Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho!!!

As we finish up one most interesting and exciting year and look towards another, we wish all of you a very Happy Holiday season. One thing seems certain - it won't be dull!

(Illustration: Dave Brinton)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


From time-to-time we enter into promotional and marketing efforts with some of our friends and affiliates and in most cases what we bring to the table is a bike. Depending on the nature of the promotion, it may be a road bike, such as the Team Issue F1 we gave away with the Versus Channel and the AR frame we gave away with CyclingNews.com, or it may be a cruiser, such as the many we have given away in conjunction with the Tour of CA, Tour of MO and more. This summer we worked with our pals down at Triathlete Magazine and and gave away one of our TT/Tri models, the B12. After 3 months of build-up local Dave Davis was the lucky winner and was absolutely stoked to have his named pulled. It is particularly cool when someone gets called up and is as grateful and unassuming as Dave. It completes the circle.

Just before picking up his new ride, Dave wrote us:

"I AM SOOO STOKED! Thank you...I am HUGE Felt Fan!!! Zabriskie, Vande Velde; Taylor Phinney’s Track bike is INSANE!!! Sarah Hammer! Andy Potts! and Emma Snowsill, are Rock Stars! Awsome athletes! Killer rides!!!!"

Right on, Dave.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Got Something New

Tim, new dad and one of the many talented engineers we have at Felt, ran into Felt's all-around-good-guy and smack-dab ace wrench, Michael Queliza - aka: Q (shown above) - while he was building a particularly swift looking bike the other day. Turns out it is a special Felt DA we put together for Kozo Shimano, another all-around-good-guy who happens to be Shimano no. 1 son and is now enjoying a little free time after running Shimano USA for years. What is particularly cool about Kozo's new DA is it is sporting Shimano's "Lance Edition" Dura-Ace components including polished black & yellow graphics and carbon cranks. Apparently there are only two such groups in existence, Kozo's and you-know-who's.

If you think about the relationship that Kozo has with virtually every bicycle company in the world, it is pretty flattering that he choose a DA to hang such a distinct one-off group from. Plus, now he's got a Felt TT bike to go with his Felt road bike, a SC1.

So there you go - everybody has something new! Kozo has a new bike, Tim has a new baby, and Q has his picture on this blog!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Mile-a-Minute" Murphy and MPG

There is a loose rivalry between bicycles and automobiles that dates back almost to the inception of the motor driven vehicle. Over 100 years ago non-horse driven transportation was in its infancy with railroads being the preferred mechanized method for travelling from point A to B. Railways had their limitations and automobiles looked poised to be able to expand points A and B to all points in between. Like today's speed demons, as soon as a type of vehicle was invented, some had to see how fast they could make it go. Automobiles were terribly inefficient at the time and the ride was far from thrilling.

In this era, when automotive races were conducted at 2-6 mph, Charles Murphy claimed there was no limit to how fast you could travel on a bicycle, provided something just ahead of you was moving at the same speed. Basically put, a cyclists' speed on the bicycle was determined by the gear, surface, and a pacesetter, but not limited. Charles Murphy was an amateur cyclist and his bold claim in 1887 was somewhat substantiated when he pedaled a bike in a 64" gear almost 46 miles per hour - on a stationary trainer. He reasoned that if the air was still; sheltered by a moving vehicle, reaching that same speed in motion would be just as easy as it was when stationary. He became the laughingstock of the world, but continued riding and became an accomplished competitive cyclist. In 1895 he held seven world records; seventeen American records; and twenty-nine state records. Finally in 1899 he had his chance to prove his claims behind a specially crafted shelter on a Long Island Railroad passenger train and some covered railroad ties. The goal was to be the first to clock 1 mile in under 60 seconds. Cars hadn't yet attained this mile-a-minute speed. Airplanes hadn't yet left the ground. A frist attempt proved even the locomotive could not reach the needed speed and Charles rolled comfortably covering 1 mile in 1:04.8. A new machine and a new attempt finally netted the result: 57.8 seconds elapsed to cover a measured mile. It would be three years later, when another daredevil cyclist climbed in a automobile, one of Henry Ford's early machines and was able to reach a similar speed over the same distance. Berna Eli "Barney" Oldfield and Charles "Mile-a-minute" Murphy became two famous cases of thrill seekers accomplishing the impossible and claiming their moments in history. It would be about 40 years before anyone was able to eclipse Murphy's record bicycling speed, while the automobile raced faster and faster with each passing year. The torch had passed.

