Felt's new 2010 F75 continues the
value and perfromance forward at a new, lower price.
In a soft economy value prevails. Bang for Buck.
Durability. Versatility. If you spend a dollar it needs to
do three dollars’ work. As the bike industry reacts
to Wall Street the average selling price of a new bike has
followed most people’s faith in the Dow and the NASDAQ.
More people than ever are shopping below the range of $2500
and placing an emphasis on value, performance, durability
and jack-of-all trades versatility.
Value bikes are not created overnight though.
It takes years of building relationships between a bike brand
and component vendors to evolve the right specifications into
the right price category. These are the relationships that
create ultimate value. The best components and best frame
design converge at the lowest price only after years of relationship
building by a product manager. When it all “clicks”
the result is a category killer. The result is Felt’s
The F75 is a legacy bike. The model name has
been carried forward and each year their have been refinements-
sometimes subtle, sometimes sweeping. The key ingredient to
the F75’s success is an industry leading combination
of low price (even lower in 2010 with no downgrades), good
component spec and excellent frame quality. The F75 includes
a long list of subtle upgrades that most people forget to
shop for in a first time high end bike- like the carbon steer
tube fork that saves weight and improves ride quality compared
to other bikes in this price range.
New Mondrian-esque paint livery
Older monotone solid color paint
scheme from 2009.
There is also a bonus that makes the Felt F75
appeal to road riders and entry level triathletes alike: The
frame angles of the F75 are better suited for bolt-on elbow
rest style aerobars than any other bike in this category.
The bike does double duty as a road bike and an entry level
tri bike. No one bike does everything perfectly, but the F75
is an excellent pure road bike that morphs into a part time
tri bike with better fit and position than anything in its
category. The versatility built into the F75 add value to
design: It is one bike for many things.
versatility designed into the F75 adds value: It is one bike
for many things: sport riding, club rides, fast touring, charity
rides and entry level triathlons.”
The F75’s two differentiating features
are a “pure” Shimano component kit and its versatile
From 2008 to 2009 the Felt F75 incorporated re-designed rear
wheel dropouts used on Felt’s Tour de France team frames.
The better dropouts make rear wheel changes easier and insure
better wheel alignment in the frame. The new dropouts carry
into 2010 but at the slightly lower price.
You can't see it but it's there:
A full carbon fiber steer tube fork inside the headtube
for weight savings.
There was a tangible fork upgrade to
an all carbon fiber fork steer tube, crown and blades
from ’08 to ‘09. The new fork is carried
forward to 2010 and reduces bike weight and improves
ride quality. This is another area where the F75 offers
an upgrade that most buyers won’t see but will
feel in weight and ride quality. Few other bikes in
this price category use a full carbon fiber fork- most
have a heavier alloy steer tube and even an aluminum
fork crown. The 2010 F75 fork is entirely carbon fiber
except for the wheel dropouts. These frame details are
examples of the reduced legacy cost of the F75- and
the added value.
The 2010 Felt F75 continues with size specific
head tubes from 2009 tuned for ride quality and handling.
The carbon fiber wishbone seatstay assembly is the same upgraded,
lighter, more compliant rear end design using butting thickness
ratios from Felt’s team issue handmade Scandium road
frames. Economy of scale by using these features from 2009
helps hold the F75 price down. There is a different rear end
for each frame size- each one tuned to rider weight and size.
Sometimes the best change
you can make is no change at all. That is the case with
the versatile cockpit on the 2010 Felt F75. The top
section of the bar maintains a constant 31.8 mm diameter
from stem to handlebar tape enabling you to easily bolt
on aerobars for triathlon use. Many other bikes use
a tapered clamp section bar that you can’t bolt
aerobars to. Additionally, seat tube angles on the smaller
frame size F75’s are steep enough to work well
with aerobars, enabling the rider to maintain an open
torso to femur bone angle while using aerobars. The
fact that the F75 can do double duty as a tri bike makes
it the go-to choice for the rider on the fence between
road bike and tri bike. Felt does add a nice looking
color-matched stem to the later version 2010’s.
Constant taper 31.8 mm diameter
handlebar for easy mounting of bolt-on aerobars.
As with the 2009 Felt F75, the 2010 version
uses a head tube that is internally relieved, a feature no
customer will see but one that helps reduce frame weight in
smaller frame sizes and improve ride comfort. The reinforced,
thicker wall tubes built into the larger frame sizes provide
better ride stiffness and durability on bikes with longer
Vittoria Zaffiro Pro tire with
Kevlar flat resistant belt in 700 X 23c. Note the machined
brake track on the Mavic rims.
While a lot of technology from 2009
was carried over to 2010 the bike lost significant weight
from 2008 to 2009. The 2010 version continues with the
newer, lighter frameset. The weight loss came from the
change to a full carbon fiber fork with carbon steer
tube and crown that weighs a scant 400 grams. The relieved
head tube reduced more weight between ’08 and
’09 and carries forward for 2010. The seatpost
is a true all carbon fiber post- not a faux carbon wrapped
aluminum post as used on other bikes in this price category.
