George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas climbing Montezuma Grade (12 mile 3,400 gain) from Borrego Springs to Ranchita in the desert climate of California east of San Diego
My 2011 Felt F1 has taken me to great heights including a Personal Record in the 2011 Breathless Agony climbing century with a new PR of 5 hours 24 minutes.
It is with great pleasure that I write the review on the 2011 Felt F1. Last year I rode the 2010 F2 with Di2. As the 2010 season came to a close I was very excited to ride the redesigned 2011 Felt F1. All I needed was a frameset, so I could use my Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 components, SRM 7900 wireless crankset powermeter, Shimano Dura-Ace wheels, cockpit, saddle and Dura-Ace pedals.
Below you will find the breakdown of the components I used including their weight — claimed versus actual.
Felt Bicycles is located in Irvine California and has their warehouse in Ontario, CA
Felt Bicycles does a very good job packing and protecting the precious cargo within.
The 2011 Felt F1 54cm now has a 73.5 degree seat tube angle. 2010 had a 74.5 degree seat tube angle. For the 2010 season I rode a 56cm F2 so that I could use the 73.5 degree seat tube angle. Personally, I prefer 73 degree seat tube angle.
2011 Felt F1 frame with derailleur hangers, bottle cage bolts, shift cable “noodles” and seat post clamp.
Weight of just the “noodles”
Weight of Easton EC90 SL tapered fork …uncut
2011 Felt F-Series bicycles now come with an all carbon BB30 bottom bracket shell. The bottom bracket is manufactured with a shoulder. The first hurdle I encountered during assembly was not being able to use the Shimano external cup bottom bracket. I use a SRM Shimano 7900 Dura-Ace wireless crankset power meter. The Shimano crankset is a standard 24mm crank So what were my options?
1. FSA Bottom Bracket aluminum sleeve
2. Felt supplied bottom bracket adapter
3. BH bearings
I chose option #3
Option #1- seemed somewhat permanent to me. You have to press in the sleeve that reduces the 30mm down to 24mm. I figured in an all carbon bottom bracket shell if I ever decided to take the sleeve back out I might damage the shell. If you decide to use it the external bottom bracket bearing cups just screw in like a normal bottom bracket and the 24mm crankset installation is uneventful.
Option #2 – I remembered having issues on another customer’s bike assembly and just passed on it.
Option #3 – I remembered having a positive experience on several other BB30 bikes including the Felt F1 and so I went with it.
A word on BB30– I know all the technical reasons and merits for such a new standard. But in my experience, in a shop environment, I have not seen where BB30 is that much greater than the 24mm standard. Time and time again bikes come in with creaky bottom brackets and 95% of the time it’s a BB30 system. Cannondale pioneered the standard and they make a REALLY light crankset to go with their BB30 bottom bracket.
Is having the crankarms closer to the frame (Q-factor) necessary in all applications? Add to it the lack of durability (bearings aren’t sealed properly) and you end up with a system that requires a lot more maintenance. I have had Shimano Dura-Ace external bearing cups on some of my bikes for years and years and thousands of miles and never had to replace one. When I asked the road product manager why BB30 he responded “to have more crankset options” Agreed you now have more options but I personally don’t think it was necessary.
I digress, option #3, requires you to mill down 3mm so that the cups can be fully inserted against the shoulder in the all carbon bottom bracket shell.
After being milled down notice the stock and milled 3mm
Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 pedals claimed 248g actual weight 247g
Shimano 7900 Dura-Ace rear brake caliper
Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 front brake – claimed 293g for the pair actual is 295g
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 rear derailleur advertised at 225g actual 223g
Shimano Di2 Front Derailleur advertised 124g actual weight 121g
Profile Design Elite Karbon Kage advertised at 16g actual weight 16g!