As our rising gas costs and environmental concern build interest in alternative means of transportation, we rekindle the rivalry between car and bike; encouraged that everyone will rediscover the joy, efficiency and responsibility in two wheeled transportation and the original speed demon and thrill seeker machine.

The global market meets the local market

So the last 4 months we've been travelling the globe, from Spain to Taiwan back to the USA. From California to Missouri with stops in Utah; along the way shows in Eurobike in Germany and Interbike in Las Vegas, our schedule has taken the Felt team around the world. During these travels it is amazing to see the impact cycling has all over the world. In some arenas bicycles have remained unchanged as daily transportation for decades, and elsewhere, the very pinnacle of technology is used by professional athletes to gain an advantage over their rivals.

The 2010 product development has begun in earnest, the 2009 models are filling the stores and we are looking again at all of the latest innovations to incorporate. Some of the ideas are used on the aforementioned utility bikes that have undergone few changes over the past couple decades others will need the latest composites, shaped with wind tunnel development advanced nano resins and materials and radical assembly methods. What remains unchanged is the bicycles' place in our world. It is a wonderful constant.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


One of the hardest things about being a smallish company is finding time to do all the things you'd like to do while still maintaining the stuff you have to do. The have-to-do's always win out, which, in our case, sometimes does not leave an abundance of time for the other. Case in point: this blog. Everybody liked the idea when we launched it, but no one seems to have much surplus time to contribute to it. I guess that's a good thing. If our engineers where busy writing posts, you'd have to think it would come at the expense of making some product just a little bit better.

So here it is - since the last entry Felt's own Emma Snowsill and Jan Frodeno won both Olympic triathlon gold medals (insert some metaphor about a broom here), Dave Zabriskie won the US Pro TT Champs, we came within a bike throw of winning the US Pro Road event of the same, Cam Zink is back healthy and absolutely killing it on the mountain bike, Tour of Missouri is about to start, EuroBike is going on, InterBike and the UCI Road Worlds are round the corner, blah, blah, blah. Yikes! Too much!!

That's what makes it cool to work at a place like Felt. It's all-out. Every day is different and pretty much every day is pinned.

So, while the blog has been on the back burner, rest assured what really counts - the bikes - have not. We announced our extension with Garmin/Chipotle-H30 last week and with that you got a look the '09 AR Team Issue. Our new website will be launching in just a few days, but until then, above is a sneak peak of four distinctly different Felt '09 rides. Shown are (top to bottom) the 2009 X:City 2, Nine Team (carbon!), B2R w/Flashpoint wheels and TK2. The entire line is right around the corner. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Measuring Success

While the Gamin/Chipotle-H3O boys did not win any stages and finished just outside of the top-3 overall, their 2008 TdF performance was absolutely tremendous and in our eyes, nothing short of total success. On the shoulders of fifth place GC finisher Christian (left), who by any method of measure is having a career year, the team rode brilliantly. Christian moved into GC contention from the opening stage and never fell out of the top-6. He TT'ed like a monster, climbed like a goat, and did evenything he needed to do when it counted.

And the team rocked.

Will's participation in a 4-man all-day break and 2nd place stage finish in stage 3; David's 3rd in stage 4; Danny's 3rd on alpine stage 13; sprinter Julian with six (count 'em) top-10 stage finishes; and the complete support of Maggie, Trent, Ryder and Martijn - it all adds up to what looks like a prett smart decision by ASO to awarding a starting spot to the argyle armada.

