Felt Virtue Sport Review

Jan 30, 2012
by Mike Levy  

TESTED
Felt
Virtue
Sport
WORDS Mike Levy

Those who like to ride mountain bikes in the classic sense of the phrase may often feel a bit left out here on Pinkbike, but the truth of it is that we can often be found out on the mountain earning our turns and enjoying all types of trails, not just those that require a truck and a downhill bike to get the most from. With an adjustable 120 or 130mm of rear wheel travel and an all around geometry set, Felt's Virtue series is intended for just that, slotting nicely into what is commonly referred to these days as the trail bike category. The five bike Virtue lineup includes their top tier, carbon framed Virtue LTD, but it's the bike at the opposite end of the range that we're interested in, the $1999.99 USD Virtue Sport.


Felt Virtue Sport Details
• Intended use: XC/trail
• Rear wheel travel: adjustable from 120 to 130mm
• Hydroformed aluminum frame, including rear stays
• Tapered head tube
• 135mm QR rear dropouts
• 69° head angle
• RockShox Tora fork w/ 120mm of travel, remote lockout
• Rockshock Ario R rear shock
• Weight: 31lbs, 10oz (w/o pedals )
• MSRP $1999.99 USD



Frame Details

Despite the reasonable price, the Virtue Sport still manages to be assembled around a frame that is more than worthy of upgrades down the road. The details required of any proper do-it-all trail bike are present, including the obligatory tapered head tube up front and low stand over height, but it's only when you take a closer look at the frame that you see how nicely it's finished. Hydroforming is used to extensively shape not only the tubing in the front triangle, but also the rear stays, giving the bike the appearance of costing much more than what Felt is asking for it. Its black, white and orange paint job, while likely not for everyone, further enhances that effect.

Felt Trail Bike
  Two upper shock mount positions let you choose between 120 and 130mm of rear wheel travel. We spent the majority of our time on the Virtue Sport with it in the longer travel of the two options.

The substantially shaped two-piece rocker arm is heavily relieved along its inner faces, and the shock bolt threads into a replaceable steel insert at the opposite side. In fact, all of the Virtue's suspension hardware is stainless steel, likely adding a few grams over aluminum bolts, but improving durability in the long run, especially for those home mechanics who prefer to look after their own steed. Aluminum pivot caps, complete with anodized bolt torque numbers, help to keep the crud out. While all major pivots rotate on sealed bearings, the bike's Equilink tie rod pivots on DU bushings and hollow stainless steel hardware that are lighter and are said to stand up better than the previous iteration's needle bearing system.

Felt Virtue Sport. Photo by Fraser Britton
  Steel pivot hardware (left ) is slightly heavier than aluminum, but less likely to round out. A near-mandatory tapered head tube (right ) is found up front.


What is Equilink?

Pretty much all suspension designs depend on a certain amount of chain torque for a degree of pedalling efficiency (some designs use more than others ), with engineers having to walk a fine line between too much - you'll lose bump sensitivity, and too little - the bike will bob badly and pedal as if it was stuck in molasses. This is true of everything from single pivot bikes to more complicated multi-link machines, although some will also employ custom shock tuning to either enhance suspension activity, or as a crutch to cover up bad pedalling traits. Felt claims to have found a way around all of that with their Equilink suspension system, although they are far from the first to make such assertions. Equilink utilizes a vertical tie rod - the perpendicular orange component in the photo to the right - that connects the upper link (the rocker arm ) to the small link between the chainstays and the front triangle. Why go to all that extra trouble and complication?

Felt says that connecting the two links together eliminates the bike's dependency on chain torque for pedalling performance, allowing the rider to set the suspension up with absorbing terrain as the primary focus. Equilink operates by forcing the upper and lower links to function as a single unit, despite their differing purposes. The upper link rotates clockwise and tries to compress the shock during acceleration, while the lower link tries to pivot counterclockwise due to chain torque, but the vertical tie rod connecting them together forces both the suspension loads and drivetrain inputs to work in unison, effectively cancelling each other out.

