Felt Updates the IA and DA
article & images by Nick Salazar
Jul 23, 2014  hits 159,221

Felt is bringing the IA price point down to make its flagship more accessible.

IA Trickles Down

Last year, Felt introduced its top-end, brand new IA bike. The bike came in only one version, designated FRD, for a cool $14,000. This year, Felt is releasing no fewer than three new builds, which use lower-grade carbon, but feature all of the same integration and features as the original. These are styled the IA2 ($10k, Di2 and Novatec carbon clinchers), IA3 ($7k, SRAM RED 22 and carbon clinchers), and IA4 ($5,500, Shimano Ultegra and alloy clinchers). Finally, the frame that makes up those less-expensive builds will also be available separately, and is called the IA1 ($4,500). Personally, that one is my favorite, featuring an incredibly-slick black-and-nude paint scheme.

The "lower-grade" carbon in the new frames isn't exactly a pedestrian material. Felt is still using industry-standard materials, including medium and high-modulus unidirectional fabrics on interior layers, and a beautiful 3k weave on the surface layer. Personally, I actually prefer the look of the 3k surface layer of the new frames versus the very large weave pattern of the TeXtreme on the FRD frame. But what does the high-end FRD frame buy you? Basically, it saves a few grams. Felt tuned the layup of the new frames to match the performance of the FRD, but the spread-tow characteristics of TeXtreme allow that frame to use fewer layers of carbon to achieve them.

All versions of the IA get the exact same FRD aerobar, integrated stem, integrated brakes, and seatpost. The only difference in the lower-range frames is the carbon in the frame itself.

The IA is a born-and-bred tri bike. It comes stock with 52-36t chainrings, slightly lower gearing than the average time trialist might use. Every version of the bike is smartly-equipped with an Adamo Attack, the most popular aftermarket saddle there is. The bike has slightly higher "effective" head tube height compared to the older DA and B2 frames, by which I mean that the minimum stack height to the pads is just slightly higher. It can still get very low, but not quite as low as the DA with the 0-rise stem. The higher stacks are trending throughout the industry, with Cervelo, Specialized, and others all increasing their tri-specific head tubes and minimum stack heights in general.

Another tri-specific feature on the IA is its integrated top tube storage. The rubber cover has been revised this year to make it a little easier to install, and also improves cable routing, introducing a cable port that is available with or without the cover installed. Check out our followup article from inside Felt HQ (in "Related Articles" below) for more on the evolution of the IA storage unit.

Updates to DA and B-series

The DA is getting the top-end TeXtreme carbon.

As usual, Felt hasn't rested on its laurels with regard to its existing bikes. The DA was updated in 2013 with the new Bayonet 4 fork (which contains the same integrated brake as the IA), and incremental updates continue this year on several fronts. First, the DA line has been stripped down to just one model. It's called the DA1, and at $4,999, it's a very compelling entry in the lineup. It's UCI legal, keeps the very slick Devox carbon aerobar and Bayonet 4 fork from last year, and gains two more things. The first is the TeXtreme fabric also seen on the IA FRD, designed to improve or maintain stiffness, while simultaneously dropping weight. Second, and this is a change affecting all of Felt's tri bikes for 2015 (except the lowest-end B14 and S32), Felt has adopted a new vibration-reducing technology is its seatposts made and patented by 3T. The posts basically have an elastomeric material between the clamping hardware and the circular cavity in the seatpost that accepts that hardware. The idea is that this material helps to isolate vibrations from one to the other, basically insulating your bum from some road chatter. Again, the new seatposts will be stock going forward on all IA models, the DA1, and all B-series models except the lowest-end B14.

The DA1's price of $5k is very interesting. On the one hand, it's much less expensive than, say, an entry level Cervelo P5 or a mid-range Trek Speed Concept. But on the other hand, it's only $500 less than the entry-level IA. Triathletes will probably want to spend the extra $500 to get the faster frame, but if you do UCI events, the DA1 is a very interesting choice.

The B-series is virtually unchanged, except that the highest-end B2 returns to the centerpull version of the Tektro 726 brake, rather than the sidepull it was released with two years ago. Price points for the B-series bikes are excellent, bottoming out at just $1,999 for a complete B14. I personally love the B-series, and I'm still riding the B2, which remains a strong favorite of mine, despite the considerable stable of bikes I have access to.

TTR (Novatec) Wheels

Even the lowest-end bike, the AR4, comes with Felt's own TTR3 wheels, very similar to the TTR2's we reviewed with the B2. But new for 2015, Felt is bundling the IA2 and IA3 with some carbon clinchers from an open mold company called Novatec. The wheels are branded by Felt as the TTR0 R9, and the TTR1 R5. These are variants of Novatec's R9 and R5, respectively, with different graphics and Felt-specific hubs. The R5 is a 50mm deep rim at 24mm wide, and the R9 is 90mm deep at 25mm wide. The rims feature the same sort of design language we've come to see all across the industry: wide, nearly flat-walled rims and a large-radius inner edge, resulting in better high-yaw performance and mating better with modern frame designs. Felt will be shipping these with its own branded tire, and the whole package is designed to deliver modern aero performance at a more affordable price tag than some bigger brand names.

