Felt has revealed its 2016 MTB line-up, which maintains focus on 29ers with its 12-bike Nine range, with seven bikes apiece for the Virtue and Edict collections. The Compulsion, redesigned in 2014, stays as a top-end enduro machine and remains alloy only. While there are increased fat bike options, 26in rides has been relegated to an entry-level / kids range of three bikes.
Rather than picking sides as a brand, Felt considers itself to focus not just on roadies or on mountain bikers, but on cyclists as a whole. Nevertheless, Felt's MTB heritage goes back further than you might think. Founder Jim Felt first built mountain bike frames in 1989 and introduced a full range at Eurobike 10 years later. Felt was also a 29er early adopter, introducing big-wheeled bikes in 2008 and upgrading to carbon in 2009 with the Nine Carbon.
As Felt moves to its living line format in 2016 – in other words, bikes are only being re-launched with a frame redesign or significant spec change – the Californian brand can boast a total of seven mountain bike lines. Naturally, there’s some crossover in terms of applications for each bike, but Felt’s got enduro, trail and cross-country covered.
Here are some highlights from the line-up, spotted at Felt’s European launch near Weisbaden in Germany.
We’ll add US and AUS prices as they come through.
The Compulsion 10 is the top-end enduro machine from the Californian brand
Felt rates the climbing to descending ratio of the Compulsion as 40:60, meaning it's designed to work well uphill, but is most at home taking on technical descents, making it Felt's enduro weapon of choice.
It's been redesigned completely for the 2015 season, with Felt's MTB product manager Rob Pauly commenting that the Compulsion’s 27.5in wheels make the bike easy to flick around, keeping it under control at high speeds around technical timed sections.
The Compulsion uses Felt’s own Equilink rear suspension setup. Its titular appendage bridges the upper and lower suspension links and is designed to avoid engaging the suspension when the chain’s under tension or when braking. Felt says this means less bounce and better efficiency, but there’s still a full 160mm of travel when needed. The damping of the shock has also been tuned to provide better support in the midstroke.
The highest-end Compulsion 10 is made from double-butted, hydroformed 6061 alloy. The claimed weight of 13.2kg / 29.1lb is the reason the brand’s in no hurry to rush a carbon version out.
That top-end bike (£4,000) comes with SRAM X01, a RockShox Pike RCT3 fork and Monarch Plus RC3 shock, WTB KOM i23 wheels and a tyre pairing of Schwalbe Hans Dampf Performance at the front and Rock Razor Snakeskin at the back.
The Compulsion 50 (£2,300) is the cheapest of the three models and features a Deore 2x10 group with an XT rear derailleur, SR Suntour Aion RL-R fork, RockShox Monarch RT shock, WTB Speed Disc i23 wheels and Schwalbe Hans Dampf Performance / Rock Razor Snakeskin tyres.
- Compulsion 10 – £3,999
- Compulsion 30 – £2,899
- Compulsion 50 – £2,299
The Virtue FRD uses TeXtreme for lightness and strength – be prepared to pay extra for it though
Designed to get as much travel out a 29er as possible, the Virtue is Felt’s do-it-all trail bike platform, and is designed to climb and descend equally well.
The Virtue shows off Felt’s second rear suspension system, Felt Active Stay Technology. FAST is based around a lightweight rear triangle, with the seatstays and chainstays acting like a leaf spring, negating the need for another pivot on the seatstays, reducing weight. The rear triangle works in unison with the shock to keep tyres on the ground and soak up rough terrain with 100 to 140mm of travel, which, says Pauly, also gives a snappier ride.
There are five carbon and two alloy bikes in the Virtue range, the top-end Virtue FRD and Virtue 1 frames are built using TeXtreme, an ultra-light, ultra-strong composite that reduces the amount of heavier carbon needed in the lay-up.
The Virtue range starts at £1,850 for the alloy Virtue 60, which comes with 2x10 speed Deore, an SR Suntour Aion fork, RockShox Monarch R shock, unbranded alloy wheels and Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres.
The Virtue FRD’s pricing and availability is TBA, but the Virtue 1 is set at £5,575 with SRAM XX1, a RockShox Revelation RLT fork, Monarch RT3 shock, DT Swiss M1700 wheelset and Schwalbe Nobby Nic Snakeskin tyres.
- Virtue 60 – £1,850
- Virtue 50 – £2,125
- Virtue 5 – £2,799
- Virtue 3 – £3,150
- Virtue 2 – £3,999
- Virtue 1 – £5,575
- Virtue FRD – TBA
The Edict 2, complete with FAST rear suspension
The Edict is an all-out, no compromise cross country racing machine with an added 100mm of rear travel made possible by the FAST suspension. For 2016 models, the 100/100mm travel has been changed to offer 120mm at the front, which Pauly says will increase downhill prowess without altering the geometry too much.
Felt’s top-end pro-spec FRD version includes TeXtreme frame construction and a simple decal treatment to shave every possible ounce. There are five carbon and two alloy machines in the range.
