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 the 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."