Aug 18, 2013 article & images by Nick Salazar

The all-new Felt IA.
The all-new Felt IA.

Felt has just gone all-in on the tri market, releasing a brand new model called the IA. This 'Integrated Aero' bike has massive frame members, internal storage, integrated brakes and bars, and a radical new seatpost design that promises greater comfort on the bike. The IA is the first bike from Felt that truly embraces the concept of an integrated design. The aerobars, stem, brakes, and on-frame storage units are now completely proprietary and unique to this bike (along with, as usual, the fork, seatpost, and headset). The aero chords created by the frame are easily the longest on the market, and promise to be extra slippery in the wind. This gallery (and the detailed image captions) contain all the ins and outs of this brand new mean machine. Enjoy!

Tags » felt,  frames,  iabike,  oxeon,  supersized
  • This is the brand new Felt IA bike. It's the first bike to get Felt's new FRD ('Felt Racing Development') designation, which represents the very best and most expensive equipment the company is capable of creating. It's made using top-shelf Oxeon TeXtreme carbon fabric to lower the frame's weight without compromising stiffness or ride quality. There are a number of unique features on the IA, described in the captions in this gallery. Have a look and see what this bike is all about.
  • As you can see, the name of Integrated Aero is quite fitting on a bike with this level of proprietary parts. Much like the Trek Speed Concept and other top-end tri bikes, you are basically locked into these particular component choices, which are designed to provide optimal aerodynamics when working together. So far, this is the only configuration of the bike we were able to see. No word yet on just exactly how the bike adjusts, whether there will be multiple stem options, etc. But we do know that the Bayonet aerobar adjusts exactly like the version we saw last year on the DA. It's a great bar, and does have substantial room to change stack, reach, roll, and stance width.
  • The IA frame is made of Oxeon TeXtreme carbon fiber, a special weave that allows frame makers to use fewer ply and still maintain the same stiffness characteristics. In effect, that means less weight for the same frame. Shedding weight was a big goal for the IA, since its massive frame members would otherwise mean more material and weight. By using TeXtreme, the IA frame comes in even lighter than the previous-generation DA frame.
  • The TeXtreme fabric ends up looking quite a bit like a 12k weave, something I'm not alltogether very fond of. I much prefer the look of unidirectional carbon, or even 3k. But of course, function over form, and if this is the weave that makes all the magic happen, then so be it.
  • Now this one is intriguing. Felt has completely redesigned the aero seatpost. Instead of using clamping forces to 'crush' the seatpost into position, Felt has created an inside-out clamping mechanism that pinches the sides of the seatpost against the sidewall of the frame's seat tube. The result is that first, the seatpost can be made much lighter, since it doesn't have to resist clamping forces. But second and more importantly, the seatpost can now be built with a significant amount of vertical compliance, making the ride that much more comfortable. I'm very interested to see how this feels out on the road.
  • Massive tubes, blunt airfoil edges. Felt claims this bike is an absolute beast, especially at high yaw angles. They claim having seen yaw numbers as low as 345g for the complete bicycle, which is virtually the same as the drag for a pair of wheels ALONE.
  • And as usual, Felt has left their paint scheme minimal, allowing that beautiful nude carbon to shine.
  • The integrated aerobar is an evolved version of the Bayonet Carbon bar we saw last year. It's got a lot of great adjustability, very low frontal area, and should be a very fast bar indeed. Bravo!
  • Integrated brakes front and rear help keep airflow clean. Felt chose to make their integrated brakes as centerpull rollercams, just like the brakes found in the Speed Concept, as well as the TriRig Omega. It's a great design, and in my opinion far better than a V-brake or a TRP claw brake.
  • Much like what you see on the BMC TM01 or the Cervelo P5, there's an open cavity behind the BB that allows great access to cables and/or storage, making life a lot easier for the mechanic.
  • An all-carbon BB30 bottom bracket keeps things light and broadly-compatible. I love BB30, and am glad to see Felt sticking with it.
  • The all-new Felt IA.
  • Frontal profile of the Felt IA. Although this profile is a little broader than what you see on bikes like the Cervelo P5 or Trek Speed Concept, Felt claims there comes a point where simply making everything narrower doesn't necessarily provide the optimal aerodynamics. And to be fair, we've heard similar things recently from other companies including Cervelo and Specialized.
  • Front brake, hidden by the fairing.
  • Here's what the cable routing looks like underneath the stem cover. I'm not sure how easy or difficult this is to set up, and am reserving judgment until I have a chance to get in there myself and fool around.
  • Although the front brake is proprietary, Felt still chose to mount it via a standard single bolt. From this angle you can also just barely make out the internal steerer stop, very much like what Cervelo has on the new P3 and P5.
  • The extra-low seat stays help keep torsional rigidity while reducing drag compared to stays that attach higher on the frame.
  • Truncated airfoils seem all the rage, and Felt recognized that in certain applications, they ARE very helpful.
  • Company founder Jim Felt posing with another new FRD creation, the AR 'Aero Road' bike, used to great effect in this year's Tour de France.

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