Felt’s three-model road bike line-up consists of the aerodynamically focused AR; the endurance smoothy that is the VR and the FR, the brand’s racing all-rounder with a lightweight chassis that majors on stiffness and fast handling.
The frame looks decidedly classic and its diamond shape is a breath of fresh air. This mechanical 105 version has external gear-cable routing, something I’ve not seen on a new bike in several years. If you opt for an electronic drivetrain, the wires run internally.
Felt FR Advanced 105 Disc frameset details
This entry-level model’s frame is lightweight (under 900g) and shares the same tech as the flagship bikes in the FR range.
Both the frame and fork are made with Felt’s own UHC (ultra hybrid carbon), which combines three fibres that each have useful properties such as elasticity, rigidity and impact resistance.
These fibres are bonded together with a resin that contains tiny particles of carbon. Felt says this adds strength.
This strength is then bolstered even more with the use of TeXtreme carbon. Felt says this creates a much more uniform and compact weave than traditional carbon fibre weaves, and it also has far superior strength-to-weight properties and better impact strength.
This frame design debuted around 2017 and it has aged well, apart from its now-conservative tyre clearance (just 28mm). You’d need to be careful if you upgrade to a more modern, wider rim than the Devox RDS.A1 specced as standard.
These simple and well-put-together wheels are based around a 23mm-deep alloy rim with a 19mm internal width. The rims are tubeless-ready, but are fitted here with Vittoria’s workhorse Rubino tyres in 25mm width.
Felt FR Advanced 105 Disc spec details
In-house brand partner Devox provides the lion’s share of the FR’s build, with an alloy stem, compact drop alloy bar (nothing integrated here) and a nicely finished carbon seatpost.
The post is topped by Prologo’s excellent Dimension saddle with its smart, short shape, pressure-relief channel and smartly placed padding.
The only downside is that you don’t get the slick, temperature-controlling Ice-Tech rotors of the more expensive groups, but the steel 105 rotors do a great job and gave only the slightest murmur after a long sequence of heavy braking while I was descending on a particularly wet ride.
The 52/36 chainset and wide 11-30 cassette suit the FR’s sporty intentions without being under-geared when the road veers sharply uphill. In fact, it’s when things get steep that the FR really shines.
Despite its modest overall weight, the FR is a superb climbing companion, and the feathery chassis, steep angles and short wheelbase all add up to a bike that’s very responsive to your efforts.
This is down to some very racy numbers in the bike’s geometry. My large test bike had steep 73.5-degree head and seat angles and a short wheelbase of 986mm. These, along with a low stack of just 572mm and long reach of 394mm, produce a long and low ride position.
The steep head angle, combined with a short fork offset of 43mm (47mm on smaller sizes to avoid toe overlap), produces a low 56mm trail figure (the smaller the trail, the faster the handling).
Felt FR Advanced 105 Disc geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||75.25||74.5||74||73.5||73.5||73.25||73|
|Head angle (degrees)||70.5||71.5||72.25||73||73.5||73.75||74|
|Seat tube (mm)||405||425||465||505||525||555||595|
|Top tube (mm)||495||512||530||548||563||583||604|
|Head tube (mm)||90||100||115||135||155||177||205|
|Fork offset (mm)||52||52||47||47||43||43||43|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||72||72||72||70||70||70||70|
Felt FR Advanced 105 Disc ride impressions
The FR’s speedy responses feel almost telepathically quick. It’s a bike you want to be on when the going gets technical, flicking around potholes, smashing into corners at speed or threading through traffic.
The stiffness in the chassis helps the FR’s sharpness, but you do lose some front-end comfort – the bike has a bit of buzz up front on poor surfaces, such as chip seal or frost-damaged tarmac.
At the back, however, it’s a very different story. The skinny, flattened seatstays combined with a quality carbon seatpost and excellent saddle make the rear end feel smooth.
Felt FR Advanced 105 Disc bottom line
Over the past couple of years, huge pressures have been put on bike pricing. Shipping delays and big cost increases, parts shortages, supply-chain issues and import woes have all affected bike brands’ bottom line.
So it’s good to see the FR Advanced is competitively priced. Yes, I’d be tempted to upgrade the tyres at some point to something that better suits the responsive chassis than the hardy but dull Rubinos, but overall it’s a very sharp riding machine.
The FR design may be showing its age a little compared to the latest race bikes and their generous tyre clearances. However, the bike is stiff, responsive and rapid. I couldn’t want for more when it comes to a competitive bike at a competitive price.
|Price||EUR €2749.00GBP £2249.00USD $3499.00|
|Available sizes||XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL|
|Brakes||Shimano 105 hydraulic disc|
|Cassette||Shimano 105, 11-30|
|Cranks||Shimano 105, 52/36|
|Fork||UHC + Textreme carbon|
|Frame||UHC + Textreme carbon|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano 105|
|Seatpost||Devox carbon Post.C2|
|Tyres||Vittoria Rubino IV 25c|