If the design functions as Felt asserts it should not only will it allow a suspension setup that performs well on small impacts without sacrificing efficiency, but also not require the rider to be in a certain gear combination for optimal pedalling performance - it should behave the same regardless of gear choice, unlike many other designs. Rousing claims for sure, but only trail time will tell us whether Equilink can live up to Felt's lofty claims.


Component Spec

There is no doubt that much of the Virtue Sport's value is packed into the very nicely built frame, but Felt still had to spec the bike with components that can handle some abuse on the mountain. The bike's $1999.99 USD price makes this a challenging undertaking, but you'll still find a mix of trail worthy parts. Both the front and rear suspension units are from Rockshox, with an Ario R rear shock and 120mm travel Tora Coil fork, both of which sport external rebound adjustment. The Tora fork also makes use of a bar mounted Poploc remote that can be used to instantly lock the suspension out.

Shimano takes care of most of the 9 speed drivetrain, with the exception of the SRAM PG-950 11-32 cassette. Felt wisely chose to include Shimano's Alivo hydraulic brakes on the spec list, eliminating the need for the Virtue Sport owner to make that one of the first upgrades.

Specifications
Price $1999
Rear Shock RockShox Ario R
Fork RockShox Tora Coil 120mm Travel
Cassette Sram PG-950 9-speed 11-32
Crankarms Shimano Alivio , FC-M431-L, 9-speed
Bottom Bracket Shimano ES-25 Octalink
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore RD-M592
Chain KMC Z99 9-speed
Front Derailleur Shimano Alivio FD-M430
Shifter Pods Shimano SL-M430 9 speed
Handlebar Felt MTB XC Riser bar
Stem Felt MTB oversized 3D-Forged Design
Grips Felt dual-density wing grips
Brakes SHIMANO BR-M445 Hydraulic Disc Brake
Hubs Forged Aluminum, for Disc Brake, rear: Shimano FH-M475
Spokes Stainless 14g with Brass Nipples
Rim WTB SX-24 Disc Brake doublewall Aluminum
Tires Felt TAR Mountain tire
Seat Felt Mountain Design
Seatpost Felt Alloy Micro-Adjust




Riding the Virtue Sport


Climbing
Ascending on a nearly 32lb trail bike is never going to feel as inspired as on a lighter weight bike, but the Virtue Sport does have a snappy personality that is somewhat at odds with its relatively portly figure. The bike doesn't surge ahead like some trail bike rocket ships, but there is a certain amount of life to it, especially under pedalling loads, that give it a rousing feel under you. Equilink at work, or just a dialed overall package that works in the real world? Felt's Equilink suspension adds both complexity and weight to the Virtue, but, after spending some quality trail time on it, we believe there is something to the design that merits its place on the bike. The RockShox Ario R shock lacks any sort of pedal assist lever, but we'd likely never reach for it even on the smoothest of climbs. The suspension also remains relative stable across the gearing range, without much of the bob or extension that can be found on some other bikes when under load. The bike isn't completely immune to the unstoppable force of physics, of course, with it not able to cover up bad form - pedal squares and you'll see the suspension resonate up and down much like any other design, regardless if set to the 120 or 130mm option. Unlike the rear of the bike, we often hit the bar mounted fork lock out when we rose out of the saddle to temper the Tora's somewhat active and bouncy stroke.

Veder
  Felt's Equilink suspension design functions well under load, but it will take a tire swap to unleash the bike's true climbing potential.

While many Pinkbike readers will shudder at the thought running such a long stem, the Virtue Sport's stock 90mm unit and steep 73.5° seat angle make for a bike that can clean technical pitches that a rig with a jump-friendly shorter stem could only dream of. There is a trade off to that extra length, but the riding position allows you to relax and pick the proper line instead of simply trying to smash your way up, as you are often forced to on a bike with a shorter stem. The relatively upright 73.5° seat angle works well if you are a rider who likes to sit and spin your way up climbs, but those that prefer to mash a tall gear might find themselves sliding the bike's saddle back more than they expected - a layback post will make sense here. Unfortunately, the stock tires take much of the steam out of the bike on technical ascents. The Felt branded TAR rubber does little to move the bike forward over lose or wet ground, with about as much bite as a toothless geriatric patient. Change them out for something more aggressive, as well as a cassette to one with a 34 tooth large cog (the stock cassette has a 11-32 spread ), and you'll find yourself motoring up some challenging terrain with ease.

