As with all of the Felts bikes, we are nothing but impressed. They consistently deliver not only on performance and price but also their attention to detail, striking looks and incredible finish. Riding them takes it to the next level - with so many brands out there - many longer established - you might be forgiven for not having considered one before. Take one out for five minutes and you'll see exactly what we mean - instantly engaging and damn good fun to ride. All of Felts' bikes are designed to a specific end and in each instance the promise is delivered in spades.
The Felt F6, like many other bikes is built to a price point. Often this can be a bad thing but with Felt the focus on performance remains paramount and simple, small changes help to keep the quality up but the price down. The bulk of the features found on the high-end F-series models remain, and the F6 is a race bike at heart.
There is and will always be space for the traditionally styled road race bike, a machine which can climb, sprint and break away all in reasonable comfort for those long stage races. The F series bikes are just this. Broad, round tube profiles provide an excellent balance of aerodynamic efficiency, stiffness and light weight meaning that the bikes have the liveliness required to push it up the climbs or sprint for the lampost.
Before completely revamping the F Series range Felt made two versions of the F1 for general release, the F1SL and the F1 Sprint. Both were reasonable bikes however each suffered with the opposite problems; the F1SL was light at about 900g and very comfortable however not terribly stiff. The F1 Sprint on the other hand was perfectly rigid however heavy at about 1200g and rather harsh over rough surfaces. With the new F Series Felt have completely redesigned the platform in order to vastly improve the performance statistics and ride quality.
Firstly they have introduced a new moulding process entitled the ‘Dynamic Monocoque Construction’. This augments the old method of using clamshell external moulds and internal nylon bladders with high precision polyurethane moulds in order to vastly reduce the margin for error inside the frame. This means that if you were to cut down the cross section of an F1 frameset you would find that the inner surfaces are almost as smooth and perfect as the outer. There is also an additional external mould just to join the seat cluster together after the individual components are formed. This ensures that both the precise amount of glue is used for the for the primary bond but the silicone rubber liner also compresses the final carbon layers that wrap around the area for far better joint integrity and a flawless surface. The build quality in the carbon is highlighted by the fact that Felt leave all their F frames largely nude and there are absolutely no imperfections in the surface whatsoever.
Felt have also done away with the old monocoque front end, using instead an intelligently designed system of six pieces which allows Felt to have a greater degree of control over the internal quality of the tubes as well as a more flexibility in tube shapes.
The chainstays have grown substantially in order to provide the impressive rear end stiffness and ‘electric’ ride quality, for the F5 and above, these are anchored to the BB30 bottom bracket but in order to reduce costs the F6 uses a standard BSA threaded bottom bracket.
The F6 uses Aluminium dropouts which sit at the bottom of straight, rounded seatstays. Felt have done away with the old wishbone style stays, which tended to promote rear end flex. The new design greatly improves on the stiffness by firmly anchoring the rear wheel into the seat and bottom bracket clusters.
All the F Series bikes utilize Felt’s ‘ControlTaper’ headtube which goes from a 1.125” to 1.5” bearing in order to provide superb handling and impeccable front end stiffness upon corner entry. This is aided by the tube shapes that make up the frame; round tubes having identical aerodynamic properties from any wind angle are far easier to push into a sharp bend as they are not pushing to remain on the path of least wind resistance.
All these technologies are concurrent throughout the range of carbon F series bikes and whilst the F6 doesn't share the interchangable cabling that will accommodate either mechanical or electronic systems, the only difference between the Felt F6 and the range topping F1 frameset is the grade of carbon fibre, the finishing weave (3K rather than 1K) and the presence of the aluminium bottom bracket shell and fork sleeves. Felt even state that the stiffness rating is the same, so the ‘electric’ ride feel will be identical, providing you can stomach an extra 200 grams or so! As it happens the fork is only 16g heavier and at 328g not heavy by any standard.
The geometry is racy and the frame is fairly long when offered up against the Italian competitors so as to better suit the generally taller people of the UK and the US. A short headtube means that for the racers out there we would recommend you stick with your ‘correct’ frame size rather than sizing down to achieve a higher differential with a long stem.
The F6 features a full Sram Apex 10 speed groupset and Mavic CXP22 wheels. Like all Felt F-Series bikes, the F6 is supremely confident. As soon as you pedal the first stroke you know that you are on a race bred machine. Immediate response from your input is delivered though the tight rear triangle whilst the front end offers swift, sure handling and the two blend seamlessly to give a cracking, reactive but planted racing bike.
The Felt F6 is a sure-footed road bike suited to budding racers and casual riders alike.