Felt Surplus 10 first ride review£1,899.00

Enjoyably swift, but short on techy trail confidence

The Surplus 10 is the top bike in Felt’s three-strong 650b+ trail hardtail range. While the features, spec and fatter-tyre flow are on point, the geometry leaves it short on stability.

Felt Surplus 10 spec overview

  • Frame: Double-butted, hydroformed 6061 aluminium
  • Fork: RockShox Yari RC Solo Air Boost, 120mm (4.7in) travel
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore XT with Race Face Turbine cranks (1x11)
  • Wheelset: WTB Scraper i45 rims on alloy Boost hubs
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Rocket Ron 27.5x2.8in
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore M615
  • Bar: Felt Flat Top carbon, 760mm
  • Stem: Felt 3D forged, 80mm
  • Seatpost: KS LEV Integra dropper
  • Saddle: WTB Volt Race
  • Weight: 12.96kg (28.9lb), large size without pedals

Felt Surplus 10 frame

Felt has worked on the Surplus chassis for a while — it’s certainly not just a rebadged catalogue special. A deep, flush-fit FSA headset extends what’s already a relatively tall head tube for a plus bike or 29er, but it gets a flat bar as standard to keep hands low.

The curved, double-butted down tube and top tube create a smooth ride but let in some flex between the front and rear of the bike. Fortunately, the 92mm-wide press-fit bottom bracket shell, unique hollow-formed asymmetric chainstay 'T' bridge and 148mm Boost rear dropout spacing ensure power is handled efficiently.

A broad forward-facing slot at the top of the extended seat tube keeps wheel spray out, while anti-rub sleeves on the cables and hoses keep the paint protected. While it doesn’t affect the ride, the crooked head badge sticker is a quality control letdown.

Felt Surplus 10 kit

Felt has put together a strong equipment package for the price. Race Face Turbine cranks turn a full Shimano XT gearset (no hidden cassette or chain downgrades here), and despite the super-wide WTB rims and plus-size tyres, the wheel pack isn’t far off the weight of most conventional 650b+ or 29er sets on bikes of this price.

That means mass is well distributed dynamically, and even with a dropper post and a sturdy 35mm-legged RockShox Yari fork (which is probably overkill for most 120mm hardtail riders), it’s easy on the scales for a plus bike at 12.96kg / 28.9lb.

It’s good to see a decent KS dropper included at this price
It’s good to see a decent KS dropper included at this price

Felt Surplus 10 ride

The relatively low weight is immediately obvious in the fast and responsive ride of the Surplus, in comparison to a lot of plus bikes we’ve ridden. In fact, the super-wide WTB rims, fast rolling, lightweight Schwalbe tyres and stiff but not punishing Boost-width frame give it a real tailwind on the trail.

This is even more obvious on rooty, rocky tracks where the low-pressure tyres float over sections where normal 650b or even 29er tyres would chatter and choke, and I had great fun blasting the Felt from corner to corner round the local woods.

The RockShox Yari RC fork has 120mm travel
The RockShox Yari RC fork has 120mm travel

If you’re more into clambering up than charging down, the long chainstays mean impressive traction on climbs and the front end doesn’t wander around distractingly either.

Unfortunately, the gravity-taming promise of the 760mm carbon bar and stiff Boost-width Yari fork are seriously undermined by the geometry and frame feel.

The 68-degree head angle is a reasonable balance for all-round trail handling and the flat bar offsets the tall head tube, but the very short 408mm reach (large size) and long 440mm chainstays leave you bunched up right over the front of the bike.

Add the 80mm stem, which makes small steering corrections really hard and flex in the front end of the frame, and the Felt constantly tripped up with wheel placement when things got steep, fast or technical.

Felt Surplus 10 early verdict

Short on reach and radical confidence, but lively ride and reasonable value make it worth a look.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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

Related Articles

Back to top