Review: 2013 Felt B2

 Sep 4, 2013 article & images by Nick Salazar

The Felt B2. It's a budget bike that, built right, can compete with the most expensive rigs on the market.

It's been exactly one year since Felt Bicycles invited us to their headquarters in Irvine, California, and unveiled their brand new lineup of tri bikes. The highlights included the introduction of the TorHans VR bottle as stock equipment on the entire line, a brand new Bayoned 3 aerobar in carbon and aluminum, and best of all, the completely-redesigned B2 frame. Put simply, the B2 was going to be the little brother to the flagship DA, meant to deliver almost all of the features and aerodynamic performance for a much smaller price.

But honestly, I don't think Felt did exactly what they set out to do, because in some ways, I like the new B2 better than its older and more expensive sibling. The B2 is simpler, easier to build, easier to fit/adjust, and easier to travel with. I've had my eye on the bike for the last year, and finally got the chance to snag one and build it up, TriRig style. Before we get into my build, however, I want to delve into the frame itself, and talk a little bit more about the merits I just outlined above.

Oh, and one last thing. I will refer to the bike in this article as the B2. However, we're talking about the exact same frame currently being sold by Felt as the B2, the B12, the B14, and the B14-W. They're all identical. The only B-series frame NOT based on this mold is the B16, which is using the previous-generation molds. But everything I have to say about the B2 applies to the B12, B14, and B14-W as well.

Integration + Objectivity

Yep, I put my own components on these builds. If you don't like it, you can just imagine your own favorite parts on the bike instead. I'll still attempt to be objective in my writing. If I'm not objective, then by all means call me out in the comments section.

To be fair, I should identify the fact that I have a bit of a bias towards this bike, because it's compatible with the parts I make, including the Alpha bar, Omega brakes, and Sigma stem. Some of today's more integrated bikes aren't compatible with one or another of those products. Nevertheless, I try to be as fair as possible, giving plenty of attention to bikes like the New Trek Speed Concept, the Orbea Ordu, and Felt's own all-new IA, even when they can't run all or even most of my parts. Like any bike, the highly-integrated ones have their own merits and their own drawbacks. Integrated setups can be beautiful and incredibly clean, but can come with higher weight, more difficult setup, etc. More traditional bikes *can* be made to be very clean, which is the philosophy behind TriRig products, but there are limits to what you can do with a standard component, based on that component's interface. For example, stems are limited by the fact that bar clamps are 31.8mm or 26.0mm in diameter, and headset bearings also come in predetermined sizes, typically 1-1/8.

TriRig isn't alone in exploring the philosophy of working with standard interfaces instead of creating proprietary ones. Every bike company has its own position along the spectrum of how much integration is ideal. The Speed Concept is at one end of the spectrum, where everything is integrated. Cervelo, on the other hand, kept standard interfaces all over their flagship P5 frame, leaving traditional components all over the bike, and trying to clean up those traditional components in the same way TriRig tries to do.

Again, despite the bias that the TriRig Store represernts, I always try to be as fair and objective as possible in these features, to let the reader make up their own minds. Both philosophies have a lot to offer, and ultimately, both a highly-integrated bike AND a highly-refined traditional bike can be made to be really awesome. This week, I'm exploring the merits of a traditional setup. In a couple weeks, we'll visit the exact opposite end of the spectrum when I review the new Trek Speed Concept. And I try to leave the reader with a genuine sense of fairness, completeness, and objectivity in the reviews. But if I'm missing the mark, don't hesitate to let me know. Call me out if I'm being unfair, using the comments section below. Ok, everybody good with that? Let's dive right in and get started on the Felt B2.

