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I needed a new commuter so dropped a touch over £500 on a Felt F85 last week. I had bought it as a disposable bike, something that I was expecting very little from that would take a hiding and just get me to and from work with cheap, replaceable parts. I built it, noted the rubbish spoke tension, the near 10kg weight, the square taper bottom bracket and the plasticy feeling Tiagra shifters. The frame had a nice finish and it's not poor looking bike though, after setting the gears up I took it out for a 30 mile taster.

I'm absolutely gobsmacked. If this is any indication of how the Felt range rides then their top tier bikes must surely be amazing. Yes the rims rubbed on the brake pads during hard cornering, yes the chainrings flexed when really laying down the watts climbing out of the seat but it's just fun incarnate. It's quick, stiff and aggressive yet comfortable and just loves being thrashed onward. As for the Tiagra groupset, it's plasticy and cheap feeling with a long throw and slight delay through the rear derailleur but it's fine (the front derailleur is instant, little to big in a heartbeat, very impressive) This morning I threw the CXp22 rimmed / Felt hub noodles to one side and dressed it in the Ksyriums for another go. (although those stock wheels will probably be fine once I sort out the spoke tension) Really didn't notice the extra 2-3kg over my other bikes, it climbs brilliantly and the fun factor was even more pronounced with the stiffer wheels installed. I even PR'd a local climb.

To cut to the chase, I'm completely amazed. I've owned all manner of bikes over the years from £300 - £4000, from Giant, Trek, Ridley, Specialized, Wilier, Cannondale and others and can safely say this is one of the most enjoyable bikes I've ever owned. Throwing the ksyriums on it to see how it felt with those was really just an excuse to walk past all my carbon and take this out instead.

If you're in the market for a racy bike at around £500 I'm going to be shouting this at you for some time to come. I will never look down my nose at entry level bikes ever again.

9 comments

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arfa [738 posts] 2 years ago
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+1 for the f85 - my winter/commuting steed also picked up at a similar price point. Stiff, responsive and alot of fun. I changed the tyres to gp4000's and it flies.
I am genuinely worried that my "good" ride won't measure up !

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Gareth W-R [40 posts] 2 years ago
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Great review and comments, I have owned a felt mtb in the past and that was awesome. Lot less well known 8 years ago, was a bargain compared to big name brands out there as you mentioned.

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rnarito [46 posts] 2 years ago
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+1 on the Felt brand. I own both the Z3 and the new AR4. Slightly higher end, but less expensive than comparable bikes from other producers. I've owned bikes made by others, but I think Felt is hands down one of the best.

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Saint Mikie 41 [56 posts] 2 years ago
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I have a Felt Z6 in my stable and have loved her from the moment I first took her for spin. Sadly after two years of hard riding she has just become the winter/commuting bike but I am sure that she will go on for a good few years yet. Recently test rode the Felt AR4 , that's is one quick ride.

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gdmor10 [86 posts] 2 years ago
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It is good that bikes in the price bracket perform well, after all 500 quid is still quite a lot of money for most people, especially for parents buying bikes for their kids.

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Coxy900 [3 posts] 2 years ago
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On holiday in February in Fuerteventura. I hired a Felt F75 from LifeCycles and it was fantastic! 105 mainly. Wide rims too, with 700x25.

Felt (geddit) stable and very sturdy but nippy and easy to handle. Took a wrong turn and ended up on a goat track (literally) and was going along like I was on my mountainbike!

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jollygoodvelo [1410 posts] 2 years ago
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Brand new bikes always feel amazing though don't they? I swear the manufacturers put helium in the frames that leaks out over the first month.  4

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ajmarshal1 [411 posts] 2 years ago
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I'll certainly be looking at the top end AR and F series when it comes to the new 'prime' bike. I'm going to actively look for one to try now to see if this feel continues throughout the line.

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Ghostie [93 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice to read about people liking Felts. Bought mine pretty much when the brand was new to these shores - the LBS was trialling the brand with just one in the shop at the time. Thought it was incredible value for money (which they still stick to), and it was nice at the time to probably be one of the few people in the UK to be riding around on one. Always has been a lovely ride, although the bike is looking dated these days and will need replacing sometime soon despite upgrading with a decent wheelset as well as other bits and bobs. Wouldn't ride another brand to be honest, certainly not as my main bike.