Built around a double-butted 6061 aluminum frame, the 2012 Nine Trail 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 Trail is made for performance. Built with a 100mm SR Suntour 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: SR Suntour SF11-XCR-MLO 29 100mm travel: 29'er fork, magnesium bottom case, mechanical lock out, 30mm bronze finished stanchions, post mount disc mount
Drivetrain: Shimano ST-M390 9 speed Rapid Fire shifter/brake lever , Shimano front derailleur, Shimano Alivio rear derailleur, SR Suntour XCT Crankset, KMC Z72 chain, Shimano HG40 cassette
Andy Holmes from Felt shows us the line of Nine Series bikes for 2012. The Felt Nine line includes the new Comp with a higher end alloy frame and good quality componentry, the Team, Elite, Race, Sport and Trail models.
Strengths: Very good handling, climbs well, looks and finish is good, lots of nice graphic. Looks more expensive than it is.
Weaknesses: The fork and crankset are not particularly good but that is normal for this price range.
This price range is really crowded, and I think Felt makes a very good case with the Nine Trail.
In particular, the good handling of the bike and the looks stands out. I was worried about the brown colour, but it looks understated and classy and the Felt logos on the frame, saddle and finishing kit are nice too. It just doesn't look like a budget bike. I'm new to 29:ers and I realize everyone has different taste, but it took me about five minutes of gravel road riding to be confident in this bike and love the handling.
The Suntour fork does not have rebound damping which it regularly reminds you on on the trail but works surprisingly well otherwise.
Rims are unusually narrow at 19mm but the bike does not feel like a bruiser anyway, and opens up for CX and slick tyres. The standard-fit Geax have a very shallow thread pattern which points to gravel and dry trails, though I found the amount of traction available on snow and slick wet rocks surprising.
The Alivio gearset is definitely trail worthy, slick and smooth and TBH I can't feel any difference in shift performance between this 8spd Alivio, my 8spd Deore and 9spd Deore. The crankset with trouserguard is the only part that looks a bit cheap though.
Weight was 14,9kg in size 19.5" on my bathroom scale, but strangely it does not feel sluggish or heavy when riding.
I'm really impressed, would definitely recommend this bike to any aspiring rider looking for a good starter bike. Upgrading to a nicer fork and crankset as they wear out would result in a very good bike.
Strengths: Handling!!! Strong frame. 2012 Poison Oak color is a matter of taste, but I really have grown to love it. Sharp look with all the other parts black. The handling on this bike is on the quick side, but it is very stable and smooth at speed. Bikeradar gave the 2011 version (same frame) top rating for "under $1000" bikes... said it had a "light and fast feel." I have to agree.
Weaknesses: Not many. Componentry is not bad for the price (I got my 2012 at year end for $600) but it is of course not amazing stuff. The SR Suntour SF11-XCR fork seems so-so, tho certainly adequate. (does have a lock-out)
After a couple of months with mine I am still in love with it. I changed to a rigid fork which suits me, and some changes to pedals, stem, seat, etc... to personal taste, but I could have left it alone and still been very, very happy with the bike. The Felt Nine Trail has the same frame as the higher cost Felt aluminum frame models, so the geometry is very good. Very responsive. I test rode a number of bikes (Trek, Gary Fisher, Giant, others...) and all felt more relaxed, yes, and maybe good for some, but to me the handling was "dead" feeling in comparison, while the Felt Nine had a very "alive" and immediate feel. Instantly made me want to head out and play! Not twitchy at all, just has a good fast feel to it. I recommend this bike without reservation!
Strengths: Great Bike for the price. Decent components for an entry level bike, rides very nice on dirt and road. Fits me better then any other 29er I demoed. I'm 5'10" with a 30" inseam, the 15.5 is a great fit.
Weaknesses: Front rotor is not true after 50 or so miles. Drives me nuts when it squeaks. Other then the rotor issuse I can't think of much else.
Nice entry level 29er. Rides great on all the terrain I've taken it on. I'm a heavy guy and the wheels are still true after some decent drops. Everything on the bike works great out of the box. I would buy again in a heart beat.
a Weekend Warrior
from Minneapolis, MN, USA
Date Reviewed: March 19, 2012
Strengths: The price was right along with the components. Being new to mountain biking (and the fact that this will be my 4th bike) I didn't want to spend a fortune on something I may not ride that often. The fit and finish were pretty nice too although 1 screw on the frame that holds the water bottle cage is cross threaded and needs to be fixed, something that my lbs said they would do for free. I like the feel of the bike as well.
Weaknesses: One issue that I am trying to resolve is the fork shock preload will not turn but this could be user error.
Overall, I am very happy so far. Haven't hit any official trails yet but have taken it our the lakes I live by and slightly off road in some park areas. Again, for the price it seems like a good buy.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: February 5, 2012
Strengths: I picked this up off Craigslits. I got a good price and the bike was pretty much still new, a failed Chrtistmas present. I am 52 and not extremely fit but this bike is so much easier to ride than another I have, which was three times the price, full suspension, 26" tires, and was just plain scarey.
Advice for other newbies:
1. Start out with a hard tail, try full suspensions on full rides before you buy one.
2. 29'ers are a HUGE advantage, so why not?
3. Mechanical disck brakes are simple to learn to take care of, save hydraulic for later.
4. And, finally Felt kicks ass.
Weaknesses: Paint seems to chip easier than on other bikes.
Buy a Felt, you'll pay less and hang with the big dogs.
It's an entry level bike that competes with the high end from other manufacturers.
Similar Products Used: Specialized, Fuji, Centurion, Schwinn, C Itoh
a Weekend Warrior
from Springfield, MO
Date Reviewed: January 27, 2012
Strengths: Amazing fit, looks, great feel, grips, seat (for stock) smooth fork very surpriseing for a bike at this level.
Weaknesses: Crank (sorry) I hate to say anything bad about this bike because it's wonderful
I cant belive no one has reviewed this bike yet! I tested out every bike in my price range that was under $700 and even some higher I liked this one the most and it is the one I bought. but my second choice was the Jamis exile sport however I did not chose this one Because it didn't feel right I have a long torso and the Handel bars just felt to close.. Very slick bike though.. I would try them both if you are looking, one might fit you better than the other... The felt nine also has something about it that makes it seem like you have more power when pedaling like you just have a better angle. And also the 29" wheels are awesome.. I will never go back to the 26er. If I had to say the difference is like driving a hummer vs a s10 lol NO JOKE! This would be my top choice if I was going to buy again.. The thing about the crank is no big deal really I would just like a smoother shift. The crank is good for the time being but it will be the first on my list for future upgrades.
One more thing, I'm 5"11 but only 30" inseam and the 17.5 fits me great. even shorter than the Jamis at 17" so if your not tall and you want a 29er check this one out Also the Scott aspect medium was pretty good about not being so tall also
This review is for a 2012 a lot of people don't put the year and that makes it confusing.
Similar Products Used: Rockhopper comp, scott aspect 29er, kona splice, jamis excile sport,
Bike Setup: 17.5" stock 2012 model
a Cross Country Rider
from Ogden, UT
Date Reviewed: September 13, 2011
Strengths: Inexpensive entry to the 29" world
Weaknesses: It only cost $500 what more needs to be said
This is a decent entry level bike. I have had a lot of issues with some intense chain-suck. You can definitely tell that it is entry level but with the price I paid I cant be too upset. I was looking at Kona and Scott's entry levels but this bike felt (no pun intended) much better. Not to mention I saved 300-500 bucks by staying here. Been happy with the bike so far hopefully it will last until I can afford something better. Oh and the Paint chips easily, but thats paint.