Felt Virtue 3£1,300.00

Smooth suspension and some nice details, but ultimately a bit tubby

BikeRadar score3/5

Felt’s Virtue series has been around for a few years now, gaining weight to give a smoother feel on the trail. This entry-level version definitely has more of a steady cruise than a ‘set you on fire’ character.

Ride & handling: Hefty weight and notchy fork don’t encourage more dynamic riding

The whole bike is overweight and this impacts on every aspect of the ride. It’s most obvious under acceleration or on climbs, but even trying to shrug and shift it around on the singletrack takes noticeably more effort than on other bikes at the same pricepoint.

The geometry is also steeper than ideal for the travel, which means the Virtue 3 fidgets and flusters on descents despite the full-width riser bar. Rear suspension is well balanced, however, with the long-stroke 190mm shock giving decent impact control.

There are no obvious pedalling/braking hang-ups either. So while the Felt might not hurry naturally, once you’ve got it rolling it trundles along uninterrupted through most trail debris.

Unfortunately the long-travel RockShox Tora fork seizes up noticeably when braking and cornering, with a notchy feel that worsened permanently after a wheelie drop on the first ride.

The fi ve-bar equilink system has smoothed out a lot over time, too: the fi ve-bar equilink system has smoothed out a lot over time, too

Frame: Good looking chassis with some nice detail touches

There’s certainly a lot to talk about with the frame. Hydroformed main tubes are backed up with an additional throat gusset, seat tube support pipe and saddle gusset under the shock mount.

Upper bearing caps and linkage are laser etched, the forged linkages are all crisply machine-finished (even underneath) and the top of the drop-out rear pivots are simply but effectively executed too.

The rubber cable bumpers alongside the head tube are a nice touch, and the chainstay-mounted brake gives really neat rear-end routing.

Equipment: Decent selection of kit for the price, but watch the tyres

Apart from the overstretched fork we’ve no real complaints with the rest of the kit. Shimano gears are as slick as ever, and the 180mm front rotor helps boost Deore braking power to bearable levels.

The wide bars and long saddle give plenty of bodyweight shifting options and extra control for taming the twitchy steering. You’ll need to watch the slide-prone Felt tyres in wet conditions, but they should last well and they’re deep-filth friendly.

Paint protectors and anodized ferrules are a nice detail touch: paint protectors and anodized ferrules are a nice detail touch

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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