Descending
The trail bike genus is spit into more sub categories than crayon colours, but, for the most part, they will either be built up for general trail riding, or assembled with wide tires and bars for more aggressive use. The 120mm travel Tora fork that uses quick release lowers, and 2.1" wide tires front and back, clearly put the Virtue Sport in the former of the two. With the Ario R's stroke setup to sit into 25% of its stroke under sag the Virtue tracks very much as you'd expect a 130mm bike to perform, although it felt as if a touch more chatter was being transfered through to the rider than we'd like to see. Taking a few minutes to get the Virtue to sag closer to 30% seemed to remedy this, although most confident riders are likely to find themselves bottoming too much when the damper is running a full 30% sag. This is a bit of a shame because it makes it hard to take advantage of the Virtue's solid pedalling by setting the bike up to be slightly more forgiving for the downhills.

Veder
  Experienced riders are likely to find the bike underwhelming on the downhills, but powerful Shimano brakes that modulate well, along with a supple RockShox Tora fork, add up to a forgiving package for less aggressive riders.

The coil sprung Tora fork can't be compared to more expensive, and therefore more sophisticated, options, but it is certainly trail worthy. A surprisingly active stroke, likely thanks to its very smooth steel stanchions, eats up smaller trail chatter quite well. It does tend to use quite a bit of its travel when on the brakes, but this may not be an issue for less aggressive or new riders. Adjustable rebound damping lets you adjust the return stroke's speed, and we found ourselves running the fork faster than usual helped to compensate for its dive-prone tendencies. The Tora fork is relatively solid, given its slim 32mm stanchions and quick release lowers, but those familiar with 15mm thru-axle forks will quickly notice the difference between the two. Where the Tora scores points is in its reliability - the inexpensive fork was smooth day in and day out, despite nasty conditions and absolutely zero love. There was a time not long ago that a fork three times the Tora's price would need to be massaged often to keep it running well. The Tora name isn't found in RockShox's 2012 lineup, but their new XC 32 TK looks to fill that role.

Those who approach descending with a causal attitude will likely find the Virtue Sport more than enough bike for their needs, but it isn't hard to reach the bike's limit when it's ridden forcefully. It isn't the suspension units that keep the Felt from greatness (those perform surprisingly well given the bike's $1999.99 USD asking price ), but rather a geometry and tire issue. One can be solved easily - new, wider rubber will transform the Virtue - but the other must be lived with. The bike's 69° head angle isn't unusual in this travel bracket, but the bike felt decidedly pointier than most when the speed picked up or the trail got steep. Swapping out the 90mm stem to a 70mm unit helps the situation, but we constantly found ourselves wishing for a slightly slacker front end. A single degree can make a world of difference in the heat of the moment.

Felt Trail Bike
  Don't let the Alivo name fool you, these brakes are up to the task and feature great ergonomics.

What about those parts?

• The Virtue's Alivo brakes surprised us with how well they performed despite their low positioning in Shimano's component hierarchy. Their ergonomics feel spot on, with a lever shape that is just right, as well as geometry that feels quite natural as you pull the lever in towards the bar. Their power doesn't equal the majority of higher-end systems, which is to be expected given their resin pads, but we didn't feel like we needed more when riding the bike within its intentions. Great modulation helps in this cause as well. Those who plan on upgrading to sintered brake pads should keep in mind that this will also require a rotor swap, as the stock discs are only compatible with the softer stock brake pad compound.

• Anyone considering purchasing the Virtue Sport will be doing themselves a favour by swapping out the Felt branded TAR tires before leaving the shop - put the credit that the shop gives you towards some proper mountain bike rubber. The stock tires are not only built from a rather hard rubber compound but are also just 2.1" wide, front and back. While we've used plenty of skinny tires that perform well, these don't. Their low volume transmits too much chatter through to the bike, and they have a skittish, unpredictable character that doesn't inspire confidence in the slightest.

