Race Tech

Felt’s ‘secret’ weapon to help USA beat Team GB at the Olympic Games

American firm launched new TA FRD track bike... with the drivetrain on the wrong side

Felt have unveiled the bike on which Team USA will challenge the Brits for gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics – and there’s one very striking innovation which makes the TA FRD stand out from its rivals.

The drivetrain on the new track bike, on which the American women will hope to better their team pursuit silver medal from London 2012, is on the left-hand side. While the USA quartet finished second behind Team GB at the Olympics four years ago, they will go to Rio as defending world champions having claimed gold in March.

There’s something not quite right about the new Felt TA FRD track bike…

Felt believe bikes are faster when the airflow is coming from the drivetrain side, and so – given the air will always be on the left when riding anti-clockwise around a track – have stuck the drivetrain there.

And the advantages, according to the American manufacturer, are two-fold, as the bike’s weight and centre of gravity is moved to the inside when on the banking, improving handling in the process.

Nearly four years in the making, the bike has been given the stamp of approval from Team USA head coach Andy Sparks, who claimed: “I think it’s very safe to say that nothing like this has ever been created before.

“So our riders who are going into Rio have an advantage that really symbolises everything that we’re really proud of in the U.S.”


USA’s women’s team pursuit quartet will ride Felt’s new track bike at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Pic: Alex Broadway/

Aside from the repositioned drivetrain, the frame has asymmetric airfoil tubing and narrower front and rear dropouts in a bid to improve aerodynamics.

Vision have produced a custom version of the Metron TT crankset for the bike, while HED have supplied a custom wheelset with narrow hubs (70mm front, 95mm rear).

Details on availability and pricing for the public are yet to be revealed – all bikes used in UCI competition must be available to buy – but the American women’s quartet will be using the TA FRD in Rio this summer.

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