Few things are as recognizable as the Felt logo in triathlon. It has remained unchanged for over twenty years, but that changes today. With the new Felt Logo comes a number of very real changes to how the company operates which, we think, will not be too terribly surprising to our more clued-in readers. Felt believes that the new logo is more in line with who they are as a company, now. Don’t worry, the famous wings are staying, but they will be joined by this, more angular, solid-color branding as well.
The Living Line
With this change comes the abolition of model years for Felt’s offerings, and the introduction of running changes to their products. According to Felt, product will be launched when it is ready. They’re not going to wait for a specific event, or a given timeframe.
This follows the industry trend of veering away from the yearly refresh cycle and focusing more on giving customers the best bike available at the time. Color schemes are included in this, and will now be refreshed when a given bike’s appearance has gotten “stale.” Ultimately, this should result in a better bike when you’re in the market, no matter when that happens to be. And speaking of bikes…
The New IA
Here’s the big news: soon, you will be able to take home an IA for as little as $2,999. Featuring a non-integrated front end, the new IA, known internally as the IAx, offers riders a frame that “is every bit as fast as the IA FRD frame,” but with a standard stem and standard brake mount, as well as three bottle bosses on the down-tube, two on the seat-tube, and a pair at the rear of the seat tube above the stays. There are three models of the new IA, the 10, 14, and 16.
The 10, along with all the new IA bikes, gets an alloy Bayonet 3 basebar, the Tri155 stem, Vision TriMax Aero front brake, FSA Aero Direct Mount rear brake, and Felt’s TTR2 tires. It also receives Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifting (both the extensions and the brake levers), a Vision TriMax Pro TT crankset with 52/38 cranks, and Felt’s TTR3 35mm wheelset. Coming in at $4,999, this is the “next level” bike that many have been looking for in the industry. It will be available in December of this year.
For $1000 less, at $3,999, comes the IA 14. Featuring mechanical Ultegra 11-speed, though the shifters are MicroShift instead of Shimano, it brings the Vision TriMax Pro TT crankset from the IA 10 with it, as well as the Vison front brake and FSA rear. It comes equipped with Felt’s TTR4 wheelset, which is 30mm deep, For those who still prefer mechanical shifting, this is absolutely the bike you’ve been waiting for; all the speed, none of the hassles of electronic shifting or complexities of breaking down an integrated bike to travel with. We expect we’ll be seeing a lot of these in transition next year, as it will be available in December of this year.
If you’re on a budget, but still want the best frame technology the industry has to offer, the IA 16 is going to be your ticket. With Shimano 105 11-speed derailleurs (and MicroShift TT levers), the price tag will come in at $2,999, competing with the likes of the P2 for the value-per-dollar crown. An FSA Omega crankset comes with the bike, and a more compact 50/34 set of chainrings. Our spec-sheet says “dual pivot caliper” and “aero direct mount” for the front and rear brakes, respectively, so assume they’ll be house brand but have plenty of stopping power. Instead of the TGALE TiRox saddle, the IA 16 will receive the Zero Tri PAS T2.0. The only downside to the IA 16 is the wait – we won’t be able to get our hands on one until January of next year. Christmas, perhaps, will come in January for some of our readers.
IA Series – two frames, three framesets
The IA lineup became more complicated in Felt’s new Living Lineup, having to cover two frames under the same designation, but sorting it is relatively simple for the moment. All single-number designation bikes are the “old” IA frame – the one that has won Kona every year it’s been out – and are still available to purchase, in both FRD and UHC carbon form. The double-digit IAs are the “new” frame, and there is no FRD, and thus no Textreme, option. The IA FRD is still available, unchanged, as are the IA2 and IA3, from 2015.
The FRD remains the top-of-the-line option and comes equipped with Dura-Ace Di2 and Zipp’s 404 Firestrike wheelset. What is new for the 2016+ IA FRD is the inclusion of a Rotor Flow Aero crank, and here’s the big deal, a power meter from factory. With the extra goodies comes a significant price hike – the MSRP on the IA FRD is an eye-watering $16,999
The IA2 receives the Ultegra Di2 groupset (minus the brakes), Felt-branded carbon 50/90mm deep wheels, and the carbon we mere mortals ride – Felt’s UHC layup. With this step down comes a more attainable price, though still lofty, at $9,999.
Out goes SRAM Red22 on the IA3, and in comes Shimano’s 11-speed Ultegra mechanical option. 35mm deep Felt TTR3 wheels keep the bike rolling, and you’ll be pushing a Vision TriMax Pro TT crankset, but the price is a comparative bargain at $5,999.
The DA will be sold only as a frameset, having been supplanted by the IA with the new launch. At $2,999, available in October for the “new Felt” version, it has been unchanged except for paint from the 2015 model. If you need a UCI-legal bike, this is the ticket from Felt.
The B-Series is arguably the first “Living Line” product in the tri segment; as it is remaining unchanged, save for the logo change, into the 2016+ production set. The prices will remain static, as will component spec for the time being.
The B2 offers a lot for its $3,999 price tag. You get Ultegra Di2 shifting, the Vision TriMax Pro TT crankset that Felt favors, their own 35mm TTR3 wheelset, and Prologo’s Nago Evo Tri40 TiRox saddle. Given the same price as the IA 14, we think this comes down to whether one prefers a faster frameset or an electronic groupset.
Dura Ace 9000 for $2,999 – that’s the tagline for the B12. Sure, the shifters are MicroShift, but the mechanical TT shifters from Shimano are friction shifters, so this isn’t a change anyone is likely to notice at all. The same saddle, wheels, and crank from the B2 makes an appearance here, as well.
$2,199 gets you Ultegra 11-speed mechanical. With 30mm wheels and an FSA Omega crankset, this is an incredibly difficult-to-beat bike from a beginner’s perspective. There are plenty of bikes that give you less for much, much more than the B14 does. And if you’re looking to dip your toe into triathlon for not too much money, Felt has a entrant that should be on your short list.