The post is a bantam weight 175 grams. Frame weight
was reduced by the use of a size specific rear end with
a one piece rear dropout design. This design means Felt
must have separate dropouts with different angles for
all seven frame sizes, a significant expense but a necessary
one for true high performance, comfort, dependable durability
and lightest weight. Felt carried this through to 2010
and at reduced cost.
Another area Felt saved weight and improved
overall spec and performance is with a respectable wheelset.
The new 2010 Felt F75 uses a custom wheelset configured by
Felt specifically for the F75. No stock wheelset from pre-built
wheel vendors can match this wheelset- it is unique to the
F75: Mavic CXP22S rims built with DT Swiss Spokes on forged
aluminum alloy hubs with sealed bearings in the rear. The
wheels are differentially laced, 28 hole radial in the front
and 32 cross three in the rear for better front wheel aerodynamics
and greater rear wheel strength.
Felt retains the Vittoria Zaffiro tire on the
F75, a durable tire with a flat resistant Kevlar belt. This
is the up-spec version of the Zaffiro- the lighter folding
one, not the heavier wire-bead version. This is another minor
weight saving detail that differentiates the new F75 from
other bikes in the category. Casual shoppers won’t notice
these details but meticulous buyers who do their research
will find these gems on the spec sheet that combine to put
the F75 in a class of its own at this new, lower price.
The combined weight reduction program for the
Felt F75 lightened the bike to 18 pounds, an impressive figure
for a carbon fiber/aluminum combination frame with a Shimano
105 component spec and custom wheels.
Details of the internal cable
routing and the new graphics story.
An overall racier look that
plays well to both genders.
Prior to the current 2010 model, Felt did cut
a corner on the 2009 F75 with a very simple, single color
paint livery. It was frankly rather boring to look at. The
new colors are lighter, racier and have broader appeal. The
color scheme plays well for both genders. The new graphics
also make the bike look more expensive. Even the new saddle
is color-matched to the overall paint scheme.
The F75 has always been a professional looking
bike with a roughly horizontal top tube and snappy enough
head tube angle to maintain good steering response. Steering
is precise and responsive, not sleepy and sluggish as with
the high head tube, “comfort” road bikes in this
price category. Most of this comes from good weight distribution
on the F75 with a mounted rider- the low head tube helps with
this. So called “comfort” or high head tube equipped
compromise bikes that dominate this price category shift the
rider’s weight onto the rear wheel. The more weight
on the rear wheel the less the front wheel responds to steering
input and the more pedestrian the bike feels. Felt’s
race inspired frame geometry and fit on the F75 provides equitable
weight distribution for sure footed handling even with aerobars
bolted on. The lower head tube further facilitates the addition
of aerobars adding to the double-duty versatility of the bike.
The 2010 F75 is nearly a “pure”
Shimano spec bike except for brake calipers. For 2010 the
F75 stops on a pair of F1 inspired white calipers with special
formula red pads. The look is very cool. These are up-speced
Tektro calipers with metal barrel adjusters, stainless steel
hardware, Teflon pivot bushings and Felt custom specified
Koolstop brand brake pads. Koolstop brake pads are an aftermarket
upgrade item that sells for $19.99 a pair. Koolstop also makes
the carbon fiber specific brake pads for Zipp wheels. They
come stock on the Felt F75. We learned the up spec to the
Koolstop pads is a better decision than using the Shimano
calipers: The pads exert more influence on the stopping power
of the brake system than does the caliper. In any event, the
Tektro calipers have an uncanny resemblance to the OEM Shimano
non-series brake caliper Felt could have provided- but with
lesser brake pads than the Koolstop shod Tektros. The new,
colorful brakes for the 2010 F75 are a nice accent/upgrade
Our pre-production 2010 F75
had the older silver Shimano crank. Newer production
2010 F75's will use the black Shimano crank and machined
Another significant component upgrade
that remains on the F75 is the crank. The Shimano R600
compact crank provides the best front shifting you will
experience south of Shimano’s highest end Dura-Ace
components on $5000 bikes. The stiff chainrings and
crank spider along with dependable front derailleur
move the chain reliably from the small ring up to the
big- the most difficult shift for any bike. New riders
will value this since front shifting is generally where
they have problems. Because of the Shimano crank on
the F75 you will always have dependable front shifting.
The new crank is black but early version of the 2010
F75 were delivered with the silver crank. The change
to black was a running change.
