Felt Q620 £500

Decent overall package with a few disappointments

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

A quick overview would suggest that, in componentry terms, Felt’s most crucial pricepoint bikes aren’t quite as well equipped as many of their competitors. But don’t let the trouserguard equipped crankset and compromise tyres totally put you off the Q620. It still has plenty going for it, starting with a no-nonsense all-rounder frame that’s well worth using as a basis for later upgrades if parts wear out.

Ride & handling: Excellent ride personality, but tyres are sketchy in the wet

Despite what looked on paper to be a compromised componentry spec, the Q620 manages to be more than the sum of its parts out on the trail.

Suntour XCM forks need regular care and attention (regreasing) to keep them running smooth during wet times, but this 100mm (3.94in) travel V2 version behaved better than the ‘standard’ 80mm (3.15in) XCM we've tested before, boosting comfort to help make up for the disappointing tyres.

We ended up slamming down sideways a few times on the Felt because of the tyres' complete inability to deal with wet roots. No tyre is good at wet roots, but these Kenda-made Trail Highway treads are especially bad.

The handling of the Felt is dead neutral – never particularly lively but never dull. That’s a good thing. It copes with climbs, descents and wiggly singletrack with a confidence that just makes you relax.

The steering feels spot on with the fork sagged to about a third of its travel, which appears to be normal with a 175lb rider on board, and while the 22.75in top tube (19.5in bike) is shorter than many rival brands, it still feels ideal with the 105mm stem fitted.

Look carefully at Felt’s sizing – you may need a larger frame size than you think if you’re looking for a flat-backed cross-country riding posture.

To sum up, despite the Q620’s ordinary parts and neutral ride, it’s based on a great frame and everything apart from the tyres works well to give you a good ride experience.

Frame: Good enough to justify some upgrades as parts wear out

There are seven bikes in Felt’s Q series, with the Q620 sitting slap bang in the middle. Its frame is made of 6061 butted aluminium, with the relatively straightforward tube configurations making a nice change from the clever flares and flutes that typify even minimum budget bikes in the current market.

The oversized head tube, with integrated headset, is bridge-gusset reinforced to the big bi-axially ovalised down tube. The seat clamp slot faces forward and there are two sets of bottle bosses and rear rack mounts.

The static geometry measured up at more than two degrees less than the advertised geometry and the relatively low bottom bracket may prove a pedal/ground clearance issue to those who ride hard and fast off-road, and really use the soft fork travel.

Equipment: Downmarket componentry compared to price rivals

The Felt’s componentry package is noticeably downmarket compared to many of its price rivals. While the drivetrain is perfectly adequate, the crankset’s trouserguard draws attention to its low budget.

The Shimano Deore rear mech and Alivio shifters and front mech work well enough, and Shimano’s budget hydraulic brakes are decent without offering the more modulated lever feel of others.

The SR Suntour XCM V2 fork has a better controlled top-out (end of the rebound stoke) than the firm's basic XCM model, but the legtop lockout allows the fork to move on the bumps and it clunks annoyingly every time it does.

The wheels are reasonably light and well tensioned. Alex’s TD24 rims are good, but the no-name front hub is an unknown quantity in long-term durability terms (the rear hub is a reliable Shimano unit).

As we've mentioned already, we’re not too enamoured with Felt’s Trail Highway tyres – they’re grippy enough in the dry but the hard compound was very slippery on wet rocks and roots. On top of that, their limited air volume demanded fairly high pressures, and the discomfort that comes with it, to avoid pinch flats.

The rest of the finishing parts – Felt-branded bar, stem, saddle and post – are simply average offerings for the price.

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