Monday, June 16, 2008

Felt's latest distraction-UPDATED with new pics and info!

"Wow" is all I have to say about the latest revelation from Felt Racing. Debuting at some small races in Europe is Felt's first aero road bike. The details have been requested, trust me. All I can see is an internal cable run at the front of the top tube, like the DA. There's a narrow seattube with curved radius that follows most of the path of the rear wheel. And I reckon for the sake of real-world convenience, vertical dropouts and standard front and rear brake placement.

The bottom line: this is going to give the Cervelo Soloist Carbon and the Kestrel RT 700 a run in a fairly lightly-regarded category. With triathletes realizing that some courses (Alcatraz, etc.) can be better suited to a road bike, aero road bikes are starting to pick up some steam. I'm excited to see this one when it's made public.

As soon as I hear some word about it (name, geometries, pricing, availability date), I'll have it here.
OK, just got the news, in the form of a press release from Felt Racing:

Irvine, CA (June 16, 2008)Felt Bicycles is very proud to announce the introduction of its all-new road bike - the Felt AR. Conceived, designed and built on the premise that greater aerodynamic efficiencies could be applied to standard road bikes, and inspired by the direct desires of the Slipstream/Chipotle-H3O Pro Cycling Team, the AR successfully debuted in last Wednesday’s 23rd edition of the 210K one-day Dutch Food Classic (1.HC), where Martijn Maaskant finished top-10 after an aggressive day of racing, including time off the front.

The AR combines already-proven Felt TT and track bike solo-effort technology and advantages while maintaining the necessary ride and handling characteristics of Felt premium road bikes. Wind tunnel testing has already shown that the AR is not only faster than all other road bikes in its class, in many cases it is faster than a great number of available TT bikes. In general terms, the new AR offers approximately a 2% savings over a standard road bike when in identical conditions. Depending on actual speed and wind conditions, this equates to a savings of 58-75(+) seconds over the course of a one hour ride.

The new AR frameset includes design highlights such as UCI-legal aero down tube, head tube, chainstays and fork blades, aero “wheelwell” conforming seat tube and shielded internal cable routing. The full carbon fiber monocoque design frame is built with Felt’s highest grade of carbon fiber, Ultra Hybrid Carbon (“UHC”). Aero bladed fork is also built with premium UHC carbon fiber and includes a full length carbon steering column. UHC is a blend of three distinct fiber types (SB60, M30S and T700) each specifically layered and integrated based on their own unique attributes and characteristics. The new AR frameset also includes revolutionary Nano technology, a resin-specific attribute which creates an effective “super-bond” in the carbon fiber material. The end result is an even stronger exterior, one which is considerably less susceptible to crack and impact damage, and offers greater compression and sheer strength than carbon fiber without it.

“We consider the AR another step in the continued and ongoing development of our road bikes” says Felt US President Bill Duehring. “With all we have learned from our various time trial related projects, it seemed like a natural progression for us. Knowing the AR will now be a big part of the team’s equipment arsenal is really very exciting, especially going into the Tour de France.”

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