We love the Felt ZW4’s shiny red finish (it’s called ‘Gloss Poppy’). It makes the bike look fast, cool and fun – like a sports car, only without the high petrol consumption and the mid-life crisis.
More importantly, the ride doesn’t disappoint. It handles really well, swerving around potholes easily on uneven country roads, without being twitchy. Despite being reasonably light, it feels robust, with a BB30 bottom bracket and tapered head tube adding stiffness where it’s needed.
The BB30 bottom bracket improves power delivery
Felt says its Z series bikes are designed to deliver high levels of ride performance while also being relaxed enough for long sessions in the saddle. This is certainly true of the ZW4. The carbon frame is incredibly comfortable and as at home on a lengthy sportive as it is on a casual commute. We also found the short-reach aluminium handlebar comfortable and, at 38cm, it’s a good width for narrower shoulders.
The tapered head tube, from 11/8 to 1 1/2in, stiffens up the front end to improve steering
Shimano 105 gearing offers typically smooth shifting. The 12-30 cassette combines well with the compact chainset when tackling steeper climbs, while downhill the small frame and slim bar make for an aerodynamic unit that feels safe but speedy, even when you’re faced with sudden sharp bends.
The small frame and slim bar make for an aerodynamic bike that feels safe but speedy, even when faced with sudden sharp bends
All this combined makes the Felt ZW4 a pleasure to ride – apart from the saddle. While we accept that saddle choice is a very personal affair, the semi-rounded shape of the Prologo Kappa Dea doesn’t seem ideal for a woman’s anatomy, and none of our testers found it comfortable.
This article originally appeared in Cycling Plus – Women's edition