Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Felt B12 Review:

Ok, I got me new Felt B12 Triathlon bike two weeks ago and now that I have some miles on it, I feel like I can give an initial review.

I could not make it back to the shop where I purchased it so I had them ship it. Once I got my bike I had to take everything apart and see how it works. I know, but I am a little crazy, I worked in a shop in another life. I put the wrench to a few in my days so I felt it was not big deal to give it the once over.

First things first, unpack it. Luckily the wheels where in great shape, my method for checking the wheels is to grab pairs of spokes and give them a squeeze to stretch and seat them. After of spending a few minutes working them I felt the spoke tension and checked for trueness and they where fine. The wheels are laced 20 radial in the front and 24 cross 2 for the rear. Now that the wheels are set I mounted them and got the bike in my trainer to use it as a stand. So from here I got everything squared away I started the bike fitting process.
I got the saddle height worked out; I kept raising the height until my leg was straight while my shoe heal was on the pedal spindle, and then backed it down 5mm. For me this is the most efficient position and I do not get any hip rocking. Next up was front to back position of the saddle, for this I got on the bike, sat on saddle and then put the crank at 90 degrees, then I used a level on the outside of the crank arm and then plumbed the level, then move the saddle forward or backward until my kneecap is about 3cm in front of the plumb line. For me this works, and I do recommend you get fitted by a pro, well worth the money.
So now that I have my saddle height and front to back position it was time to get my cockpit worked out. For now, I went for comfort, I need to get used to the aero position and over the next few months I will work out the details, so more to come on that.
At this point all that was left to do was fine tuning of the breaks and derailleurs, and getting a wrench on everything and checking tightness.
Now the fun part, a nice 25 mile ride.

Now that I have 100 miles on it and I have been all over the bike with a wrench I can give you my opinion of the Felt B12 Triathlon bike.
Let me start with the frame, this thing is tight, everything about it impresses me. The engineers at felt thought of it all. This frame is very aero and super stiff at the BB, I could not get it to flex, yet the ride quality was super, after 25 miles I was ready to run.

Wheels, I could not really find any info on the wheelset other than they where a new product for Felt. The first thing I did was to take the front hub apart, I know crazy talk, but I need to know how it works, how to keep it in perfect condition and how to fix it.
The front hub uses two sealed NMB type bearings, I love this, no cones to adjust, sealed from the elements, and very easy to find replacements/upgraded bearings. I have not pulled apart the rear, but I will update this when I have. The rims are nice and stiff, I pulled the rubber and could not find any marking that would tell me who made them. They use Ritchy rim tape, so pretty light, but if you’re a WW(weight weenie) you could spend a few and shave a few. Sports are no name, meaning I could not see a moniker imposed anywhere, now that’s not to say they are not to notch, time will tell. The nipples are the standard chromed brass. As a whole they are a fine wheel set and should do fine.
Front and rear derailleurs are Shimano’s new Ultrega SL. This is a new product so only time will tell, but I can say they shifted fine, even under my crushing of the cranks. The breaks are another mystery OEM product so again time will tell, but I can say the adjusted very easily seamed to be good quality, but I am not too sure about the weight. The cranks a BB are the FSA Gossamer PRO MegaExo, and the cranks arms are hollow. I am sold on the cranks, the rings are real nice, I am still breaking them in but the shifting has been great. Not too sure on the cassette and freehub, I thought I felt the hub get goofy a few times but I think it just needs some miles to break it in.
The cockpit is the best, I really like the base bar, this bar is the tubular type with bar tape on the entire bar, this way you do have a few positions to keep you fresh. For me in the hilly side of Atlanta climbing is a fact of life and I need to be able to move around on the bars. Now I know most of the high end bike do not use this type of bar because of weight and drag, but I think for a everyday bike it is not a wise choice. The clip-ons are Profile T2, super adjustable and stiff. Break levers are Tektro RX4.1, what impressed me about them is they have minimal side to side movement. I demoed a few other bikes and the levers killed it, I hate slop. Shifters are the standard Shimano DA 10 speed, and very crisp. The only gripe I have in the sifters is the front has not adjuster barrel, but even this is not a big deal because it’s not an indexes shifter.
Felts used DA cables for the shifter and Felt’s own brand for the breaks. All cables are internal for better aerodynamics. I do have a problem with the about of cable housing they left in the cockpit, they are much too long, and to shorten them might be a project because of the internal routing. I would ask your shop to shorten them, this way it would be more aero and lighter to boot.

The fork is real nice, it’s a full carbon fork, meaning the 1 inch steering tube is carbon as apposed to many that use metal. The fork drop-outs are full carbon with a metal laminate to protect the carbon from the hub. The rear drop-outs are carbon with adjuster set screws so that you can move the rim in or out to get the tire as close to the seat tube as possible.

If I had to rate the Felt B12 I would have to give it a perfect 10 out of 10.

If you have any questions, drop me a line.

-See ya on the road.


Cheryl said...

Wow, this all sounds very complicated. Now I know who to ask when I'm ready for a new bike and need some advice! The best bike I have owned so far was my Schwinn ten speed back in high school. (And I used to know how to take it apart and put it back together, too. But that is ancient history.)
Thanks for visiting my blog :-)

Wes said...

Hey stranger! Could you repost this in english please ;-)

doug said...

Howdy. I've never ridden a TT/Tri bike before, but have been considering acquiring a B12 for duathlons. You seem to like yours. My only hesitation is in not knowing 2 things.
1) How much (if any) faster will this bike be over a standard road bike with clip ons? Have you been able to assess that at all? It's a bit of a specialized investment...

2) How does it handle? Will I be hesitant to use it on a hilly or technical course?

Any tips welcomed!

Anonymous said...

Sure you checked out the new 2008Cevelo P2C-SL? About same cost. I did the comparisions to the Felt B12 for over a month and found the Cervelo the better bike.


Xavier said...

I'm in between the cervelo P2C and the Felt B12. Any thoughts???

Brian said...

When I was looking at bikes, I considered many including the P2C and both are great bikes. That said I really likes the Felt brand, I liked the innovation and the frame. My research showed that both bikes where very close, geometry, groupo, and etc... very close. But I liked the way the felt road.

I love my bike, I've got just about 1000 miles on it, with a couple of longer rides in the 50 mile range, and know I make the right choice. The bike has needed nothing, it's extremely light and quick, this bike has given me at least 3 mph over my old road bike.

I would buy the Felt, its a no brainer.

Either way let me know which you choose.


Anonymous said...

Nice description of the bike. I was between the Cervelo P2C and the B12 too but the B12's sexy lines won me over.

I just raced on it and my best bike split went from a 22.9 mph average to a 26.3. It is a very fast bike.

My only problem with the bike is the saddle. After 1000 miles I decided the numbness had to stop so i got the ISM Adamo and have been very happy.

Xavier said...

wow!! 22.9mph to 26.2mph, is a big jump!! my question to you is, was that a road race or a tri? i cant imagine holding 26.2mph for any distance tri then having to run right afterwards. if so, how did your legs feel during the run coming off the b12 vs. your road bike?? said...

great review, thanks. I'm contemplating between the b12, the b2 and the DA (07). I want to get the best bike for the buck but I'm willing to spend more if it makes a difference (ONLY if it makes a difference). still, I think I might be better off to get the b12 and buy a set of zipp's for racing... my bike store could custom build a DA 07 for me for about $4,500, so I'm torn. any thoughts?