Felt have a long heritage in XC racing, and say their latest Doctrine model is built to reflect the XC courses that riders are faced with on a modern World Cup weekend – quick and brutal uphill ascents, technical and rocky descents, and fast and flowing high speed turns. Felt still believe that on race day, under the most skillful riders in the world, a lightweight, stiff and efficient carbon hardtail still reigns supreme.
• Head angle slackened by 2º to 69.5º
• Reach sizes increased by 9mm
• Chainstay shortened by -10mm to 430mm
• Boost spacing
• Increased tire clearance
• Internal cable management
• BB92 Bottom Bracket
• Sizes: 14, 16, 18, 20, 22"
• Price: $1999 - $4999 USD / €1699 - €4499 EUR (prices vary between territory)
Felt's previous XC hardtails were dubbed the 7 and 9 for 27.5" and 29" versions. Doctrine is the new name and 29" is the only option. The frame has been built from the ground up and is said to be lighter and stiffer than the previous race bikes. Up-to-date features include Boost spacing, a BB92 bottom bracket standard, increased tire clearance, and Felt's advanced internal cable management system. Even though it's an XC thoroughbred, the Doctrine comes with its own top guide to retain the chain in rough conditions – adding a few grams there is nothing compared to losing a chain on race day.
Felt engineers say their biggest challenge with the Doctrine was to try and achieve class-leading stiffness, but keep the trail buzz to a minimum and maintain some vertical compliance in the rear triangle. Every piece of carbon was scrutinized in the frame's design process.
The rear disc brake uses a road-bike-style flat-mount brake caliper interface, with an adapter for a standard post mount brake. Felt says moving the brake inside the rear triangle helps to protect it in crashes, and also allowed them to use less carbon on the seatstays – one of the most important areas to keep material minimal for frame compliance. The flat mount also offers an easily accessible bolts heads and adjustment points on the underside of the chainstay.
The geometry, although still conservative like most XC hardtails, has been tweaked to improve handling for more technical courses: the head angle has been slackened by 2º to 69.5º, the chainstays shortened by 10mm to 430mm, and the reach numbers increased slightly by 9mm on all five sizes.
The Doctrine will be available in six models, with prices ranging from $1999 - $4999 USD / €1699 - €4499 EUR. Exact pricing and model availability varies between territories.
While the Doctrine is aimed a short course XC racing at the highest level, the new Edict is more of a marathon machine, a 100 mile-muncher or a bike to take on multi-day monsters like the Cape Epic, where a little more comfort and forgiveness is required. Following in line with the updates of the Doctrine, the all-new Edict is also lighter and stiffer, has Boost spacing, a 1x-specific design, and increased tire clearance as well as the ability to utilize dropper posts.
Edict Details and Updates
• Proprietary FAST suspension
• Bearing metric shock
• Improved leverage curve
• Internal cable management
• 1x specific design
• Dropper compatible
• Boost Spacing
• HA slackened by 1.5º to 70º
• Reach sizes increased by 15mm
• Chainstay shortened by 14mm to 436mm
• Sizes: 16, 17.5, 19.5, 21.5"
• Price: $3199 - $8999 USD / €3199 - €9999 EUR (prices vary between territory)
Based on feedback from their racers, the Edict's geometry has been tweaked: the seat angle is steepened by 1.3º to improve the climbing position, the HA has been slackened by 1.5º to 70º, and 15mm has been added to the reach across four sizes: 16, 17.5, 19.5 and 21.5". The new Edict’s chainstays are also 14mm shorter than its predecessor.
Felt claims to have been making carbon bikes for decades and uses industry-leading construction methods including 'InsideOut' and 'Modular Monocoque Construction.' The top of the range Edict FRD features TeXtreme® carbon fiber, a material manufactured by Sweden-based Oxeon. Felt have managed to cut a whopping 450 grams from its predecessor's chassis, as well as making the frame 15% stiffer.
Felt continue to use their FAST suspension system, which utilizes a vertically flexing rear triangle to save weight and complication of an extra pivot near to the rear axle. There are other brands that do this, like Specialized and Orbea, but Felt are unique in the way they mold the frame in a 30% sagged position, which is said to help move the frame towards the sag-point from any position, cutting down on suspension movement when pedaling.
Internal cable management has been updated, with sci-fi style intake ports at the headtube, and options to take cable housing as well as Di2 cables and store a Di2 battery. Internal dropper posts can also be routed as they become more and more popular on XC racers steeds.
To keep up with ever-changing standards, the Edict comes with a bearing mounted metric shock, this should reduce friction and increase service life.
The bottom bracket on the Edict is a classic 73mm BSA threaded unit, Felt feel this is the best, most reliable and creak free option for full suspension mountain bikes – the Doctrine uses press fit as it is a racing machine that will spend more time being tuned in the pits, and the large BB92 is a better way to connect carbon fibres from the downtube, seat tube, chainstay around the BB. The frame is now single ring compatible only up to a 38t, with the advent of Eagle and requests for shorter chainstays and more tire clearance (29 x 2.4” tires per ISO standards), this is the way forwards. A 148mm Boost rear hub has also been specced to keep up with the Jones's.
Felt Decree Updates
The Decree takes things up a notch from Felt's racing heritage in the 140mm travel trail bike category. I rode the original Felt Decree two years ago when it was first launched, at an unfortunate time when the world had just gone Boost-mad. Felt, like other brands, missed this boat due to production timescales and setting molds. The new Decree's front triangle remains the same as before but has 10mm removed from the seat tube length to increase longer dropper post compatibility. The main differences come from an all-new swingarm and carbon rocker links that have brought it up to date: the rear triangle now features Boost 148mm dropouts, accommodates a 1X chainring only and uses a metrically sized shock.
• Carbon fiber rocker links
• Improved rear triangle carbon layup
• Boost 148mm spacing
• Metric shock
• One-by chainring only
• Increased tire clearance
• Price: $2999 - $8999 USD / €3399 - €9999 EUR (prices vary between territory)
One of my criticisms the first time I met the Decree
, was the FAST suspension system didn't return to full extension with the correct amount of air pressure in my shock without physically pulling on the frame and holding the wheel. Felt admitted that this had been a problem for lighter riders (I'm 75kg) with lower shock pressures, and adjusted the carbon layup for the new swingarm. The previous layup had 10kgs of shock force required to extend the swingarm completely; the new version only needs 5kg. I didn't find the original issue with the new bike.
The rest of the Decree felt similar to the older bike, positively erring on the side of fast pedaling and high efficiency for a 140mm trail bike, opposed to a 140mm trail and downhill hacker. The updates to the bike keep it up to date for a few years at least, and for the gravity crew amongst us, Felt have an interesting announcement next spring – watch this space.
*Note: Prices and availability of different models vary between continent and territory. Please visit your local page on www.feltbicycles.com for the most accurate information.