• The bike's drivetrain came through the test unscathed, although it took a bit to adjust to the triple ring setup (the majority of our test bikes have used a two ring crankset ). Despite the three rings, we never dropped a chain.

• The stock stem looks great on the bike, but its 90mm length had us reaching out over the front a bit too much for our liking. A good shop will likely trade you for a shorter 70mm version before you take the bike out the front door, a swap that will increase rider confidence ten fold. Don't be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to stem length, even if a shorty stem means going up one frame size - this is an upgrade that really lets you get the most out of the bike's handling.

• We found the felt-embossed saddle to be comfortable over the long haul, a surprising discovery considering how terrible the stock saddles on price-conscious bikes can be. Everyone is shaped differently, but give this seat a chance and you may be surprised.


2012 Virtue Sport

The 2012 Virtue Sport increases in price to $2,499 USD, but address all of the concerns that we had with the '11 model. Gone are the very suspect TAR tires, as well as the Tora fork. Instead you'll find a set of 2.2'' wide WTB Wolverines, and a Rockshox Recon fork. The tires will likely make a world of difference in how the bike behaves, improving traction and performance all around. The 120mm travel Recon fork utilizes a 15mm thru-axle, compared to the Tora's standard QR fork lowers, and air sprung internals (the Tora used a coil ) that will allow Virtue riders to increase the spring rate to match their skills and body weight. While the 2011 model required some upgrades to realize its full potential, it looks like the 2012 Virtue Sport is much more prepared for battle right off the showroom floor.



Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesFelt's Virtue Sport isn't the ideal machine for a rider who is already pushing his or her personal limits on the mountain, but with a very reasonable MSRP of $1999.99 USD it will make a great bike for someone who is discovering their local trail system. This is especially true once a set of higher volume tires and shorter stem have been installed, opening up the bike's performance window greatly. The Virtue frame can brag about being much more refined than many more expensive offerings, making the bike worthy of keeping it in the stable for the long run, upgrading the spec as your skill and bravery increases. - Mike levy

www.feltbicycles.com


79 Comments

  • + 48
 Of course one also has to NOT be aware of the fact Felt stole the design from its actual inventor (who hadn't thought to file a patent for it when he showed it at Interbike, and talked about it to Felt Engineers who expressed an interest in licensing it), in order to actually want to own one of these.

The actual inventor's name is Brian Caulfield of Kavik Bicycles, and he showed his frame design...

thylacinecycles.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/kaviksuspension.jpg at interbike around 2003-04... two years later Felt released their "equilink" design to the world, claiming they'd developed it completely on their own.

Brian as it happens is relaunching Kavik Bicycles and has reported that he's going to include the full suspension design that felt "borrowed" from him without his consent or knowledge (he had dropped out of the bike world and didn't know what Felt had done until after it happened). Now myself, I won't ever buy a bike design that relies on stealing a design from the actual inventor.
  • - 9
flag kev-roberts (Jan 30, 2012 at 2:02) (Below Threshold)
 so basically, felt are relying on a suspension design that is what, 8/9 years old ?! or is it just this actual linkage design was way ahead of its time when it was first released ?!
  • + 11
 Almost all linkages are 8/9 (or more) years old. There are only a few modifications that makes some of them look new.
  • + 27
 Not to say what Felt did was right (if these accusations are in fact accurate), but to play devil's advocate: if you're going to show the world a brand new suspension design without a patent at one of the world's largest bike shows, what do you expect is going to happen? Inventors need to take responsibility for protecting their own intellectual property. If you're smart enough to invent something like that, you should be smart enough to know how to protect yourself.
  • + 2
 Well some framebuilders, especially one of the leading hand-builders in america at the time have more honesty and expect more from their fellow person it seems. Unfortunetly the US patent act isn't a "first to invent" system one like practically every other patent system on the planet, but a "first to file" system which as a result often sees companies stealing other inventions and applying for patent protection. The US patent act is one of the few that even allows you to file patents on the idea of something so broad as to try and squash out other ways to do the same thing, such as computer software. Its why Oracle is attempting to sue Google over the Android operating system. Fortunetly the judge in that case keeps throwing out Oracles arguments one after another, but its still costing a lot of money in legal fees.
  • + 1
 that's why you should apply for a patent on the intellectual design, not the physical design, even before he had shown it to anyone else!
  • + 0
 mr kavik would be quite rich right now if he had paented it. on another note, this should have beena review of the higher spec model. thats 2 reviews reciently that have had a niggle for reasons that were not beyond PB's control, i.e. you could have got a virtue sport. the other one was the Weeze review where the chain guide got slated for an error by the shipping firm!
  • - 5
flag jonnyboy (Jan 30, 2012 at 9:05) (Below Threshold)
 That makes your mate Brian a dumbass then!
Even school kids learn about IP (interlectualy property) these days!
  • + 8
 You clearly have no idea of how expensive it is to file a patent and see it thru the process to completion. There's a reason even guys with money like Horst Leitner of Amp-Research (the guy who designed specialized's FSR linkage) ended up selling the patent shortly after he was granted it, TO specialized. For custom framebuilders, who aren't exactly making loads of money as is, its thousands of dollars they really don't have to spend usually. Which is why they bring products and prototypes they're working on to trade shows and hope to shop them around to a brand that'd like to license them... AND not be deceitful enough to lie to the patent office and file that they invented it.