For us, the fact that the team was able to utilize the new Felt AR, along with all of their other top-tier Felt rigs - the F1, Z1 and DA - it means we've hit another milestone. It's a great feeling in our little camp. What's extra cool for us is that we just present the equipment to the team and make it available. After that, they decide what they are using and when.

Now that the TdF is over, the team will undoubtedly head different directions, some hitting the Euro post-tour crit's while others (Christian, Julian & Ryder) grab a bit of rest before the run-up to Beijing. The Olympics are another story - should be good!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Being away all day with Will

With the 2008 Tour de France in full swing, the Felt-riding Garmin/Chipotle-H3O boys are already making a big impact on things. Stage 3 produced an epic ride - a breakaway from the gun by four brave souls including our own Will Frischkorn. Breaks like this are usually doomed to fail with the pack never letting the lead build to an insurmountable distance. But, for whatever reason - a slow responding or unorganized main group, more in the tank by the breakaway quartet than the other teams thought, changing road and weather conditions, or other - this break stuck. What is particularly interesting about Will's ride was that he was the primary instigator and one of the real workhorses. And, oh yeah...he rode our new aerodynamically superior road bike - the AR. It was a perfect situation for this bike - a setting where every advantage was needed. Just a few hours after his ride, Will dropped a note to our road product manager, Super Dave, and said this:

"Talk about a perfect day for the AR! That thing is made for the breakaways and I got to take advantage today for sure. Sorry to be quick - pretty crazy here right now, but seriously, thank you guys for all the support of the team and some sick rigs... I don't know why aerodynamics gets so much attention but is seemingly forgotten about on road bikes... A team on the front, or when guys are in breaks... Pretty damn important."

Right on, Will. We are stoked to have been a part of such a huge day for you and the team!

Getting ready for the Big Dance

As if getting ready for the Tour de France weren't enough, Team Slipstream/Chipotle-H3O had to rebrand it itself into Garmin/Chipotle-H3O at the same time. No small feat when you think of the business of re-wrapping cars, buses, new clothing, equipment and so much more. Have a look as VeloNews goes inside the team's Girona, Spain headquarters with team wrench, Kevin Grove.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Even Faster

"Hey, Maggie - Why are you racing your time trial bike?" one pro asked at the start of last week's one-day race, The Dutch Food Classic, where the Slipstream boys along with the rest of the pro peloton began putting some speed back into their legs after a long Giro d'Italia.

"It's not my time trial bike", Slipstream's Swedish big man replied. "It's a new road bike."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sidelined with the Commander

Actually, he's not sidelined at all. OK, so the Commander (aka: Jim Felt) separated his shoulder the day before heading back into the wind tunnel earlier this week. Did it slow anything down? Not a bit. With yet another important chapter to be written in Felt''s ongoing commitment to making the best and fastest bicycles in the world, and with precious tunnel-time on the line, the Commander made the trip to San Diego in his sling. The testing went great - really great - and soon enough we will be able to infuse even more more new technology into our pro racing program(s) and from there, straight into the Felt family of products. In the meantime, how did Jim clip his wing?

Suffice to say, picture a bat - the flying mammal variety - ripping around the inside of your living room late one night, followed by you grabbing the nearest stick-type thing in an attempt to whack it. From there, you had to get up on a piece of furniture so you could have a shot at reaching the little critter, but not without jumping and swinging like Andy Roddick might first-serve. Then pretend you miss and get all catty-whompus while up in the air. And, pretend you've already had more shoulder separations than there are eggs in a carton. You get the picture. Good thing Mrs. Felt was right there to clear off the table, lay our company namesake down and pop his shoulder back in, like so many times before. No. 1 son JT took care of the bat.

You think its easy designing bikes this good?

Sunday, May 11, 2008


What's it take to win a bike race? Beginning from the moment the finish line is crossed first, then backing it out to all the things and people that touched the athlete and equipment, it is a staggering volume of ideas, tests and efforts. More than anything it boils down to commitment.

