Felt Bicycles 2012 – First look at the full range
Full range of carbon ‘cross
bikes plus new alloy frames
As we hinted back in April at the Sea Otter Classic, Felt’s all-new 2012 F2X
carbon ‘cross bike will merely be the flagship for what will be an
impressively complete range of mudders – all of which will be available no
later than August.
The US$ 6,499 F2X will land on store showrooms pretty much exactly how
it was shown in Monterey, including the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic
transmission, FSA Energy BB30 hollow-forged aluminum cranks with
‘cross-specific gearing, TRP’s new CX8.4 linear-pull brakes, and custom Fulcrum
Racing 3 CX alloy tubeless clinchers with tubeless-ready Vittoria Cross XG
The US$ 3,499 F3X skips the electronic whizbangery for SRAM’s ultralight
Red/Force transmission instead, plus a custom solid-forged SRAM BB30 aluminum
cranks (again with ‘cross-specific gearing), more conventional TRP EuroX
wide-profile cantilevers, and Fulcrum Racing 5 CX alloy clinchers.
The F4X is the least expensive carbon ‘cross bike in Felt’s 2012 range
at US$ 2,799. Component highlights
include a Shimano Ultegra 6700 transmission, FSA Energy BB30 cranks, Tektro
wide-profile cantilevers, and Fulcrum Racing 7 CX wheels.
All of the carbon FX bikes will use the same UHC Performance frame and
all-carbon fork with respective claimed weights of 1,090g for a 55cm size and
540g. According to Felt road product
manager Dave Koesel, the company easily could have gone lighter but preferred
to keep things a little more durable given the rough-and-tumble nature of
The one exception is the frameset-only US$ 1,999 F1X
flagship, which will use the same UHC Performance frame as the rest of the
carbon FX bikes but a lighter tapered carbon fork from Enve Composites.
Disc brake equipped alloy framed F65X
Felt surprised us, though, with all-new alloy ‘cross bikes, too. In contrast to the outgoing F1X, the new
frames still with 100 percent 7005 aluminum construction, stays and all. Additional features include 1 1/8-to-1 1/2in
tapered front ends, carbon and alloy tapered forks to match, true BB30 bottom
brackets, hydroformed “shoulder friendly” top tubes, forged alloy
dropouts, and lighter weights than the old F1X at 1,434g as compared to 1,585g.
The US$ 1,999 F55X will sit at the top of the alloy ‘cross bike heap
with a Shimano Ultegra 6700 transmission, an FSA Energy BB30 crankset, Fulcrum
Racing 7 CX wheels, and Tektro wide-profile cantilevers. Riders on more of a budget may find
themselves looking instead at the F75X, which uses the same frameset but
Shimano 105 bits, an FSA Omega BB30 crankset, Felt CXR3 Cyclocross wheels, and
Tektro wide-profile cantilevers for US$ 1,449.
Felt unfortunately didn’t include the disc-equipped F2X show bike into
the ’12 range, saying pro riders were logically still awaiting proper full
hydraulic systems from component manufacturers to really pull the trigger. That being said, ‘cross fans looking to run
disc brakes can instead opt for the F65X with its disc-specific alloy ‘cross
frame and fork – similar to that of the F55X but with 135mm rear hub spacing
and dedicated caliper fittings) – outfitted with Avid BB5 brakes, Felt CXR3
Cyclocross wheels, SRAM Apex DoubleTap levers, a custom SRAM S300 BB30
crankset, and SRAM Rival derailleurs.
Though the US$ 1,999 F55X will obviously be a bit heavier than a rim
brake equivalent, Felt has minimized the impact somewhat by speccing lighter
Ashima 160/140mm front/rear stainless steel brake rotors with more aggressive
cutouts and a 1.6mm thickness. Claimed
weight on the front is just 85g while the rear is only 68g.
Wrapping up the ’12 Felt ‘cross range is the US$ 1,299 singlespeed
Breed, which gets similar upgrades as the rest of the alloy frames but will
rear-entry horizontal dropouts, a trick rear thru-axle rear hub that requires
just a single 15mm wrench for installation and removal, and a clever BEERNuts
tool that attaches to the water bottle bolts.
