Ride and handling: an effortless speed merchant
Using engineered flex in the rear stays to save weight compared to a ‘proper’ rear pivot is a common race bike concept, but results can be mixed to say the least. Felt’s combination of main pivot point, rocker linkage and custom tuned RockShox shock really works well though.
There’s none of the usual stiction or random rebound issues, just a broad working pressure band between staccato smoothing plush and a firmer, more power friendly feel. Wherever it’s set the shock action doesn’t obviously interrupt power transmission and if you’re determined to stomp, just flick the lockout lever across and go for broke. That’s unlikely to happen much though, because the way the suspension flows and follows the ground seems to actually drive the bike forward faster if you relax and let it cruise rather than forcing the pace.
This all meant that as we hit the rough it was only a matter of time before the Felt strolled into the distance with insolent ease. The soothing buoyancy could easily be amplified by adding rim strip, valve and sealant to exploit the trail width tubeless ready rims too.
Frame and equipment: impressively stiff and honed for agile accuracy
Don’t prejudge the Edict’s retro racer throwback geometry. The 71.5-degree head angle certainly creates a busy steering feel that needs a lot of looking after on fast or rocky/rooty descents. It’s a real advantage when it comes to whipping the 29er front wheel in and out of tight turns or weaving through technical trouble, particularly uphill. Combined with the 720mm bars and 80mm stem it’s excellent for grabbing the regular sudden traction slips from the hard compound semi-slicks too.
Unlike most low slung, lightweight race frames the UHC carbon frame is impressively stiff where it needs to be. There’s tons of feedback and accuracy in the front end to keep it tracking right even at higher speeds where the steep steering starts to get twitchy. The seat angle and flat bars put plenty of weight forward for an aggressively keen feel too and the Felt absolutely loved weaving through flat-out tree-swerving singletrack.
The big bottom bracket block and 142x12mm rear thru-axle mean it never struggles to inject speed either, and on smooth trails a flick of the compression lock lever and remote fork lockout let it trade summit hunting or final sprint punches with hardtails.
By investing in the frame, wheels and suspension that matter and trusting in the remarkably cost effective performance of Shimano Deore stop-go gear the Edict 3 is excellent value too.