The transmission on the
F75 is Shimano 105. When new riders do research on components
they find the best value component group is Shimano’s
tried and true 105 10-speed. It’s common to see
Shimano 105 on higher end carbon frame bikes around
$3000. This is a “better-than-entry-level”
performance component kit. Shimano 105 has been consistently
updated for more than a decade and incorporates many
features trickled down from previous Dura-Ace components
like the cog shift ramp design and derailleur actuation
along with the way the Shimano 105 STI shift levers
work. From shifter to rear derailleur the F75 uses the
latest version of Shimano 105 10-speed. The rear derailleur
is the short cage version of 105 delivering the fastest,
close-ratio rear shifting performance available at this
A full Shimano 105 transmission delivers the industry
standard in shift reliablity at any price category.
Consistent weld quality is attractive and functional
resulting in a handsome, durable frameset.
The 2010 F75 frame remains custom butted
7075 aluminum with the lighter carbon fiber wishbone
seat stay assembly. “Custom” butted means
the tubes varying in wall thickness over their length
using transitions specified by Felt. The butting, differential
of thickness and location of the butting is different
in each frame size- as it was for 2009. The carbon fiber
wishbone seat stay adds some weight to the F75 but increases
shock absorption so much it is worth carrying a few
extra grams. You simply don’t feel road shock
as much with the carbon rear end. Add the all carbon
fiber fork and the carbon fiber seatpost and you have
carbon where you need it, aluminum where you don’t
want to pay for the carbon.
What we wrote about the F75 for 2009 still applies
to the 2010 version: “Riding the F75 is like getting
a free cup of really good coffee: It’s a nice surprise,
invigorating and less expensive than you’d think. There
is a joke among the guys in the store, ‘Never let a
guy buying a $3500 road bike ride an F75. If he did, we’d
have some explaining to do…’ The ride of the new
Felt F75 is that good.”
The monostay wishbone is entirely carbon fiber for better
shock damping and ride quality.
Additionally, the following excerpt from the
2009 review still applies to the 2010 model:
of what makes the F75 work well is very basic: Good frame
geometry and proportions. There are seven sizes in the F75
with tubing and angles tuned specifically for each size bike.
Every component on the F75 has been proven as a viable after
market component. It’s all proven, all functional, all
workmanlike. The F75 is not a new bike but the 2009 [and 2010]
version has renewed the direction of the model. Even the new
color scheme, after years of being a black bike, has adopted
a race-bred graphics story and a vibrant new color palette
that exudes speed and performance. This isn’t a lame
These things being true the 2010 got a few nice,
albeit minor, upspecs, better graphics and paint and a new
As for ride quality, the F75 has always been
a solid choice for the dual-use, entry point rider. It isn’t
difficult to make a bike handle well, corner with a sense
of control, have good bottom bracket stiffness and nice comfort
after five hours and also provide solid, repeatable mechanical
dependability. Other bike manufacturers simply chose not to.
They have decided to chase a different market, believing that
new triathletes, racers and athletic riders shop above $2000.
Judging by their comfort oriented, high front end designs
below $2000 most bike companies believe buyers under $2000
want high handlebars, short top tubes, upright positions,
gel saddles and bikes that handle like a loaded wagon. While
there is a place for the “comfort road” bike the
higher price of valid performance bikes have kept a lot of
new riders off really nice equipment. The F75 changes that
by offering a genuine performance road bike well below $2000.If
all you do is tour coffee shops and bakeries on Sunday mornings
the F75 isn’t your bike. If you’re interested
in staying in the Wednesday night club ride, trying a triathlon
but also trading fast pulls at the front of a group ride including
a couple spirited corners and accelerations then you are better
off on an F75 than a watered down “comfort road”
The F75 is a bike we’ve bought for years
and the 2010 version is a welcomed and exciting update. It
continues the bike’s status as a category killer. While
most bikes below $2000 pander to a transient fitness cyclist
who is not likely to explore the sport extensively the F75
is a valid entry to performance cycling that doesn’t
talk down to the new rider. It’s a high performance
bike at an entry level price. After years of evolution the
F75 goes into 2010 as a leader in the performance class of
entry price high end bikes.
A. Constant Taper
31.8 mm diameter handlebar compatible with bolt on
B. Shimano 105 STi Dual Control shift/brake
C. (internal) Full carbon fiber steer tube
fork with carbon blades and alloy dropouts.
D. Vittoria Zaffiro Kevlar belted folding
tire, 700 X 23c.
E. Mavic CXP22S double wall reinforced rim
with eyelets. 28 spoke front, 32 rear. Radial lacing
in front for improved aerodynamics.
F. Shimano compact crank with 50/34 chainrings:
Black color on newer 2010's.
G. Externally butted frame seat tube.
H. Full carbon fiber seat post in 27.2 mm
I. New color-keyed brake calipers (different
from those shown in this photo).
J. Shimano 105 front and rear derailleurs.
K. One piece molded carbon fiber wishbone
seat stay for shock absorption.
L. Selle-Italia Flite style/inspired saddle