a Weekend Warrior
from Queen Creek, AZ, USA
Date Reviewed: November 2, 2007
Strengths: Innovative suspension design that works. Very high quality 7000 series aluminum frame (beautiful welds) with gussetting in just the right places (headtube/downtube junction and at downtube shock mount). Carbon fiber rear triangle appears well engineered and is solid and stiff with tons of rear tire clearance (could fit a 2.5 with plenty of room I think). Geometry specs are near perfect (compare to Ellsworth).
Weaknesses: Stock setup in general- Stock 2.1 Maxxis Ignitors are decent tires, but are not up to the task this bike is capable of, so I recommend putting on 2.3 Nevegals or something similar right away. Chainstay length is on the long side for all mountain riding which makes it difficult to get the front wheel up- probably just right though for cross-country riding. I found the ideal setup by using a Thomson layback seatpost with the saddle rails pushed towards the rear of the bike, then I replaced the stock 100mm/5 degree rise stem with a Thomson 90mm/15 degree rise stem. I also put an Easton EA70 riser bar on and cut it to 26 inches which seems perfect. U-turn Recon fork is buttery smooth but does lack good small bump sensitivity. Radium rear shock works okay with the Equilink suspension because it does not appear to need a platform shock, but I believe a Fox Float would be better.
I agree with just about everything the last reviewer said. This is a well designed, well thought out, quality bike. Some of the components need upgrading to take advantage of the potential this bike has. It is a very versatile design that can be used for cross-country as well as all-mountian type riding. Time will tell how durable the frameset is, but it looks built to last. High quality.
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz VP-Free, Ellsworth Isis, Mountain Cycle San Andreas
Bike Setup: Upgraded the bike with the following items- Thomson layback seatpost, Thomson 90mm stem, Easton EA70 riser bar, Mavic 321 rims with XT hubs and Kenda Nevegal tires, PG990 11-34 rear cassette (looks great with red anodized Equilink!), XT shifters.
from San Francisco, CA
Date Reviewed: September 11, 2007
Strengths: -out-of-the-box thinking on the suspension design -suspension works as designed and advertised -comes with a platform shock
Weaknesses: -if you were to pay retail, some of the parts are below spec compared to the quality of the frame -see above; specifically the seatpost, stem, handlebar, saddle, wheelset, cassette, and chain -comes with a platform shock
The best way that I can describe this bike is to compare it to a sportscar that you can drive to the racetrack, cane it while you are at the track, and then drive it to work everyday comfortably.
I was a bit skeptical of the design at first, but after test riding the bike, I was sold. VPP, Maestro, DW etc...designs seem to be the hot thing right now, but they all rely on chain tension to get the suspension to not misbehave when pedalling. That compromises the suspension. Similarly, platform shock systems do improve pedalling feel at the expense of small bump sensitivity. The last design of all the bikes I have compared is the inertia valve type in the Epic. Although they have improved the rear shock to a point where the suspension is transparent, earlier versions that I rode left me feeling like I was riding a heavy, wooden-feeling hardtail when going up some medium-rough uphill climbs.
Having had a background in Mechanical Engineering, I tried to draw a free-body diagram and analyze all the forces involved, but I don't have it down to a point where I can explain it in a clear and concise fashion. However, riding the bike truly shows that the suspension works fantastic at seperating chain loading forces and bump forces.
The bike never feels couch-soft even though it has 5 inches of travel. It's always a firm, sports-car feel. I like that feel because I know exactly what the rear tire is up to. Take the bike up to speed and it becomes apparent that you do have 5 inches of travel, coming to a point where I think the Rockshox Recon was starting to lag a bit behind and actually felt *harsher* than the rear suspension! I find it a bit odd though that Felt spec'd the bike with a Radium rear shock, with platform damping built in. Anyways, the higher end models have rear dampers where you can turn the platform on/off, and I venture to guess that those bike will feel just a bit plusher, although the feel with the current damper is spot on for my riding style.
Climbing in any gear is an XC geeks dream. Lock out the fork and you can hammer away without having to worry about the rear end. I only wish I had this bike earlier. Since it is new, I will update as the months pass by and keep everone updated.
Newbie dad here - we bought our 14 yr old son a new but 2007 (old stock) Felt Virtue 4 from a HTO shop that was closing. Only downside was no manual. Used to ride a lot in the day and did my own maintenance but never on a FS MB.
Son wants to soften the air shock, the Felt suspensi ... Read More »
My riding mate has a Felt Virtue 4 which has devloped a problem with the front derailler. I think the frame is an 07 or maybe 08 model and the derailler is "bolt on" (it appears to have a bracket that goes onto the bottom bracket) rather than "clamp on" (sorry about the technical terms he ... Read More »
Which would you pick?
I rode a 2007 Felt Virtue 4 at a LBS and it seemed nice, but with the online deals I could the the 2008 Iron Horse MKIII comp for a few hundred less, so it's tempting. The reviews of both are reasonably positive.
Thanks for any comments or advice. I'm new to mountain bi ... Read More »
I have been riding road bikes for 3 years now but a total newbie to mountain biking.... looking for a bike for adventure racing and offroad triathlons. I am about 5'9", weigh about 160lb and my budget is about $1500.
My preference was to get a used bike through Craigslist and came across a 2005 ... Read More »