Felt 2014 Mountain Bikes – Textreme 29ers, Awesome Mid Level & Kid’s Bikes, and 650b?
The new Virtue 9 wasn’t the only bit of news from the Felt 2014 launch, as a number of new bikes were on display including the all new Edict 9 FRD. Following in the footsteps of the Felt Nine FRD, the Edict 9 takes the no holds barred FRD approach to bike building to utilize Oxeon’s Textreme Carbon fiber for an incredibly high performance bike.
It’s not all high end halo bike for 2014 though, as Felt showed their hand with impressive mid level bikes, new kids bikes, and even a few 650b?
First introduced on the Felt Nine FRD, Oxeon’s Textreme Spread Tow carbon fiber uses their own carbon tape rather than individual carbon filaments for the weave. This results in a smoother, thinner, stronger, and lighter carbon layer that requires less of it for a better performing bike. The unique checkerboard pattern is a direct result of the Spread Tow design, which is now a characteristic of all FRD bikes – and maybe a few to come.
The 100mm travel Edict 9 will now be offered in 3 carbon versions including the FRD model, 2 alloy versions, and a carbon frameset. All of the carbon Edict frames are built around Felt’s FAST (Felt Active Stay Technology) suspension system, which is essentially their take on a simple single pivot design. The use of flexible carbon stays results in one less mechanical pivot for a simpler, lighter design while the aluminum bikes receive an additional pivot above the rear axle since metal doesn’t like to flex like carbon.
Changes to the suspension design for the coming year include a new hollow 15mm alloy axle for the swingarm and beefed up pivots with dual row cartridge bearings for increased durability and lateral stiffness.
The Edict uses internal cable routing for both front and rear derailleurs, with housing stops in the frame and bare cable inside. No dropper post provisions for the Edict, though the upper cable guides are replaceable so there is potential.
Carbon Edicts will also receive a new Low direct mount front derailleur which allows for straighter chainstays for improved power transfer and better shifting due to the derailleur moving with the swing arm. The mount is also out of sight should you be running a 1x drivetrain for a clean look. Alloy models stick with a traditional band clamp derailleur.
At the back of the bike, the rear brake is repositioned in front of a new 142×12 Syntace X12 style rear axle. The brake is now a direct post mount 160-180mm design, and the axle is a DT Swiss unit, though lesser expensive models get a Felt designed axle to keep costs down.
Claimed frame weight for the FRD model is 4.5lbs (about 2000g) with a shock, or about 120g lighter than last year’s LTE model, while still managing to be 8-10% stiffer. Built with XX1 drivetrain, Sid XX with X-Lock Full Sprint, XX brakes, and Easton EC90 carbon wheels, the FRD has an impressive built for only $8999. Obviously, 9 grand is a lot of money for any bike, for with the FRD you seem to be getting a lot of bike for your money.
If 9 grand is too rich for your blood, Felt has a number of lower priced Edicts including the Nine3 carbon for $3,599. The Nine3 uses Felt’s UHC Performance DMC carbon for the frame while the bike is decked out with a RockShox Recon Gold Solo Air, SRAM X9/X7 2×10 drive train, Magura MT2 disc brakes, and WTB Speed Disc i23 wheels.
If it seems to you like there is a lot of RockShox equipment on the bikes for 2014, you’re right. In an interesting move, there aren’t any Fox suspension products in Felt’s mountain bike line up for 2014. Felt gave RockShox some serious credit for the amount of support they provided to custom tune shocks and forks for their bikes, and said it was an easy choice based on the suspension Rockshox is putting out.
The Nine FRD will also be offered for 2014, though it will only be sold now as a frame only. Felt mentioned that at this level of bike simply having the wrong wheel or handle bar speced on a bike can mean a lot of bikes sitting on sales floors so they felt offering it in frame only was a safer bet considering it is a $2999 frameset.
Of course the frame uses a blend of Felt’s UHC Ulitimate carbon with Textreme MMC Spread Tow woven carbon. The frame continues the use of a 135mm QR rear end, 27.2 seatpost, threaded bottom bracket and tapered headtube. Claimed weight is around 900 grams for the frame, with the build shown here at 19 pounds flat.
Again, while the top end FRD will cost everything from your 9 to 5, the new Nine5 uses the same mold as the high end bikes, but is built with a more affordable spec for a price point of $1999. Constructed fron Felt’s UHC Performance carbon the Nine5 uses a SRAM X7/X5 2×10 drivetrain with Tektro HDC brakes, and WTB SX17 rims for an impressive value.
The Nine5 has a 135 QR rear end and offers a nice chain rash guard on the frame around the threaded bottom bracket.
As the high end alloy model, the Nine50 looks pretty rad with skinwall tires and matching graphics.
Expecting 27.5″ bikes? For now, if you’re craving the middle sized wheels you’ll have to settle for the relatively low end 7Sixty or 7Eighty. Felt made no effort to hide the fact that they have been working on bringing 27.5″ bikes to market, but they didn’t want to rush development just to make it for 2014. Felt also sees the two new 27.5″ models as replacements for 26″ bikes, not 29″.
Both 7 series hard tails use a tapered head tube and BB30 bottom bracket while the 7Sixty rolls a RockShox XC30 fork with a Shimano Deore/Acera 9 speed drivetrain and Tektro HDC hydraulic brakes for $1049.
The 7Eighty drops the spec a bit with a Suntour XCT HLO fork and SRAM X4 8 speed drivetrain with Tektro Novella Disc brakes for $599.
Kids get in on the new bike action too, with the all new disc brake equipped Q24. Rather than race to the bottom for price on kid’s bikes, Felt has decided to offer trail worthy bikes that provide real world benefits to smaller riders like suspension that actually moves. Felt worked with SR Suntour on softer MCU springs for a suspension fork that you can actually move just by squeezing the arch and the crown together which will translate to better tuned suspension for jr. While there will undoubtedly be debate as to the safety of disc brakes for kids, the brakes allow the wheels to keep rolling even when the rim is inevitably crashed out of true.