When we reviewed the ﬁrst generation Redemption, we were less than complimentary about it. Felt are back with a tweaked version for 2009, so has the Redemption redeemed itself? Felt have done a great job of getting the front end right this year and the bike is much more rideable as a result, but it’s let down by a tall bottom bracket which makes it a handful in the turns.
Ride & handling: Sketchy cornering spoils an otherwise decent trail bike
Felt have pulled a masterstroke and fully sorted the steering angles, cockpit length and bar set up of the new Redemption. The head tube angle came in at 68.1 degrees on our test bike and felt great.
On singletrack and downhill the Equilink performed ﬂuidly as long as the ProPedal switch was off. Climbing worked better with the pedalling platform on, as you would expect from a 165mm (6.5in) travel bike.
The steep, forward-shunted seat tube requires the saddle to be moved right back on the rails to get the correct pedalling position. Even with the post cut down, the interrupted seat tube only allowed us to drop the saddle by 95mm (3.7in), which isn’t quite enough.
But it’s the bottom bracket height that’s our main beef with this bike. We were amazed to ﬁnd that Felt has increased it to a towering 36.9cm (14.5in) – ﬁne for North Shore-style freeriding, but this is sold as an ‘aggressive all-mountain’ machine. Through singletrack and fast descents, you feel perched on top of the bike, making quick cornering sketchy.
Felt’s new tyres grip well in the soft and wet, but are slow rolling. Also, the Lyrik fork has a linear feel, which matches the rear, but does mean it dives under braking.
Frame: New geometry is a vast improvement
The new frame is very similar to the ﬁrst incarnation, but with rearranged geometry. An oversized hydroformed tubeset with a square section at the front end adds torsional stiffness and impact strength. These monster tubes are mated to an equally meaty 1.5in head tube, giving a huge weld area for extra strength.
Felt’s patented Equilink also makes an appearance (it’s the red anodised strut attached to a short link between the chainstay and bottom bracket shell). Pedalling forces drive this link downward and, in turn, the Equilink pulls on the shock’s rocker arm, which resists compression of the shock.
This helps to dampen out any bobbing action caused by a low pivot point and the movement of your legs when pedalling.
Equipment: Superb brakes, big name suspension and SRAM gearing
We were instantly pleased with Felt’s super short 50mm stem and trail worthy 680mm wide bars. RockShox are on up front duty with the new Lyrik 2-Step, while a Fox Float RP2 XV air can sits out back. SRAM take care of the gear department, while Avid’s superb new Elixir R brakes handle stopping with aplomb.
The bike rolls on a set of hefty and heavy duty WTB Dual Duty rims, shod in Felt’s own branded XAM tyres, which have a huge carcass size given their 2.3in width.