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First look: 2011 Felt Edict and Virtue

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The new 2011 alloy Virtue gets a lighter hydroformed frame, a tapered front end, and adjustable travel that can be set between 120 and 130mm.

The new 2011 alloy Virtue gets a lighter hydroformed frame, a tapered front end, and adjustable travel that can be set between 120 and 130mm.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The alloy Virtue's new tapered front end improves steering precision while also providing more surface area for the down tube-head tube joint.

The alloy Virtue's new tapered front end improves steering precision while also providing more surface area for the down tube-head tube joint.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt says it first supplied its sponsored cross-country racers with this prototype 100mm-travel 'FRD' model but ultimately deemed it too heavy.

Felt says it first supplied its sponsored cross-country racers with this prototype 100mm-travel 'FRD' model but ultimately deemed it too heavy.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The new Felt Edict uses a straight seat tube.

The new Felt Edict uses a straight seat tube.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt would have liked to retain its six-bar Equilink suspension system for its new race bike but says the modified single-pivot layout won out on account of its lighter weight.

Felt would have liked to retain its six-bar Equilink suspension system for its new race bike but says the modified single-pivot layout won out on account of its lighter weight.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Cable routing on the new Edict is a mix of external and internal.

Cable routing on the new Edict is a mix of external and internal.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Upper links are made of forged aluminum on the new Edict. Felt says it's toying with compression molded carbon links but hasn't reached a conclusion yet as to whether or not they're actually better.

Upper links are made of forged aluminum on the new Edict. Felt says it's toying with compression molded carbon links but hasn't reached a conclusion yet as to whether or not they're actually better.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The new Edict features a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end.

The new Edict features a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt has introduced a new ultralight 100mm-travel race platform called Edict. Claimed frame weight is just 1,800g (3.96lb) without rear shock.

Felt has introduced a new ultralight 100mm-travel race platform called Edict. Claimed frame weight is just 1,800g (3.96lb) without rear shock.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt's new Tornado Cap compression assembly includes a color-anodized alloy bolt.

Felt's new Tornado Cap compression assembly includes a color-anodized alloy bolt.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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This is a busy area for the new carbon fiber Virtue LTD frame.

This is a busy area for the new carbon fiber Virtue LTD frame.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear derailleur housing exits the main frame just ahead of the lower link pivot.

The rear derailleur housing exits the main frame just ahead of the lower link pivot.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt says the Equilink's new DU bushing pivot saves considerable weight.

Felt says the Equilink's new DU bushing pivot saves considerable weight.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt mountain bike designer Mike Ducharme shows off the new Felt Virtue LTD frame.

Felt mountain bike designer Mike Ducharme shows off the new Felt Virtue LTD frame.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt's new Virtue Team features an all-new full-carbon frame with 120-130mm of rear wheel travel.

Felt's new Virtue Team features an all-new full-carbon frame with 120-130mm of rear wheel travel.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Derailleur housing is fed into the frame at the bottom of the tapered head tube.

Derailleur housing is fed into the frame at the bottom of the tapered head tube.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The new alloy Virtue gets lighter dropout pivots plus rear brake calipers that are again tucked within the rear triangle.

The new alloy Virtue gets lighter dropout pivots plus rear brake calipers that are again tucked within the rear triangle.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt has simplified the Equilink pivots for 2011, moving away from needle bearings and instead adopting a DU bushing system with grease injection ports. Mud clearance looks rather tight, though.

Felt has simplified the Equilink pivots for 2011, moving away from needle bearings and instead adopting a DU bushing system with grease injection ports. Mud clearance looks rather tight, though.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt continues to sing the praises of its unique Equilink suspension system for 2011.

Felt continues to sing the praises of its unique Equilink suspension system for 2011.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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One of the benefits of the alloy Virtue's hydroformed construction is the integrated seat tube support.

One of the benefits of the alloy Virtue's hydroformed construction is the integrated seat tube support.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The new hydroformed seat stays are formed as a single unit and then welded to the forged upper link pivots.

The new hydroformed seat stays are formed as a single unit and then welded to the forged upper link pivots.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Carbon fiber Virtue frames skip the dropout pivot in favor of a full carbon rear end that flexes slightly as the suspension moves through its travel.

Carbon fiber Virtue frames skip the dropout pivot in favor of a full carbon rear end that flexes slightly as the suspension moves through its travel.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt says one of the beauties of its Equilink suspension layout is the near-infinite tuning possibilities on tap offered by just slightly altering pivot locations and tie-in points between the upper and lower rockers.

Felt says one of the beauties of its Equilink suspension layout is the near-infinite tuning possibilities on tap offered by just slightly altering pivot locations and tie-in points between the upper and lower rockers.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt includes a new carbon rear end for its 2011 Virtue Team.

Felt includes a new carbon rear end for its 2011 Virtue Team.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The Virtue Team will come with the 3x10 option for SRAM's X0 group.