Dave Weigel's DW-link patent came about because of that sort of thinking... Iron Horse was paying him to design their bikes, and they helped bankroll his patent application process for what became the DW-link.
  • - 4
flag jonnyboy (Jan 30, 2012 at 10:07) (Below Threshold)
 You clearly have no idea how entirely free it is to have an interlectual property agreement in place before approaching companies with an idea. Its simply paperwork and due dilligence.
  • + 7
 Yes... because when a company approaches you and expresses interest... the first thing you automatically think to do is to make them sign an agreement that they won't steal your design... boy you're living in some pipe dream hindsight 2020 world where big corporations don't screw over smaller ones, even when they know there's prior art? Specialized approached Ricor Racing to license their inertia valve patent technology, and in fact got an exclusive royalty fee based license for bicycles... then instead designed a different inertia valve shock that doesn't work as well, and filed patents for it (so they wouldn't have to produce the Ricor patented design, thus never paying any royalties, while still depending on their license agreement to stifle the competition), without first disclosing to the patent office that there was known prior art in their application.... the US patent they themselves had already licensed. They then used their new patents, and their vast amount of money to spend on lawyers... to SQUASH Stratos (who had licensed Ricor's patent for suspension forks) out of existence, and prevented Ricor from licensing their patent around to other bicycle suspension fork/shock makers.
  • + 5
 No. What he's saying is "to have an interlectual property agreement in place ***before*** approaching companies with an idea". That's not hidsight. That's foresight.
  • + 4
 Or (if the accusations that Felt stole the idea are true) they could have not been total d-bags and had some integrity. What happened to word is bond and a handshake was the same as a contract. But no instead we'd rather pay the lawyers money to draft up a deal. Yes, bad idea that he "showed" the idea to Felt but c'mon shouldn't we live in a world where people don't screw one another over?
  • + 2
 @smike... brian didn't approach Felt... THEY approached him. They even came out to his shop, road his prototype and then went back home and then told him later they weren't really that interested. He moved onto other projects, and it wasn't until another framebuilder that had contracted with brian to do his first frame prototype for him, told him about Felt's "new" design, that Brian learned they'd lied to him and stolen his IP. Kavik's principal business was designing and manufacturing frames, and frame parts. His interchangeable slider dropouts are amongst the best ever designed, and I'm sure some manufacturer has probably copied his just as Breeze-In style dropouts are often copied on frames, even though Joe Breeze himself has said he wasn't the first to do that sort of dropout. Some inventors really do invent things, and put it out there to the public for usage thinking it'll encourage more interest in what they do. They certainly don't expect unscrupulous other parties to then steal their inventions and try and file patents for them.

