Felt Introduces All new Virtue 9, Longer Legs in Equilink 29
As one of the standouts from Felt’s 2014 presentation (at least one we can talk about at this point), the all new Virtue 29 looks to be a welcome addition to Felt’s mountain bike line up. With their previous 29er full suspension models topping out at the Edict 9, the Virtue offers a trail worthy longer travel big wheeler, ready for the dirt.
The Virtue will be offered in 5 models total, 2 carbon models and 3 alloy versions. The dedicated 130mm travel Virtue 9 is based around a 140mm fork, and carries 450mm long chainstays with a 69º head angle. All cable and housing is internal through the front triangle with the exception of the rear brake.
Carbon Virtue 9 frames us Felt’s UHC Advanced carbon fiber for the top end Nine1 and UHC Performance for the Nine3.
This includes dropper posts with an internal option for non-stealth posts as well as accommodations for stealth posts as well. Bottom bracket is a standard threaded unit, while the headset is a 1 1/8″ to 1.5″ tapered.
In order to make room for the 29″ wheels, a front derailleur, and the Equilink system, the Virtue 9 uses a Shimano high direct mount front derailleur standard. Edict 9s are now using a Low Direct mount because of the difference in suspension. Like most of the other full suspension bikes, the pivot hardware has been beefed up dramatically with large diameter aluminum hardware and bigger pivot axles.
Rear brake on the Virtue is 160mm Post mount on the seat stay, that sits above the Syntace X-12 style 142mm axle. On the Virtue a DT Swiss axle is used.
The carbon bikes take advantage of Felt’s FAST (Felt Active Stay Technology) seat stays which flex and prevent the need for an additional pivot. Unlike other SDL bikes, the distance between the upper and lower rear swingarm mounts actually changes resulting in the need for a pivot or flexible stays.
Felt claims the top model Virtue 9 carbon frame with shock weighs 5lbs or about 2267g. The carbon models will retail for $6199 for the Nine1 and $4149 for the Nine3.
The top end alloy Nine20 uses a 6061 double butted aluminum frame with the same 130mm of travel, as do the Nine50 and Nine60. Built to a high spec, the Nine20 feature a RockShox Revelation, full XT 2×10 drivetrain and brakes, and a KS LEV dropper post with DT Swiss wheels. $3799.
The Virtue Nine50 drops things down to a Sektor Silver fork, Shimano SLX/Deore drivetrain with Avid DB-1 brakes, and a KS e-Ten dropper post and WTB Speed Disc wheels. $2799.
As mentioned, since the aluminum can’t flex like carbon, the alloy models have an additional pivot at the rear just above the dropout. New for 2014 are dual row cartridge bearings for pivots like these, that replace DU bushings used in the past.
Not pictured are the Nine60 which will retail for $2199, and the Nine1 frameset for $3499. Availability is set for November for the alloy models, and hopefully by the end of the year for the carbon bikes. Sizing will be set at 16, 18, 20, and 22″ frames.