The Virtue Team will come with the 3x10 option for SRAM's X0 group.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Tire clearance looks fairly tight at the top of Felt's new Virtue Team.

Tire clearance looks fairly tight at the top of Felt's new Virtue Team.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Graphics on Felt's mountain bike line have improved considerably over the past year or so.

Graphics on Felt's mountain bike line have improved considerably over the past year or so.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt is delving deeper into the 29" waters with new entry-level models for 2011.

Felt is delving deeper into the 29" waters with new entry-level models for 2011.
(Image credit: James Huang)

Felt issues its Edict on cross-country racing

Felt has filled in a long-standing gap in its off-road range with the introduction of the 2011 Edict, a carbon fiber full-suspension cross country racer with just 100mm of travel and weighing just over 2kg (4.4kg) with rear shock.

Primary design goals on the Edict were light weight, stiffness, and pedaling efficiency above all else and to that end, Felt opted to forego its proven Equilink suspension layout in favor of a simpler modified single-pivot arrangement with forged aluminum links driving a short RockShox Monarch air shock.

For similar reasons, Felt build the Edict with a one-piece carbon rear end that relies on a tuned flex pattern to accommodate the slight geometry changes that occur as the rear wheel moves through the travel. According to Felt, eliminating traditional rear dropout pivots reduces weight and improves lateral and torsional rigidity and frame designer Mike Ducharme even uses the very slight built-in spring rate to assist the pedaling efficiency, too – with no rear shock installed, the back end of the Edict naturally wants to sit at the prescribed 30 percent sag point.

The front triangle is a decidedly bulbous-looking carbon fiber unit that boasts a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end, an aggressively sloping top tube and extended seat tube support, and a mix of internal and external cable routing. Hardware is a mix of 6Al-4V titanium and anodized aluminum throughout and Ducharme says the entire frame's worth of nuts, pivot sleeves and bolts weighs just 120g.

The day's schedule unfortunately didn't leave any time for a test ride but Felt's in-house lab numbers suggest the Edict will be a ripping ride. According to Felt, the Edict offers the same strength but five percent additional over the current Merida Ninety-Six cross-country benchmark while also coming in 150g lighter.

The complete Edict LTD will go for US$8,999 with SRAM XX and Mavic Crossmax SLR while the second-tier Pro model steps down to a Shimano Deore XT group and wheels for US$5,499. Felt will also offer the Edict as a frame-only option for US$2,999.

2011 Felt Virtue gets the carbon treatment, too

Felt also introduced the expected full-carbon version of its long-running Virtue trail bike platform, too, with all-new carbon fiber front and rear ends that bring the frame and shock weight down to 2.5kg (5.5lb). Rear wheel travel is also now adjustable between 120 and 130mm with concurrent head tube angles of 69 and 68.5 degrees.

The carbon fiber Virtue frame will continue on with Felt's six-bar Equilink suspension system but further revisions to the tie-rod that joins the upper and lower links shed a few surplus grams. Last year's needle bearings and small-diameter stainless steel pivot shafts have given way to DU bushings – similar to what's used on rear shock eyelets – and larger-diameter hollow stainless steel axles, all fixed in place with simplified hardware that should be more resistant to loosening and easier to work on. As before, the other pivots are still fitted with sealed cartridge bearings and laser-etched and anodized alloy shields.

The rear end is a further evolution of the previous Virtue 1's one-piece carbon flexstays but the front end is all new with a tapered head tube and fully guided internal derailleur cable routing to better maintain shift performance in poor weather.

The top-end Virtue LTD will fetch US$8,999 with Shimano's new XTR group and matching wheels; the Virtue Team will go for US$5,999 with a 3x10 SRAM X0 group and Mavic Crossmax ST wheels; and there will also be a Virtue Elite for US$3,499 with a 3x10 SRAM X7/X9 package and traditional wheels built with Mavic X317 rims.

Felt will also offer the Virtue LTD (which also features upgraded carbon fiber blends and titanium hardware) as a frame kit for US$2,999.

All-new full alloy Virtue

Riders on a more realistic budget (or those living in particularly abusive environments) will be happy to hear that Felt as also completely revamped the alloy Virtue, too, with an all-new aluminum frame that shares the same features as the carbon version but with a little more weight.

Hydroformed tubes are used extensively in both the front and rear ends, including the top tube with its integrated seat tube extension support, the new one-piece seat tube (which replaces the older, and much heavier, welded three-piece one), and the one-piece looped seat stays.

Once again, there's a tapered head tube up front and Felt's revised Equilink system out back with new DU tie-rod bushings and forged alloy links. The rear brake caliper is tucked inside the rear triangle on the alloy Virtue, though, and cable routing is fully external throughout.

The Virtue Expert will come with SRAM X7/X9 for US$2,799 and the entry-level Virtue Sport will feature Shimano Alivio and Deore bits for US$1,999.