Felt Virtue Two review

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£2300

Felt Virtue Two

BikeRadar verdict

70.0 out of 5 stars

"Tight, fast XC bike for its travel that will benefit from the imminent change of bar spec."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007 11.21pm By

Felt's Equilink bikes were one of the higher profile suspension launches of 2006 and the 5in cross-country Virtue platform is the first to hit the trails. But have Felt really raised the bar by adding an extra bar?

Frame

The whole rear subframe is a one-piece carbon fibre structure

The Felt's tubes are relatively slim, giving it a distinctively long and rangy look. A mixture of hydroformed and conventional gusseted pipework forms the front end, with the extended seat tube getting a triangulated brace pipe to keep things secure. The longstroke Fox Float shock sits in front of the seat tube driven by the upper rocker link, with the red Equilink strut tying it to the lower link so they operate in tandem.

The whole rear subframe is a one-piece carbon fibre structure relying on flex between the stays - not rotating pivots - to allow the suspension to move.

Equipment

Up front, the excellent RockShox Revelation fork allows easy wind down from 130-100mm if you need to speed up the handling while a remote lockout lever caters for smooth climbs or sprints. Shimano XT transmission gets pimped with an XTR rear mech, while the CrossRide disc wheels look plenty fly considering they're actually relatively cheap. Maxxis Ignitor tyres are a decent tread for mixing straightline speed with reasonable grip.

Avid Juicy Seven brakes give all the controlled and easily adjustable stopping power you'll need. However, the long 110mm stem and narrow 24in riser bar give very little leverage or control at slow speeds, so we'd go shorter and wider straight away; Felt tell us that from early summer bikes will come with a 26.7in riser.

The Virtue 2 definitely needs a cockpit change to make you feel confident enough to push it hard off-piste. While the bar and stem are OK for motoring along wide trails or sweeping smoothly round corners, it feels both unresponsive and cramped in tight or slippery singletrack, which is a shame for an otherwise impressively agile package. It shouldn't be too hard to get them changed, though, and the wider bar being specced in the summer will help you to get the best from this tight pedalling and naturally rapid rig with its useful emergency long travel suspension.

Ride

Felt make a variety of claims about their Equilink system, but what you notice most is the very tight pedalling feel it delivers. The extra Equilink tie bar and the natural resistance of the rear stays to being splayed apart by shock movement means it takes a lot to get the suspension moving. This is fantastic for a crisp and direct sprinting feel. Combined with its reasonable weight (12.9kg/ 28.3lb), this makes the Virtue 2 a machine that really likes to be hustled up the climbs.

Once it's moving, the suspension sucks up the big stuff well enough, though it always feels clipped rather than cushioned. It's not so great at absorbing small impacts and general trail rumble, even if you run the shock very soft. There is enough flex in the slim frame to save you getting too badly stung, although that in itself means a noticeable shimmy whenever you slide or push the bike sideways when cornering.

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Specification

Name:
Virtue Two (07)
Brand:
Felt
Price:
£2300

Bottom Bracket Height (in):
15
Brakes:
Juicy 7
Cassette:
Shimano XT 9-speed 11-34T
Chain:
PC-951
Fork:
Revelation 409 Air-Sprung
Frame Material:
7005 Aluminium
Front Derailleur:
XT E-Type
Head Angle:
69.8
Headset Type:
Aheadset
Rear Derailleur:
Shimano XTR
Rear Shock:
Float RP23
Rims:
Crossride
Seat Angle:
73.5
Available Colours:
Silver
Available Sizes:
15.5 Inches 17.5 Inches 19.5 Inches 21.5 Inches
Front Tyre:
Ignitor
Front Tyre Size:
26x2.1
Rear Tyre:
Ignitor
Rear Tyre Size:
26x2.1
Year:
2007
Frame Type:
Suspension
Min. Fork Travel:
100mm
Max. Fork Travel:
130mm

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