Mtbr was recently invited to the Felt Bicycles World Headquarters in Irvine, CA for the introduction of their 2015 bicycle line. We’ve already covered some of the key new Felt road bikes on our sister site: RoadBikeReview.com. A lot of the technology and performance lessons that Felt has learned from their aero road endeavors cross over to their performance mountain bikes. But they also spend considerable time on developing and refining such things as their Equilink suspension design, their carbon molding process and broadening their line-up.
The range of models that Felt makes is quite vast, they have mountain bikes in categories like enduro racing, XC racing, endurance riding, cyclocross, cruisers and are expanding into other categories like electric bikes and we have even previously covered their electric fatbike called the LEBOWSKe and their full suspension ebike called the DUALe at Sea Otter. Their Virtue Nine 20 was also reviewed in the Mtbr Enduro Compare-o.
For 2015, Felt is staying the course with most of their offerings. Their All Mountain bike is called the Compulsion and comes with 27.5″ wheels and aluminum frame only at this time (the carbon Compulsion LT3 that was previously available in 26 will not be carried over to the new line-up). Their Trail (Virtue) and XC (Edict) full suspension offerings come in 29er versions only (no 27.5 or 26 options) and are available in both carbon and alloy frames. Much of what Felt has learned and developed on the road side translate directly into their performance carbon hardtail offerings as well.
Be sure to check out ALL the photos in the gallery below, but for now we are going to focus on 4 specific Felt 2015 models: the Compulsion 10, Virtue 60, Edict FRD and Nine 1. We will also have information about more new models from Felt in about 2 weeks time.
Felt Compulsion 10 – Enduro racer
The Compulsion has been re-engineered for 2015 around the 27.5″ wheel size. They still use their proprietary Equilink suspension design that operates independently of drivetrain and braking forces. Felt’s engineers explained that the the Equilink design provides anti-squat and that a properly working suspension design shouldn’t need platform valving. If it climbs as well as the Virtue that we tested, but has bigger travel, the Compulsion could well be a serious contender. We did not get any ride time on these new bikes, so evaluations will have to wait until we can get test units in-house.
Ex-pro racer Scott Sharples is the MTB Product Manager at Felt and he is well qualified to put the Compulsion through it’s paces. Sharples explained that the alloy frames on the Compulsion have custom tubing and aren’t just downsized from the 29er version. Weight for the Compulsion 10 is claimed to be 28 lbs and Sharples did admit that carbon versions are in the works (as you can probably have guessed).
Felt Compulsion 10 Specifications
- Frame: Hydroform double-butted 6061 aluminum w/Equilink 160mm travel
- Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3, 160mm
- Shock: RockShox Monarch Plus RC3
- Drivetrain: SRAM X01
- Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC (180mm rotor front, 180mm rotor rear)
- Wheel/Tires: WTB KOM i23/Schwalbe Hans Dampf
- Color: Satin Blue (Chartreuse, Blue)
- Sizes: SM (16″), MD(18″), LG (20″), XL (22″)
- Weight: 12.9kg, 28.4 lbs
- MSRP: $4,499
The Compulsion line currently only has 3 complete bike models available, the Compulsion 10 ($4,499), the Compulsion 30 ($3,299) and the Compulsion 50 ($2.699).
Felt Virtue 60 – 29er trail bike
The Felt Virtue series features 29″ wheels and 130mm of Equilink suspension. There are 3 carbon models and 2 alloy models available. The top-of-the-line Virtue FRD comes with a UHC Ultimate + TeXtreme carbon frame, Shimano XTR drivetrain and Easton Haven wheels for $9,499. For 2015, the Virtue frame weighs in at 5.06 lbs which is about 1 lbs lighter than the previous version. It is also 20-25% stiffer. Felt is also using a new process for their carbon molding. Instead of the traditional nylon soft bladders and EPS foam, they are using silicon hard molds and bladders. Using a hard bladder internal creates are more uniform carbon layup. This process means there will be no drips, bubbles or wrinkles in the carbon. The new process takes longer, but also means that their less excess material.
All that carbon technology is great for building light, stiff and strong bikes, but they are also pretty costly. One of the biggest complaints we heard over and over during the Enduro Compare-o, was that all the bikes we feature are too expensive. So, with that in mind, we’ll take a closer look here at the Felt Virtue 60 with 6061 aluminum frame, Shimano Deore drivetrain and Suntour Aion fork all for $1,999. If you are looking for value, the Virtue 60 is it. What you sacrifice in weight gain, you will save at the cash register.
