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Just In: Felt F2

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We would have preferred to see one of Shimano's tubeless options here but we still expect the carbon-and-aluminum RS 80 wheels to deliver a fantastic ride.

We would have preferred to see one of Shimano's tubeless options here but we still expect the carbon-and-aluminum RS 80 wheels to deliver a fantastic ride.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Felt's new F-series frames boast a much more 'puffed-up' appearance than the outgoing version along with a major boost in claimed stiffness. See any aluminum in that bottom bracket sleeve? That's because there isn't any.

Felt's new F-series frames boast a much more 'puffed-up' appearance than the outgoing version along with a major boost in claimed stiffness. See any aluminum in that bottom bracket sleeve? That's because there isn't any.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The newly tapered head tube houses an Easton EC90 SL carbon fork.

The newly tapered head tube houses an Easton EC90 SL carbon fork.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Felt's second-tier F2 uses nearly identical frame as the F1 flagship plus the same Dura-Ace Di2 shifting bits but a few parts substitutions lop US$5,000 off the price while adding just 0.5kg.

Felt's second-tier F2 uses nearly identical frame as the F1 flagship plus the same Dura-Ace Di2 shifting bits but a few parts substitutions lop US$5,000 off the price while adding just 0.5kg.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Even at US$7,499, the Felt F2 is still one the cheaper Di2-equipped bikes out there.

Even at US$7,499, the Felt F2 is still one the cheaper Di2-equipped bikes out there.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The clever cable routing setup easily accommodates mechanical or electronic systems with no additional holes necessary to compromise the frame structure.

The clever cable routing setup easily accommodates mechanical or electronic systems with no additional holes necessary to compromise the frame structure.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Felt switched from a wishbone to full-length dual seat stays on the new F bikes.

Felt switched from a wishbone to full-length dual seat stays on the new F bikes.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)

Felt's range of F-Series carbon road racing bikes has undergone a major transformation for 2011, abandoning the prior generation's aging (relatively) small-diameter cross-sections and abrupt tube joints for a far more puffed-up and organic-looking structure more in tune with other high-end competition.

According to Felt, the smoother lines and more gradual tube cross-section transitions came directly from FEM analysis, which showed the bigger and more consistent forms were much better at distributing stress across the entire structure rather than concentrate the load in smaller regions.

Semi-rigid polyurethane rubber internal moulds lend much more highly controlled – and thinner – tube wall and joint dimensions too, as well as provide more compaction to produce a stronger end product with fewer weak spots.

Other new features include a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube, a BB30-compatible bottom bracket shell, cleverly convertible mechanical/electronic routing, and hollow carbon dropouts.

For the top-end F1 frame, stiffness has reportedly gone up a tremendous 45 percent relative to the older SL variant (and still 15 percent stiffer than the old Sprint) while the bare frame is now claimed to be just 800g. We were able to bench-test old vs. new frames at Felt's headquarters in Irvine, California back at the launch and yes, it's a big and very noticeable – and much needed – improvement.

Our second-tier F2 frame uses a slightly less expensive carbon fibre blend and a 3k – rather than 1k – weave to help keep costs more reasonable but according to Felt, maintains the same stiffness numbers as the F1 with just a 50-60g weight penalty.

And while it's far from cheap at US$7,499, it's still US$5,000 less expensive than the F1 flagship, comes with the same fantastic Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifting bits, and is just half a kilo heavier with an actual weight of 6.78kg (14.95lb).

Componentry concessions include Shimano RS-80 clinchers instead of the F1's Mavic Cosmic Carbone tubulars, FSA's K-Force Light BB30 crankset, Ultegra brake calipers, a 105 cassette, and a slightly heavier bar, stem, and seatpost combo from Felt's in-house DEVOX brand. Or course, "concession" is a relative term here as few folks would complain about this level of build.

We're still waiting for the roads to clear after a recent wave of winter weather but stay tuned for some initial impressions soon, eventually followed by a more in-depth review.