Felt DA review£5,500.00

Built for speed and specced to near-perfection

BikeRadar score4/5

Felt's DA is as fast and efficient as its aero rivals and there's no shortage of aggression, yet it's still an easy and enjoyable bike.

Ride & handling: Aero-efficient yet friendly ride, with excellent comfort

The Felt's leading edge Bayonet 2 fork is attached to a super-short 60mm stem on top of a very low 110mm head tube, putting the wing bar right down level with your knees. Add a super-steep 77.9° seat angle putting your shoulders right over the steering and you’d expect the DA to feel like a shortcut straight to A&E.

Within a few metres though, it’s obvious just how much experience Felt have in making bikes like this work. Trickling round slow, steep corners, flicking through mini roundabouts or stretching out for speed as we spun out the big ring on shallow descents, it never felt nervous or unbalanced. There’s no weirdness when you’re sprinting uphill out of the saddle with your weight forward, and the DA stayed true and terror-free, even in exposed windy sections.

While the fact it’s not as slab-sided as some other aero bikes definitely pays dividends, in more random wind situations it doesn’t seem to affect straight-line speed either. While it’s not the stiffest in terms of snap power delivery, its easy, sure-footed ride still makes it a great workstation for getting your maximum wattage onto the road when you need to.

Finally, despite the deep-dish wheels and radical position, the DA was still remarkably comfortable over rough surfaces or just several hours in the saddle. This plays a big part in making the DA such an infectiously enjoyable bike to ride.

 felt da:  felt da
felt da: felt da

Chassis: Light and aero, but restricted to one type of fork

Felt have been using an extended leading-edge fork design for a long time. The evolved Bayonet 2 system is both super-aero and surprisingly practical, with conventional brake position and 60mm, 80mm and 100mm adjustable angle stem lengths supplied with the bike.

The frame is a peach too. Double-scooped tyre contouring down tube, tapered flat to tall oval top tube, internal behind-the-stem cable routing, wide-spaced wheel-hugging seat fin with skinny wishbone stays, and narrow tapered chainstays dropped below the cranks are all wind-tunnel honed for minimal drag and disturbance at a wide range of wind angles. The long conventional teardrop seatpost means there’s no need to get the saw out either.

The DA is the only Felt bike (and one of the few anywhere) to use ultra-high-strength UHC Nano particle-enhanced carbon fibre throughout the frame and fork, keeping weight to a minimum. Don’t drop it though, as the rear mech hanger is non-replaceable and there are no adjuster screws for easy rear wheel alignment. Felt have invested in no less than five different 700c wheeled frame sizes, plus 48cm and 50cm 650c wheeled versions, so you’re guaranteed a super-accurate fit.

Equipment: Great value full bike without a single component weak link

Felt certainly haven’t skimped the pimp on their complete bike either, bringing it in at a low complete weight. The red anodised bottle cage bolts are picked up in the enhanced Zedtech finishing kit that is applied to the Zipp wheels, with red nipples and bearing covers flagging up the fact the 808 front and 1080 rear are secured with titanium skewers for maximum weight-saving. They also get custom Felt graphics to complete the factory look.

Felt’s own Devox kit is extremely impressive too. The flat base bars are rock solid out of the saddle and the rubber-hooded horn covers have small end humps like conventional brake hoods to increase confidence massively on steep descents or in rain storms. The shallow S-extensions slide right through the bar body and the flat, square armrests with knobbly pads are fully adjustable too. There’s even an optional zip-tied crossbar for your computer.

The stem also backs onto a radiused ‘clutch plate’ system on the fork top clamp, allowing complete angle control. The soft-nosed Felt saddle gets a waterproof cover, carbon fibre shell inserts and extended rails for position tuning, and the seatpost gives both forward ‘tri’ and rear ‘conventional’ saddle cradle positions. In fact, it’s a mark of how good the finishing kit is that the effortlessly excellent Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrain is a footnote, rather than front page news.

The da is one of the few bikes anywhere to use ultra-high-strength uhc nano particle-enhanced carbon to keep it light: the da is one of the few bikes anywhere to use ultra-high-strength uhc nano particle-enhanced carbon to keep it light
The da is one of the few bikes anywhere to use ultra-high-strength uhc nano particle-enhanced carbon to keep it light: the da is one of the few bikes anywhere to use ultra-high-strength uhc nano particle-enhanced carbon to keep it light

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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