We’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Felt’s new Redemption series. Their efficient Equilink suspension system is being applied to a long travel bike aimed squarely at aggressive all-mountain and freeride types. So has it been worth the wait?
Ride & handling: steep & awkward
It instantly struck us how short and steep the bike looked. A quick measure up confirmed our concerns.
The head tube angle came in at 70.2 degrees and the effective top tube length was just 21.5in on our size medium. Felt, unusually, measure the geometry with the bike in sag position, but the point of reference is from static, and this bike is extremely steep for a 165mm travel bike.
The combination of this short cockpit, steep head angle, high stack headset and a 50mm rise bars gave a very awkward riding position. Even with the stem flipped to get the bars lower it was still impossible to get your weight right on the bike and make it work for you.
On a positive note, the Equilink system is a very efficient pedalling companion, and the bike was very active. It was just a shame you couldn’t get fast enough to really test it out because the handling of the front end was so awkward and undynamic.
Frame: purposeful looks with effective suspension design
The 1.5in head tube is neatly welded to an oversized hydroformed top tube and gusseted down tube. This mass of material certainly gives the frame a purposeful look.
The seat tube is a cut and shut affair with a forged centre section. The forward shove of the seat tube allows for tyre clearance at full travel and allows a clear path for the red anodised Equilink. This link joins the lower linkage to the rocker plates.
By joining these two active parts of the suspension, pedalling input is directed into the rocker plates, which tries to extend the shock. This action negates the bobbing effect of pedal input, and basically gives a stable pedal platform without using the compression damping of the shock, which can ruin small bump sensitivity. The rear brake mount is in between the seatstay and chainstay, which actually reduces brake jack.
Equipment: careful set up needed, but good stuff
The bike is sprung with a Fox DHX Air 3.0 out back giving a maximum of 165mm (6.4in) of travel, and a RockShox Lyrik Coil U-Turn up front. It is essential to ensure you get the right spring for this fork, because preload is adjusted through U-Turn system, which means it shortens the fork and loses you travel.
It is also a 1 1/8 in fork spinning in the 1.5in head tube with a reducer and a very tall integral spacer. With all this additional componentry the headset stack height is very high, and combined with the 50mm riser bars it is just too high for most.
SRAM’s excellent X-7 shifters control an X-9 rear mech and Deore front over an XT triple chainset. Avid Juicy 5s do their job faultlessly as usual.