FIRST LOOK: Felt's 2013 Lineup
article & images by Nick Salazar
Jul 16, 2012  hits 257,418

Felt's relentless committment to trickle-down tech continues with the new B-series bikes, which get Felt's flagship DA frame, in a super value package.

Last year, we showed you what Felt was doing with its flagship DA bike, when it introduced four new models and price points for its top-of-the-line frame. For 2013, the Irvine-based bicycle company is bringing the technology from that DA-level frame down to the mid-level B-series. The most notable difference is that the B-series drops the Bayonet front end in place of a traditional 1.25" steerer tube and standard fork. This is an increase from Felt's previous standard-steerer bikes, which had used 1-inch bearings. Things get a little wider at 1.25", but Felt smartly keeps things as narrow as possible given that constraint, using an hourglass shape to keep things clean. Almost everything behind the head tube is basically the same as every DA model right up to the $10,000+ version.

Over the last two years, the DA has gone from concept, to flagship bike, and now has trickled down to the company's entry-level series, putting it within reach of many more athletes. It's being released in two complete models, the B2 and the B12 (confusingly, the B16 is still the old frame style). It's also going to be available as a frameset, for $1,759. I love this frame. It's got nearly everything that makes the DA so fast, but dressed down in a very simple package to make it easier to work with. Slap an Omega up front, and it'll have a profile as clean as anything out there.

New Bars

The new bars are incredibly slick, but the carbon version will only come on the DA1 for now.

A new change across the entire lineup is Felt's new series of aerobars. The Devox version of the Bayonet bar is going away, and is being replaced by the brand new bars, which will still carry the Bayonet name. The high-end version of the bar is carbon fiber, and has extension mounts that bolt directly to the base bar, in one of two width positions. It makes for a very minimal setup, but the extension mounts will still accept any standard 22.2mm extension, meaning they're quite versatile as well. Pads no longer bolt directly to the extension clamps, as on the previous version, but rather grab the extensions themselves, much like you'd find on a Trek Speed Concept or Specialized S-Works Shiv aerobar. This seems to be the trend others are going. And although this does add weight compared to the alternative, the Felt bar still comes in at a reasonably low 690 grams, even with alloy arm cups and a relatively tall set of 40mm spacers. A lower setup with carbon cups could go down to just north of 600g.

The aluminum version of the bar borrows all of the hardware above the plane of the bars. The difference is that instead of clamping into the bar, it clamps around it, like a traditional clip-on setup. It isn't quite as sleek as the carbon version, but retains all of the adjustability.

The carbon version comes ONLY on the top-end DA1. Every other bar gets the aluminum version. Hopefully the carbon version trickles down at some point, because it is VERY cool. The reason behind its scarcity (for now) is that it's very difficult to produce. Felt has to control both the outside and inside surfaces of the bar in order to achieve its super narrow profile while also guaranteeing compatibility with the 7.2mm Di2 cables.

The big benefit of so much stack adjustment as well as reach adjustment is that the fixed stems on the DA line are no longer the only input into your geometry. They're basically independent of it, and you can more precisely dial in your arm pad position no matter the size of your bike. This frees you to pick a bike based on how its frame reach matches your ideal bike geometry, and fit the pads stack and offset to match. Furthermore, it means you can control with specificity the relationship between your pads and your base bar. That is, let's say you need 10cm of stack from the headset bearing to the top of the pads (this wouldn't be an uncommon value). You can decide whether that's 3cm to the base bar, and another 7cm to the pads, or 7cm to the bar, and just 3cm more to the pads. From an aerodynamic perspective it's usually better to do the former. But for comfort reasons, some people might prefer the latter, and it's great that Felt leaves this option in the hands of the consumer.

Final word on price and availablity of these bars as aftermarket parts is still TBD, but Felt is going to release both versions at some point.

The DA Line

The DA line gets the new bars and the VR bottle, but is otherwise unchanged from last year.

The DA line remains largely untouched. Its top-of-the-line entry, the DA1, has a more advanced carbon layup, designated 'Ultimate', which is a bit lighter and stiffer than the rest of the bikes in Felt's tri lineup, which gets so-called 'MMC Advanced' carbon. Every DA, B2 and B12 model also come stock with the VR bottle designed by TorHans. The bottle was designed exclusively for the frame, to perfectly take up the empty space between the down tube and the seat tube (although TorHans will also sell a universal version).

Felt stressed the 'Inside-Out' tech they've been using for the last couple years. It involves using a urethane bladder rather than a conventional one in order to reduce waste and slop in the molding of carbon fiber frames. Although the outside appearance may be the same from year to year, the 2013 lineup of tri bikes ALL utilize this construction methodology. Felt points out that it not only lets them reduce the weight of the frames, but reduce the harshness from the ride of their frames, compared to overbuilt bikes reputed to be less comfortable in the saddle. The theme of 'ongoing advancement' is one that was echoed throughout Felt's presentation.