Tags » b2bike,  felt,  frames,  rigs

Complete Bike 

  • This is the Felt B2, built up TriRig style.
  • The B2, from straight on. Obviously there's not a lot to see here.
  • A little closer up, you can see that the cables are managed quite well by the Alpha and Sigma, going straight into the B2's top tube cable ports.
  • From behind the stem, you can see exactly how the cables are managed.
  • Another hindquarters shot of the B2.
  • I love how this bike looks from just about every angle.
  • The Ultegra Di2 drivetrain shifts perfectly. I put the Dura-Ace crank on for the extra bling factor, and because I like it so much. In this show you can see the B2's battery cover, originally developed for the DA.
  • My trusty Dash Stage.9 saddle on the B2's forward-offset seatpost, standard issue with every frame. I also have a rear-facing bottle cage zip-tied to the Dash saddle.
  • The TriRig Alpha with Gamma extensions keeps everything clean up front.
  • The B2 quite easily passes the 'eyeball wind tunnel test,' given how clean everything is throughout the bike.
  • If there's any reason not to love this setup, I don't know what it is.
  • The Felt B2 with a TriRig Alpha, Sigma, and Omega front end. Here I'm also using the Felt F-bend extensions, but elsewhere in the article swapped them out for TriRig Gamma extensions.
  • Here you can see how the Sigma manages the cables going into the B2 top tube, while still keeping the Di2 junction accessible. From this angle, it looks like a lot of cabling, but from the front, the wind sees none of it.
  • The TriRig Omega is a perfect fit for the frontal profile of the B2's fork.
  • Another shot of that gorgeous Di2 drivetrain.
  • TriRig Mercury pedals, for good measure.
  • Another closeup of the Dash Stage.9 saddle.
  • I'm not a huge fan of the two-bolt bottom-address saddle clamp, but it works just fine.
  • The BTA cage works perfectly. I have it affixed to a prototype BTA mount for the Alpha aerobar, which will get some attention in a future article.
  • The Profile Design HC Bottle is my weapon of choice for the BTA cage.
  • Viewed from the front, the Profile Design HC Bottle is a beautiful addition to the bike.
  • Here's the Omega SV mounted below the bottom bracket on the Felt B2.
  • The Omega SV is a great replacement for the much less attractive TRP brake, in my rather biased opinion.
  • The Omega SV fully installed, tucked up under the bottom bracket. All the bolts remain accessible, even with the crank in place

Bayonet 3 Bar, TTR2 Wheels 

  • Felt's Bayonet 3 Aerobar is a really good value bar, offering a lot of adjustment for a very low price.
  • The Bayonet 3 doesn't have the lowest frontal area, but it's very good for a budget aluminum bar.
  • More details of the Bayonet 3 aerobar system.
  • More details of the Bayonet 3 aerobar system.
  • More details of the Bayonet 3 aerobar system.
  • More details of the Bayonet 3 aerobar system.
  • More details of the Bayonet 3 aerobar system.
  • More details of the Bayonet 3 aerobar system. Sadly, it takes a whopping EIGHTEEN BOLTS to fully assemble the system, and a large number of tiny washers that nest between the components.
  • More details of the Bayonet 3 aerobar system.
  • More details of the Bayonet 3 aerobar system.
  • More details of the Bayonet 3 aerobar system.
  • More details of the Bayonet 3 aerobar system.
  • The TTR2 wheels offer very good (if slightly old) aerodynamic design at a low-budget price point.
  • Felt's TTR2 rims use the hybrid toroidal design seen on Zipp's previous-generation wheelsets.
  • Narrow hubs on the TTR2 front wheel keeps the spokes out of the wind.
  • Narrow hubs on the TTR2 front wheel keeps the spokes out of the wind.
  • The Felt B2 sporting Felt's own Bayonet 3 aerobar and TTR2 wheels.
  • One last shot of the Felt B2 sporting Felt's own Bayonet 3 aerobar and TTR2 wheels.

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.
This is absolutely the best Omni we've ever been able to offer. It's everything we make, plus carbon clincher aero wheels, aero crank, and a Dash saddle, for $5990.
Jeff Bosch appointed his P-Series perfectly, with all the best TriRig gear plus a paint scheme that brings it together like The Dude's favorite rug.
We always wanted to know what it was like to ride in aero down a dirt path. So we built Raptor, a bike with Gravel bones and a Triathlon soul.
Some quiet words with Joe Gambles about his decision to come to TriRig and ride the Omni. Enjoy!