With Ryan Trebon signed on, and teasers on Twitter, it was never a question of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’ Felt’s new cyclo-cross bike would be ready. The answer: Felt will offer a new cyclo-cross line for 2012 which will be highlighted by the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 equipped F2X, and available in August.
The new carbon fibre bike will be sold both complete and as a frameset, in six sizes from 47cm to 60cm. The flagship F2X will be equipped with Shimano's electronic transmission, a Felt branded stem, seatpost (with integrated battery mount) and carbon handlebar, and FSA BB30 cranks. It'll roll on a color matched Fulcrum Racing 3 tubeless wheelset, wrapped in Vittoria’s new TNT Cross XG tubeless-ready tires. RRP is US$6,499, and it weighs just 16.42lb (7.44kg, 53cm) on our scales, sans pedals.
Specification of other full builds has yet to be decided. All will share the same frame, which is reported to weigh 1,050g for the 55cm size. This is made from Felt’s cyclo-cross specific UHC Performance MMC carbon fiber blend, which is said to be tougher in impact than the UHC Ultimate carbon used for the company's road models. “It's a mix of the 30- and 40-ton material that we use in the F3 and F4 [road bikes],” said Ty Buckenberger, a senior engineer at Felt. “One of the reasons we wanted to do that with this bike is that the stiffer material that we use in the F1 is a little more brittle and we wanted to keep the durability up.”
The new frame is without a chainstay bridge and shaped to deter mud collection
The frame shares many features with Felt's road bikes, including a tapered head tube, BB30 bottom bracket shell and internal cable routing that’s convertible between external cable and internal Di2 wire routing. “We were really happy with how the new F bike turned out — the new road bike — and we wanted to carry that over into this model,” said Buckenberger. “The goal was to learn everything we learned in the F bike to minimize the weight and maximize the stiffness in this one.”
Complete bikes will come with a Felt-made monocoque carbon ‘CXR’ fork that uses the same carbon blend as the frame. Framesets will come with ENVE Composites' tapered model. The Felt fork is both heavier and cheaper than the ENVE model; it’s a trade-off that Felt said they needed to make to keep the price down on the complete bikes. Pricing of the frameset and cheaper complete bikes has yet to be decided. Felt showed us a disc brake equipped prototype, but offered no details on when it'll be available.
The top-line F2X, which Felt used to launch the line at the Sea Otter Classic, features an exciting new product for the 2012 model year: a cyclo-cross specific linear-pull brake from TRP. This has been born from feedback about the CX 9, which some riders found was too high leverage for SRAM and old-style Shimano levers. The new CX8.4 has arms that are 6mm shorter. This tones down the mechanical advantage of the brakes, should make them much more usable with higher-leverage levers, and has the added bonus of more rim clearance. TRP will continue to offer the CX 9 for those who like the softer, higher-power feel, or are using lower-leverage Shimano levers with a longer cable pull.
The F2X comes with TRP's new CX8.4 linear brake with less mechanical advantage than the CX9 model