Some biking companies have been around too long, become household names, and have become institutions in their respective countries.
On the other hand, some are relatively new in the field but are trailblazing new grounds by being innovative and adapting new technologies and designs in making bikes.
Felt Bicycles belong to the second category. This Felt Bikes Review will talk about why Felt bicycles have been making waves as of late despite the company taking quite a time to establish itself in the biking industry.
We will also discuss the better bikes manufactured by Felt currently in the market and whether it is worth having one.
Felt Bikes: A Brief Overview
The history of Felt Bicycles can be traced to 1991, when Jim Felt established the company in Irvine, California. After a legal dispute that dragged on for a decade, the company was relaunched and started manufacturing and distributing bicycles.
Jim Felt and the company did well within the next sixteen years, despite occasional bumps, like in 2009, when most of their bike models were recalled due to faulty steerer tubes.
The company established itself as one of the more recognizable brands. Jim Felt, however, decided to sell the company to Rossignol group, a famous brand specializing in making skis.
Felt Bicycles has no signs of slowing down, and the new ownership, an equally reputable sports brand in its own right, continued the tradition of innovation and cutting-edge technology, which is the hallmark of Felt.
What Makes Felt Bikes Stand Out Among Others?
Ever since its inception in the early 90s, Felt has been one of the pioneers in innovation and bike technology application. Their bikes have most received favorable from experts due to those things.
Let us make a rundown of what makes Felt bikes truly special.
Felt bicycles never failed to improve their bikes’ quality, performance, and comfort they accord riders through technology. The materials, for instance.
They improved on the carbon frames and forks to make them more durable but, at the same time, even lighter, making the bike more comfortable.
A carbon frame is lighter than an aluminum frame. Felt improved on the carbon technology, using Textreme fabric, which is more durable but more lightweight.
That makes the frames and fork significantly lighter, making the bike’s overall weight much more lightweight than other bikes of carbon fiber material.
Methods and Technique
The way they craft their bikes is different from other companies. They use the “inside out” molding, which reduces the overlap in layers of carbon.
The result is more compact but lighter carbon frames than those other bikes.
Other bike components might impact carbon frames and forks. For this reason, you must be careful when putting other bike components, like an adjustable stem or stem riser, on a bike with a carbon suspension fork.
Felt bikes improved on seat clamping so that it will not impact the durability of the carbon frames, which they produce using different technology and molding technique.
They also apply aerodynamic principles to seat clamping, allowing the rider to have more comfort while minimizing as much as possible the effect on speed. The result, overall, is an enhanced riding performance for the rider.
The former owner, Jim Felt, made a name for himself for the revolutionary aerodynamic designs he employed on his bikes.
He has been making aero frames for triathletes even before he established Felt Bicycles, and the tradition of improving the design to enhance the riding experience has continued to this day.
Felt, for instance, claimed that one of his frames, the IA, can use the wind for its benefit. Instead of causing drag, the frame can take advantage of the wind, with the bike frame causing the wind to propel the bike instead of dragging it.
The other components also make for a bike that minimizes drag and enhances speed. The shape of the frames allows for better performance when encountering crosswinds.
They also use airfoils for the handlebars that negate wind drag, allowing a faster ride.
Throughout the years, Felt has no qualms about the Felt bike’s designs, even creating aero-bikes disallowed by Union Cycliste Internationale.
He only wants to make the fastest bike, given the technology, no matter what.
Therefore, some bike designs are more suitable for those engaging in other sports, a triathlon, for instance, than those competing in cycling events. But that is only for those bikes disallowed by UCI.
The Captive Market
And that brings us to this aspect. Felt bikes cater to cycling athletes, riders, and bikers, but of a far more specific type. They cater more to those whose specs, designs, and techniques are essential.
We can say that they do not cater to the general public, though the people will surely want what they offer.
In particular, the Felt bikes are a favorite by triathletes. The aerodynamic design, the material, and the nature of the triathlon itself make the Felt bikes ideal and truly efficient for triathlon.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Felt Bikes?
The only issues with Felt bikes concern not so much the performance of their bikes but rather the marketability for certain people.
Not for Beginners
The bikes Felt manufactures are mostly for pro riders and athletes. They are not your beginner’s bikes that anyone could enjoy.
The aerodynamic qualities are for specific people, and at times, for particular athletes only.
As of late, Felt Bicycles cut on its production. They removed certain types of bikes from their line: you cannot have a mountain bike, fat bike, and BMX.
