Felt’s Z series has been revamped and this, the Z2, the second of our December test fleet, is the American company’s second-from-top model.
The F series is Felt’s range of racing thoroughbreds, with the top-of-the-range F1 ridden by Marcel Kittel’s Argos-Shimano team, leaving the Z series as the ‘endurance’, or sportive, collection.
‘Endurance’ in that the frame design, geometry and carbon lay-up has been tweaked to soften imperfections in the road without, Felt claim, sacrificing stiffness.
The Z series frame has been updated for 2013, gaining a 25 per cent boost in stiffness without sacrificing comfort, according to Felt. The updated frame loses the kinked tubes of old in favour of smoother lines which have more in common with the F series bikes than the old Z series range.
The basis of the Z2 is a Ultra Hybrid Carbon Advanced carbon fibre frame. UHC Advanced is the “lightweight, stiff and durable” blend of carbon fibre used, and it’s moulded using what Felt call an InsideOut technique, whereby polyurethane inserts are placed inside the frame during moulding to eliminate excess material, and therefore weight, inside the frame.
The Z2 bears the hallmarks of a machine where comfort is high on the agenda, with a heavily sloping toptube, and a taller headtube (180mm on our size 56cm test model) and longer wheelbase (1012mm) than what you’d expect on a racier machine.
The fork is a 100 per cent carbon fibre affair, with a 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in tapered steerer. Out back, the deep chainstays kick up to create an elbow joint at the rear dropouts , out of which rise the seatstays. Otherwise, there’s a BB30 bottom bracket and internal cable routing throughout.
The Z2 (available in 51cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm and 61cm sizes) is equipped with SRAM’s top-of-the-range Red 2012 groupset, SRAM S30 wheels, 3T finishing kit (carbon fibre handlebar and seatpost, alloy stem) and Prologo Scratch Pro Ti 1.4 saddle.
All that makes for a machine with an absurdly low weight of 6.58kg on the RCUK scales, and the updated frame, impressive spec and low weight is reflected in the £4,999 price tag.