Built around a double-butted 6061 aluminum frame, the 2012 Nine Sport is designed to optimize the trail riding advantages of larger 29-inch wheels. Equally adept at flowing over technical terrain or conquering the steepest climbs, the Nine Sport is made for performance. Built with a 100mm RockShox suspension fork, Shimano drivetrain, and powerful disc brakes, the Nine Trail is ready for your next off road adventure.
Frame: FELT Nine alloy Trail series 29'er frame, butted 6061 aluminum: w/ hydroformed top tube, IS disc mounts, oversized integrated head tube for semi-integrated headset, replaceable derailleur hanger
Fork: Rockshox XC28 TK Mag 29 100mm travel: 29'er fork, 1 1/8"" steel steerer tube, spring preload adjust, external rebound and turnkey lockout, magnesium lowers, post disc mount
Strengths: Quick and entertaining handling, stiff frame, good looks, well rounded package, neat detailing.
Weaknesses: Very minor points - XC28 fork is slightly flexy, lack of seat post quick-release.
Firstly the size and 26-vs-29: I'm tall at 6'6 and this was my first 29:er. In 21,5" (XL) it's a pretty big bike and then comes the setback post and long stem. It feels incredibly right though and I'm absolutely never going back to 26".
For me this was an upgrade from the Nine Trail and the Rock Shox XC28 fork makes a big positive difference compared to the Suntour XCM/XCT etc. It basically turns the bike into a proper mtb. The Tektro hydraulic brakes are very good too.
Cant's say much more than that this is a worthy winner of the previously mentioned group test, the bike as a whole works well and should be a good base for upgrades.
Strengths: - Saddle is more comfortable to me than WTB Rocket V or Body Geometry Henge Comp (stock on Stumpjumper FSR Comp).
- Great geometry for climbing.
- Drive-train is decent. Once you get used to how hard to hit the front derailleur it's better.
Weaknesses: - Tires: Geax AKA; They roll fast, but they don't grip that well or last very long.
- Brakes get squeaky fast.
If you've budgeted $1000 for a bike, this is a pretty good way to spend it, but I'd recommend upgrading to Specialized The Captain Grid tires or something similar.
Strengths: *Great climbing prowess. I've gone up 18% grades without issues.
*Decent components for the price.
*Beautiful color on the frame. Get a lot of compliments on the trails.
*Won BikeRadar's best 29er under $1000 shootout.
Weaknesses: *The front derrailleur is the weak link in this setup.
*Entry-level XC28 fork
I've had my Nine Sport for a couple of months now and have thoroughly put it through its paces. It just rolls over obstacles like an old school Tonka truck. Climbs like no other bike I've had before (I've only ridden 26ers before this). The bike is so much fun to ride. The only thing I had trouble getting used to was the turning radius on tight single track.
My favorite thing about it is the Tektro brakes, they are simply amazing and have good modulation. The grips will definitely be upgraded because they beat up my hands after a while (no gloves). For the type of riding I do (mostly single/double track and rock gardens). it is a great bike.
I plan on upgrading to 2x10 XT over the summer, but that's mostly because I prefer a double setup and don't use my biggest ring often. I'll post a follow-up review when that happens. All in all, I feel purchasing a Felt Nine Sport for my first 29er was the correct choice for me.
The Nine Sport is a great contender in the world of entry-level 29ers.
Keep the rubber side down,
Weaknesses: Front fork (RockShox XC 28), Alivio FD, 700c WTB SX-17 wheelset, cable lengths (too long), a tad heavy.
2012 FELT NINE SPORT
The bottom line is I purchased this bike after reading a best-of article on Bike Radar for sub-$1000 29ers. Loved the color (orange crush)and the parts spec. I have been riding this bike for almost a month now on desert singletrack and I really like it, as compared to my old 26" HT. This bike is really responsive on technical climbs and really feels planted to the ground when it needs to be. The gearing is excellent albeit there's a lot of gearing overlap on a 3X9 drivetrain. I climb things with this bike that I never could get over on my old steel 26er, and that's a big plus. Felt does a really exceptional job on the details. The bike looks awesome and the graphics are really nicely done. Lots of color-coded niceties on the bike lends to a quality feel and attention to detail. The saddle top even has Felt branding across the top. Geax AKA tires work really well in a desert environment and this is the one stock component I would replace with like.
Fair balance: The front fork on this bike is an entry-level RockShox XC-28 (formerly Dart 3) and it feels entry-level . I'm 6'1", 190lbs so not a clyde by any stretch and this fork feels very flexy in hard cornering. The rebound works well but the preload adjust doesn't feel to me like it does very much. Keep in mind this is a coil-only shock, no air. The 28mm stancions are simply too narrow, IMO, to provide adequate stiffness to the front end. This bike should come stock with at least an RS XC-32 (32 mm stancions). The Shimano Alivio FD is entry-level as well and is ok for general XC riding, but probably won't last years. The WTB SX-17 wheels are 700c with a 17mm inner rim which could prove challenging if deciding to run tubeless due to the narrow width. I can't find any info on this rim from WTB's site but I'm thinking it's more of a cyclocross rim (that's how Stan's classifies this rim width) Felt should've opted for a true MTB rim here. I originally thought the Suntour XCR crankset was going to be a throw-away but so far it's performed pretty well. Surprisingly, the Tektro Draco hydraulics have performed fairly well but the front shudders a bit when the rotors get hot. No sqealing yet.
Overall, it's a great bike but not to the level of 'awesome', as stock. The frame geometry is fantastic and overall the bike is very responsive on singletrak and it climbs well. The frame is the same one used on the $2,300 Felt Nine Race, to my knowledge. I think Felt could improve the bike with the addition of the RS XC-32 (formerly the Tora TK?) fork. The 32mm dia stancions would improve on the flexy feel of the front end. I'm happy I made the Felt Nine choice and I won't hesitate to upgrade this bike in the future. With some reasonable upgrades, I believe it's possible to get the weight of this bike into the high 20's.
Bike Setup: Stock except for Shimano M-520 clipless pedals and Slime tubes.
a Weekend Warrior
from Louisville, Kentucky
Date Reviewed: November 16, 2011
Strengths: It has a very rugged design. It loves to climb and I feel very confident going over all sorts of terrain. The bike is great for it's price point.
Weaknesses: The stock brakes do make noise but they get the job done. The stock chain ring guard only lasted a month before it broke, but it is plastic so not much was expected. I've had a few instances of the chain getting stuck when shifting from the middle ring to the small ring and had to back pedal to get it free.
You get a great bike for the price you pay. I'm 6'3, 245lbs and this bike hasn't let me down yet.
a Cross Country Rider
from Austin, Texas
Date Reviewed: September 6, 2011
Strengths: solid bike.....posted on my facebook after the first couple of rides "its like ridin a mountain goat on steroids". This bike climbs with ease and descends like a champ
Weaknesses: Brakes....they do a good job but they squeek almost as soon as the brake handle is pulled...i plan on upgrading these brakes as soon as i can.
All around this bike is AWESOME...i am 6'1" @ 175lbs...the 19.5 frame is awesome and this bike handles better than some of the other 29ers i test road. The brakes get the job done but with some squealing. This bike has taken everything i have thrown at it and rolled right over it and was asking for more. Because of the brakes i would give this bike a 4.7 overall but couldn't. Great bike and great buy.