First Look Felt Decree

Light weight and adjustable geometry 140mm trail bike

27.5 All Mountain Trail
The super stiff TeXtreme carbon frame helps keep the Felt Decree composed and moving forward, no matter what the terrain. Photo courtesy of Johan Hjord

The super stiff TeXtreme carbon frame helps keep the Felt Decree composed and moving forward, no matter what the terrain (click to enlarge). Photo courtesy of Johan Hjord

The top-of-the-line European spec Decree FRD (Felt Racing Development) provided to journalists at the launch weighed just under 26 pounds with pedals and ENVE M60 carbon wheels. However, the North American-spec FRD bike will have lighter DT Swiss carbon wheels for a complete weight of just 24.06 pounds (sans pedals). That’s a real world weight, too. Product manager Rob Pauley made a point of telling us that listed weights come from real bikes he weighs himself after they’re photographed.

Felt uses different versions of their carbon fiber to hit different weight goals and price points. The FRD model is constructed from UHC Ultimate + TeXtreme, their lightest carbon fiber. The next step down, the Decree 1, uses UHC Advanced + TeXtreme carbon, which Felt says has the same stiffness but weighs a bit more. It’s still super light, though – the complete Decree 1 (North American spec) weighs just 25.57 pounds and costs $3500 less than the $10,000 FRD.

Riding Tremalzo Pass with fresh snow. Riders: Collin and Judith McMahon.

Riding Tremalzo Pass with fresh snow. Riders: Collin and Judith McMahon (click to enlarge).

Bottom Line

I was really impressed with the Felt Decree. Because there’s so much travel time involved and I don’t get to go to Europe very often, I stayed in Italy for a couple of extra days. That meant I got more time on the bike – possible more than anyone besides Felt employees. I spent two days riding it on the test trails Felt set up for us, in both wet and semi-wet conditions (there was no dry riding on this trip).

I also rode the classic Tremalzo Pass shuttle ride with a friend from Germany. That was a very interesting adventure, with a lot more variety than the trails in Torbole offered. We started at an altitude of 5500 feet in fresh snow and descended all the way to Riva del Garda, on the lake, at about 250 feet. The trail varied widely, from rocky World War I military roads to leafy singletrack, to steep rocky creek beds I later found out were ancient mule trails. My point is – I got to experience the Decree on almost anything you can think of. Everything but the “normal” flowy Western US trails I’m used to, anyway.

A classic view of Lago di Garda from the mid-point of the Tremalzo Pass descent. Riders: Collin and Judith McMahon.

A classic view of Lago di Garda from the mid-point of the Tremalzo Pass descent. Riders: Collin and Judith McMahon (click to enlarge).

Feel free to take my first impressions on the Felt Decree with a grain of salt. I’ll be the first to admit I’m probably still basking in the post Italy trip / new bike glow. And it’s really hard to find much fault with any top-of-the-line $10,000 carbon fiber trail bike. My preference for a follow-up, long term test would be the $6500 Decree 1 as I think it’s a more realistic bike (yes, I agree that’s still a lot of money) for regular working folks. Regardless, I really enjoyed the bike and was genuinely surprised at how well it performed on Garda’s sketchy trails.

The Felt Decree trail bike on Tremalzo Pass, high above Lago di Garda.

The Felt Decree trail bike on Tremalzo Pass, high above Lago di Garda (click to enlarge).

For more information visit www.feltbicycles.com.


About the author: John Shafer

John Shafer, a.k.a. Photo-John, is a respected photography expert and adventure photographer. He’s been an Mtbr forum member and contributor since 1999 and you can find his writing and photography across the Web, in mountain bike magazines and on his own Web site, Photo-John.net. John loves big mountains, rocky singletrack, low-visibility powder days, 6-inch trail bikes, coffee and tacos. Look for him pushing his bike uphill, carrying an inappropriate amount of camera gear in an overloaded backpack.


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  • Gregg Kato says:

    Thanks for the great write-up Photo-John! And the killer pix. One question: the flip chip adjustment…is that something one can do trail side with just an Allen wrench? Does it require removing the air from the shock?

    • John Shafer says:

      Good question, Gregg. Felt didn’t intend the Flip Chips to be used for quick trailside geometry changes and it’s best to do it at home, in your garage or shop. They’re really intended to set up the bike for your particular riding style or for a specific trail or trip. That said, I’ve been told you could make the change on the trail, if you wanted. An Allen wrench is all that’s required and you don’t need to dump air from the shock. However, the seat stays are installed in a flexed position so it may take a bit of finessing to get the bolts in and out since they are under a bit of pressure.

  • wiseone says:

    Flex stays make for difficult to impossible shock tuning as they impart their own spring forces (negative turning positive). Not to mention they will fatigue prematurely (about when your warranty is up).

    That kinked seat tube pretty much mandates a dropper as you can’t sink a traditional post very far. Also means you won’t be able to use one of the forthcoming longer droppers.

  • vincent says:

    Thanks for the great review! I’m wondering how the feel of this bike compares to something like a Yeti sb-5c, Ibis HD3, etc? Did you need to put the shock into trail mode to get good pedaling support? Would you describe it as ‘playful’ or ‘planted’? I work for a felt dealer, and have always been very impressed with their carbon fiber tech- they build some of the lightest and stiffest frames on the market. The geometry of this bike looks to be very balanced and progressive as you mentioned. So my big question on this bike is, how does this suspension design stack up against some of the dual link floating pivot designs? thanks!

  • Matt says:

    So the top of the line European model comes with Enve wheels (north american made) and the top of the line North American model comes with DT Swiss Wheels (European made)….

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