Felt has some bold claims for their 2015 line of Virtue trial bikes. If they’re really going to be the “benchmark for all trial bikes” then this here combo of Felt’s Equilink and Fast suspension better be the shit. There are some really solid 29-inch trail bikes on the market these days, so how is this 130 mm middle-of-the-road model going to set the bar?
The main feature of the Virtue line is the suspension. It combines two Felt technologies called FAST and Equilink. FAST is what Felt refers to as the leaf-spring effect of the flexible carbon rear triangle. Many suspension designs utilize the principle to reduce weight and increase stiffness while providing a bit of pedal platform.
If you know anything about Felt mountain bikes it’s probably the Equilink suspension design. This unique 6-bar system connects the upper and lower links. Each model in Felt’s line-up has been developed with a specifically tuned system for an ideal combination of suspension properties. The design is also meant to provide efficient but active pedaling with the shock unlocked.
So far the Virtue 3 has seen several hours on some of my favorite local trails, lift-assisted riding and more adventurous big mountain singletrack. The bike has shined in surprising situations despite some initial OEM quirks. I’ve swapped handlebars for something a bit wider with a shorter stem. I feel that change has improved my handling while climbing and has helped me get more behind the wheel on descents.
The non-remote KS Eten dropper post seems like a great way to break yourself at first. After you use it a bit it still seems like a great way to break yourself. I am now becoming more comfortable with the dropper remote under the seat but I still think it’s a bad idea.
The RockShox’s Sector fork is one of the most underrated forks around but that’s because its larger sibling gets all that deserved limelight. It’s surprising how great that fork performs without much adjusting.
Shimano Deore brakes do the stopping. Reliable and consistent but lack the power of the more expensive models.
Watch for more about the Felt Virtue 3 in our next issue. Order a subscription and you won’t miss it.