The Felt Double Double may be the company’s first foray into the fat bike market, but the performance feels distinctly mature with thoroughly modern features. It’s immensely fun in winter conditions, it looks impressively expensive, and it’s very well outfitted for the money.
- Highs: Nicely designed aluminum frame and fork, good tire clearance, great spec, threaded bottom bracket shell, solid value
- Lows: Slightly floppy handling, somewhat disappointing tire grip
- Buy if: You want to partake in winter fat bike fun but don’t want to totally break the bank to do so
Ride and handling: dutifully plowing ever forward
The Felt Double Double 30 won’t wow you with ultra light weight, gobs of suspension travel, or avant garde styling. What it will do, though, is win you over with its unflappably capable demeanor and never-say-die personality. It just flat-out works, and it’s particularly well suited for the winter conditions that most of us are willing to ride in.
The Felt Double Double 30 is a solid package straight out of the box
In particular, Felt has done a very good job on the frame geometry. While the 70-degree head tube angle may seem steep on paper, it works well at counteracting the somewhat inherently clumsy feel of fat tires to yield a refreshingly nimble-feeling front end that’s easy to place. Combine that with the roomy cockpit, the relatively short 70mm stem, and short (for a fat bike) 455mm-long chainstays and what you get is a ride that feels surprisingly agile in the twisties and decidedly ‘normal’ in most situations.
That short rear end also helped us effectively get power to the ground on slippery, snow-packed climbs. Instead of constantly battling to get the rear wheel to dig in, we could simply stay seated and churn upwards – and easily whip through tight switchbacks in the process, too.
Rack mounts add extra versatility
Very good chassis stiffness adds some precision to that quick handling, too, with thru-axles at both ends, a tapered head tube, and a massive TIG-welded aluminum fork. The tremendous fork crown clearance, wide stays, and 197mm-wide rear hub spacing leave plenty of room for bigger tires should you want or need even more traction and float than the stock 4in setup provides.
That stiffness unfortunately transfers over to the ride quality, too, as there’s no noticeable give in the sleek-looking aluminum frame and certainly none in the enormous fork. Having 4in tires inflated to 3-10psi certainly helps but it’s important to keep in mind that that’s almost completely undamped movement. It wasn’t an issue for winter riding but that occasional – and occasionally unnerving – bounciness definitely tempered the fun in dry conditions.
Frame: Smart aluminum chassis with subtle shaping
In some ways, the 6061 aluminum frame is as conventional as can be with a double-diamond layout, TIG-welded joints, and subtly hydroformed tube shapes. The Double Double is thoroughly modern where it counts, though, like the 197mm-wide thru-axle rear dropouts, partially internal cable routing, post mount brake caliper tabs, and a tapered head tube.
The fork is a big, chunky TIG-welded aluminum beast
Similarly, the chunky – but very sleek – aluminum fork is fitted with post mount brake tabs and thru-axle dropouts. Even better, it uses the latest 150x15mm hub spacing so you won’t have to change wheels if you decide to upgrade to a RockShox Bluto suspension fork (or whatever else is presumably coming from Fox and Manitou), plus the suspension-corrected length matches up almost perfectly with a 100mm-travel fork after accounting for sag.
There’s also ample clearance at both ends for 100mm-wide rims and 5in-wide tires for the ultimate in flotation. (Officially, Felt says there’s only room for 4.25in rubber – but, at least to our eyes, there’s clearly more available real estate.)
One area where Felt stuck to the tried-and-true is at the 100mm-wide bottom bracket shell, which thankfully uses conventional threaded cups for easier servicing and quieter running. Meanwhile, front and rear rack mounts provide added versatility should you decide to do some bikepacking or more expedition-style riding.
Thru-axles and post mount brake caliper tabs are used at both ends
Complaints were relatively minor. The matt baby blue and black color scheme drew plenty of compliments but we couldn’t help but wish that the frame and fork wore a more durable anodized surface instead of paint. It’s also disappointing that there’s no routing provision – external or internal – for a dropper seatpost.
