Felt Double Double 30 fat bike long-term review£1,250.00

A great total package for winter riding with a reasonable price tag

BikeRadar score4/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

The Felt Double Double may be the company's first foray into the fat bike market, but the performance feels distinctly mature with thoroughly modern features. It’s immensely fun in winter conditions, it looks impressively expensive, and it’s very well outfitted for the money.

    Ride and handling: dutifully ploughing ever forward

    The Felt Double Double 30 won’t wow you with ultra light weight, gobs of suspension travel, or avant garde styling. What it will do, though, is win you over with its unflappably capable demeanour and never-say-die personality. It just flat-out works, and it’s particularly well suited for the winter conditions that most of us are willing to ride in.

    The aluminum chassis can't match the weight of a carbon fiber setup but it's stiff enough, rides reasonably well, and looks good: the aluminum chassis can't match the weight of a carbon fiber setup but it's stiff enough, rides reasonably well, and looks good
    The aluminum chassis can't match the weight of a carbon fiber setup but it's stiff enough, rides reasonably well, and looks good: the aluminum chassis can't match the weight of a carbon fiber setup but it's stiff enough, rides reasonably well, and looks good

    The Felt Double Double 30 is a solid package straight out of the box

    In particular, Felt has done a very good job on the frame geometry. While the 70-degree head tube angle may seem steep on paper, it works well at counteracting the somewhat inherently clumsy feel of fat tyres to yield a refreshingly nimble-feeling front end that’s easy to place. Combine that with the roomy cockpit, the relatively short 70mm stem, and short (for a fat bike) 455mm-long chainstays and what you get is a ride that feels surprisingly agile in the twisties and decidedly ‘normal’ in most situations.

    That short rear end also helped us effectively get power to the ground on slippery, snow-packed climbs. Instead of constantly battling to get the rear wheel to dig in, we could simply stay seated and churn upwards – and easily whip through tight switchbacks in the process, too.

    Front and rear rack mounts provide extra versatility should you decide to head out on longer excursions: front and rear rack mounts provide extra versatility should you decide to head out on longer excursions
    Front and rear rack mounts provide extra versatility should you decide to head out on longer excursions: front and rear rack mounts provide extra versatility should you decide to head out on longer excursions

    Rack mounts add extra versatility

    Very good chassis stiffness adds some precision to that quick handling, too, with thru-axles at both ends, a tapered head tube, and a massive TIG-welded aluminium fork. The tremendous fork crown clearance, wide stays, and 197mm-wide rear hub spacing leave plenty of room for bigger tyres should you want or need even more traction and float than the stock 4in setup provides.

    That stiffness unfortunately transfers over to the ride quality, too, as there’s no noticeable give in the sleek-looking aluminium frame and certainly none in the enormous fork. Having 4in tyres inflated to 3-10psi certainly helps but it’s important to keep in mind that that’s almost completely undamped movement. It wasn’t an issue for winter riding but that occasional – and occasionally unnerving – bounciness definitely tempered the fun in dry conditions.

    Frame: Smart aluminium chassis with subtle shaping

    In some ways, the 6061 aluminium frame is as conventional as can be with a double-diamond layout, TIG-welded joints, and subtly hydroformed tube shapes. The Double Double is thoroughly modern where it counts, though, like the 197mm-wide thru-axle rear dropouts, partially internal cable routing, post mount brake caliper tabs, and a tapered head tube.

    The huge welded aluminum fork is supremely stout what with its huge legs and thru-axle dropouts: the huge welded aluminum fork is supremely stout what with its huge legs and thru-axle dropouts
    The huge welded aluminum fork is supremely stout what with its huge legs and thru-axle dropouts: the huge welded aluminum fork is supremely stout what with its huge legs and thru-axle dropouts

    The fork is a big, chunky TIG-welded aluminium beast

    Similarly, the chunky – but very sleek – aluminium fork is fitted with post mount brake tabs and thru-axle dropouts. Even better, it uses the latest 150x15mm hub spacing so you won’t have to change wheels if you decide to upgrade to a RockShox Bluto suspension fork (or whatever else is presumably coming from Fox and Manitou), plus the suspension-corrected length matches up almost perfectly with a 100mm-travel fork after accounting for sag.

    There’s also ample clearance at both ends for 100mm-wide rims and 5in-wide tyres for the ultimate in flotation. (Officially, Felt says there's only room for 4.25in rubber – but, at least to our eyes, there's clearly more available real estate.)

    One area where Felt stuck to the tried-and-true is at the 100mm-wide bottom bracket shell, which thankfully uses conventional threaded cups for easier servicing and quieter running. Meanwhile, front and rear rack mounts provide added versatility should you decide to do some bikepacking or more expedition-style riding.

    The rear brake caliper bolts directly to post-mount tabs: the rear brake caliper bolts directly to post-mount tabs
    The rear brake caliper bolts directly to post-mount tabs: the rear brake caliper bolts directly to post-mount tabs

    Thru-axles and post mount brake caliper tabs are used at both ends

    Complaints were relatively minor. The matt baby blue and black colour scheme drew plenty of compliments but we couldn’t help but wish that the frame and fork wore a more durable anodised surface instead of paint. It’s also disappointing that there’s no routing provision – external or internal – for a dropper seatpost.

    Equipment: a dependable, no-frills build kit that gets the job done

    Felt fits the Double Double 30 with a great parts kit that puts function over flash and includes Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes, shifters, and front derailleur, a Deore XT rear derailleur, and a two-ring Race Face Turbine aluminium crank. Rolling stock consists of generic 75mm-wide (internal width) single-wall aluminium cutout rims, cartridge bearing hubs, and Schwalbe Jumbo Jim tyres. Rounding out the build is a Felt-branded carbon seatpost and low-rise handlebar, and a WTB Volt saddle.