Felt Virtue 60 Specifications
- Frame: Felt Trail, double-butted 6061 aluminum, Hydroform, 130mm travel, Equilink suspension technology, ControlTaper head tube, post disc mount, replaceable derailleur hanger, standard 73mm threaded bottom bracket, 12 x 142mm w/ Syntace style thru axle, Ø30.9mm seatpost size, high direct FD mount
- Fork: Suntour Aion LO-R fork, 140mm travel, hydraulic lock w/rebound adjuster, Air Spring
- Drivetrain: Shimano Deore 3 x 10-speed shifters, Shimano Deore high direct mount front derailleur, Shimano Deore long cage rear derailleur, Shimano Deore Hollowtech II cranks, Shimano chain, Shimano 10-speed 11-36T cassette
- Components: Felt MTB double-butted 6061 aluminum handlebar, 15mm rise x 9° sweep, 720mm width, Felt MTB 3D-forged threadless stem, Felt butted 6061 aluminum micro-adjust seat post, WTB Volt saddle w/ steel rails, Shimano M355 hydraulic disc brakes
- Wheelset: Aluminum i23 29″ rims, forged aluminum, Center Lock disc mount 32H hubs, 2.0mm stainless steel spokes, Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance folding tires, 29″ x 2.35″
- Finish: Satin Black (Silver, Red)
- Sizes: SM (16″), MD (18″), LG (20″), XL (22″)
- Weight: 14.30kg, 31.5 lbs
- MSRP: $1,999
The Felt Virtue series includes the FRD, 1 and 3 carbon and the 50 and 60 aluminum complete bikes. The Virtue FRD and Virtue 1 are available as frame kits.
Felt Edict FRD – Top-shelf XC racer
The Felt Edict FRD is their top-of-the-line carbon 29er with 100mm of travel. At this lower amount of travel, Felt incorporates what they call Felt Active Stay Technology (FAST) that does away with the extra link in the suspension and has one less pivot in the rear (for the carbon models). Instead, the carbon stays are molded to provide a certain amount of give as the suspension cycles through its travel. The lone aluminum Edict model (the Edict 60) still uses the rear pivot.
The Edict FRD features SRAM XX1 drivetrain for simplicity, lightweight and reliability. The FRD also comes with the brand new RockShox RS1 with 120mm of travel. Pairing a longer travel fork is common among Felt’s full suspension models and results in a more capable ride all around. SRAM Carbon wheels and XX brakes results in a lightweight package claimed to be 22 lbs.
Felt Edict FRD Specifications
- Frame: UHC Ultimate + TeXtreme carbon w/FAST
- Fork: RockShox RS1, 120mm
- Shock: RockShox Monarch XX with custom tune 100mm
- Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Grip Shift
- Wheelset/Tires: SRAM Carbon Rise 60/Schwalbe Racing Ralphs
- Finish: Satin Carbon TeXtreme (Shadow, Red)
- Sizes: SM (16″), MD (18″), LG (20″), XL (22″)
- Weight: 10.00kg, 22.0
- MSRP: $8,999
The Felt Edict series includes the FRD, 1, 3 and 5 carbon and 60 aluminum complete bikes. The Edict FRD and Edict 1 are available as a frame kit.
Felt Nine 1 – Super-light XC 29er hardtail
The most direct line of mountain bikes for Felt to crossover all their carbon working and high end testing and modeling know-how is in the 29er carbon hardtail arena. After all, these bikes are not that far off from their fellow big wheeled brethren. From their experience in the World Cup circuit, Felt has changed to a 12mmx142mm thru-axle for the rear dropouts as well as improving the carbon fiber lay-up (as stated above in the Edict FRD section).
It should be noted that for their FRD models, Felt uses their UHC Ultimate + TeXtreme carbon and that for the Nine 1 model, they use UHC Advanced + TexTreme carbon. The Nine FRD that utilizes the Ultimate carbon is available, but only as a frameset. There is a slight difference in the carbon layup process, but the Advanced version comes in much less expensive. If you are wondering about TeXtreme, it 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.
Felt Nine 1 Specifications
- Frame: Felt UHC Advanced + TeXtreme carbon
- Fork: RockShox Sid RL, 100mm
- Components: SRAM X01
- Wheelset/Tires: Easton EA70 XCT/Schwalbe Racing Ralphs
- Finish: Satin Carbon (Gloss Black, Chartreuse)
- Sizes: XS (14″), SM (16″), MD (18″), LG (20″), XL (22″)
- Weight: 9.3kg, 20.5 lbs
- MSRP: $4,999
The Felt Nine series includes the 1, 3, 5, 6 in carbon and the 60, 70 and 80 in aluminum complete bikes. The Nine FRD and Nine 1 are available as frame kits.
For more information visit www.feltbicycles.com.