Felt’s VR range has always been the brand’s comfort and distance platform. VR stands for Variable Road; that means it’s designed to go up and down as well as conquer road surfaces both good and bad.
Felt VR Advanced Ultegra Di2 frame
The key element in Felt’s quest to make a smooth-riding machine is the frame construction. Both frame and fork are built with the brand’s own Ultra Hybrid Carbon (UHC).
This consists of three types of carbon fibres – elastic, rigid and impact resistant – all orientated to make the best use of their properties.
The rigid fibre is found in the head tube and bottom bracket, which is where you want a chassis to be optimally stiff to aid handling and power transfer.
The elastic fibre can be found in the (dropped) seatstays, as this is where you want a bit of flex to enable the chassis to absorb fatiguing vibrations from poor road surfaces.
Finally, the impact-resisting fibre is used in more vulnerable areas, such as the down tube’s underside and the chainstays, where it’s common to get stones striking or the chain bouncing and hitting, chipping away at your frame’s finish.
All of the carbon is bonded together using a nano-tech resin made with nanoparticles of carbon within the resin that enhance the construction strength, bolstered with Textreme carbon.
This spread of woven carbon fabric is much more uniform and compact than traditional carbon. It also has far superior strength-to-weight and better impact strength, but it’s expensive so is used sparingly.
How we tested
With the best aero road bikes getting lighter, race bikes getting more comfortable and the best gravel bikes becoming so road capable, the endurance bike category is often overlooked. But we think endurance bikes offer some of the best all-round rides.
So we put four of the best new endurance bikes for around £4,000 to the test to find out which offers the total package.
Also on test
Felt VR Advanced Ultegra Di2 geometry
Looking at the VR’s silhouette and geometry, it’s clear this is a machine that’s geared towards comfort.
My large test bike (closest traditional size is 56cm) has a 595mm stack and a short 386mm reach. This put me in a more upright position than any of the other bikes on test.
This is not a negative at all – the VR is designed to be a speedy long-distance bike with comfort at its core. And it’s the most comfortable and smoothest-riding bike I had on test, by some distance.
|||XXS (43cm)||XS (47cm)||S (51cm)||M (54cm)||L (56cm)||XL (58cm)||XXL (61cm)|
|Seat angle (degrees)||75.3||74.7||74.5||74||73.5||73||73|
|Head angle (degrees)||70.3||71.3||72||72.5||72.5||72.5||72.5|
|Rear center (mm)||412||412||415||415||415||417||417|
|Seat tube (mm)||410||430||450||480||500||520||550|
|Top tube (mm)||495||510||525||545||563||580||595|
|Head tube (mm)||115||130||145||165||185||205||225|
|Fork offset (mm)||52||52||50||50||50||50||50|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||72||72||70||70||70||70||70|
Felt VR Advanced Ultegra Di2 ride impressions
It floats over rough, buzzy surfaces without any drama and swallows the smack of a pothole. I found that the only fatigue after four or five hours in the saddle was from tired legs, rather than aches and pains anywhere else.
The Felt is also the most expensive bike on test and, as you’d expect, the lightest. The extra money is spent wisely on its kit specification.
Alongside the electronic groupset you get rather good carbon wheels from Reynolds. The AR29 DBs have a shallow rim that’s also broad at 29.5mm, and they shape the 30mm Vittoria tyres to generous proportions.
The wheels tip the scales at a feathery 1,455g for the pair and are tubeless-ready, but unlike the Giant Defy, they come set up with tubes and clincher tyres, rather than tubeless.
Having light carbon wheels on an endurance bike makes a lot of sense. It means the VR is light on the climbs and when seated and spinning a high cadence up a steep climb, it’s a great feeling.
The Felt makes short shrift of tough climbs, especially with its gradient-friendly 11-34 cassette mated to a compact 50/34 chainset.
Contact points are excellent: the carbon seatpost enhances the bump-smoothing comfort of the chassis’ back end and it’s topped with one of my favourite short saddles in Prologo’s Dimension Space, with its great shape, dense padding and well-positioned pressure-relieving channel.
Up front, the alloy bar has a lovely profile with the flattened ovalised tops offering a great hold and compact drops that let you stay down without overstretching.
One niggle is that the internal cable routing isn’t quite as optimised as I’d like. The VR’s external hose routing from bar to fork leg and into the left-hand side dual port on the down tube, combined with an old-style under-stem Di2 junction/control unit, leaves a messy collection of wires and hoses at the front end.
It’s not detrimental to the ride in any way, it just doesn’t match the VR’s exemplary ride.
|Price||EUR €5599.00GBP £4819.00USD $6499.00|
|Weight||8.2kg (56cm (L))|
|Available sizes||43, 47, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm|
|Headset||FSA Sealed cartridge 1.125 x 1.5in|
|Tyres||Vittoria Rubino Pro IV 30c|
|Shifter||Shimano Ultegra Di2 ST-R8070|
|Saddle||Prologo Dimension Space T4.0|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Ultegra Di2 RD-8050|
|Bottom bracket||Token Ninja Lite BB386|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Ultegra Di2 RD-8050|
|Frame||C:62 Advanced twin mold technology carbon|
|Fork||Felt UHC Advanced carbon + textreme|
|Cranks||Shimano Ultegra 50/34|
|Cassette||Shimano Ultegra 11-34|
|Brakes||Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc|
|Wheels||Reynolds AR29 DB custom|