However, they continue to produce, among others, road bikes, gravel bikes, cyclocross bikes, and of course, triathlon and time trial bikes.
The Ideal Riders For Felt Bikes
After some discussion, one can guess who the ideal Felt bike riders are.
Triathlon is an altogether different sport. It involves an entirely different discipline and techniques. As such, it requires another bicycle, if only to enhance the performance of a triathlete.
Some claim that triathlon athletes using triathlon bikes perform faster on pedals than those who do not.
Others contend that on balance, athletes using a triathlon bike perform well overall; when running, for instance, even without much of an advantage in biking.
Whether it is due to the technology and aerodynamic qualities of a triathlon bike or due to the greater familiarity of the triathlete with the “weapon,” the fact is that triathletes usually perform better using a triathlon bike that using a traditional one.
And Felt is one of the best manufacturers of triathlon bikes.
Athletes who are particular with specs and performance and want a comparative advantage over others will enjoy a Felt bike. Its revolutionary design and aerodynamic qualities, from frame to handlebar, could give the athlete that advantage he wants over the others.
Felt Bikes Review: Their Best Bikes in the Market
Among the most highly-rated Felt bikes on the market are:
1. IA Triathlon Race
Better start with their triathlon bike. IA Triathlon Race is probably the most famous bike, not only by Felt but worldwide. It is mainly associated with Paula Newby-Fraser, the world-famous triathlete who won multiple titles while riding this one.
Depending on the model, the price of the IA Triathlon Race could range from nearly $3,000 to as high as $17 000. Available in different sizes to cater to other athletes, this one is one of the more expensive bikes on the market.
For components and specs, you have the usual suspects. The drivetrains are either Shimano or SRAM. Same with hydraulic disc brakes too. Other parts, of course, are by Felt itself, including the famous carbon frame and fork that uses Textreme.
With the revolutionary design, technology, and high specs, IA Triathlon Race might be the perfect bike for triathletes.
2. FX Cyclocross
Cyclocross bikes are for those fitness buffs whose idea of getting into condition is to take on extreme terrains: mud, snow, sand. A little bit of pain, but more guts, more glory. This cyclocross race bike is one of the better ones on the market.
It has two models. The FX Advanced Force CX1 sports SRAM Force drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes cost $ 699, and the FX Advanced GXR 600, which employs a Shimano GRX RX00 and hydraulic disc brakes. This one costs more than a thousand dollars less, at $3,199.
This one has proven itself in competitions, with its very lightweight frame and specs suited for cyclocross and design that make the rider faster and perform better overall.
3. VR Endurance Road Bike
This one can go the total distance and take you anywhere. Whether alone or in groups, riders need not worry about flat roads or unexplored terrain. This endurance bike from Felt sports the latest technology that combines maximum comfortability with great versatility.
The result is better road performance and an excellent and enjoyable riding experience.
It comes in five models, prices ranging from $1,299 to as high as $6,549. But all Shimano drivetrains, of varying groupsets, and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, except for VR 6o, which employs Tektro.
VR endurance applies the vintage, revolutionary technology and design of Felt bikes. Design for comfort without sacrificing that much on speed, it is one of the most lightweight endurance road bikes around. It only weighs just a shade below eighteen pounds when fully built.
4. FR Road Race
This one is built to win. Here lies the synthesis of the biker and bike as the ultimate speed machine. That synthesis perfectly matches the great union of advanced technology and revolutionary design. We can say it is the quintessential Felt road bike.
It is very light and speedy; you can blaze with speed on the flat road and take any climb with ease.
Available in three models, all sporting high-end Shimano drivetrains, either Dura-Ace or Ultegra, but employs Shimano hydraulic disc. The high-end version costs $13,049, while the cheapest is $4,549.
Is It One of the Best? Concluding Our Felt Bikes Review
The cycling world was shocked when Jim Felt sold his company in 2017. It was a profitable enterprise and had made its mark in the cycling world with its innovative design and technology. Most of all, it has won, the ultimate proof of everything he envisioned.
Whatever his motivations may be, the important thing is that Felt Bicycles is very much around to give us nothing but high-quality, elite, top-of-the-line bikes.
The decision to shelve some types of bikes like mountain bikes, fat bikes, and BMX is undoubtedly regrettable. Fans of those bikes would like to have Felt manufacture them if only to taste its technology and design.
Nevertheless, what they offer are the best bikes in the field. Felt bikes are among the elite with revolutionary technology, great innovation, and design. They are indeed one of the best and have everything to show for it.