Easton EC90 Seatpost advertised at 200g actual weight 194g
Fizik Airione Versus saddle advertised at 239g actual weight 243g
Shimano Yumeya Chain
Shimano Yumeya Chain
TiN (Titanium Nitride) plated inner links which improves stretch durability by 18% while increasing oil retention, which also indirectly increases chain life. Thus, for a little bit more money, you get a longer lasting chain that rides quieter and arguably looks much better. The 7900 Yumeya chain still features Shimano’s directional outer links for better shifting all around, and remains super light with it’s hollow pins and hollow inner links.
- 7900 Yumeya chain weighs 258 grams
- 18% increased chain durability
- Increased oil retention
- TiN plated inner links
- Hollow Pins
- Hollow inner links
- Profiled outer chain links for smoother, quieter shifts
Complete bike weight with Shimano Dura-Ace C24 carbon clincher training wheels. You can always make the bike lighter. I have a full Dura-Ace group and we all know that Shimano is more interested in high quality, dependability, and durability than being the lightest in the industry. Being an Ultra cyclist, I really appreciate Shimano’s conservative approach to design. I do lots of miles and many times I’m out in the boonies or on closed roads. I build my bikes with components I can trust.
Ok so now that we have covered all the technology and weights and measures how does the bike ride? It rides like a full-on race bike! Felt Bicycles did a fantastic job in making that happen.
I built the bike after work and just HAD to get out for a test ride that evening. I chose a flat 20 mile ride along Pacific Coast Highway from Newport Beach to and through Huntington Beach. The usually annoying traffic signals provided me with the opportunity to perform numerous standing starts from a trackstand. I was surprised the first time I really stomped on the pedals and looked down and saw that my max wattage was over 1,000 watts. I was like “wait what the…” So at the next traffic signal I slowed, did my trackstand and BAM! stomped on the pedals and again another 1,000 watt effort.
Alright this is quite unusual for a guy like me. If you follow my blog you know that I am an Ultra Cyclist and rarely does an ultra race (200miler and above) come down to a sprint finish. I don’t train to have a massive sprint or anything even remotely similar. I train to have endurance and tempo forever as my friends like to say. My first thought was that my SRM must be reading high so I pulled over and redid the zero-offset. But that didn’t matter because I hit over 1,000 watts on two more occasions.
I started making some deductions…if the bike is light and the bike is stiff then it must climb well 😀 that would remain to be discovered since it was late in the day and no time to hit any climbs. After the initial excitement in discovering I actually had a sprint 🙂 attributed to the awesome bottom bracket stiffness I began to focus more on the Felt F1’s road manners i.e. ride quality. That’s when I realized the front-end was a little too stiff for my liking. The new frame has a 1.5″ bottom bearing in the headset with a tapered headtube and tapered fork to match. I think it might be too stiff for the recreational rider but then this bike wasn’t really made for that rider was it?
When I spoke to the Felt road product manager he acknowledged that the front end could use a little more refinement. He mentioned to me that a new fork is in the works and will help with the front end ride quality.
Aside from the front end this bike is loads of fun on ascents and descents. Since my first test ride on this bike in May I have done several thousand miles and I am thoroughly enjoying it.
Here are only a few of the epic rides I have done with my 2011 Felt F1:
Breathless Agony Climbing Century– May 5- 112 miles (70 miles with 11,000 feet of climbing)
Newport Beach to Dawson Saddle- May 14–168 miles with 11,300 feet of climbing
Angeles Crest Highway— June 24– 100 miles 12,000 feet of climbing
Lake Henshaw Climbing Camp– July 11 100 miles 10,200 feet of climbing
In addition to these epic solo climbing rides I have also done many club rides which test not only my abilities as a rider to stay in the pack but the handling characteristics of the bike underneath me. The Felt F1 is in my opinion a full-on race bike!! It is stiff it is light and it handles extremely well. It needs just a few tweaks to provide it with a little more finesse to enter the world of the “superbikes”.
I would rate this frame a 4.7 on my scale of 1-5, 5 being perfect.