Mountain bikes – new
mid-range Edict and (finally) a carbon Virtue
Felt Edict Pro
Felt has followed up last year’s Edict short-travel
cross-country bike introduction with a lower-cost mid-range model to
expand its appeal. The new US$ 5,499
Edict Pro steps down to Felt’s UHC Advanced carbon fiber blend (the US$ 9,999
Edict LTD uses Felt’s top-end UHC Ultimate plus Nano mix) and will come
equipped with Shimano’s latest Deore XT 2×10 group with matching wheels, a Fox
32 F100 FIT Remote fork and RP23 Boost Valve rear shock.
We arrived at Felt’s Irvine, California headquarters expecting to see a
29″ Edict but alas, mountain bike product manager Andy Stone said that
while the company currently has one in development, it just wasn’t ready in
time. If all goes well, we should see it
later in 2012, though.
Last year’s carbon fiber Virtue trail
bike sneak preview sadly didn’t materialize into a production machine but
Felt says its novel Equilink suspension-equipped trail bike is now finally
ready to make its way on to showroom floors, complete with further refinements
that include a new down tube shape, less weight, and a tougher lower link.
The all-carbon Virtue frame
The top end US$ 9,999 Virtue LTD will use Felt’s UHC Ultimate plus Nano
carbon fiber blend, a Shimano XTR 2×10 group and wheels, a RockShox Revelation
World Cup fork, and Fox RP23 rear shock.
The next two carbon Virtues – the US$ 6,999 Virtue Team and US$ 3,999
Virtue Expert – will step down to the UHC Performance carbon fiber plus SRAM X0
and X7 groups, respectively.
Rounding out the Virtue range is the US$ 3,499 Virtue Expert with an
alloy front end and carbon rear and SRAM X7/X9 component mix, and the
all-aluminum Virtue Sport with SRAM X5/X7, a RockShox Recon fork, and Tektro
Draco hydraulic disc brakes.
The Nine series of 29er hardtails will continue into ’12 mostly
unchanged save for spec and color changes.
One exception is the carbon range, which uses the same external mold as
’11 but new InsideOut internal molds for better material compaction and
improved strength. The frame range also
gets simplified into two models instead of last year’s three: one with Felt’s
top-end UHC Ultimate plus Nano carbon and the other with the UHC Performance
Frame weight on the Nine Team flagship has actually gone up by 30g. Stone says extra material was added to cater
to general trail riders that might abuse the bikes harder than pure
cross-country racers that the bike was originally intended for. Claimed weight for the Nine Team frame is
still just 1,080g, though, and the second-tier Nine Elite checks in at 1,300g.
Once standard 26″-wheeled hardtails are still included in the 2012
Felt lineup but just barely. The carbon
fiber Six has been eliminated completely, leaving just the lowly US$ 799 Q620
and US$ 599 Q520 alloy models in its wake.
Road – few changes save for new steel
F4130 steel road bike
Felt launched an awesome new range of F-series road and DA-series
time trial/triathlon bikes last year so we weren’t surprised to see
them carried over for ’12 save for changes in spec and graphics plus an
expanded range of DA models to suit more budgets. Likewise, the AR, Z, ZW, B, and S-series
platforms are also mostly unchanged.
One big surprise, however, is the new US$ 2,999 F4130 steel road bike
built with custom Columbus chromoly tubing and Felt’s own BB30 bottom bracket
shell. Felt suitably equips this
classically styled roadster, too, with Campagnolo Athena 11-speed componentry
and custom polished alloy clincher wheels.
Lifestyle and cruiser – new
‘tank’ frames plus the Dutch-style Verza Regency
The popular Felt Shelby
Felt continues in 2012 with an extensive collection of Verza and
Café urban, city, and commuter bikes to suit most styles and budgets. However, the highlight for us was the
upcoming Verza Regency, which takes more than a few design cues from classic
In addition to the traditional men’s double-diamond and women’s
dramatically arcing step-through frame lines are tripod-style rear-mounted
kickstands, full fenders, fully enclosed drivetrains, bolt-upright riding
positions, rear racks, and custom pseudo-riveted and coil sprung saddles – all
for just US$ 699.
Felt’s popular cruiser range is topped by the limited edition Shelby
model, of which only five hundred have been produced. Styling cues include the iconic Shelby
‘Wimbledon White and Guardsman Blue’ paint job – using real DuPont paint! – the
Abraham Linkage front fork, and Felt’s long-running ‘tank’ alloy frame. Though the Shelby carries a relatively high
cost of US$ 999, Felt says nearly all of them are already sold or reserved.
Felt will eventually replace the current ‘tank’ alloy cruiser frame
with a new model previewed at its launch event.
Styling is obviously similar but with a few updates in shape, and Felt
says a few variants will be added as well.
Expect to see the new cruiser frames around early 2012.
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