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Felt Bicycles brought media professionals to its global headquarters in Orange County, Calif., this week for a first look at its 2016 bike lineup.
The Felt IA Line
New for this year from the triathlon IA series is the IA 10 frameset, which has the same shapes and features of the IA, minus the fork—it has no integrated front end, making it both more affordable and easier to maintain. The IA 10, outfitted with Ultegra Di2, is priced at $4,999 and will be released in December. The IA 14 ($3,999) and IA 16 ($2,999) both use the same IA 10 frame but are down-spec’d a little more. Instead of Felt’s own brakes, the IA 10 has a standard Vision TriMax brake up front and an FSA direct-mount rear brake under the chainstay. The conventional front-end arrangement has the cables exposed, making maintenance and travel easier. The bike also has more storage capabilities, with the options of cages on the downtube and seat tube, something that will come in handy especially in long-course triathlon training. It’s essentially the same aerodynamic benefit as higher-end models, such as the premier IA FRD (MSRP $16,999), but with more conventional components, which helps to keep the price in check. The IA 14 has Ultegra derailleurs versus the 16’s 105 derailleurs, and the FSA and Vision crank and brakes are also down-spec’d.
The IA has seen plenty of success on the pro scene, with Mirinda Carfrae winning Kona on this bike twice as well as Daniela Ryf finishing second on the Big Island.
The Felt AR1 Aero Road Line
Changes were also made to Felt’s road line, specifically with the new-for-2016 AR1, from the brand’s aero road line (Australian pro Ashleigh Gentle rode an AR to her Escape from Alcatraz victory earlier this year). This bike has tested in the wind tunnel (Felt’s own tests) to be faster than its competitors at wider yaw angles (out to 20 degrees of yaw), which is especially beneficial to mid-pack riders. Other smart design details on this bike are a chainstay-mounted rear brake, which eliminates a high-pressure zone at the top of the brake; and Felt’s seat post design, which is very thin and utilizes an internal clamping device so that it’s more aero but also takes harshness out of the ride. The complete line features Continental Grand Prix 4000 tires, which offered better handling characteristics than Felt’s own tires, though they tested second to Felt’s tires in the wind tunnel. The new AR1, outfitted with a mix of Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 shifters and derailleurs, a Rotor Flow Aero crankset, 3T Aeronova Team carbon fiber handlebar and 3T Integra Team stem, and Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels, retails for $7,999 and will be released in August. The top-level AR FRD ($12,499) has a Pioneer power meter (valued around $2,000) included as well as EECycleworks brakes with no price change over the 2015 version. The FRD also features a Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain and Zipp 404 Firestrike wheels. The AR FRD, AR1 and AR2 all feature top-of-the-line TeXtreme carbon in their layups.
In addition to its new bikes, the company also announced that it will debut a new mark (or logo) this week that will appear on the new bikes. “We see this as a new chapter in our history, and we’re excited about it,” says Doug Martin, Felt’s sports marketing director.
Also, this will be the last “model year” of bikes—Felt announced its new “Living Line,” in which the company won’t be launching or discontinuing bikes based on the industry-determined timeframe—bikes will be released as soon as they’re ready and products will be kept available as long as they’re relevant. It’s yet to be determined whether Felt will appear at the Interbike and Eurobike tradeshows.