Teased for a few months, Felt has finally lifted the curtain on its new 27.5in wheeled 140mm (150mm front) travel trail bike – the Decree. Felt claims the new bike sets a benchmark for lower maintenance, lower weight and increased stiffness. The Virtue remains as the Californian brand’s 29er trail bike.
With its top-tier model, featuring the relatively simple and yet responsive Felt Active Stay Technology (FAST) suspension design, the brand has been able to reach an impressive weight goal – 24.06lb/11.17kg to be exact. Although such a low number for a bike with 150/140mm of travel does come at a jaw-dropping US$10,000 (UK and Australian prices were not available at the time of writing), thankfully there are more affordable options in the Decree line-up.
The Decree FRD frame is priced at $3,999
Contributing to this enormous price tag is the FRD full-carbon frame that will also be available separately for $3,999. Standing for Felt Racing Development, the FRD acronym is given to models where the engineers are given free reign, costs being a secondary consideration. With this, the Decree FRD uses an ‘Ultra High Modulus Ultimate’ carbon for superior stiffness to weight. For comparative sake, the ‘standard’ full carbon Decree 1 frame uses a lower grade of high modulus carbon and sells for $2,999.
Unique to Felt is the use of TeXtreme for its carbon, a trademarked technology that claims to create thinner laminates resulting in reduced resin and therefore a higher stiffness to weight ratio, along with improved strength and impact resistance. For the Decree, this technology is only found in the FRD and 1 models.
The FAST design does without a pivot at the rear end, instead relying on engineered flex within the carbon chainstays and seatstays. These fewer moving components are how the brand is able to drop weight, reduce maintenance and improve frame stiffness. Perhaps in reverse to most brands, Felt is equipping all its models (including cheaper alloy options) with this flexing carbon rear triangle.
Without a rear pivot, the rear end sits neutral at 30 percent sag
The brand claims its design offers ideal anti-squat values and flex at the carbon stays for efficient pedalling. When the suspension moves away from its 30 percent sag point in either direction, the stays are either compressed or extended in aid of returning the shock to its neutral sag point. This means the stays sit in a neutral, non-flexed position while at 30 percent sag.
The flex also works with the decreasing leverage ratio for dealing with large impacts. A decreasing leverage ratio means the suspension is progressively harder to compress as it goes deeper into its travel. The brand claims its flexing stays contribute additional spring force on hard compression.
Small-bump sensitivity is said to be great too, with only minimal compression damping given to the custom tuned shock as the linkage design is efficient on its own.
Four frame sizes each share similar angles
Similar to the Mino Link found in Trek’s newer dual suspension models, the Decree features ‘Flip Chips’ at the seatstay pivot, providing a choice between two geometry setups. The ‘low and slack’ rakes out the head angle to 66.5 degrees. While the ‘high and steep’ setup bumps the head angle to 67.5 degrees and gives a 350mm bottom bracket height, 10mm higher than the low and slack setup offers.
A revised seat tube pivot is now 10mm lower than previous models, which allows for more post insertion on smaller models. Additionally, seat tube lengths have been shortened to better fit with a growing trend of longer-travel dropper posts.
Where the lower-end models with alloy front triangles get external cable routing, the carbon versions receive neat internally routed cables. Here, the cables feed through removable plugs that can fit Di2, mechanical gear or hydraulic brake lines. The exact setup can be configured to suit individual rider needs.
A trend we’re starting to see more and more is a removable front derailleur mount for those wanting a clean setup when using a single-chainring transmission. The Decree offers this, along with a blanking plate to fill the void left by removing the mount.
The range is made up of three complete carbon models, and one with an alloy front triangle. Retails range from $3,499 (AU$4,320) for the Decree 30, through to $10,000 for the Decree FRD.
The Decree 3
Although it lacks the TeXtreme and high-modulus carbon technology in its full carbon frame, the $4,499 / AU$5,430 Decree 3 is likely to be a popular choice. For the money, you’ll get a Shimano XT 1x11 drivetrain, RockShox Pike Solo RC 150mm fork and KS LEV Integra DX seatpost.
Availability is expected from November – we'll keep you posted as we have more.