See the gallery below for more details on the updates, and check back tomorrow for a gallery of several very cool custom IA builds we saw at Felt HQ.


Tags » felt,  frames,  iabike,  oxeon

The Felt IA2 

  • For 2015, Felt is introducing the IA at several new price points, which can more than halve the price of the existing IA FRD. It has all the same features and integration, with a slightly lower-grade (that is, heavier) carbon layup.
  • For 2015, Felt is introducing the IA at several new price points, which can more than halve the price of the existing IA FRD. It has all the same features and integration, with a slightly lower-grade (that is, heavier) carbon layup.
  • All versions of the IA have the same FRD aerobar, an integrated version of the Devox aerobar seen on the 2012-to-current DA.
  • All versions of the IA have the same FRD aerobar, an integrated version of the Devox aerobar seen on the 2012-to-current DA.
  • The IA has an integrated front brake which Felt makes themselves, stateside.
  • Here's the IA brake with the front cover removed. This same brake is also inside the new Bayonet 4 fork of the DA.
  • The rubber piece on the top tube acts as a cover for some integrated storage on the frame.
  • The rubber piece on the top tube acts as a cover for some integrated storage on the frame.
  • Side-on shot of the integrated stem.
  • The IA's integrated stem is a complex piece of hardware. The forward piece is a removeable cover, and facilitates routing through the base bar, under the top loop of stem material, then around the steerer tube compression plug bolt (the branded bolt you see towards bottom-right), and finally into a notch in the storage compartment, down into the frame. Pieces like this are generally not a walk in the park for a bike builder, but I have to reserve judgment until I've had a chance to build up an IA for myself (hopefully soon).
  • Here's a view of how mechanical cables run from the extensions into the frame. This bit looks very straightforward and easy. What I wonder more about is the cable routing from the aerobar (for the rear brake cable and electronic wires).
  • The IA, like most of Felt's bikes, features a lot of nude carbon, which I just love to see.
  • Every IA comes stock with an Adamo Attack saddle, and it looks like they've been color-matched to each bike.
  • The IA and AR are the first two bikes to utilize Felt's patented 'inside-out' seatpost clamping. This allows for a more compliant seat tube by sandwiching carbon against carbon, rather than applying crushing force against a tube filled with air.
  • Frontal view of the very skinny IA.
  • Felt continues to use BB30 on many of its bikes, including the IA. I really like BB30, and am glad to see it here.
  • The rear brake on the IA is the same as the integrated centerpull on the front.
  • Several new IA bike models are coming out this year, but they all have identical integration and features. The difference is all in carbon layup and stock componentry.
  • Felt has some nifty branded pieces all over the bike, including these conical bar plugs on the IA aerobar.
  • Anton Petrov, a lead designer and engineer for Felt, leans on his brainchild for the upcoming presentation.
  • The IA's bar can be run tall or short, with narrow pad stance or wide. It's indeed a versatile bar.
  • Jim Felt, founder and namesake of this prestigious bike company, is always on hand for media presentations, and always a happy, boisterous presence.

Felt/Novatec TTR Wheels 

  • Felt is introducing branded carbon clincher wheels made by open-mold company Novatec, featuring some custom graphics and hubs for Felt. This is the TTR0 R9, 90mm deep and 25mm wide.
  • Felt is introducing branded carbon clincher wheels made by open-mold company Novatec, featuring some custom graphics and hubs for Felt. This is the TTR0 R5, 50mm deep and 24mm wide.
  • elt is introducing branded carbon clincher wheels made by open-mold company Novatec, featuring some custom graphics and hubs for Felt. They also include Felt's TTR2 tire.
  • elt is introducing branded carbon clincher wheels made by open-mold company Novatec, featuring some custom graphics and hubs for Felt.
  • elt is introducing branded carbon clincher wheels made by open-mold company Novatec, featuring some custom graphics and hubs for Felt.

Felt DA Updates 

  • For 2015, the DA line has been reduced to a single model, the DA1, which now uses the high-end TeXtreme fabric also seen on the IA FRD.
  • The 2015 IA also gets the Bayonet 4 fork, featuring the same integrated front brake as the IA.
  • For 2015, the DA line has been reduced to a single model, the DA1, which now uses the high-end TeXtreme fabric also seen on the IA FRD.
  • The fork uses little rubber bits to prevent frame/fork damage when moving the bars at extreme angles. The IA doesn't need these pieces, as it uses the same sort of internal steerer lock as the new Cervelo P-series bikes.

Related Articles
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