Inside Felt Engineering
images by Nick Salazar
Jul 28, 2015  hits 37,484

Anton looks over a flow simulation of the new IA frame.
Anton looks over a flow simulation of the new IA frame.

Engineers » Felt engineer Anton Petrov is one of Felt's top modelers, shown here with the CAD file of the new IA. Petrov tells us that the CAD model for the frame alone is built from over 2500 surface features. It would be fewer, but the inside surface is modeled separately (so Felt can finely control wall thickness everywhere on the frame). And that's just for the first size - much of that work must be repeated for the other sizes.

We've written before about Felt's headquarters in Irvine, California. But the company continues to impress with the real depth of their engineering and design prowess. This year at their annual media presentation, they worked hard to communicate a bit more about exactly how they design bikes, and the brain power that goes into that process. What they had to say wasn't just something I think my readers will enjoy; it's stuff that I think is important to this industry. Felt is a company doing things right. They're pushing our industry forward to ever-higher echelons of performance, and it's a beautiful thing to see firsthand. Enjoy this gallery of the inside scoop at Felt HQ.



Tags » felt,  frames,  iabike

Engineers 

Felt engineer Anton Petrov is one of Felt's top modelers, shown here with the CAD file of the new IA. Petrov tells us that the CAD model for the frame alone is built from over 2500 surface features. It would be fewer, but the inside surface is modeled separately (so Felt can finely control wall thickness everywhere on the frame). And that's just for the first size - much of that work must be repeated for the other sizes.

  • Anton looks over a flow simulation of the new IA frame.
  • Petrov looking over the new IA frame model.
  • CAD model of the new IA.
  • Felt develops multiple models for any given part and tests each in CFD to test different interactions and refine problem areas of drag.

Prototypes 

From 3D prints to CNC machined parts, to full carbon models, Felt does a huge amount of prototyping work in-house

  • Felt IA wind tunnel prototype.
  • Little known fact: both the new IA and the original IA used standard 1-1/8 inch steerer tubes. For consumers, the fork always comes pre-trimmed for a slammed stem. But pro athletes can get access to untrimmed forks, shown here on one of Rinny's bikes. with room for adjustment.
  • Little known fact: both the new IA and the original IA used standard 1-1/8 inch steerer tubes. For consumers, the fork always comes pre-trimmed for a slammed stem. But pro athletes can get access to untrimmed forks, shown here on one of Rinny's bikes. with room for adjustment.
  • Inside-out molding ensures smooth carbon on the frame's interior as well as its exterior.
  • 3D printed wind tunnel prototypes
  • Felt recently purchased a complete CNC mill for in-house prototyping.
  • CNC bits inside Felt's 3-axis mill.
  • Custom Felt business card holder machined to test the new mill.

Testing 

Felt has a robust testing facility in house, with customized tools and fixtures to ensure standards compliance during development of a product.

  • Felt lead engineer Jeff Soucek (pronounced SO-check) demonstrating the in-house torque testing used to measure frame deflection and stiffness.
  • Custom testing fixtures.
  • Deflection testing fixture.
  • Felt's custom brake fixture, used for fatigue testing on their custom F brake on the IA. Very cool!
  • Felt's custom brake fixture, used for fatigue testing on their custom F brake on the IA. Very cool!
  • Felt's custom brake fixture, used for fatigue testing on their custom F brake on the IA. Very cool!
  • Testing
  • Felt's custom brake fixture, used for fatigue testing on their custom F brake on the IA. Very cool!
  • Felt's custom brake fixture, used for fatigue testing on their custom F brake on the IA. Very cool!

Related Articles
Three years ago, Felt launched an all-new platform in the IA that has become a huge success. We finally got the chance to build up one of our own, and this is the result.
Many readers have asked us about the compatibility of our Alpha X bars with the Felt IA bike. Yes, it fits like a glove, for both the new IAx and original IA frames!
The latest version of Felt's Kona-winning superbike now comes at an even lower cost, with standard interfaces on the brakes, bars, and stem.
Felt HQ is always a cool place to visit, with little gems everywhere. Here, we detail Mirinda Carfrae's Kona-winning ride and two Felt employees' unique IA's.
Three brand new price points make Felt's new flagship less than half as expensive to own, and the DA gets some nice upgrades as well.