In the paintball world, Tom kaye of AirGunDesigns invented the "powerfeed" which was basically an angled feed neck with a SLOT cut into it, so air could escape during the firing cycle after the ball had been fired. In guns without that feature, what happened was the firing would cause some gas to go up the feed tube, slowing the dropping of the next ball down, and could lead to chopping balls in the breech mechanism. Tom could have patented it and kept it to his own brand of guns, but instead he didn't so any other gun designer could use it and thus encourage the enjoyment of the game for a wider number of players.
  • + 3
 Don't get me wrong... I am not defending Felt's actions in any way. Just stating the sad truth that in the world of innovation and design, you really can't trust anyone. New ideas are hard to come by these days. And while our laws may be imperfect, they are what they are, and as such, you need to think and act in ways to protect yourself and at times, outsmart your competition.
  • + 0
 [quote]Yes... because when a company approaches you and expresses interest... the first thing you automatically think to do is to make them sign an agreement that they won't steal your design[/quote]
Yes, thats exactly what I'd do if I wasn't on their payroll.

[quote]boy you're living in some pipe dream hindsight 2020 world where big corporations don't screw over smaller ones[/quote]
Boy you're living in a rose tinted world where you think that business isn't driven by the bottom line.
I absolutely know that big companies screw over small ones.. hence protecting your IP! What world was Brian living in where he though that a bike manufacturer would take a look at a good and unique idea and not use it for themselves if there was no legal ownership/protection of that idea?
Did he miss all the legal procedings that sorrounded the use of the Horst Link or think that it was just a jolly old tale that didn't have any relevance to what he was doing?

I expect Kavik has learned a valuable lesson from that and moved on.. perhaps you should open your eyes to the modern world of cut throat business and move on too. You have been harping on about this since 2007!
  • - 1
 Though, in truth. I'm not sure that it even matters, since there is nothing ground breaking about this suspension design at all.
  • + 1
 Im sorry that happened, luckily felt still makes useless ride where I live the designs cool but poorly implanted in my personal opinion and could most defiantly improve. Everyone here ride santa cruz or specialized VPP or FSR, everything deeeight sounds true, I have spend some time with bike companies around California form start ups like Transition or failed companies like Verses and then even some time testing metal properties for a school assignments at Santa cruz Bikes. Then Worked on testing a few ideas at Specialized, most of the guys and engineers are nice guys who love to ride and as I know them honest people.

Sadly Ideas are up for grabs if not written in stone and pattens are expensive and take a good 40 hours or work to write up, then add the $500 to file and then the cost to buy a number of years to hold the patten if your not a company this is costly. I have a number of Idea and spent sometime working of a free floating shot design that looks promising. The coast though to finalize test and then patten an idea without anyway to produce is ridiculous. So you have no choice to trust that people will give you due credit and be good people. So everyone who thinks that this is his fault should try and make anything... like maybe a paper weight and then paten the design and then try selling it... You are more ignorant to the system than 14 year olds i know. but then most people don't make anything and just consume so your opinion is pointless in an argument on building anything. The truth though is most all ideas have been stolen at some point and at the end all people care about is if it works. The catch is to invent, integrate and redesign while never telling a soul until you have the ability to build, ship and out produce you composition (easier said than done..) Excuse Spelling, wrote this on an iPad.
  • + 6
 Nice looking bike, but the price seems very high for the relatively low component spec! Seeing Alvio on ~£1200 is not value for money if you ask me. I like the frame mind you.
  • + 6
 It's typical for Felt. When you pay money for a Felt your looking at cool paint, crap components. I can't believe Pinkbike actually did an article on one of these bikes. Really Alivio front d on a $2,000 bike? Do yourself a favor go and get a $1,300 Trek. You'll get better components (MUCH BETTER), and you can take the money you save and upgrade the shock to something better. Wham there you go 2gs well spent.
  • + 0
 its because with the virtue sport you are paying for a top quality frame design. i have a felt q720(the best in their q lineup, which is not the highest end but it serves me pretty well. and im pretty sure the 720 retailed for 1200? and it comes with alivio front, and deore back, and i have been 100% pleased with the components for that price, and everything on it i like! and fyi, trek does the same thing, but they give you a crappier frame and some better parts. felt does a lot of work designing stong, light, effective frames.
  • + 2
 Yes the frame does look like it was designed well, but personally I'd take a Trek Fuel series over it any day. The Fuel has been ranked one of the best trail bikes for a while. The geometry (in my opinion) is one of the best I've ridden for a single track bike. Really I just see more value in an Ex5 over the Virtue due to the frame technologies, Sram series drive-train, and suspension. I can't imagine the ride quality could compare between the two, but I'll just have to wait till I ride one I guess. Last I'd have to disagree that Trek does the same. Just take some time to actually look at the two companies, and their bike line ups. What you're paying for and all that stuff. I've taken some time to look at Felt, the Equilink looks like a great set up. Their Fast set up is nice too, but I'll still have to stay with the Treks.
  • + 2
 I was just about to suggest the Fuel EX5 as well. Spec on the EX5 last I checked was practically the same as the Virtue but running closer to $1200. Given the 5 doesn't come with the ABP like higher end Fuels but the Fuel EX Frame design is hard to beat. I'd rather take that extra $800 and get a higher spec'd EX7 and have a better frame and component spec. Or if I was new to the sport and was looking for something with entry level components why not just stick with a 1200 bike.
  • + 3
 I'm gona stick up for Felt, (nothing to do with the stealing of ideas) but I think there Bikes are top quality, maybe on the expensive side for the components but there frames are class.

