Felt 2016 Media Day
Felt shows its 2016 Cyclocross Bikes
I love this sport and I very lucky to get to do what I do. I am getting up at 430 in the am to catch a flight to sunnly SoCal. For most people getting up at 430 would be a chore but for me 430 would not come fast enough. In a way it's like I haven't grown up, it feels like Christmas when I was a kid waking up early to see what Santa has brought while I was asleep. I know that I needed the rest so I layed there trying to be calm and rest until those magic numbers rolled around so I could go. Meanwhile thoughts of the newCyclocross bikes were dancing around in my head.
Arrival at the Felt World headquarters we were greeted with a parking lot full of new 2016 bikes. Felt had set up several tents with drinks and some food for us media dogs to recharge and refuel after our trips. I was on the last bus in and so we could finally start the day. Note, I have not gone to a room or anything. Straight from the airport to Felt with bag in hand.
The day began with a tour of the Felt World HQ design and R& D departments. Jeff Soucek Was our tour guide and is the head of the Engineeringdepartment at Felt. We were privileged to see how a bike is drawn up on CAD and then have an aerodynamic program applied to the frame. The engineers make small and minute adjustments and then run programs to see how the bike will perform in the different wind conditions simulations. How will it preform at 10 degrees of yaw or 20 degrees of wind yaw? The engineers look at all of the yaws and make the determination on what to do next with the frame. Then after months of tweaking, the frame is sent on to the next stage when the materials are tested for strength and rigidity. A different computer program is used in this process and this will determine the bike ride qualities. It will also determine what kind of carbon fiber will go where and in what orientation and how much. Once it’s a go from this department its on to modeling. This is where test models are made and then tested for aerodynamics and other performance metrics are measured… Through every stage of the tour Our guide Jeff is wanting to send a clear and simple message. Felt is a Design and development company. Not just another bike factory that mindlessly produces generic , average bicycles. And though every step of this tour, through every stage that we visited that message began to sink in. Look for a whole article on the birth of a Felt Carbon Frame set.
(Meanwhile at the hall of Justice, I mean Felt’s World HQ)….Sitting down outside in a nice big tent in the perfect California weather we start with Felt announcing that they are making some changes. Felt is getting a new look and a new way of doing business. The head of marketing starts the presentation and shown to us is their new logos. The new logo is a departure from the sweeping lines of the founder’s name. Now, the name will be bold with strong edging and corners. To this amateur editor sends a clear message to consumers and competitors alike “We are hear” “Our products are strong and Powerful”. I’m sure that the consumers and retailers will like the change in the branding. This will inspire confidence in the selling and purchasing of the line.
The second move Felt has come up a concept and one is taking a bold step outside the normal bike industry heard. It’s the cycle of life in the industry every year the new bikes come out. Every year every company is tasked to come up with something new. Why? Well that’s the way its been and that’s the way its been done. Felt took a look at this cycle of life and asked that very question and could not come up with a good answer. One answer that they did come up with is why fix it if its not broken? Why try and apply a new technology when its not ready? So moving forward if they get a bike right or just the way they want it they are not going to change it until the life cycle of that bike is over. I guess some one at Felt went back and watched “Logan’s Run”. Felt has decided not to go to carousel and kill perfectly good bikes and try and kill them selves in putting bikes on the market with technology that is not ready to be fully realized. This cycle is expensive and not needed and Felt is no longer going to be participating in this industry practice.
The CX Bikes:
A new market is emerging or I should say has emerged and it’s the gravel bike. Which in my opinion is just a different name for a touring bike. If you look back at what a touring bike was and then look at what a gravel bike is. It’s the same only with updated technology. Things are coming back to their roots. I mean “Back in the day” there was not a lot of paved roads. There were dirt roads and the races were called “Tours”. This year Felt has 3 gravel bikes in its line up. Felt put them in the road category and is their "V' Series with some pretty cool features.
The cyclocross line has been updated as well. I don’t say this often about a companies effort that goes into a design of a CXframes set. But with felt I will. In my opinion by looking over the 2016 line of CX bikes it is clear to be that Felt put forth a lot of thought and effort in their production of their cyclocross line and could be one of the best frame sets on the market. Its super light and tough and has some pretty cool features that will be setting a new bench mark that I'm sure other companies will be taking note of.
The Felt F85x and 65X are in stock and ready to ship. The F3X, F4X and F65X will arrive in August and the F1X, F1XR and F85X will be available in September. The top of the line F1x & F1XR will retail for $6,999.00 & $5,499.00 while the F3X and F4X will come in at a more affordable $3,799.00 and $2,999.00. If those are just out of your reach you can get a F55X for the magical price of $1,999.00!
The Group Ride:
After it was all over felt had a group ride and that made me really happy because not only did I want to get out and ride the new 2016 stuff but I really wanted to stretch the legs and let the big dog run a bit. Luckily the weather was perfect, not too hot and not that windy. I had a great time with the guys from Felt and all I can say is that I can hardly wait to get my leg over a felt cx bike.. But there were no CX bikes ready to ride and we headed out into the nice Cali weather on some pretty sweet road steeds. I was so glad to get out and stretch my legs and for the next 20 or so miles I did so. After that it was to the hotel (7pm and the first time I got to a room) and then for some dinner and up at 5 am to go back home to Portlandia.