Standing for Felt Racing Development, FRD is the new acronym by California-based Felt, reserved solely for their latest top end collection, representing a pedigree that Felt boast is both visible and tangible when you get your hands on one of their new models, whose uncompromisingly top quality spec and stunning carbon frames essentially embodies the best of the best. But what does FRD really entail when it is applied to the Virtue FRD 2016? Here’s where to find out.

Bei den Felt Media Days in Wiesbaden war das Virtue FRD ein echter Eye-Catcher.
At the Felt Media Days in Wiesbaden the Virtue FRD was the talk of the town.
 Der Rock Shox Monarch RT3 wurde in Zusammenarbeit mit den Fahrwerksexperten von RockShox auf den EquiLink-Hinterbau abgestimmt, und soll mit seinen 130mm Federweg einen großen Unterschied zum 2015er Modell ausmachen.
In collaboration with RockShox, the RockShox Monarch RT3 has been customised to fit Felt’s own Equilink rear suspension system, and its 130mm travel should be markedly different to the 2015 range.
Das Display der verbauten Shimano XTR Di.2-Schaltungseinheit.
The display of the stock Shimano XTR Di.2 shifting system.

Exclusively specced with premium components from the respective brands, the Shimano XTR Di.2 electronic shifting system steals the show as its small bar-mounted display and downtube-mounted battery give it a certain aesthetic. In the same vein, the Shimano XTR brakes come as stock too.

Der Akku für die elektronische Shimano Di.2-Gruppe wird am Unterrohr angeschraubt, ohne Flaschenhalter wirkt der Akku etwas befremdlich und fällt recht stark auf.
The battery for the electronic Shimano Di.2 group is attached on the downtube – but without a bottle cage, the battery looks a little out of place.
Gewichtstuning: Schaumstoffgriffe sind (im Trockenen) angenehm zu greifen und sparen Gewicht.
Weighty issue: Nice to grip (in the dry), foam grips save weight.
Eine verstellbare Sattelstütze ist bei einem Trailbike Pflicht - die RockShox Reverb Stealth ist dabei erste Wahl.
A dropper post is now a necessity for trail bikes and the RockShox Reverb Stealth is top of the list.

Felt have gone all in for the wheels too, opting to combine ENVE 60 Forty Carbon rims with DT Swiss spokes and a Chris King ISO hub to produce a remarkably lightweight and high quality wheelset. Like the extremely popular Reverb Stealth dropper post, the suspension hails from RockShox too, with a Monarch RT3 rear shock controlling the rear and the Pike RCT3 Solo Air forks ensuring traction at the front.

Die interne Zugverlegung sorgt für einen cleanen Look.
The internally-routed cables give the bike a clean look.
Am Laufrad kommt die edle und leichte ENVE 29” SixtyForty Carbon-Felge zu Einsatz.
The wheels boast ENVE 29” SixtyForty Carbon rims.
Die Shimano XTR Di.2-Schaltung ist hier als 2x11-Gruppe verbaut.
The Shimano XTR Di.2 electronic shifting system is built as stock with a 2×11 drivetrain.

On the cockpit you’ll find carbon in full force for the Race Face Next Flat bars with 10mm rise, while the Race Face Turbin threadless stem is made of aluminium. Both front and back tyres come from the house of Schwalbe, with Nobby Nic at the front and Rock Razor at the rear promising minimal rolling resistance and great traction.

Felt setzt auf den Einsatz des exklusiven TeXtreme Carbons und eine aufwendige Produktion.
With unflinching quality production standards, Felt opts for the use of their exclusive TeXtreme carbon fibers.
In den Rahmen ist eine Menge Entwicklungsarbeit geflossen - und das wird auch nicht versteckt.
So much innovative development has gone into this frame – and Felt don’t hesitate to hide this fact.
Das patentierte EquiLink Hinterbausystem vereint laut Felt Traktion und Antriebsneutralität auf beeindruckende Art und Weise.
Felt’s own proprietary EquiLink rear suspension system unites traction and guarantees the drivetrain remains unaffected by pedaling forces in a pretty remarkable way.

The Felt Virtue should hit the market by the end of the year, and there’s no sign of a definite RRP yet. The Virtue 1, it’s cheaper sibling, will retail at 6,450 €, and the FRD model will ask for more than that.

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Words: Martin Stöckl Pictures: Robin Schmitt

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