Felt Bicycles will finally fill the prominent void in its mountain bike lineup with a lightweight full-suspension platform called Edict.
Edict will be a proper 100mm-travel true cross-country race bike with a sub-1.8kg (4.0lb) target weight (with shock). This is thanks in part to its carbon fibre front triangle and rear end, which is nearly a full kilo lighter than the FRD100 prototypes that Felt was testing under its sponsored racers last year.
A tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube will improve steering precision relative to a straight 1 1/8" one and Felt will also take advantage of the additional surface area with a giant triangular-profile down tube for extra torsional and lateral stiffness.
Much of the weight savings were earned by passing over Felt's Equilink suspension design in favour of a new modified single-pivot setup called FAST (Felt Active Stay Technology). The main pivot is located inline with the seat tube and optimised for the new crop of two-ring drivetrains. Up top, there's a stout aluminium linkage to drive the shock and it's all held together with titanium and aluminium hardware – nothing revolutionary there.
But instead of conventional dropout-located rear pivots, Felt's mountain bike designer, Mike Ducharme, built a tuned flex pattern into the one-piece carbon stays to account for geometry changes as the rear end moves through its travel. He says it not only simplifies the system and shaves grams but also lends additional lateral rigidity for better wheel tracking and allows the carbon dropouts to be molded in at the same time.
Bearings are used for the main pivot and primary linkage pivot but DU bushings are used elsewhere for lighter weight
Felt takes advantage of the tapered head tube's extra real estate with a giant triangular-profile down tube.
Ducharme also took further advantage of carbon's elastic properties to tweak the spring rate. By virtue of how the stays are molded, the rear end naturally sits at around 25-27 percent sag with the shock removed. Outside of that, Ducharme says the FAST stays will flex open and closed ever so slightly help keep the suspension at its optimum pedaling position on smoother terrain.
Felt hopes to have the Edict ready by late summer but admits it may be later in the year until everything is completely set to go. According to Ducharme, the final molds have been cut and production bikes should see only relatively minor visual changes as compared to this prototype, such as asymmetric chain stays. Carbon fibre lay-up schedules still have to be ironed out, though.
Felt will introduce the Edict solely as a high-end carbon machine for now, with two models planned for the US market and three for Europe, all in four sizes ranging from 15.5" to 21.5".
Unfortunately, Felt wouldn't allow us to shoot any images of the entire frame or bike but these partial-view shots will still give you a good idea of what the final product will look like (barring graphics which are still to be determined). Having seen it in person ourselves, though, it looks awfully interesting and we'll hopefully have some firsthand ride accounts to report in a few months time.