In the case of building a piece of equipment like the Felt DA, the wind-tunnel proven fastest UCI legal TT bike in existence, it begins and ends with a vision followed by the commitment to making it all happen. Commitment starts at the top. Most who know our little company know that the most public head-honch figure is company namesake Jim Felt. Jim is actively involved in all areas of product and marketing and most definitely one of the driving forces behind the DA and its product siblings. With Jim is an engineering and design team that is, in our humble opinion, second to none including Jeff, Tim, Ty, Mike, Nick and Yann. Together they are they product architects and are predisposed to sit back and grin when something like the DA wins a stage at the Giro d'Italia (which we just did), or a World Championship (which we have), or any other.

Less publicly known is Felt US-company president, Bill Duehring. A product guy to the bone, it is his commitment to maintaining the tightest staff in the business, followed by building the best products in the world that is the behind-the-scenes impetus for Felt's racing success. Always under the radar, all product efforts are not without his fingerprints.

The above pic is a rarity. It has Bill in it. Doing what he does best...looking over a product...in the background...as always. In this, he is just a couple of hours from seeing Slipstream/Chipotle-H3O win the opening stage of the 2008 Giro d'Italia aboard their Felt DA's. Soon enough he'll be on his way home, undoubtedly happy to have seen such an exciting victory up close, but also knowing that the commitment to building even better products remains and is ongoing.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Maggie's bike

Paris-Roubaix went really well for us. While we were were a place short of the podium, Martijn Maaskant rode brilliantly and with the support of the whole Slip/Chip squad, put together one of the team's best rides of the year. There is no doubt this team is the real deal.

PR always seem to draw attention to equipment - and the juggling act between stuff that will take everything the cobbles and elements can dish out while not asking the guys to race Sherman Tanks makes it heaps of fun for the product and engineering deptartments.

We made some minor and specific tweaks to our F1 Sprint and away we went. Most of the effort was centered around getting Magnus Backstedt all set since he is the biggest and most powerful rider on the team, and knowing that if we got it dialed for Maggie it would work for everyone else. Suffice to say that while Magnus was not able to finish up with teammate Martijn, he was significant in making the final split happen and his day was not cut short by his Felt.

His words:
"During my career I have had the pleasure to ride some great bikes. As a rider with special requirements, I'm quite a big powerful lad you see, so to have a sponsor like Jim Felt and his team is really incredible. The fact that they love feedback, any feedback, good or bad is a novelty in this sport. By having this kind of working relationship gives me and my team a great advantage over most competitors.

Just to give you a little example of how committed Jim and his crew is, for Paris – Roubaix Jim asked me what I needed to be competitive and I gave him the outlines for what is the perfect cobblestone bike and unfortunately for Jim he didn’t have a frame with that kind of geometry in stock, but he gave me his word that he would find a solution to it. He did have his fair share of work to get it done but no job seems to be too difficult for these guys. The result: a bike built exactly the way I wanted and a few little extras thrown in.

The new F1 Sprint is the first full carbon bike that I have ever been able to ride. It is the lightest stiffest most responsive bike that I have been on.

Most people say that if it works for me then it should be fine for pretty much everyone..... well it works for me! I put out about 2000 watts when I'm sprinting, so unless your beating that then you should be fine, if you are? Then I'll give you Jonathan's phone number. I look forward to you leading me out."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Inside and Insight

We know that at times what you are looking for is a little insight, especially from the people inside the company who design and engineer the products, or those who get first glimpses at team equipment, or camps, or photo shoots, or whatever. So we launched this spot just for that. There is no agenda and no subject parameters. It might be a product or team manager jumping on with something cool. It could be something out of engineering. Heck, it might be nothing if we can't think of anything. So, if you are here - welcome. We expect over time there will be some things posted that you just might find worth reading, and if you care to, even comment on. One thing we have found over the last 10 years is that as much as we like making nice bikes, there are no shortage of Felt owners who seem to enjoy the fact that we made them. To those especially, thank you so much.

So what's up with the cobbles? Paris-Roubaix is tomorrow.