Felt Virtue 3 review

Smooth suspension and some nice details, but ultimately a bit tubby

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £1,300.00 RRP | USD $1,922.44

Our review

A friendly, smooth ride but too heavy and twitchy to push the pace on
Skip to view product specifications

Felt’s Virtue series has been around for a few years now, gaining weight to give a smoother feel on the trail. This entry-level version definitely has more of a steady cruise than a ‘set you on fire’ character.

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Ride & handling: Hefty weight and notchy fork don’t encourage more dynamic riding

The whole bike is overweight and this impacts on every aspect of the ride. It’s most obvious under acceleration or on climbs, but even trying to shrug and shift it around on the singletrack takes noticeably more effort than on other bikes at the same pricepoint.

The geometry is also steeper than ideal for the travel, which means the Virtue 3 fidgets and flusters on descents despite the full-width riser bar. Rear suspension is well balanced, however, with the long-stroke 190mm shock giving decent impact control.

There are no obvious pedalling/braking hang-ups either. So while the Felt might not hurry naturally, once you’ve got it rolling it trundles along uninterrupted through most trail debris.

Unfortunately the long-travel RockShox Tora fork seizes up noticeably when braking and cornering, with a notchy feel that worsened permanently after a wheelie drop on the first ride.

The fi ve-bar Equilink system has smoothed out a lot over time, too
The fi ve-bar equilink system has smoothed out a lot over time, too: the fi ve-bar equilink system has smoothed out a lot over time, too
Seb Rogers

Frame: Good looking chassis with some nice detail touches

There’s certainly a lot to talk about with the frame. Hydroformed main tubes are backed up with an additional throat gusset, seat tube support pipe and saddle gusset under the shock mount.

Upper bearing caps and linkage are laser etched, the forged linkages are all crisply machine-finished (even underneath) and the top of the drop-out rear pivots are simply but effectively executed too.

The rubber cable bumpers alongside the head tube are a nice touch, and the chainstay-mounted brake gives really neat rear-end routing.

Equipment: Decent selection of kit for the price, but watch the tyres

Apart from the overstretched fork we’ve no real complaints with the rest of the kit. Shimano gears are as slick as ever, and the 180mm front rotor helps boost Deore braking power to bearable levels.

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The wide bars and long saddle give plenty of bodyweight shifting options and extra control for taming the twitchy steering. You’ll need to watch the slide-prone Felt tyres in wet conditions, but they should last well and they’re deep-filth friendly.

Paint protectors and anodized ferrules are a nice detail touch
Paint protectors and anodized ferrules are a nice detail touch: paint protectors and anodized ferrules are a nice detail touch
Seb Rogers

Product Specifications

Product

Name Virtue 3 (09)
Brand Felt

Cassette Sram PC-950 (9-Speed) 11-32 tooth range
Saddle Felt RXC Lite, Super Low Side Profile Look with Medium/Flat Top, Double-Density Base, Satin Steel Rails
Top Tube (in) 23
Standover Height (in) 28.66
Seat Tube (in) 17.5
Chainstays (in) 16.85
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 13.39
Weight (lb) 31.26
Year 2009
Stem Felt RXC STEM Oversized 6061 Alloy, 3D Cold-Forged + CNC,1-1/8 inch Threadless 4-Bolt, 5 Degree Rise. 31.8mm Bar Bore CP Hardware. Extensions: 120mm
Shifters Shimano Deore SL-M530 Rapidfire Plus 27-Speed
Seatpost Felt Alloy Micro-Adjust, 100% Black, 6061 Low-Profile Forged Head & Extruded Rail Clamps, 30.9x350mm
Rims WTB SX 24 Disc Doublewall, with Single Eyelets, 26 x 1.5 x 32 hole, 24mm Width, Presta Valve, Black Anodized, 460g
Available Colours White
Rear Hub Shimano FH-RM65 8/9 Speed Cassette with CenterLock, 32 hole, with Quick Release
Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX RD-M662 "SHADOW" Top-Normal Version
Handlebar Felt RXC Riser Handlebar Butted Oversize 6061 Aluminum, 31.8mm clamp diameter, 25mm Rise, 8 degree bend with 4 degree sweep, Width: 680mm
Front Hub Shimano HB-RM65 with CenterLock, 32 hole, with Quick Release
Front Derailleur Shimano Deore FD-M531 Bottom pull, Bottom swing
Frame Material Felt Equilink "Trail" Full Suspension, 7005 Double-Butted Aluminum with Hydroform Toptube & Alloy Rear Triangle, 130mm Travel 45mm Integrated Head Tube, Replaceable Derailleur Hanger, Disc-Brake Specific
Fork RockShox Tora 302 Solo Air 130mm With Turnkey Lock out, U-turn Travel Adjust, Air Spring, 4.93 lbs, 32mm Cr-Mo Stanchions, Adjustments: Spring Preload, External Rebound, Disc Brake Specific Lower Legs
Cranks Shimano FC-M542 2-Piece
Brakes Shimano Hydraulic BR-M486 Twin Piston Caliper design, Organic pads,
Bottom Bracket Included with Crankset
Available Sizes 15.5 Inches 17.5 Inches 19.5 Inches 21.5 Inches
Wheelbase (in) 43.07