Member30 December 2014 at 9:39 am
Returned to the hobby a couple of months ago, and decided on my first 29’er, and first full suss too, huge learning curve from my last bike !!
I got my first MTB in around 89, which was a Giant (model unknown), and had a couple of Kona’s (fire mountain 1990, and Lava Dome 1992), while my last bike was a Cannondale M300 (late 90’s model) with XT everything and Mavic rims.
My new bike is a Felt Virtue 50 2015, which initially I had a couple of concerns, but now is a great purchase.
This is the day it arrived :
It came with crappy pedals, and these were quickly replaced with Shimano Saint’s. The riding position was slightly cramped, not helped by the straight E-Ten none remote seatpost. The slight design flaw with this, was the seatpost tube has a ‘kink’ in, which does not allow the long post to sit far enough down into the tube, to run the dropper fully UP, meaning I had to find a position for the post roughly the same by trail and error, each time I pulled it up from dropped position. I didn’t trust this cheapo dropper enough running it halfway up, so replaced it with a Thompson layback aluminium one, which (coupled with a new crank bros seat) has saved over half a kilo in weight, and also given me more room meaning the riding position is now perfect.
There were a few bikes around the £2000 price, that I considered, but this seemed a good buy, and a nice colour (I’m 45, and didn’t want some luminous stickered in-your-face bike), and the spec and suspension setup suited my riding style and local terrain. It’s nice to have something that nobody else seems to have too 🙂
The bike, now I have dialled the suspension in) rides really nicely, and suits me perfectly. It’s not the lightest, but not the heaviest either, it climbs well, and goes downhill better.
My only critism now, the gearing. The granny ring is useless, as I can climb anything in the middle ring, and could really do with a 2 X 10 with a bigger large ring, so may change to this in future.
Couple more images, nice rear suspension setup :
And finally me in 1990 please don’t laugh … oh ok go on then 😀
Kona 1990 Fire Mountain with the coolest rider ever :
Member30 December 2014 at 1:36 pm
Nice bike Nik 🙂
Member30 December 2014 at 6:07 pm
But that Fire Mountain is just so very, very “Retro”. 😆 😆 😆
Member30 December 2014 at 6:27 pm
I’ve never owned a full suss myself but deffo gonna try one this summer. Might just transfer some parts onto a s/h frame.
Had a Lava Dome and a Cinder Cone in the late 90’s I’m also hankering after some old skool steel 😀
Member2 January 2015 at 1:24 pm
A Few more images, better light today.
Cleaned ready for the next ride :
Deore hollowtech II chainset, front mech, cassette, and XT shadow clutch rear mech :
Rockshox Sektor TK silver 140mm remote lockout :
Monarch R/T 130mm rear :
May change bars/stem for something lighter :
Standard spec :
Frame Felt Trail, double-butted 6061 aluminum, Hydroform, 130mm travel, Equilink suspension technology, ControlTaper head tube, post disc mount, replaceable derailleur hanger, standard 73mm threaded bottom bracket, 12 x 142mm w/ Syntace style thru axle
Forks RockShox Sektor Silver 140mm travel PopLoc remote lockout, hollow 6061 aluminum crown, tapered aluminum steerer tube, magnesium lowers, 15mm Maxle, post style disc mounts
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch RT w/ custom tune, 200 x 57mm
Headset FSA No.42 integrated tapered Aheadset, custom cone spacer 1 x 8mm + 2 x 5mm straight spacers, w/ Felt Tornado aluminum top cap
Handlebars Felt MTB double-butted 6061 aluminum, Ã˜31.8mm, 15mm rise x 9Â° sweep, 720mm width
Stem Felt MTB 3D-forged threadless 1-1/8 +/- 7Â° rise for Ã˜31.8mm handlebar w/ black Cr-Mo bolts
Shifters 30 Speed Shimano Deore
Front Mech Shimano Deore high direct mount, top pull
Rear Mech Shimano XT Shadow Plus long cage
Chainset Shimano Deore Hollowtech II 42/32/24T
Bottom Bracket Shimano sealed threaded
Cassette Shimano 10-speed 11-36T
Front Brake Shimano M355 hydraulic disc brake w/ Center Lock 180mm rotor
Rear Brake Shimano M355 hydraulic disc brake w/ Center Lock 160mm rotor
Rims WTB Speed Disc i23, 29 double-wall aluminum w/ eyelets
Front Hub Forged aluminum, Center Lock disc mount 32H, 15mm axle
Rear Hub Forged aluminum, Center Lock disc mount, 32H, 142 x 12mm axle
Spokes 2.0mm stainless steel
Tyres Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance folding 29 x 2.35 FrontSchwalbe Nobby Nic Performance folding 29 x 2.35 Rear
Seatpost KS Eten dropper post non-remote (Now swapped for a Thompson Elite).
WTB Seat now swapped for Cranks Bros, crappy pedals now swapped to Shimano Saints 🙂
Member14 January 2015 at 11:00 pm
Looks awesome. Love the colour too.
