Today, Irvine, California-based Felt Bicycles launched the latest iteration of its race-bred performance bike, the FR. The FR is a prime example of what makes Felt bikes worthy of consideration, and contention, in a cycling industry that frankly is awash with really, really great bikes. Felt developed the FR through their racing development program, FRD (Felt Racing Development) — specifically, by working with pro rider Robin Carpenter of Hincapie Racing. After only a spin around the parking lot, Carpenter committed to riding the first prototype of the FR at the Tour of California.
At first blush, the FR looks like any other rim-brake performance bike, but in my test ride, it was anything but. Felt’s engineers took what they liked about the FR’s predecessor, the F (an impressive bike in its own right), and made it lighter while also stiffening the frame. In all, the FR is 5 percent lighter than the F.
Choice of materials played a big role in this. To make the bike even stiffer than the F, while still keeping weight down and quality high, Felt uses Textreme fabrics, which allows them to use less material while still maintaining the same stiffness. Felt also employed a seat-stay design that moves the stays outside of the seat post, similarly providing greater stiffness in the rear contact patch (30 percent more over the previous F) and allowing for the use of less material, to keep weight down.
The FR is incredibly stiff. It’s 4 percent stiffer in the head tube, which makes for steering that is more responsive than anything else I’ve ridden. Off the line, the FR is pure speed, with no hesitation. Each turn of the cranks is efficient, and you feel as though every watt of power is making its way immediately to the rear wheel. Thanks to a BB386EVO bottom bracket, the FR also allows for tire widths up to 28mm — which is on trend with many recent performance road bikes allowing for wider and higher-volume tires.
The new FR1 will be available starting in September and will come in both rim-brake and disc-brake versions — costing $8,999 and $9,499 respectively. If that sounds like a lot of coin, the frameset can be bought for $1,999 and built to your standards.