I've got a Jump shot which is brilliant, strong & light, with a nice build on it, always puts a massive grin on my face when I ride it.

I've also got a Remption 1 which I Built up from just a frame into a mini-downhill build and its lasted a whole year of Scottish racing including Fort William and 2 weeks in morzine where it took the biggest jumps and drops in its stride - even a run down Champery.

I'd actually really like to see what felt could build if they turned their eye to the DH scene - I'd certainly be interested

As for the equilink I'd say it works pretty well (whoever invented it)

I'm not going to say they are the best bikes out there, but they are certainly not the worst, and I think people should try a bike out before deciding they think there Sh**€

www.pinkbike.com/photo/6954547

Rant over....
  • + 1
 took the words right out of my mouth, i ride felt bikes and i love all of them! great bikes! they are strong, light, and just beautiful! i have been more than satisfied with any felt bike ive ever owned!
  • + 2
 Its not all about the bike. One would be surprised how much fun they can have on this bike. When one slows down a bit one can appreciate that forest so much more. I like the idea of an Endure bike. This is a bit less then that... However, 10 years ago this would have been fine. I miss the days of 4 inches on front and back. All that was needed was a trail.. It was great. I had no issues riding 12 miles an hour... I like this bike. I hope the product spec is solid. I have no problem with spec list that is frugal as long has its got a solid company running behind the products. If the seals last, if the air chambers last, If the cartridges are solid, Im fine with that...
  • + 1
 Not a big fan of Felt's mountain bikes. They are all quite heavy, and the equilink is better fitted for 4 inch bikes, versus 5 and up. I worked at a Felt dealership and loved their road and tri bikes, but they are behind on the mtn scene.
  • + 1
 i feel recently they have been kinda behind the times as far as their frames on their road bikes! its very dissapointing because i was a very devout felt rider until i went to look for a new road bike, their road bikes arent as nice as some of the others by fuji and such, but i dont doubt that they will put out a pretty sweet new bike in the next year or two, so they will redeem themselves.
  • + 1
 You can buy a lot of bike for 2k. For example, trek ex5 is $1500. trek ex7 or 8 is $2000 (haven't priced any other bikes in a long time). This seems overpriced for what you get.
If it were stricktly an xc bike i could understand the geo and tires, but with 130mm travel it seems to want to be in the am category which means the geo and stem should not be so problematic. Tires are a given, you usually have to replace tires.
Overall, not impressed
  • + 3
 Giant Trance X 3 is $2000 cdn, a Trance X 4 is $1500. They would be my choices for the dosh.
  • + 1
 im pretty sure felt was trying to make a bike that would perform very well on both xc and am. something you could race in an xc race, then the next week race in a super d race for example.
  • + 4
 I've got a 2011 Felt Virtue Expert and i like it alot. FYI PB recommendations are all spot on.
  • + 1
 I know a guy has a Felt and the frame cracks almost every year. He keeps sending it back and they keep fixing it. They should have given him a new frame by now. After the second time I would bust it up into little pieces and send it to them with a note, "see if you can fix this f***er! "
  • + 3
 got a felt virtue 2 with an RP23 and its like i'm on a hardtail with the propedal.
  • + 2
