Felt B12 review

Smooth and speedy

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £2,700.00 RRP | USD $3,799.00

Our review

Smooth, comfortable, efficiently aero with a great position and handling poise, the B12 is potentially a long-distance athlete’s best buddy
Skip to view product specifications

Felt’s carbon-framed contender is a smoothly speedy and well-equipped ride for efficient spinners, but not so great for those big-gear grunters. So, unless you’re an habitual big-gear mangler or steep-hill stomper, the smoothness and reduced fatigue may well pay more long-haul dividends than the potential speed dilution of the flexy power train.

Advertisement

Ride & handling: Comfortable and fluid

First impressions of the Felt depend entirely on which direction you’re headed in. When we rolled out in flat or down-sloped directions with a steady start rate or low heart rate in mind, then the easy speed of the sculpted aerodynamics and deeper-than-average wheels was noticed by all the Felt pilots straight away.

Despite the deeper wheels transmitting more road shock, the skinny frame sections, plush saddle and well-designed cockpit mean very little of it got to the rider. Even over proper back-road asphalt acne, the B12 stayed smooth and serenely comfortable. This enables you to stay down in a tuck and tick over the pedals without any interruption. The overall fatigue feedback from our test riders after their Felt flights was laden with praise for its comfortable, energy-conserving and efficient character.

At speed, steering is steady and the position well-balanced enough to thread through S-bends at 30mph-plus, without worry about staying in a tuck. The springiness of the frame also makes for a lively and buoyant feel through corners or changes of pace, creating a surprisingly playful and enjoyable ride for such a purposeful-looking bike. Relatively quick steering at slower speeds never turns nasty, even when trickling the bike around obstacles.

While it holds a gear well with easy efficiency, climbs, fast starts or anything requiring a serious sprint did expose the flipside of such a comfortable, fluid ride. Push too hard, and the narrow, cutaway bottom bracket and chainstay area starts to squirm around noticeably, softening your pedal push and leaving it lagging when you’re trying to torque the heavy wheels up to speed. Having said that, this is a bike plainly designed for long-haul events, not the more point-and-shoot, sprint or Olympic-distance races.

Frame: Aero-efficient and comfortable for long-distance joy

Felt’s B12 frame is another very well-proven contender, appearing first back in 2007 as the basis of their flagship DA bike. The controversial leading-edge Bayonet fork system has now gone in favour of a conventional sculpted leg aero fork, but otherwise the frame remains the same. Internally routed gear and rear brake cables disappear vertically behind the stem and appear again just ahead of the bottom bracket.

The top tube tapers to a super-skinny connection, while aero seat tube and super-slim down tube both get wheelhugger cut-outs to reduce drag. The rear brake is mounted horizontally in a seat tube cut-out just above the bottom bracket to leave the top of the aero seatstays totally clean. Small threaded stop screws in the horizontal dropouts also allow accurate wheel positioning in relation to the seat tube cut-out. The B12 only comes in four sizes, though, and the seatpost just gives a single steep position, rather than the choice of a laidback position.

Felt B12
Felt b12: felt b12
Russell Burton

Equipment: SRAM Red, Devox cockpit and deep-section wheel are highlights

Value vultures will note that the transmission is mostly SRAM’s superlight Red groupset, though the full-size solid disc TT chainrings run on a down-specced alloy chainset. The R2C (Return 2 Centre) shifters, with their permanently horizontal position, look aero, but the actual gear change operation is extremely stiff, which some testers struggled with.

We’re sure most riders will be pruning the super-long Devox own-brand extensions, but the rubber cow-horn covers on stiff base bars and integrated brake levers work really well. The Devox saddle polarised opinion. Some liked the broad, soft nose when down in a deep tuck, but others found there was too much between their thighs. If you don’t get on with it on a demo ride, most dealers will swap it to your preferred perch to close a £2,700 sale.

Advertisement

As well as the top-quality SRAM gear, Felt also provide an own-brand semi-aero wheelset. The 40mm-deep alloy rim gives a slight wind-cutting and momentum advantage on the flat without any obvious gusty weather downsides, but the heavy rim does need more muscle to accelerate or get it uphill.

Product Specifications

Product

Name B12 (11)
Brand Felt

Available Colours Satin Clear & White
Saddle Felt SL Tri/TT Saddle w/ Carbon Injected base, Gel Nose, Custom Waterproof Cover w/ Extended Length Cr-Mo rails
Standover Height (cm) 76.4
Wheelbase (cm) 99.1
Top Tube (cm) 52.8
Seat Tube (cm) 54
Chainstays (cm) 40.5
Weight (lb) 19.28
Weight (kg) 8.75
Stem Felt SL 6061 Aluminum 3D Forged +/-7° Rise, Ø26.0mm Bar Clamp, custom Cr-Mo bolts, 121g, 52cm=80mm, 54cm=90mm, 56cm=90mm, 58cm=100mm, 60cm=110mm.
Seatpost Felt Aero UHC Advanced Carbon Fiber Bladed Monocoque Design x 300mm
Seat Angle 77.9
Rear Wheel Weight 1750
Available Sizes 54 56 58cm 54 56 54 56 58cm 52 58cm 58cm 58cm 58cm 58cm 58cm 56 54 56 54 56 54 56 54 56 58cm 54 56 56 54 56 54 56 52 58cm 58cm 56 58cm 58cm 54 56 54 56 54 56 54 56 56 56 58cm 58cm 58cm 58cm 54 56 54 56 58cm 52 52 54 56 52 54 56 58cm 52 58cm 58cm 56 58cm
Rear Tyre Vittoria Zaffiro Pro, 700c x 23c, 60tpi
Headset Type FSA 1" Integrated w/ 20mm Cone & 3 X 5mm Spacer, Felt Tornado Aluminum Top Cap & 2024 Anodized Aluminum Bolt
Head Angle 73
Handlebar Felt 3:1 Bayonet 7005 Superlight 390mm (52cm) or 420mm (54-60cm) Base Bar w/ Internal Cable Routing, Integrated Adjustable Length 7075 Aluminum ƒ Bend extensions & 6061 Aluminum arm rests w/ Gel Arm Rest Pads
Front Wheel Weight 1270
Front Tyre Vittoria Zaffiro Pro, 700c x 23c, 60tpi
Frame Weight 1410
Frame Material Aero Carbon
Fork Weight 460
Brakes SRAM Red TT R2C
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 26.5