Equipment: a dependable, no-frills build kit that gets the job done
Felt fits the Double Double 30 with a great parts kit that puts function over flash and includes Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes, shifters, and front derailleur, a Deore XT rear derailleur, and a two-ring Race Face Turbine aluminum crank. Rolling stock consists of generic 75mm-wide (internal width) single-wall aluminum cutout rims, cartridge bearing hubs, and Schwalbe Jumbo Jim tires. Rounding out the build is a Felt-branded carbon seatpost and low-rise handlebar, and a WTB Volt saddle.
Scoff at the two-ring drivetrain if you must but the reality is that it offers more range than any 1x setup – and it works well
Total weight for our medium-sized sample was 14.08kg (31.04lb) without pedals.
For sure, the mid-grade Deore bits are a little heavier than higher-end versions but they’re no different in terms of function. Overall brake performance is fantastic with ample (and reliable) power plus the added benefit of a 180mm front rotor. Likewise, front and rear shifts are crisp and precise, and control ergonomics are spot-on. While it’s true that 1x drivetrains are the hot trend at the moment, 2x setups still offer considerably more range – and this one worked well even in ultra-cold temperatures and deep snow. It didn’t take long for us to appreciate the easier-to-pedal 24/38-tooth chainrings, either.
The mixed Shimano Deore/Deore XT transmission worked flawlessly
Similar praise is reserved for the cockpit components. Felt’s inclusion of a carbon bar and seatpost is a nice surprise at this price point, and the former’s 760mm width provides plenty of leverage for controlling all that mass. Some may find the WTB Volt saddle to be a bit narrow but as always, that’s a personal preference issue.
We wish we could have been a bit more excited about the wheels, however. The hubs are decent enough with smooth-rolling bearings but the rear’s relatively slow engagement was sometimes frustrating on more technical climbs. The rim cutouts undoubtedly reduce rotating weight but we would have gladly traded those grams for a more modern internal profile. As is, the tall sidewalls and deep tire well occasionally made it tough to seat the tires evenly, and it was challenging at best to set things up tubeless.
The Schwalbe Jumbo Jim tires are light and roll quickly but could use more grip
The stock Schwalbe Jumbo Jims are impressively light, however. At right around 1,000g apiece, they save about 500g (more than half a pound) of mass where it matters most as compare to more typical fat bike tires. They’re also very noticeably fast rolling what with their relatively minimal tread and flexible casing. But that minimal tread also yields tricky traction on snow and ice unless the tires are aired down even more than usual. We frequently ran just 2-4psi, which helped a ton on snow but also induced more ‘auto steer’ given the very flat footprint.
Overall, we found the Felt Double Double 30 to be a very well rounded fat bike straight out the box – which is impressive given the company’s relative lack of experience in the segment. It’s fun to ride, highly capable, and very good value with few chinks in the armor. We still wouldn’t choose this over a conventional trail bike in dry conditions but for winter riding, this is all the fat bike most of us will ever need.
For more information, visit www.feltbicycles.com
Complete bike specifications:
- Frame: Felt Double Double
- Fork: Felt Fat
- Headset: FSA No.57E/62 semi-integrated, 1 1/8-to-1 1/2in tapered
- Stem: Felt MTB, 70mm
- Handlebar: Felt MTB carbon, 760mm width x 8mm rise
- Front brake: Shimano Deore BR-M615 w/ 180mm rotor
- Rear brake: Shimano Deore BR-M615 w/ 160mm rotor
- Brake levers: Shimano Deore BL-M615
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus RD-M786
- Shift lever: Shimano Deore Rapidfire Plus SL-M610
- Cassette: Shimano CS-HG50-10, 11-36T
- Chain: Shimano CN-HG54
- Crankset: Race Face Turbine, 24/38T
- Bottom bracket: Race Face
- Pedals: n/a
- Rims: Single-walled with machined cut-outs, 75mm internal width
- Hubs: Alloy sealed bearing
- Spokes: 14/15g double butted stainless steel w/ alloy nipples
- Front tire: Schwalbe Jumbo Jim Light, 26 x 4.0in
- Rear tire: Schwalbe Jumbo Jim Light, 26 x 4.0in
- Saddle: WTB Volt
- Grips: Felt Wing Grip lock-on
- Seatpost: Felt butted carbon