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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Get Felt

With nothing but saddle sores to talk about from the past couple of weeks racing I’ll just write up a make shift review on my rigs for the 09 season. I rode Felts exclusively this year for no other reason than I got good deals, but it worked out ok.

I spent last winter building base on my 08 race bike, a 2007 Felt F2. It might not be the lightest carbon bike out there but it has to be one of the toughest. After several crashes last year the bike has only chips in the clear coat. Being that it is 4 cm too big for me and I have horrible sprinting form, my only complaint is more likely due to fit than fault of the manufacture. When out of the saddle sprinting the rear wheel spends about 20% of the time hopping and skipping around behind me like a dog left leashed to the back of a station wagon.

After losing several places in G.C. last year by a few seconds in a hill climb I vowed to so something about my 18 lb race bike. I used the trusty VISA to get myself a 2009 Felt F1 SL. The F1 weighed in at 14.06 with stock wheels (no pedals or cages), pretty impressive for a sub $10k bike. After I saw the Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimates in Velo News my race wheel selection was made. After swapping the wheels, stock cables with Nokon (for weight and looks), Speed Play Ti pedals , and a Fizik Arione CX saddle the bike was just at 14 lbs all built up. After dropping 6 pounds myself from doing close to 4,000 miles over the winter and the 4 lbs on the bike I was a bit quicker on the up hills ( yeah I’m a fat ass now that was 10lbs ago). Needless to say I felt like the bike floated up the climbs. I only use the F1 on race day so it always feels a bit quicker. The mix between the bike, the wheels and an awesome fit from Beth Mason makes for the best handling bike I have ever ridden. There are not too many people that can hang on my wheel in a corner, I’ve been opening gaps all season and probably could have won Jeff Cup had I not waited in the final corner for the guy to get back on.

The F1 came with the new Dura Ace 7900 which I love, it shifts smoother, brakes better and its quite a bit lighter than the 7800 stuff. Oh yeah you can dial in the levers if you have midget fingers. As for the wheels I got to test out the MP3 program Mavic offers, the MP3 is their crash replacement policy that can be bought with the wheels. It took 6 days for me to get a new wheel after I used the first one to ride over someone at 35 mph. Just wish they had an MP3 for my knee.

As anyone who knows me knows I like to Time Trial and one reason in my bike. Last winter George Opria sent me an email with a link to an Ebay sale, I think all the email said was “If you want to do stage races you need to get this bike”. The bike was a Felt B2 with Zipps, a 1080 up front and Sub9 in the rear both had ceramic bearing upgrades, all for $3200 or $3600 I don’t remember but it was a good price either way. I slapped on a set of Easton bars and I was ready to roll.

My first ever TT was Evos team winter training TT series, George wasn’t quite ready for the effort since he was a couple of weeks back in training than I was so he paced behind me giving me pointers(good guy to get pointers from). I was the fastest time of the day despite the fact that I had to stop on the last lap to pull my chain out of the chainstays. I was only 30 back from the courses best time held by George so it was game on in a month. I wasn’t using my race wheels and neither was George when he set the fastest time on the course the year before but I was sure as hell going to use my new gear to try and break the record. Well George caught wind of what I was up to and showed up in full race gear to defend his spot as record holder. We both blew away his time from the year before but I got him by a few seconds. I like to think that I got him since I was a few week ahead in my training but he says I beat him fair and square. Well the B2 has only lost 1 time trial and that was due to a flat so I can’t complain about the bike at all. To wrap it up I’ll just end it by saying I think Felt makes a great bike for the money. It might not have the looks of a Ridley or an Orbea but its gets the job done.