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The Felt Bicycles Story

Ian Campbell - Thursday, September 21, 2017
The Felt Bicycles Story

 

Felt Bicycles

 

In the beginning…..

Felt Racing is an American bicycle manufacturer based in Irvine, California. Felt produces road, mountain, track, BMX, cyclocross, electric bicycles, and cruiser bikes. All design is completed in the USA and most of production comes from Asia. The company also has a strong reputation in time trial and triathlon. For several years, Felt provided bicycles to UCI teams in the Tour de France. Felt still supports several professional level race teams including Hincapie Racing, Holowesko-Citadel, and Team Twenty 16.

Felt was founded by Jim Felt in early 1994 and on February 3, 2017, Rossignol Group announced the acquisition of Felt Bicycles. The announcement noted that Felt had grown to $60 million in sales revenue.

Jim Felf

Felt Bikes began out of a desire for more speed – and they have yet to slow down. Jim Felt worked as a mechanic for motor cross racer, Johnny O’ Mara. O’Mara, like many of today’s Moto Racers, trained for his motocross races by participating in bike races as well as triathlons. O’mara asked Jim for a bike specifically geared for his triathlon ambitions. Jim obliged and had some amazing ideas for seat height and aerodynamics that he was itching to put together. These ideas proved to be on point with O’Mara showing great improvements in speed in his pursuing triathlons.

Jim’s work garnered the attention of Easton Sports and soon Jim Felt and Easton Sports began working together. In the 1991 Kona Ironman, Paula Newby-Fraser won riding on a bike put together by Felt. This was a huge win for Felt and Paula Newby-Frasier and the catalyst for Jim Felt starting his own company.

1994 saw Felt partner with Answer Products to produce Felt bikes but by 2000, a need to expand caused Jim Felt to look to a new team to pursue his dream. Thus, a biking legend was born. The new team consisted of Jim Felt and two long-time friends, Michael Mϋllman (a European Bike Distributor) and Bill Duehring (An experienced bike industry insider with Global distribution networks). Their vision was to “build a bike brand dedicated to technology, innovation and quality” and design, develop, and deliver the best bicycles in the world. Period.

A technologically sound company….

Felt headquarters is in Irvine, California but distributes to 27 different countries. Felt bikes are manufactured in Taiwan with all research and development taking place at the Felt Irvine headquarters. Jim Felt plays a part in every decision made in the bikes design process. Felt undertake a unique design, research and development process which is unlike anything that other major bike brands use. The usual process is to design and build a bike and test its aerodynamics, speed, etc. Felt produce a prototype – testing its aerodynamics, the yaw and every possible scenario – because no one rides a bike in a sterile lab set up. Felt uses CFD technology (Computational Fluid Dynamics), the same technology used for racing yachts and Formula 1 racing. CFD allowsEngineers to see and analyze the wind flow and pinpoint what areas are causing drag and then apply the data to the frameset to produce optimal aerodynamics, or as Felt likes to say deliver “Free Speed” for the rider! Once the initial testing is complete and the numbers add up, the bike frame is then laid into the carbon molds. The bike is put together and tested again in real world scenarios by former pro riders, current elite athletes and the team at Felt. Once all this feedback and information is scrutinized and very detail is checked, tested and re-tested. Every possible scenario is taken into consideration and only then, is a bike put into production, forming what will always be a highly functioning work of art.

CFD Felt

In addition to this, Felt has developed several unique bicycle technologies. For its time trial/triathlon bikes, Felt has developed the Bayonet Fork, which utilizes an external steerer in front of the head tube for additional stiffness and aerodynamic efficiency. Felt has also developed the Equilink suspension system for its full-suspension mountain bikes.

Every Pro Athletes dream….

In 2007 Felt sponsored the Slipstream–Chipotle bicycle team. In 2009, Felt signed a three-year agreement to supply frames to the Garmin–Slipstream team. Felt bikes were ridden to Stage victories and Top ten overall in the Tour De France as well as countless other wins in the World Tour. From 2012 to 2013 Felt Bicycles was the bicycle sponsor for Argos–Shimano with team rider Marcel Kittel winning four stages of the 2013 Tour de France. In 2014 Felt became the bike sponsor to the US Continental team, Hincapie Sportswear Development Team. Felt has also supported many individual athletes through bike sponsorship deals and some of these athletes include Daniela Ryf , Mirinda Carfrae, Sarah Hammer and Tim DeBoom.

Vandevelde Felt

Jim Felt started out by answering the call for speed. He has never stopped since and continues the quest to remain at the top. Sacrificing nothing in his quest for the best, Jim Felt has a history of award winning bikes that surpass all others. There is no looking back, except for improvements sake, instead the focus is on refining bikes using ever advancing technology, constant testing and trials, user feedback and undeniable results. Jim Felt and Felt Bicycles will continue to push the limits to produce the very best, most efficient, quality, fastest bikes for the world.

The Felt Brand Story




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