Felt Q920 review£999.00

Classic cross-country hardtail

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The Q920 tops out Felt’s Q range of ‘do-it-all’ hardtails, which spans from entry-level up to enthusiast. The pricier SIX series covers racetrack duty, which leaves the Q920 in an odd position with a spec that doesn’t quite match up to its top-of-the-line billing.

Ride & handling: Reliably safe ride, if a little lacklustre

The Q920 is balanced, steady and keeps its head when stuffed into most trail corners. We found overwhelming it with poor line choice hard despite the sketchy tyres, but while it never allowed us to get into too much trouble of our own making, it lacks the lustre that would make it stand out.

It’s not immediately boring, but we can see how it might get that way a few months down the line. That said, if you’re looking for a calm bike that’s not going to spring any nasty surprises on you when finding the edge of your limits, then it will take you right up to the precipice without abandoning you over it.

Felt q920: felt q920
Felt q920: felt q920

Frame: Hydroformed detail abounds, and results in a noticeably stiff chassis

Double-butted 6061 aluminium has been pushed, pulled and shaved to make the Felt’s Q920 frame. The hydroformed top tube is immediately obvious thanks to the slightly odd, eye-catching ‘twisted coffin’ shape – the frame is noticeably stiff with tight, direct steering so the flared profile clearly works.

The semi-integrated headset will let you drop the bars right down should you so desire but there’s enough rise as standard to stop the cockpit feeling cramped.

Mudguard eyes and rack mounts indicate Felt’s practical outlook and might be of use if you’re planning on making it double up as a commuter bike or touring machine.

Hydroformed detail abounds on the felt: hydroformed detail abounds on the felt
Hydroformed detail abounds on the felt: hydroformed detail abounds on the felt

Equipment: All adequate kit, but we'd swap the tyres

The plastic trouser guard seems incongruous on an off-road hardtail, but can be removed swiftly enough with a hex key. RockShox’s Recon SL fork is functional enough but the weight and pedestrian damping is a drag.

Felt’s Tar XC tyres also do their bit to hobble the frame: we’ve tried them on a couple of test bikes and never found the pressure sweet spot at which they’ll balance adequate traction on loose trail surfaces with pinch-flat resilience through the rocks, and the hard compound is unpredictable in the wet.

Elsewhere, start/stop duties are taken care of by a standard Shimano Deore drivechain, Avid Juicy Five brakes and Felt finishing kit, including a saddle that has more than a nod to the classic Fizik Gobi about it.

We struggled with felt’s tar xc tyres : we struggled with felt’s tar xc tyres
We struggled with felt’s tar xc tyres : we struggled with felt’s tar xc tyres

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