We headed down to the west country to check out new wares from brands imported by UK distributor, Saddleback, among them 2013 model year releases from Felt, due in the shops within weeks.
The American brand has new, lighter frames for its comfort-oriented Z series, subtle changes to the recently introduced F series, and an AR series that has been “on a diet”. Here’s a run down.
Felt’s Z series sportive-oriented machines have completely new frames for 2013, which Felt claim are lighter and stiffer than their model year 2012 iteration. They’ve gained a tapered headtube and internal cable routing, and BB30 bottom brackets on models from Z1 to Z5. Models from the £1399 Z6 to the Z3 at £3599 will share the same frame. Each frame has chainstays of substantial depth at the bottom bracket and an ‘elbow bend’ at the dropout, something we saw earlier this year on BMC’s Gran Fondo. The Z2 pictured above has the latest SRAM Red groupset, SRAM S30 wheels, and 3T finishing kit, the last a feature of all Felt bikes this year above the ‘3’ standard. The Ultegra Di2-equipped Z3 also caught our eye. It has shift buttons mounted on the ‘tops’ of the bars, as well in the levers.
The F series is a conventional, round-tubed, lightweight machine. Frames throughout the range are claimed to be around 940 grams, with the F1, a machine utilising a higher grade of carbon, lighter still. There’s no change in the carbon lay-up, but the 2013 F2 has gained a full carbon bottom bracket shell in line with the F1; an upgrade from the alloy model it sported in 2012. It will sell for £4799 with the latest SRAM Red groupset, 3T Ergosum Team bars, ARX-Team stem, and Dorico Team post. The frame on the £1499 F6 is the same utilised by the F3 at £3499. The F1 frameset will be available to buy separately and priced at £1,849.
Felt introduced an aero road bike to its range three years ago, and the 2013 model range has four entrants from AR1 to AR5 (AR3 is absent). Prices start at £1599 for the AR5 and top out at £6299 for the AR1. The Ultegra Di2-equipped AR2 pictured above will cost £3599 and roll on Fulcrum’s new Quattro wheelset; conventional or electronic cables are routed through the head tube. At £2599, the AR4 comes with full carbon aero frameset and seatpost, full mechanical Ultegra groupset, and Prologo saddle.
The frames are a claimed 300 grams lighter than the model year 2012 iteration, bringing the frame weight to around one kilo. The reduction has been achieved by incorporating some of the design elements of the F-series, and what Felt call ‘inside-out’ technology, described to us as finishing the inside of the tube to the same standard as the exterior by removing undesirable elements like moulding bladders and excess resin.