The entry point to the Edict range is the £1,600 Edict 60, specced with a Deore 2x10 drivetrain, SR Suntour Raidon-XC-LOR fork, RockShox Monarch R shock, unbranded rims and Schwalbe Rapid Rob tyres.
Outside the £8,000 Edict FRD, the range tops out with the Edict 1 (£4,350) and features SRAM X1, a RockShox SID RL fork and Monarch RT3 shock, DT Swiss X1800 wheels and Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evo tyres.
- Edict 60 – £1,599
- Edict 50 –£1,975
- Edict 5 – £2,375
- Edict 3 – £2,875
- Edict 2 – £3,199
- Edict 1 – £4,350
- Edict FRD – £7,999
There are 12 bikes in Felt's Nine range – this is the Nine 1
The Nine series is Felt’s 29er hardtail XC racer, with design focus on lightness and stiffness to maximise climbing potential.
Weight weenies can rejoice at the TeXtreme-enhanced FRD frame, which tips the scales at just 900g. Components across the range are also specced to keep all-up weight as low as possible. The Nine FRD has a claimed all-up weight of 8.76kg / 19.31lb.
The Nine series is one of Felt’s biggest lines, with 12 bikes on offer including five alloy models, produced to offer a keenly priced entry point to meet the demand of the hardtail 29er market.
Being such a wide range, there’s pretty much a spec for every budget. The Nine 80 (£450), has a 3x8 SRAM X4 / Shimano Altus group, SR Suntour XCT fork, alloy wheels and Schwalbe Rapid Rob Kevlarguard tyres. At the other end of the spectrum, the Nine FRD (£7,450) features SRAM XX1, RockShox RS1 fork, DT Swiss XRC1200 wheels and Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evo tyres.
- Nine 80 – £449
- Nine 70 – £549
- Nine 60 – £599
- Nine 50 – £849
- Nine 30 – £999
- Nine 6 – £1,099
- Nine 5 – £1,299
- Nine 4 – £1,599
- Nine 3 – £1,699
- Nine 2 – £1,999
- Nine 1 – £3,350
- Nine FRD – £7,450
The 7 is Felt's all-alloy 27.5 hardtail range
The little brother of the Nine, the 7 is Felt’s 27.5in hardtail XC bike. Unlike the Nine, there are no carbon options here. The six-bike range is made from 6061 aluminium, with the frames built using Felt's own custom tubes. It tops out at a relatively modest £1,300 for the 7 Ten, which comes with a RockShox Reba RL fork, 1x 11-speed Shimano XT and a carbon seatpost.
Felt says 29ers are still where the sales volume is, but that first-time riders and first-time mountain bikers are choosing from the all-aluminium 7 series bikes, which offer race-orientated geometry, but greater fitting versatility.
- 7 Eighty – £449
- 7 Seventy – £529
- 7 Sixty – £579
- 7 Fifty – £849
- 7 Thirty – £999
- 7 Ten – £1,299
Described as “not completely dead” by Felt, the 26in Six range is now tailored to price conscious or smaller / younger riders. In fact, it’s listed under the kids’ range on the brand’s price list.
There are three modestly specced bikes in the alloy-framed range with prices ranging from £370 to £550.
- Six 95 – £369
- Six 80 – £429
- Six 70 – £549
The DD 10 comes with a Bluto fork and weighs in at 14.72kg / 32.45lb
One of the fastest growing categories in the world of off-road riding, Felt's fat bike line-up is increasing with a wider range, kids' and e-bike options. Felt says there’s a massive appetite for fat bikes at the moment, with European orders outstripping the US.
The fully rigid DD 70 and 30 are joined by the Dude 10, which features as Race Face Ride crankset, Shimano XT and a RockShox Bluto fork with 100mm travel. The bikes come with 4in tyres, but will take up to 4.8in. The Dude 10 has a claimed weight of 14.72kg / 32.45lb (with pedals).
There’s also an e-bike version, the Lebowsk-e 10 (£3,900), which we had a chance to ride. We can report it’s pure childish fun rocketing down forest tracks at 35kph.
- DD 70 – £999
- DD 30 – £1,299
- DD 10 – £1,799
As well as the Six-series described above, Felt’s kids' off road range now also features two fat bikes: the Cruncher 20 and Cruncher 24. With 20in and 24in frames respectively, the bikes feature as low a standover height as possible and discs to accommodate the wide wheels running 4in tyres.
There are also the Q20R and Q20S bikes – rigid and suspension fork equipped 20in starter bikes – as well as the 24in Q24, which also comes in a disc version – the Q24D. These scaled down versions of adult mountain bikes have 6061 Dynaform aluminium frames, a low BB drop for stability and suspension forks tuned for activation under a child’s weight.
- Q 20R – £249
- Q 20S – £269
- Q 24 – £299
- Q 24 D – £319
- Cruncher 20 – £379
- Cruncher 24 – £399