Felt Bicycles in Auburn, California
Felt Bicycles: Engineered to Race the Wind
Felt Bicycles 'Aero Design' Approach
Most bikes start out as drawings, are built to spec, and then tested in a wind tunnel. And they're not bad designs, some of them, and they yield up good-enough wind tunnel numbers at a given yaw angle that will look great in the marketing material. Felt doesn't publish wind tunnel numbers, because it doesn't mean anything in the real world. It’s a way for a company to compare one of their prototypes within any other prototype, but it doesn't actually tell you how a bike will perform under race conditions, because wind tunnel testing is not the whole story.
Felt's approach is a more deliberate, multifaceted design process that features a combination of digital, wind tunnel, and rubber-meets-the-rodeo testing. Felt designers employ an advanced software tool suite called Computational Fluid Dynamics, or CFD. CFD allows Felt engineers to analyze airflows that create drag on both the rider and the bike. This way, Felt engineers are able to predict how changes in frame shape and tube designs will perform outside of the lab. While this does take more time, you can't argue with Felt's results. These bikes understand the wind.
Other manufacturers use suspension systems that are already on the market, which they simply build into their latest main frame. What happens in practice is that while the suspension may work well enough to get you out of the bicycle store, it doesn't necessarily work well for that frame. A better way to build a bike is to work from the ground up, to design every system of the bike together, from the tires to the suspension. Felt bicycles are built this way, and the result is an extraordinary ride and exemplary performance, under every conceivable condition.
A full-suspension bike provides more traction than a hardtail when climbing a hill. Better traction gives you increased efficiency, increased efficiency gives you a faster, easier ride up hill. This is true of even the steepest, gnarliest trails. The right suspension will also help you enter a turn or an off-camber section of the trail under greater control, which results in even more speed on the trail. One of the more important benefits of a good suspension is of course its ability to absorb bumps and not pass that shock on to you, the rider. So when you start your most technical descent, your rear suspension should keep you moving and and save you energy as it absorbs contact from rocks, branches and roots.
Felt builds its bicycles around two task-specific suspension platforms, FAST and Equilink. Felt developed FAST to be an efficient and robust cross country (XC) platform. Its light weight and enhanced mechanical efficiency deliver optimum results in any XC setting, from pro races to weekend rides with your bike club. The performance is crisp, efficient, and FAST!
Felt engineers designed Equilink for the company's trail and mountain bikes. Equilink delivers strong pedaling power, while keeping the shock totally active, Equilink is the ideal suspension platform for that demanding, all-day ride on the most technical trail. Equilink gives you a quicker climb and a faster descent.
The History Of Felt
Felt Bicycles was launched in the late '80s, when motocross star Johnny O’Mara asked motorcycle mechanic Jim Felt to build him a time-trial bike. At the time, O’Mara was competing in triathlons to train for motocross. Felt had a couple of ideas for a bike already, and his original design optimized rider position to enhance aerodynamic efficiency. He built the bike, and suddenly O'Mara was winning races on it.
Soon, Felt was building bikes for some of the world’s top triathletes. After Paula Newby-Fraser rode a Felt bike to victory in the 1991 Kona Ironman, Felt had officially arrived in the bicycle business. Ten years later, Felt was joined by Michael Mullmann and Bill Duehring. Duehring was a bike industry veteran with years of product-development experience and solid ties to global suppliers. Mullmann was the owner of a successful European distribution company. This combination gave the company more than 70 years of experience in designing, building, and distributing quality bicycles. Felt makes Road Bikes, Mountain Bikes, BMX bikes, Cyclocross bikes, track bikes, and Recreation Bikes.
Who's Riding Felt?
Felt sponsors a number of prominent individual athletes.
- Triathletes: Josh Amberger, Lauren Barnett, Mirinda Carfrae, Ashleigh Gentle, Kaisa Lehtonen, Emma-Kate Lidbury, Daniela Ryf, and Kelly Williamson.
- Road: Kristen Armstrong.
- Track: Sofia Arreola, Matt Baranoski, Jacob Duehring, and Sarah Hammer.
- Cross: Simon Zahner. Cyclocross: Mitch Hoke.
- Mountain: Josiah Middaugh, Cole Oberman, and Nicola Rohrbach.
Felt also sponsors a number of professional racing teams, including the Holowesko-Citadel Racing Team, Team TWENTY16 p/b Sho-Air, NFTO Pro Cycling, and the Habitat MTB Team.
What People Are Saying About Felt Bicycles
|The technology and pedigree are impressive, but at Bicycling we’ve learned that these qualities don’t always fulfill a need that really ought to matter to amateur riders: fun. In this case, the mix works. Some of the characteristics that make the F1 PR a great bike for pros also made me want to launch off curbs, bunnyhop railroad tracks, and generally act like a kid who just ate five pounds of sugar. Gravel roads, dirt paths, sidewalks, and a towpath along a canal – it all became my playground…Put together, they make the F1 PR a good value that is eminently raceable. Eschewing the superlight in favor of sturdier, more durable components makes a lot of sense for most riders, especially if you’re going to get your money’s worth out of this bike and use it for what it does best: have a blast on all sorts of gravel, dirt, and adventure rides.|
|Another example of something Felt has been quietly doing for a long time that is now being touted by major brands is size-specific tube diameters and layups. Just like it did to Jim Felt when he was making custom aluminum frames, Felt always made carbon tubes smaller in diameter and with different wall thickness for small bikes than for big ones. The only area where this doesn’t hold true is for specific aerodynamic shapes for aero frames, but the wall thicknesses are still thinner on the smaller frames… Felt has invested heavily in its product — in its engineers and the designs, tools, and materials they come up with — and not much in marketing. So consumers just may be surprised at how light, fast, snappy, and tough a bike they’ve barely heard of can be.|
Have You Ridden A Felt?
We’d love to fit you for a Felt. Come in and see what the buzz is about!
Find us at 835 Lincoln Way in Auburn, CA or Call: