Friday, February 18, 2011

New Bike Odyssey: Part 2

Test Ride #2: Felt F3

As mentioned in a previous post, recently there has been much written about the benefits of an aero bike vs. a lower weight bike.  The aero bike is supposed to improve aerodynamics by 1.5% over a lighter bike.  And the lighter bike will saves you 0.2% in total weight, when you factor in rider weight. 

I recently rode and reviewed the Felt AR4, an aero bike (read the review here) so it was time to ride a feather light racing bike.  

Let me begin by saying that I know that if I pushed away from the dinner table a little earlier each night it would make a much greater weight difference in the total weight equation and improve my power to weight ratio.  Lower overall body weight would have a larger effect than shedding a little over one pound in bike weight. This being said riding a sub 15 pound bike like the Felt F3 is still really amazing.  

The F3 is jittery but in a very good way.  It reminded me of a little puppy that always wants to play.  It is just ready to go at all times...

F3: Come on do you want to do some intervals, hill repeats, sprints?
Me: No, I’m good but thanks for asking.
F3: Are you sure I could really go for some sprints.  Come on sprints, sprints, sprints.
Me: Once again I appreciate the offer but I am just getting in some miles today.
F3: Oh okay, I will just roll along and be happy. Hey is that a city limit sign? Are you sure you don’t want to sprint?

The climbing ability of this bike is unmatched it just turns hills into little bumps.  Descending is also amazing and feels like you are falling out of the sky, it is just that fast. Climbing and descending are aided by the SRAM S30 AL Race wheels which roll fantastically.

The only negative I have about this bike is simply a personal preference towards a Shimano groupset.  The F3 is fitted with SRAM Red and this is truly an innovative groupset that provides fantastic weight savings and is generally slightly less expensive than an equivalent Shimano group.  I ride with several guys that swear by SRAM and say they will never go back to Shimano. However, I am just so used to Shimano that making the change was slightly outside my comfort zone.  

The F3 is a fantastic bike and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who has ridden and enjoys the SRAM groupset and wants a super responsive road bike that is light and climbs and descends fantastically.  

What will I ride next?


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