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Felt goes public with new road models

Published August 1, 2016

IRVINE, Calif. (BRAIN) — Whether it's speed or gravel roads, Felt tackles both with dedicated new road models: the FR and VR.

The FR was a ground up project. The new road racing frame features TeXtreme, a carbon fiber mix that requires less material be used for a lighter frame; BB386EVO for more stiffness and tire clearance (the FR takes up to 28mm tires on select rims); new geometry with increased stack compared to its predecessor the F Series; outboard seat stay design and no brake bridge (brake is located at the BB chainstay junction); reflective elements on the paint and graphics and handlebar tape.

First and foremost, the goal with the new FR was to decrease the frame's weight while boosting stiffness. Felt claims the frame is 5 percent lighter than the F series frame, head tube stiffness is 4 percent greater, while rear tire contact patch is boosted 30 percent, which according to global brand manager for road, Hubert Otlik, provides a "snappy responsiveness." The stack is also up about 4 percent.

"The FR doesn't have anything that adds weight or complexity," Otlik said.

The FR is available in women's-specific options (same sizing but women's specific contact points), and will come in both disc and rim brake options, in both aluminum and carbon. Pricing starts at $799 for the FR60 and goes all the way up to $9,499 for the FR1 disc.

The disc models (FR1, FR2, FR3), with flat mount brakes and 12 mm thru axle hubs front and rear, become available in December. All others become available in August, September and October. Carbon models have external cable routing in order to not compromise the frame in areas where a hole would need to be punched to route cables. Aluminum frames have internal routing, except at lower price points , where it's external.

Meanwhile the VR is about versatility and exploration — still endurance road, but more capable and with increased compliance, achieved with a redesign of the seat tube, seat stay and top tube shapes of the former endurance frame, the Z series.

The outboard seat stays reduced weight and allow some flexing of the seat tube or what Otlik called "vertical buckling." Compliance is also improved with a shorter seat tube and more exposed seat post, which adds compliance felt at the saddle.

Compared to the Z series, the VR increases tire clearance to 30mm, from 25mm. While the VR can fit 33 and 35c tires, Felt can't recommend those because they don't meet ISO requirements for the frame.

The entire VR lineup offers disc brakes — either hydraulic or mechanical.

Like the FR, the VR is built with TeXtreme carbon fiber, which requires less material to be used during construction. The VR also features new sub-compact gearing, providing a 1:1 gear ratio (46-30 with 28c). While this gearing gives up 6 percent at top speed descending, Felt claims riders gain 11 percent while climbing compared to a 50-34 setup with 23c tires.

The VR is compatible with all drivetrains, internally routed, and has sealed cable ports. It comes with a toptube bag mount for all-day adventure exploratory use. And Felt developed a fender kit for it, for riders who want to use it as a daily commuter.

The VR in both aluminum and carbon options, also comes in women's-specific sizing. It's priced from $899 (VR60) to $5,499 (VR2), with availability starting in August for some models and extending through October.

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