As a small company out of Irvine, California, Felt’s motto has always been the same – not to be the biggest bike company, but the best. Born out of Jim Felt’s knack for building the fastest time trial and triathlon frames long before aero was the new black, eventually Jim teamed up with Bill Duehring and Michael Mullmann to “build a bicycle brand dedicated to technological innovation and unmatched quality.”
Today, Felt as a company has a complete bicycle line touching nearly every style of bike, all run for the most part out of their modest Southern California digs. Take a quick tour of Felt’s home base, after the break.
Walk into the lobby at Felt and you are greeted by a number of championship winning bicycles and jerseys. Everything from the Olympics, to Ironman, to the Tour de France can be found that was raced by Felt’s Pros.
The decorating trend continues throughout most of the building. Sarah Hammer, Team Garmin Slipstream, it’s an impressive display of memorabilia. With the number of victories won on Felt bikes, it’s easy to forget just how small of a company Felt really is.
The Felt building houses the traditional conference rooms, sales and marketing cubicles, and lunch room, but Felt might hold the title of the most bicycle and motorcycle magazines in the bathrooms.
Like any designers, the desks of the creative team always have a ton of interesting stuff to see.
Relatively small compared to other companies Felt competes with, the engineering department is where the bike magic happens.
Tucked back into the far corners, you might even find a Ducati engine or two.
Thanks partially in part to Jim Felt’s past as a top motorcycle mechanic, motorsports run deep in the Felt blood line which probably gave rise to creations like these Gulf racing and Triumph inspired cruisers. The Gulf was available in Europe but never in the US, while the Triumph bike is a one off by a staff member.
No bicycle company is complete without a work bench and build area. Felt’s modest set up gets the job done. We realized that bicycle on the stand was one of the models under embargo. You’ll have to check back later in August for the scoop.
Felt also has a small machining and frame shop on hand to build and test prototypes.
It seems no company would be complete these days without a 3D printer, and Felt is no different, employing the use of a Fortus 250mc. The printer allows for the creation of durable prototypes that are able to be used in situations like the wind tunnel, or simply checking fit. Entire bikes can be made by making several interlocking pieces, which can then be brought tot he tunnel for real world validation.
Felt also does a bit of testing in house, specifically fork impact testing where a large weight is dropped onto the dropouts of a fork.
victim test subject?
The rest of the Felt building is essentially the garage you wish you had with a ton of different bikes and storage. Of course there is a small gym, motorcycles, and a jumbo flatscreen TV – for presentations of course.
Perhaps best of all, Felt’s headquarters are a quick ride from some great trails and roads, which are the perfect testing grounds for new bikes.