With the introduction of the IA and AR in 2013 (both for the 2014 model year), it would have been easy for Felt to lay off the gas pedal and take the next year easy. And while there are no new triathlon or aero frames, it is easy to argue that Felt’s 2015 model year is even more exciting than 2014. For 2015, Felt is taking all of the technology that makes the IA, AR, and DA frames so good, and setting them at price points almost any triathlete can afford.
While you may expect us to be the most excited about the changes to the IA and DA (and we will get to those), we are actually particularly eager for the B-Series, specifically the reintroduction of the B2. For a few years now, the B2 has been Felt’s electronic spec of the B-Series. For 2014, the build was not available. But the B2 is back for 2015 and at a price we think will reset the expected price points of electronic builds from this point going forward!
For those unfamiliar, the B-Series was redesigned to take much of the technology in the DA from the head tube back. While you won’t find the integrated fork, you do get nearly identical frame shapes, including the rear wheel cutout. The rear brake is located below the bottom bracket as in the DA.
So why are we so thrilled about the B2? The fact that the B2 comes with Shimano Ultegra 6870 Di2 (11 speed) for $3,699. Yes, you are reading that correctly – for less than $4,000 you can get a Di2-equipped TT bike. The one component missing are the Di2 brake levers, but you can get those for $350, which means you can have your cake and eat it too all for $4K. Considering that two or three years ago you were going to pay well over $6,000 for similar spec, the B2 is an amazing value.
Of course we cannot forget about the B12 or B14 either. The B12 comes equipped for Shimano Dura-Ace 9K for $2,999. While the B14 is just $1,999, and comes with Ultegra 6800 (also 11 speed). Both come with microSHIFT shifters (not the Shimano Dura-Ace), but that doesn’t change the fact that you can get Shimano’s top-of-the-line mechanical groupset at a price far below most other options.
For 2015, the DA series is dropping to a single spec – the DA1. But it is getting a brand new integrated fork to go along with it. The new Felt Bayonet 4 has integrated the brake into the fork, leading to a cleaner and faster design. The DA is now Felt’s top-of-the-line UCI-legal TT frame.
The DA1 comes equipped with Dura-Ace 9K and will retail for $4,999. If you want the DA frame only, that will be available for $2,499.
Last year the IA series availability was extremely limited and builds were priced accordingly. You had a choice between the IA FRD LTD built with Felt’s TeXtreme carbon, Dura-Ace Di2 and Mavic Cosmic CXR80s for $13,999, or the slightly more affordable IA FRD without the Mavics for $9,999. For 2015, Felt is offering the IA in four specs plus a frameset-only option.
The FRD remains the top-of-the-line option and comes equipped with Dura-Ace Di2 (including the brake levers) and a Zipp 404/808 combination. The FRD frame gets Felt’s highest carbon fiber option – UHC Ultimate + TeXtreme. And of course top-of-the-line spec gets the high-end price of $13,999.
The IA2 (available for $9,999) also gets Dura-Ace Di2 but swaps out the Zipps for a Novatec 50mm/90mm combination. The IA2 also goes with Felt’s more standard UCH Advanced carbon fiber.
Those looking for mechanical shifting can opt for the IA3 which comes with SRAM Red22 (and the SRAM R2C Aero tri shifters). You also get Novatec wheels (50mm front and back). The IA3 will set you back $6,999.
Finally the most “economical” IA is the IA4. For $5,499 you’ll get Ultegra 6800 (mechanical) paired with 35mm Felt TTR3 wheels. For those looking to get into an IA at the lowest possible cost, the IA4 is what you are looking for.
Felt is offering two frame kits – the IA FRD and the IA1. The IA FRD is built from UHC Ultimate + TeXtreme while the IA1 is the more standard UHC Advanced carbon fiber. The FRD frame kit will retail for $6,999, while the IA1 is $4,499.
As we mentioned, having a full electronic build for under $4K is a huge step forward in bringing electronic shifting to the masses. We have always felt that electronic shifting—especially when paired with the brake lever shifters—provides a definite competitive advantage. Even more so, the entire B-Series represents an enormous amount of buying value.
It is also obvious that Felt has bought into triathlon in a big way. By limiting the DA (UCI legal TT frame) to one build, and expanding the IA (non UCI legal) to four, you can easily see where Felt’s priorities lie.
Finally, with the greatly expanded IA lineup, Felt is bringing its high-end frame to more athletes. What is interesting is to see whether Felt follows the model they crafted with the DA\B Series and eventually creates a trickle-down frame with the IA’s technology. However it is way too soon to guess at Felt’s 2016 plans. And let’s face it, considering how excited we are for 2015, we have no problem waiting!