Review: Felt Nine FRD – Ultimate Carbon Hardtail 29er

29er Cross Country

Are you ready for some bike porn? We’ve received many dream bikes in our test garage but this latest one from Felt is a showstopper. It is a Felt Nine FRD 29er hardtail frame built up with the finest components available, mostly from Enve and Shimano XTR. The result is an ultimate racing rig that weighs in at 19.8 lbs with pedals.

Video: The Angry Singlespeeder rode this bike in a full-on all mountain trail with some pro riders. Nobody got hurt.

We will let the photos speak for themselves but it looks like a stealth bike with understated opulence. There’s no loud colors but the bike will draw you in for a closer look at every opportunity. This setup is sold as frame-only in the FRD model and it retails for $2899. But the beauty of this system is there’s a lot of trickle-down options as there are several options on the Felt Nine series. The Nine series ranges from the aluminum frame Nine 60 at $1029 to the carbon Nine 1 at $5169. Check HERE for the full range of Felt Nine hardtail bikes.

The FRD Frame

Let’s talk a little bit about the frame as it is quite an achievement. Using an advanced material called TeXtreme, Felt was able to achieve a weight of 900 grams which is a hair under 2 lbs. And this comes with no compromise on stiffness or durability. During our test, we hammered on climbs and this bike accelerated up like no other. On sprints, power transfer was immediate as the massive bottom bracket minimized any power lost to frame flex. We also threw it down some drops and took a few rock hits on the down tube. The bike was not bothered at all.

Video: Eddie MacDonald talks about the Felt Nine FRD frame

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Bike Porn indeed. Kudos to Felt for making the FRD with a threaded BB shell. Hopefully more manufacturers will wake up and realize the traditional threaded shell is the way to go.

    I rode this bike at Santa Cruz with Francis and friends and it’s no doubt a machine built for speed. It accelerates out of the hole like a branded hyena. The 27.2 post does a decent job of soaking up bumps, but it’s still far from a plush ride out back. The carbon ENVE wheels help quite a bit with bump absorption while adding to this bike’s insane lateral stiffness. Plus the 12K weave matte finish with gloss decals looks simply badass.

    For XC racing, you’ll be hard pressed to find a lighter, more durable and faster platform. MTBR’s Mark Gouge raced it in the Cat 1 50-54 XC race at Sea Otter, and here are his thoughts on how the bike performed:

    “The Felt FRD rode exactly like you would anticipate a 29er carbon hardtail to ride. It had a good solid feel. The CTD suspension really helped dial in the front end for the changing trail conditions. The XTR brakes and shifting was flawless. When I was walking it through the Sea Otter venue, every one wanted to know what kind of bike it was. The checkered carbon lay up gave it a stealth look. With the Enve wheels and Enve stem/bar set up it was sub 20lbs (900 gr frame set). Stiff in the BB where you want it, making it a great XC climbing bike. Either sitting or hammering standing up on the punchy little climbs out on the Sea Otter XC race course, it really felt fast and responsive. This is one of the best XC 29er rigs I’ve ridden. For the Sea Otter course it was 5 stars.”

    – Angry Singlespeeder

  • Francis Cebedo says:

    We added your video of you riding Angry, the guys were ragged on the DH trying to keep up with you.

  • Roger says:

    I’m confused? Is there anything not ultimate in your bike reviews? Which bike I’m I suppose to throw my boat load of money I grow on trees?

  • FongsWay says:

    When a bike this new is described as “durable” the skepticism creeps in

  • Roger says:

    What’s the rider weight limit on this bike?

  • FRDRacer says:

    My FRD Nine came in at just a hair over 19lbs. All XX1, Easton handlebars & seatpost, Ritchey carbon stem, Selle Italia Kit carbonio SLR seat & aluminum I9s. Shop said it would have been sub 19 with I9 Pillar carbons.

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