The production bike will be much like the prototypes. One notable casualty: the S-shaped downtube will be replaced by a straight one with a cutout.
As one of the new breed of so-called superbikes, the 2011 Felt DA has been one of the most hotly-anticipated new offerings of the last couple years. But the bike has appeared in a couple different versions between its prototype debut in the Pro Tour, and what Felt is now showing on their website. What will the final production version be like? Will it keep the S-shaped downtube? Fixed stem? Adjustable stem? Internal Di2 routing? What's going on?
We had a long chat with Felt engineer Ty Buckenberger, who gave us the skinny on this very slick machine. First off, Buckenberger let us know that the S-shaped downtube will not see production. "Basically, it's going to look like a straight downtube, with the existing curved 'coutout' shape intact," Buckenberger noted. "It came down to an interpretation of UCI rules that changed from when we first showed our design to the UCI and the time we went to production. Essentially, it came down to a 2mm discrepancy that the UCI decided was against their rules. So we had to do a lot of retooling."
The production DA will have an adjustable-angle stem like the current DA.
Next up, the stem. Felt had a production version of the bike's front end on display at Interbike, and we really like what they've done. The bike's stem will work nearly identically to that of the existing DA, with an adjustable-angle Oval stem, which is available in several lengths. And although it looks rather low, Buckenberger assured us that the stem sits at nearly the exact same stack and reach location as the existing DA. So migrating from the old to the new DA should be a snap. But Felt has another trick up its sleeve. The snazzy fixed-angle stems, with internal Di2 routing that the Garmin team rode this year, WILL be available to riders, in at least two sizes. We don't have the final word on those yet, but it's good news for anyone who wants a greater level of integration in their DA.
What You've Seen Already
Felt's side-pull front brake barely peeks out from the front fork, minimizing frontal area.
What'll remain the same? The BB30 bottom bracket, the rear triangle and integrated rear brake, Felt's snazzy Devox aerobars, and the beautifully-laid-up 1k carbon fiber weave. "When we showed off our wind tunnel prototype at our sales presentation in Irvine, a lot of people asked us whether we would release the bike in a nude carbon finish." In fact, the production colorway does have a lot of the nude carbon showing through, which we think will look gorgeous.
The production version of the bike will look pretty much exactly like what Felt currently shows on their website. But numbers are extremeley limited for now, with perhaps only 10 bikes going out to shops in the immediate future. We're sad to see the changes mandated by the UCI, but we're really excited to see the final bike rolling out in the coming months, and we hope to have the chance to do an in-depth review of the rig.