This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–http://reviews.mtbr.com/category/enduro-compare-o-2014
Racing is at the core of Felt Bicycles, a company that got its start in the late 1980’s when Jim Felt began building bicycles for motocross legend Johny O’Mara. As cross-training, O’Mara competed in triathlons and Felt—his motorcycle mechanic and a triathlete himself—built them each tri bikes.
From those humble beginnings, Felt has grown to make performance oriented bikes for racers and riders of all disciplines and events including the road racing, track racing, cross country mountain bike, and now, enduro.
Felt’s Virtue Nine series of 29er mountain bikes were designed with enduro in mind, feature 130mm of rear travel, and come in both carbon and aluminum configurations. Felt uses a rear suspension design of their own making, called Equilink that provides a full range of travel independent of drivetrain and braking influences, according to the company.
Our $3799 Virtue Nine 20 is Felt’s top-spec aluminum version of the bike which slots just below the carbon Nine 1 and Nine 3. And while carbon is slick, there’s just something about the Nine 20’s stunning paint—a color called Fool’s Gold—that makes us want to get this bike on the trail.
Equilink is Felt’s patented design that isolates active working suspension from drivetrain or braking influence. This should result in a great climbing bike, but will it be plush on the downhills as well?
The RockShox Monarch RT3 shock provides the rear cush.
Like most of the bikes in our test, Felt’s integrated head tube accommodates a tapered steerer fork with an 1-1/8-inch upper bearing and 1.5-inch lower bearings to improve front-end stiffness and steering precision without adding weight.
With their extensive knowledge of carbon, it is not surprising to see Felt spec their own UHC 720mm carbon handlebar and a 70mm Felt MTB 3D-forged stem.
We are happy to see Felt spec one of our favorite dropper posts—the KS Lev.
2014 Felt Virtue Nine 20 Key Specs
- Weight: 30.73 pounds(size medium)
- Wheel size: 29 inches
- Frame Material: Aluminum
- Travel/Suspension: Rear-130mm RockShox Monarch RT shock; Front-140mm RockShox Revelation RL
- Drivetrain: Shimano XT 2x; 38t,24t chainring, 11-36 cassette
- Brakes: Shimano XT Disc, 180mm front, 160mm rear
- Seatpost: KS Lev dropper post
- Wheelset/Tires: DT Swiss 533D rims w/XT hubs; Continental X-King SL 2.4-inch tires
- Bars/Stem: Felt Riser Bar/ Felt Stem
- Bottom Bracket Type: standard (73mm) threaded BB
- Head Tube Angle: 69.0 degrees
- Seat Tube Angle: 74.5 degrees
- Chainstay Length: 450mm
- Bottom Bracket Drop: 36mm
- Bike MRSP: $3799
For more information visit http://www.feltbicycles.com.
This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.