Quick Tour: Felt’s Southern California Headquarters

Felt Headquarters Tour 2013 (2) sensored

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.

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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.

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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.

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Like any designers, the desks of the creative team always have a ton of interesting stuff to see.

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Relatively small compared to other companies Felt competes with, the engineering department is where the bike magic happens.

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Tucked back into the far corners, you might even find a Ducati engine or two.

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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.

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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.

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Felt also has a small machining and frame shop on hand to build and test prototypes.

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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.

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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.

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The next victim test subject?

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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.

 

Comments

Ryan - 08/13/13 - 9:32am

Always enjoy these tour articles, particularly the “little things” that give a sense of the attitude or character of said company.

nicholas simon - 08/13/13 - 9:37am

have to say for a design company – these offices are less inspiring than those in THE OFFICE!

jaas - 08/13/13 - 10:33am

what is this embargo you speak of?

Psi Squared - 08/13/13 - 10:37am

The embargo is a ban on releasing information about new products yet to be revealed, like the blurred image of the of the bike in the stand.

patrik - 08/13/13 - 11:33am

“…not to be the biggest bike company, but the best.”

Wouldn’t the former logically follow the latter? If you’re objectively the best, then you will inevitably be the biggest, as consumers want the best.

I just don’t buy this type of marketing-speak. To me, it’s an excuse for why we’re not market leaders. To which I ask: If Felt does become the biggest due to being the best, then what happens to this slogan?

brian - 08/13/13 - 11:45am

@patrik: so to follow your argument, McDonald’s has the best food on the planet? Bon appetit, man.

Great behind-the-scenes article BikeRumor, keep ‘em coming. It is indeed a pleasure to get a peek at the soul of a company as revealed in these articles.

dudebro - 08/13/13 - 12:26pm

Dear Felt.
Please hire a graphic designer to create a new Felt wordmark. I don’t care how technologically advanced your bikes are, I just can’t see myself spending thousands of dollars on a bike with a generic dafont.com typeface.

You might as well use impact font or comic sans, it really is THAT bad.

Francisco - 08/13/13 - 12:33pm

“If you’re objectively the best, then you will inevitably be the biggest, as consumers want the best.”

Not so! Market leaders seldom have the very best engineering and technical ‘content’ (think Microsoft). It is a matter of finance, marketing and aggressive, focused management. Perhaps you can say they are the best managed towards profit and growth…

CXisfun - 08/13/13 - 12:39pm

@Patrick: No, not all consumers want the best. Who do you think the best watch maker is? Casio? Timex? Of course not, but they are far larger than IWC or Patek Philippe. Many consumers want the cheapest and fastest, which is exactly why Brian’s comment is perfect. McDonalds is huge because it’s cheap and fast, not because it’s the best.

Sean - 08/13/13 - 12:55pm

Looks like a ghost town. How much engineering goes on there? And how much in Taiwan?

Zach Overholt - 08/13/13 - 12:57pm

@Sean, it was pretty deserted, mostly because everyone was outside for the product launch.

Sean - 08/13/13 - 12:59pm

And what’s up with the motion-blurred ghost bike in the exterior shot of the building?

Zach Overholt - 08/13/13 - 1:27pm

@Sean, also embargoed bikes. Check back soon!

Dfdoc - 08/13/13 - 3:15pm

I believe the embargoed bikes include the Fx series built with the new Red hydraulic. Not sure why the secrecy.

MotoPete - 08/13/13 - 3:54pm

WTF! Not one mention of motocross. JIM FELT IS MOTO ROYALTY! He and O’show were the shit.

Test1 - 08/13/13 - 5:00pm

@dudebro is speaking the truth. Felt, please update your logos, wordmarks, graphics, what have you. They are really, really generic and low-rent. The bikes themselves are attractive from a technical perspective, but I always pass Felt over based on the bubbly cartoony looking “Felt” downtube logo, and apparently I’m not alone. Your graphic design talent doesn’t come close to supporting Felt’s motto of being “the best”.

kcr - 08/13/13 - 5:33pm

@Dfdoc info on the Fx bikes has been available at cxmagazine.com for a few months.

sillybike - 08/13/13 - 7:34pm

currently on the F1, the best bike i have ridden yet to date! graphics do need a overhaul! most buy on looks alone! it is one bad a$$ bike!

dano - 08/15/13 - 9:37pm

ok i’ve got a felt-12-q920 21.5 alpine white/black frame i paid $75 for it now all i have is the seat post and the hanger my question is how much is the rest of the components for the bike and if its in the hundreds of dollars i think it would be ez-er to sell the frame i like the bike but im on a fixed income i’ve had the frame for at least a year now and the local bike shop wants to charge me a arm and a leg for parts what should i do bummer i wish i could work at your felt company then i could get the parts i need lol dam i would help you guys create faster stronger bike in my dreams well you guys rock (p.s) a lover of bikes your friend Dano

derekjava - 08/16/13 - 11:41am

The simplicity of the logo design means that it is instantly recognizable across greater distances than if complex. Of course, a new logo could be simple, too. But, I love the look. I love my bike, a 2012 F85 (thnx, FELT). And I love both saying to and HEARING from other FELT bike owners, “Nice bike!”

Nice tour of the facilities.

PS: The FELT offices are REAL. THE OFFICE is FICTION.

pants and jacket - 08/16/13 - 6:33pm

The commenters/peanut gallery/bunch of gapers on this site have to be the biggest bunch of morons I have ever laid eyes upon.

Bob - 08/22/13 - 1:25am

A couple typos–(I just grabbed this one, because I didn’t realize there was a comment page until I kept scrolling.)

“Entire bikes can be made by making several interlocking pieces, which can then be brought tot he tunnel for real world validation.”

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