio-colored frame.

Illustrating yet again that what works on mountain bikes is good for the skinny tire sect as well, Felt has gone all in with disc brakes on its 2015 cyclocross range, which will be available starting in August. All but two of the line’s nine bikes are equipped with disc brakes, and the three top end models — the F1x (frameset only), F2x and F3x — utilize thru-axles front and rear.

“And the thru-axle we’re using is unique to our ’cross bikes, not just borrowed technology from mountain bikes,” explained product manager Ben Warren during our visit with Felt at last week’s Sea Otter Classic. “Up front we use the same 15mm diameter as you’d see on a mountain bike, but the length is shorter because we don’t have to worry as much about axle twist from independent leg movement from the suspension articulating. This will help tie the front end of these bikes together and provide greater lateral rigidity.”

Felt is using a thru-axle specifically built for its ‘cross bikes.

Warren also pointed out that the new CX bikes thru-axles use a courser thread, so it only takes a couple turns to lock it in place. “It’s the same rationale where you don’t need as much engagement on the fork legs as you would with a mountain bike,” he added.

The top line F1x frameset is a blend of UHC advanced carbon and Felt’s flagship material, TeXtreme, which it claims is the best composite currently on the market. Frameset only will be available in six sizes from 47cm to 60cm, uses 140mm post-mount disc tabs, and retail for around $2100.

The real head turner at Sea Otter was the F2x with its gloss pistachio-colored frame paint and Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain and Shimano R785 D12 hydraulic disc brakes. It uses the same 15mm thru-axles and 140mm post-mount disc tabs, and will come with a DT Swiss R23 DB tubeless ready wheelset and a 3T VR vibration dampening seat post. The F2x is also available in six sizes and will set you back between $5500 and $6000 (exact pricing is not set yet). The F3x ($3700-$4000) has a similar build but with mechanical Ultegra and Mavic Aksium ONE wheels.

A step lower is the F4x ($2900-$3100), one of the first bikes we’ve seen with SRAM’s new single chainring CX1 drivetrain, yet more borrowed mountain bike technology where a clutch derailleur and thick-thin chainring teeth keep the chain taut and in place. Shifting and braking are SRAM Force level, but could easily be upgraded to SRAM hydro when the recalled product comes back on line. In the meantime it uses the TRP Spyre SLC disc brakes.

The Felt F4x comes with SRAM’s new CX1 single-ring drivetrain.

The F4x also features gruppo-specific cable, where the rear derailleur housing is continuous and unbroken front to rear. “We even have sealed ferrules so there is no way water can get in there,” added Warren. “You could just about submerge this bike and it would be okay.”

The remainder of the range includes the F5x (carbon frame, Shimano 105, $2200-$2400), F65x (alloy frame, Shimano 105, $1700-$1900), F85x (alloy frame, Shimano lower tier blend, $1300-$1350), F95x (alloy frame, cantilever brakes, Shimano Sora, no pricing yet) and the F24x, a kids bike with 24-inch wheels, cantilever brakes and Shimano Sora drivetrain ($800-$850).

Finally Felt was also displaying its new Z2 disc road bike (140mm rotors), which is part of the company’s endurance line. Spec will feature Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain and Shimano R785 D12 hydraulic disc brakes. ($6200-$6500, available in November). More info at www.feltbicycles.com.

For more check out out extended photo gallery.

Hot News: Felt all in with disc brakes on cyclocross bikes Gallery
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Felt F4x

One of the first bikes we've seen equipped with SRAM's new CX1 single ring drivetrain.
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Felt F4x

Like SRAM's popular XX1 mountain bike group, CX1 uses a chainring with thick-thin teeth to keep the chain in place.
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Felt F4x

Braking comes courtesy of TRP's Spyre SLC disc.
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Felt F4x

BB30 bottom bracket for increased stiffness and efficiency.
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Felt F4x

Ample mud clearance now that the brake caliper has moved elsewhere.
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Felt F4x

Cockpit is Felt CxR Superlite.
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Felt F4x

The CX1 rear derailleur has a clutch to maintain chain tension.
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Felt F4x

Look ma, no shifter needed.
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Felt F4x

These mechanical brakes could be replaced by SRAM hydros when the recalled product comes back on line later this year.
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Felt F2x

Loving the frame color -- and the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.
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Felt F2x

15mm thru axle dropouts will increase stiffness and steering precision.
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Felt F2x

Thru-axles have come to cyclocross.
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Felt F2x

Some of the best rubber around, the Challenge Grifo race tire.
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures in British Columbia, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, and Peru among many others. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in January, 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and edited a book on cycling tips. When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying the great outdoors with his wife Lisa.


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