    The two-chainring drivetrain provides a wider range of gearing than any 1x setup. shift performance from the race face rings was very good: the two-chainring drivetrain provides a wider range of gearing than any 1x setup. shift performance from the race face rings was very good
    The two-chainring drivetrain provides a wider range of gearing than any 1x setup. shift performance from the race face rings was very good: the two-chainring drivetrain provides a wider range of gearing than any 1x setup. shift performance from the race face rings was very good

    Scoff at the two-ring drivetrain if you must but the reality is that it offers more range than any 1x setup - and it works well

    Total weight for our medium-sized sample was 14.08kg (31.04lb) without pedals.

    For sure, the mid-grade Deore bits are a little heavier than higher-end versions but they’re no different in terms of function. Overall brake performance is fantastic with ample (and reliable) power plus the added benefit of a 180mm front rotor. Likewise, front and rear shifts are crisp and precise, and control ergonomics are spot-on. While it’s true that 1x drivetrains are the hot trend at the moment, 2x setups still offer considerably more range – and this one worked well even in ultra-cold temperatures and deep snow. It didn’t take long for us to appreciate the easier-to-pedal 24/38-tooth chainrings, either.

    The shimano deore xt rear derailleur, deore front derailleur, and deore shifters worked flawlessly together: the shimano deore xt rear derailleur, deore front derailleur, and deore shifters worked flawlessly together
    The shimano deore xt rear derailleur, deore front derailleur, and deore shifters worked flawlessly together: the shimano deore xt rear derailleur, deore front derailleur, and deore shifters worked flawlessly together

    The mixed Shimano Deore/Deore XT transmission worked flawlessly

    Similar praise is reserved for the cockpit components. Felt’s inclusion of a carbon bar and seatpost is a nice surprise at this price point, and the former’s 760mm width provides plenty of leverage for controlling all that mass. Some may find the WTB Volt saddle to be a bit narrow but as always, that’s a personal preference issue.

    We wish we could have been a bit more excited about the wheels, however. The hubs are decent enough with smooth-rolling bearings but the rear’s relatively slow engagement was sometimes frustrating on more technical climbs. The rim cutouts undoubtedly reduce rotating weight but we would have gladly traded those grams for a more modern internal profile. As is, the tall sidewalls and deep tyre well occasionally made it tough to seat the tyres evenly, and it was challenging at best to set things up tubeless.

    The stock schwalbe jumbo jim tires roll quickly and grip quite well on dry ground but traction in loose snow or mud is distinctly lacking: the stock schwalbe jumbo jim tires roll quickly and grip quite well on dry ground but traction in loose snow or mud is distinctly lacking
    The stock schwalbe jumbo jim tires roll quickly and grip quite well on dry ground but traction in loose snow or mud is distinctly lacking: the stock schwalbe jumbo jim tires roll quickly and grip quite well on dry ground but traction in loose snow or mud is distinctly lacking

    The Schwalbe Jumbo Jim tyres are light and roll quickly but could use more grip

    The stock Schwalbe Jumbo Jims are impressively light, however. At right around 1,000g apiece, they save about 500g (more than half a pound) of mass where it matters most as compare to more typical fat bike tyres. They’re also very noticeably fast rolling what with their relatively minimal tread and flexible casing. But that minimal tread also yields tricky traction on snow and ice unless the tyres are aired down even more than usual. We frequently ran just 2-4psi, which helped a ton on snow but also induced more ‘auto steer’ given the very flat footprint.

    The verdict

    Overall, we found the Felt Double Double 30 to be a very well rounded fat bike straight out the box – which is impressive given the company’s relative lack of experience in the segment. It’s fun to ride, highly capable, and very good value with few chinks in the armour. We still wouldn’t choose this over a conventional trail bike in dry conditions but for winter riding, this is all the fat bike most of us will ever need.

    For more information, visit www.feltbicycles.com

    Complete bike specifications:

    • Frame: Felt Double Double             
    • Fork: Felt Fat
    • Headset: FSA No.57E/62 semi-integrated, 1 1/8-to-1 1/2in tapered
    • Stem: Felt MTB, 70mm
    • Handlebar: Felt MTB carbon, 760mm width x 8mm rise
    • Front brake: Shimano Deore BR-M615 w/ 180mm rotor
    • Rear brake: Shimano Deore BR-M615 w/ 160mm rotor
    • Brake levers: Shimano Deore BL-M615
    • Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus RD-M786
    • Shift lever: Shimano Deore Rapidfire Plus SL-M610
    • Cassette: Shimano CS-HG50-10, 11-36T
    • Chain: Shimano CN-HG54
    • Crankset: Race Face Turbine, 24/38T
    • Bottom bracket: Race Face
    • Pedals: n/a
    • Rims: Single-walled with machined cut-outs, 75mm internal width
    • Hubs: Alloy sealed bearing
    • Spokes: 14/15g double butted stainless steel w/ alloy nipples
    • Front tyre: Schwalbe Jumbo Jim Light, 26 x 4.0in
    • Rear tyre: Schwalbe Jumbo Jim Light, 26 x 4.0in
    • Saddle: WTB Volt
    • Grips: Felt Wing Grip lock-on
    • Seatpost: Felt butted carbon
    James Huang

    Technical Editor, US
    James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
    • Age: 40
    • Height: 173cm / 5'8"
    • Weight: 70kg / 154lb
    • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
    • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
    • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
    • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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