Value

As mentioned, the lineup starts at a price point as low as $1,759, for the B12 frameset. Here are the remainder of the lineup's price points:

  • DA1 (Di2) - $10,329
  • DA2 (Di2) - $7,749
  • DA3 - $5,169
  • DA4 - $3,729
  • B2 (Di2) - $6,199
  • B12 - $3,099
  • DA1 frameset - $4,649
  • DAC frameset - $2,579
  • B12 frameset - $1,759

The two lower-end framesets in particular represent a pretty incredible value for someone looking to build up a frame from existing parts, especially the B12. Given the technology lent to it by its older sibling, it's probably the best value in the line.

Have a look at the gallery to get the full visual story on these mean machines.


Tags » felt,  frames
  • The B12 shown here and B2 both get the same brand new frame, built from the aero platform of the flagship DA. Almost everthing behind the head tube is identical to its bigger brother.
  • Every DA and the new B-level bikes come with the integrated TorHans bottle, which mates seamlessly within the main triangle of the frame.
  • The top of the VR bottle is always open, and has an integrated splash guard. So you just pull out the bottle and squeeze to drink.
  • With the bottle out, you can see how it mounts.  It does obscure bolt holes on both the down tube AND seat tube, so if you run this bottle, you can't run a second one in the main triangle, but that shouldn't be a big problem if you follow the trusty TriRig hydration guide.
  • Circuar protrusions on either side of the VR bottle keep it in place, but it's very easy to grab and remove.
  • The new B2 and B12 frames use 1.125-inch bearings top and bottom, for easy assembly but still a very narrow shape. It's worth noting that Cervelo has also retained 1.125-inch bearings on its flagship P5, finding that narrower head tubes didn't actually reduce drag with a rider on board.
  • Even the all-white B12 has a reverse showing off the carbon goodness.
  • Felt has never been shy about showing off their carbon, and I love it. Virtually every paint scheme shows off some bare carbon, and some are practically all nude.
  • Even at the potentially messy junctions, beautiful carbon weave is visible all over the bike.
  • The alloy Bayonet bar isn't as sleek as the carbon version, but very nice and very adjustable nonetheless. Both versions are Di2 compatible.
  • A whole host of bridges and spacers are available to keep the Bayonet bar dialed in and performing great.
  • Threaded spacers are the key to the bar's sleek profile, especially for the carbon version.
  • Not ultralight, but this version of the bar has alloy arm cups and tall spacers.
  • The UCI approval badge is molded into the frame, under the clearcoat.
  • The carbon Bayonet bar is super sleek, and gorgeous to behold.
  • The B-series bikes use fully internal cable routing, using housing right up to the derailleurs. The front derailleur cable stops just outside the frame, rather than below the BB.
  • The alloy Bayonet bar is formulated using a technique that allows Felt to easily produce different widths of bars. For now, the OEM bars will be 39cm, c-c.
  • Little bridge pieces will connect the pad towers, adding stability to tall setups.
  • Here's a closeup look at the front end of the new Bayonet alloy bar.
  • I can't help but admire all the nude carbon all over these bikes. It's superb.
  • The DA now comes with fixed stems by default, since the new Bayonet bar provides so much stack adjustment on its own.  But the adjustable-angle stems are still available for those extreme situations where they're necessary.
  • One thing Felt finally got right is their arm pads. Previous versions were either too slick, or too mushy. These are solid rubber pads with a very nice grip.
  • One thing to note about the DA downtube - it isn't a cutout. The front of the tube is the same as the front of the rest of the tube. So when the wheel is turned, there's no concave cross section in the wind.
  • The B-series frames use a two-post TRP brake instead of the custom brake inside the DA's chainstay area. This is the exact same brake used on the Specialized Shiv and Blue Triad SL.
  • The new Felt B12, from the front.
  • Brand manager Dave Koesel also showed off some special Felt projects, like this F24 bike built for kids as young as seven or eight years old, with some special kid-sized features like custom shorter-reach shifters and mini cranks.
  • Felt's new adjustible stems can offer a wide variety of rise adjustment, by replacing the included eccentric shims.
  • Each adjustable stem comes with two shims.
  • This shot demonstrates how the eccentric construction works.  The lip at the top of the shim changes the effective angle of the stem once installed.
  • Koesel brings out the flagship DA, mostly unchanged for 2013.
  • The new front end now follows the prevailing theme we've seen from other bike manufacturers: provide a few macro stack adjustment options at the stem, and then a lot of additional stack adjustment at the bar.
  • The Bayonet Carbon bar is gorgeous, but for now will ONLY come on the most-expensive DA1 or DA1 frameset.
  • The bar has a super narrow profile and clean hardware.
  • The Bayonet adjusts much like the bars on the Speed Concept or Shiv, but by eliminating extension tilt adjustment, it becomes sleeker and lighter.
  • The big socket bolts on the underside of the bar won't be this big in production, and will be swapped for some lower button heads instead.
  • Felt will be stocking the DA bikes with fixed-position stems, in one of six sizes: flat, 30mm rise, and 60mm rise, each in 70mm or 100mm lengths. Three of those are shown here.
  • The bar was built to be Di2-compatible, while still remaining as narrow as possible.
  • Lots of adjustment, only a little hardware.

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