It seems to be the catchphrase in 2015 and heading into 2016 in tri bikes: make it fast, but make it manageable. Workable. Practical. While "superbikes" have been the rage for their clean, integrated design, they're also capable of bringing the biggest headaches imaginable to mechanics, as well as athletes that travel or experience a mechanical issue, for that integration. What price aerodynamics, when you can't make the brakes work... let alone access them on the fly?
Felt Bicycles founder and namesake Jim Felt admits as much; he loves making fast bikes, but sometimes that comes with a hitch. And not everyone can manage that hitch.
"There's no question as we move forward in technology in coming out with the greatest mousetrap, many times we go to the extreme, because the key is to give the advantage to the riders," Felt tells LAVA. "But in reality, the consumer and guys in the shop, the mechanics, they've asked for a simpler system, something more mechanically friendly to maintain."
Felt answers the call. For 2016, Felt Bicycles takes the bike that has won the Hawaii Ironman the last two years (Mirinda Carfrae), and won the 2015 Ironman 70.3 Worlds and this year's Ironman European Championships (Daniela Ryf)... and made it easier to work on.
Also: less expensive. (Caught your attention now, did we?)
The new IA 10 and IA 12 now takes the IA's CFD-designed, tunnel-tested and race-proven design, peels out the integrated brakes and proprietary fork, and replaces them with a standardized fork and brakes. The change not only brings the bike's to a more affordable price point, but makes for a bike with greater ease of use for us: the athletes.
Felt debuted the bikes (as well as the rest of Felt's expansive road, mountain and e-bike line) Tuesday at the company's Media Day at the global headquarters in Irvine, Calif. The event also revealed a new block logo, and the fact that Felt will be announcing product as a "Living Line," which is to say, product will be launched as ready, not during a model year, as there will be no more "model year" per se. Further, product will continue as long as it's relevant, and will replaced when necessary. Basically, Felt is calling the shots on presenting product, not a fall Eurobike/Interbike bike industry event schedule.