Interbike 2010: Ride Reviews – Felt Edict XC Racer and Carbon Nine Team 29er Mountain Bikes

After hearing murmurs at Sea Otter about a top secret, superlight race rocket that Felt was working on, we made sure we were at their press launch earlier this summer to see the all-new Edict XC mountain bike.

At Interbike’s Dirt Demo, as fun as it sounds, there’s actually very little time for me to ride much (same at Sea Otter…I know, boo hoo) since I’m running around trying to cover all the brands that aren’t exhibiting indoors. There were a lot of sweet rides to be sure, but the only bike I carved out a short time to ride was Felt’s Edict.

First impression: Crazy light.

Ride impressions? Click on past the break, where you’ll also find Rob Morgan’s short ride review of the new Carbon Nine 29er hardtail and some photos of a totally busted carbon railed saddle – the second one I’ve broken this year – too…

The 2011 Felt Edict is a sweet looking bike. The gist of it is a pivotless rear end a la the original Gary Fisher Sugar linked up to a simple rocker arm and shock.  Felt wanted to keep it simple and light, and they suceeded.

Of course, in this day and age, lightweight full sussers are becoming common, so the performance has to be up to snuff in order to sell a $9,000 rig.  I’m happy to say, racers won’t be disappointed. The bike is even plush enough for typical trail riders that don’t live in particularly rough areas…I was able to stay seated comfortably over the little bumps and rocks, as much so on any other 100mm XC bike.

No rear pivot keeps things light and stiff, and full carbon dropouts aid in the weight loss.

The Edict’s frame is made of UHC Ultimate carbon with Nano tubes in the resin. The frame’s parts are molded individually to optimize particular strengths, then co-molded together into the complete frame. Cables are run internally.  The bottom bracket section is really wide, but the entire downtube maintains that width virtually to the head tube. The result is a laterally stiff frame that you can really pedal hard without flex.  Standing and stomping pretty much just moves your forward with no sideways boogie.

The Edict has a tapered headtube with plenty of frame cross section behind it.

I rode a Large test bike, but probably would want to at least check out an XL if I were to add this to my stable. As you can see here, I had the seatpost maxed out (actually putting it just a bit above the recommended minimum insert line…which the Felt guys OK’d before I took it out, but neither Felt nor Bikerumor would recommend that for long-term riding). The extended seattube creates a really low standover and low center of gravity, and you can easily work the bike around underneath you for tight maneuvering.  The color/graphic matched seatpost is a nice touch.

The Edict LTD in size Medium or Large (can’t remember which one we weighed…sorry) came in at 21lbs 6oz.  Normally, I’d try to make a few comments as to where you could drop weight, but even though it’s stocked with Felt’s house brand Devox cockpit parts, you’d have a hard time making a cost-effective upgrade on this bike.  It’s stocked with full SRAM XX from fork to drivetrain, Mavic Crossmax SLR wheels and Conti’s RaceKing tires.  In fact, I’d actually make a few recommendations that would probably add weight.  First, put a wider bar on it. The handlebar on the Edict was way, way too narrow and made the bike feel squirly.  This is a common weight saving trick, but in the real world, most people are going to ride and feel better with something around 670mm to 690mm wide. This one was 600mm wide, and it weighs 120g. You can find wider bars without much more than a 10g to 20g weight penalty.  Second, personally, I’d add some Ergon grips, but this is a highly personal choice. Lastly:

My hunch is you’re going to want/have to replace the carbon railed Prologo Nago Evo saddle sooner or later. It was plenty comfortable, until it wasn’t. This was the result of a simple endo, although I hear this same bike may have been wrecked hard earlier in the day…and apparently it was the second such saddle failure Felt had during Outdoor Demo.  Oh, and this is the second carbon railed saddle I’ve broken this year, the first being on a spectacular head-over-heels-landing-in-the-bushes wipeout on the similarly priced Cannondale Scalpel.

Saddle issues aside, the Edict is a great race bike and could make a great all-round mountain bike for those not looking to get too crazy.  It rode well, handled predictably and pedaled efficiently.  Granted this is all based on a fairly short test ride, but after riding so many bikes over the years, we get a sense for what works and what doesn’t. And it looks like this one works.

There’s also a $5,500 Pro model and a $3,000 frameset available.

ROB’S REVIEW OF THE CARBON NINE 29er

“Steamroll rocks. carve turns and fly up climbs faster than you ever thought possible.”

This is Felt’s claim for the all new Nine Team race bike and yes, the bike delivers on its promise.  On the fast and loose Outdoor Demo course at Bootleg Canyon the bike held its own in a very crowded field of 29ers.  The stylish black and red paint scheme gave the bike a “pop” and the SRAM XO drivetrain gave it the go needed to be out front at the event.  The bike rolled on Mavic Crossmax 29 wagon wheels and the turn carving WTB Vulpine tires.

Suspension comes from a Rockshox Reba RLT 29 with 100mm travel.  The bike climbs like a rocket and eats up anything in its path.  If you are looking for a performance carbon 29er then you should put Felt at the top of your list.  The bike comes in three sizes and can be yours for MSRP $5,499

Editor’s Note: Big thanks to Matt Philips from Mountain Bike Magazine for being my action photographer on the dirt demo course to get that shot at the top of the post. I owe you one! – Tyler

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