Some manufacturers of time trial/triathlon bikes seem to go for aerodynamic efﬁciency at the expense of everything else, from handling to reliable braking. Felt, on the other hand, have always maintained a friendly ride. The latest iteration of the B2 is absolute bliss to ride, without losing any of its blistering pace either.
Ride & handling: As outstandingly smooth and sweet as the old B2, but lighter
It’s rare to ﬁnd an aero bike that feels great at slow speed, and you might ﬁnd the sharp steering through the Bayonet fork alarming at ﬁrst. There’s a bit of mid-frame twist when you’re trying to muscle a big gear at low revs too, which doesn’t help. Get the cranks and wheels spinning though, and the Felt slots you into position like the ﬁnal, satisfying piece of a jigsaw puzzle.
Carving down tight descents we felt 100 percent conﬁdent, and the B2 held a line calmly even in gusting winds. Keep the revs high and the lightweight complete bike climbs eagerly, rounding out a totally versatile, always user-friendly time-slicing character. The Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 transmission is a real game-changer too, keeping you in the perfect gear wherever your hands are on the bars, so you never have to compromise on aerodynamics or climbing grunt.
Where Felt have always scored is ride smoothness that keeps you fresh. The new lighter ﬁbre mix hasn’t removed any of the shock-absorbing qualities, so it’s a fatigue-reducing, climb-quickening double win for the new B2. If the question is B2 or not B2, then the answer is an overwhelming “yes” – though UK buyers will have to splash out £6,300 for the SRAM Red, Zipp-equipped B2 Pro, or go for the £4,400 B10 which has the same geometry but is made from a different grade of carbon.
Frame & equipment: Refined chassis kitted out with Shimano’s game-changing Di2
While the organic-looking, wind-tunnel-honed, Ironman-winning aerodynamics of the B2 have largely been left untouched for 2011, there’s a whole new structure under the skin. The key element is a new higher modulus (more carbon ﬁbre, less resin) UHC Advanced material that saves signiﬁcant weight while still delivering the same stiffness and strength.
Front and rear wheelhuggers keep airﬂow smooth, cables are internally routed from behind the headset, and skinny stays and top tube ﬁne-tune the ride quality. The Bayonet steering system was one of the original leading-edge drag-reducers and this second-generation version has the best handling and was easiest to work with.
There’s an optional rear offset seatpost available for a slacker effective seat angle too. Remarkably, considering the costs involved in engineering different sizes of frame in carbon ﬁbre, the B2 comes in no less than seven different frame sizes from 48 to 60cm. The 48 and 50cm bikes also come with smaller 650c rather than 700c wheels to keep everything proportional.
For 2011 the B2 gets a fully integrated suite of Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electric gears, complete with push-button shifting on both the extension bar tips and base bar horns. FSA supply the Team Issue carbon cranks with frame-matched arm lengths for optimum ﬁt. Tektro provide the superlight under-chainstay rear brake, while the conventional mounted front anchor is a Felt-branded item.
Felt supply the excellent, widely adjustable cockpit and seating equipment too, with its quality and comfort clearly showing their long-term triathlon involvement. Felt have added a new TTR2 wheelset, with lightweight 42mm deep alloy rims and a unique 18-bladed-spoke front, 21-bladed-spoke rear- lacing arrangement.