Last year, Felt showcased an impressive fleet at Sea Otter, from an ultra-high-end carbon frameset to an aluminum complete bike to a ’cross bike for the kiddies, with plenty in between. This year, Felt has upped its game with nine revamped/new models, running the same gamut in terms of high-end materials down to a complete aluminum model for $1299.
Product Manager Ben Warren walked us through the latest models, which will all be available between July and September 2014.
“We’ve changed the layup completely and we’re using TeXtreme material,” Warren explained. “We introduced it last year on our [road] AR, IA and F-series frames, so it was natural to bring it to cyclocross. We had it on our hardtail as well. The cyclocross bike is a combination of elements of both road and mountain. We can stiffen the frame and reduce the weight, the texturing allows us to remove some of the material.”
All of the carbon frames feature BB30 bottom brackets, internal cable routing, replaceable derailleur hangers, and what Felt refers to as a “shoulder-friendly top tube.”
Also new to the F1x, F2x and F3x is the thru axle on the forks: the Rock Shox Maxle style thru axle will be on all three models. The fork itself is worth noting as well. While the F2x and F3x will not be made with TeXtreme material, the forks on all three will be. “We also revised the dropouts slightly in the rear so the cable exits out the dropouts,” Warren says.
Racer and Felt employee Amanda Nauman (SDG-Felt) can be seen rocking the F1x frameset when she’s not prototyping other models, and you can read more about her in our interview in the just released Issue 24. The Keough Cyclocross team including Nick Keough and Shawn Milne can also be seen on the F1x.
“This is the pistachio color scheme,” Warren notes, though anyone walking by would have immediately noticed the eye-catching color. “One of the big things was the new cable routing and the cleaner exit out the rear,” he added, pointing to the less obvious bits of the bike.
The production model will use a DT Swiss wheelset but for the show, Industry Nine with Challenge Grifos were on the bike.
Like many companies this year, like Trek on their Boone, Felt is adding a tiny bit of suspension to the seat posts of their higher-end models in the form of the 3T VR seat post—their vibration-reducing seat post. “We used this last year on our AR road frames. It’s a bit of polymer that we bond into the seat post. It’s a material that’s used in the construction industry… We partnered with 3T to introduce it last year on our road models,” Warren said.
Another noteworthy feature is the cone washer on the headset of each model. It’s removable, creating a “very versatile fit on any ’cross bike,” between the 20mm and 4.5mm options that both come with the bikes, allowing racers to drop up or down as flexibility and riding style dictate.
We recently reviewed the F3x in Issue 24 of Cyclocross Magazine, and in addition to a stellar ride on the frame, what we really noticed was the attention to detail on the spec list, which is why, in that same issue, it took home one of our Mid-range Bike Editors’ Choice Awards.
The F3x features Shimano’s new R785 hydraulic brakes with ST-RS685 brake shift levers. “We’ll have the Di2 hydraulic disc brake bike [F2x] and this one is below it with an Ultegra drivetrain,” Warren explained.
Another noteworthy tweak to the bike for this year is the cabling. “We heard back from the market about how external shifting was easy to clean but this year, how at Nationals only bikes with Di2 were shifting. So we partnered with Jagwire, who just introduced their new sealed liner, so we put that stock on the F3X so the cable is totally sealed from external elements.”
“This one of my personal favorites,” Warren admits, “Because it uses the new SRAM CX1 drivetrain. It has cable routing, it’s really clean looking, it’s completely sealed from all the elements.”
The F4x also features internal cable routing for the CX1 drivetrain, as well as TRP Spyre disc brakes, and a Mavic Aksium ONE Disc wheelset with Vittoria Cross XL Pro tires—another Cyclocross Magazine Editors’ Choice Award Winner.
“The biggest change,” Warren says, “is that we went from the SRAM Apex group to the Shimano 105 11-speed group with the TRP HY/RD brakes.” The HY/RD brakes provide a combination of hydraulic and mechanical stopping for disc brakes, and were another Editors’ Choice winner for their ease of use (after a slightly tricky setup).
It wasn’t just the carbon bikes that underwent a makeover. In fact, the aluminum frames changed the most across the board. “They’re completely different,” Warren said. “We have a brand new frame on the aluminum side of things. It has a BB386 bottom bracket, we also have new butting on the tubes, internal cable routing and the geometry is tweaked a bit, a little slacker to fit in with the gravel market just a bit. It has fender mounts so it can really be that all-purpose bikes.”
The F65x is kitted out almost the same as the F5x carbon model, with Shimano 105 11-speed, TRP Spyre disc brakes, and Felt CxR3 tubeless ready wheels with Vittoria Cross Pro XL tires.
“In the past we had the 75X, which was a cantilever version,” Warren says. “It’s all disc now except for the 95X, but that’s only available internationally, not in the US.” The F85x is therefore the lowest level model available to US residents, and comes with a Shimano Tiagra STI 10-speed drivetrain with Tektro Mira disc brakes and the same wheelset and tires as the F65x. It comes in two colors, “Satin Snozberry” (a dark magenta with bright neon striping) or “Gloss Army” (army green with hints of acid green and blue).
F95x and F24x
The F95x is the last cantilever model that Felt is producing, but isn’t available in the US, only for international customers.
For the kids, “we did a great job on the F24x the first time,” Warren explained, so the only thing changing on the $799 bike is the paint scheme, which will shift to a Belgian-themed blue and orange to match the F3x.
Note: the MSRPs shown are within $200 of the projected price, but final pricing is still TBD.
Check out all of our tech goodies from Sea Otter 2014, and keep checking as we start to get rolling into the long weekend.