 I'm liking pinkbike's more recent tests. Seems like they are more honest and really picking apart the details of the product. Thanks PB Smile
  • + 1
 I would like a short travel bike as I sometimes find my 160mm enduro is too much on some rides but this? No thanks, my mate had a flet bike with the equilink and his experience has been enough to put me off.
  • + 2
 can you explain the problems
  • + 1
 Was all going well until some play developed in the linkage. Getting the bearings replaced proved to be very difficult and still didn't sort the play issue out. Dealer didn't want to know either and wouldn't replace the bearings (and there's a lot of them). He ended up getting a hardtail frame and ditching the felt.
  • + 5
 Excellent review!!!
  • + 3
 Levy - how does this bike manage on huck to flats?
  • + 2
 确实不要以为Alivio是个低级产品。在国内有很多人都存在认知误区。
  • + 45
 Mhhhm yes I agree
  • + 9
 yea lionsphinx got a point.......
  • + 9
 Took the words right of my mouth!
  • + 18
 Yeah but not on a Wednesday.
  • + 4
 Only on wednesdays
  • + 0
 我不認為如此。
  • + 19
 That's what she said
  • + 2
 I agree!
  • + 1
 Whatever floats your boat
  • + 4
 "Do not think Alivio is a low-level products. Many people in the country there are cognitive errors."
  • - 2
 "alivio is the next big thing aside from sliced bread that you buy already sliced from the supermarket". i totally agree!
  • - 3
 Huh? Alvio suck balls, I'd rather use X4.
  • + 3
 Felt should stick to building time trial bikes.
  • + 3
 Look like a nice bike for the money. I would add it to my collection!
  • + 1
 i am still hoping they will redesign their old compulsion platform like they did with the virtue
  • + 1
 For Alivo/Deore and a Tora fork,i think 2k is far away for reasonable price.No matter what the frame design is.
  • + 1
 Why there on official page is no Redemptions? A they finish with production?
  • + 2
 for $2000 we can have much better parts
  • + 2
 felt is for a leaky garage roof , not riding! SIMPLE!
  • + 0
 Erm... wouldn't it have made sense to test the 2012 version of the bike? Seen as how this isn't actually a current model? What's up next, the GT Lobo?
  • + 2
 tests take time bro. how long has the new model been around?
  • + 3
 yeah testing a bike takes a lot of time, if your going to do a good job.
  • + 2
 PB should have tested the Virtue Expert- about $600 more gets you a Carbon Fiber Rear Triangle, X-9 Drivetrain, RS Recon Fork and Elixir 5 Brakes.
  • + 8
 @garchitect - We try to cover the entire span of price ranges when reviewing bikes. For example, I also tested the nearly $9k Trek Session. There are plenty of riders who are in the market for a $2,000 bike.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy- Word!
  • + 1
 I saw wicked ridged belt driven single speed 29er that should be tested=}
  • + 1
 just under 32 pounds..............................erp
  • - 2
 Looks like "specd" in Illustrator in the US and built in Tw. Sweatshop. No real engineering anywhere, glossy looks and "huffy" parts finish this off for me. And nobody looks cool on a xc-bike.
  • + 2
 XC bikes are sweet... Bikes are meant to be ridden uphill and downhill. :-)
  • + 2
 Trek Taste...
  • - 1
 Let's have a look...Fork is a RS Tora...Oh sry that Bike just can be shit !
  • + 4
 Hey, there are a lot of people who don't need 1500€ forks, nor 4000+€ bikes.
  • + 1
 Yepp for sure and I can understand that, but a good Fork/Shock and good Brakes are really important on a Bike.
  • + 1
 @Lehel-NS
ummm... its a full suspension bike which implies that the suspension is important. so crummy forks on a $2k bike is like a pathetic engine in a $50k sports car.
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