Member13 June 2015 at 7:27 am
Just thought I would update with my experiences since buying this bike 🙂
The bike has been used, a lot. It gets cleaned very well after each ride, but it certainly isn’t a ‘garage queen’ and has a couple of battle scars now.
The bike is very good indeed. I had a few reservations when I read some reviews of other Felt MTB models, but decided on the Virtue 50 anyway.
The numb handling comments from some, are slightly justified, but only at low speeds, because now I am going faster on the bike, it seems to come alive and I can feel there has been a lot of thought gone into geometry and head angles.
The Thompson lay-back seat post has opened up the slightly cramped riding position, and made it better at climbing too.
I recently changed the chainrings for a RaceFace narrow-wide single 34t, and it has been great. Not one dropped chain yet, and I do not use a chain guide. I did have some issues with a loud clicking sound coming from the crank when pedalling, and stripped the bottom bracket down, re-assembled, only to find the noise still there GGRRR …. so I stripped the 1 month old Shimano Saint pedals down… and yess, problem solved, regreased and retightened the pedal axles, noise gone (so much for the Saint’s quality reputation).
The bike is not the lightest in it’s ‘class’, but it is certainly not overly heavy, and does feel very solid, no issues from many trips to Sherwood Pines Kitchener. I would definitely buy another Felt, as I do like the rarity factor.
Anyway, a few pics.
It does get dirty, honest ….
Bits ready for the 1 X 10 conversion :
A2Z short chainring bolts, were still too long, and to top it off, one snapped when tightening, makes mental note – use steel ones next time. Got a 38t and 34t chainring, may swap for the 38t when I get a bit fitter !
The KMC split link was an arse to fit.
Single chainring is great, much easier to clean with no deraillier & triple, and no dropped chains yet even on the rough stuff.
Bars look clean too without the shifter cable, might even remove the lockout button/cable as I never use it.
If anyone fancies meeting up with an average fitness 45 year old at Sherwood Pines, let me know !
Member24 June 2015 at 8:34 pm
Just to update.
Several rides into this new setup, and not one dropped chain yet.
Actually tried to make it drop by going over rougher ground to make it clatter about, and it won’t drop off, not with the clutch ON the rear mech.
Really impressed, works so well. Trouble is, I’m using highest gear on Pines red route, so now thinking of shoving my 38t chainring on 😀
Member14 August 2015 at 5:18 pm
Just about to put tyre on my new wheel, my god it looks sexy as hell !
Hope Tech 2 evo hub, Hope endure 29 rim, XT cassette, A2Z rotor, mmmm
Member14 August 2015 at 5:58 pm
Cracking bike that!
Member14 August 2015 at 8:31 pm
Thanks for the comment bud !
Just finished putting the wheel on, & new pedals. Loving the red anodised bling, it’s starting to look a lot better than stock.
Stripped the front wheel down too, glad I did, bearings were badly in need of re-grease.
I can feel the weight difference between the new wheel/cassette/rotor, and the old stock wheel, back end does feel a lot lighter it’s surprising.
Member14 August 2015 at 9:39 pm
One issue I have is :
The suspension was silent before my wheel decided to go kaput.
Now everything is back together, I seem to have a suspension pivot creak.
I have just stripped the rear suspension down and greased alln the bolts, and the creak is still there, so I may have to actually take the cover off the bearings in the pivots, and flush them out and re-grease.
Oh well, that’s my Saturday spoken for …
Member15 August 2015 at 1:28 pm
Cured the suspension creak it seems.
Lucky for me it was either the top pivot bearing, or one of the bushes on the suspension or equilink ‘rod’.
Stripped the top part of the suspension down, used a pointed end knife to prise the rubber seals from the bearing races, and pushed as much grease as I could in there, it did look fairly dry.
Fingers crossed it’s cured the creak for a while, Pines here I come (tomorrow).
Member16 August 2015 at 1:52 pm
Great news for me, the creak is definitely gone.
Not sure if the top pivot bearings are particularly prone to creaking on Felt bikes, or if it’s a common issue with all similar design rear suspension.
Glad I don’t have to replace them yet anyways !
New wheel, new cassette & new pedals performed flawlessly today, can definitely feel the difference, maybe it’s not that much less rotating mass on the scales, but it gains speed quicker now for sure, HOPE ftw 😀
Member11 October 2015 at 8:15 am
Update time methinks.
Seeing how this bike doesn’t seem very common, I might as well update with a longer term review.
I am really enjoying the bike, and it seems a really well thought out and capable machine. My skills have improved considerably, and I am hitting the trails pretty hard these days.
Since the above photo was taken (at Gisburn Forest a few weeks ago), I have got myself a new front wheel, to match the rear I bought a few weeks ago. It is a Hope tech II hub with Hope Tech Enduro rim, and wow, it has made such a difference to the steering. I assumed the slightly dull and slow steering, especially when riding slow technical stuff, was just a result of a 29’er with a 2.35 tyre, but no, the new wheel is a lot stiffer, and a bit lighter, and has transformed the flickability of the front end.
Along with an XT rotor, I think it’s about 200g lighter than the old wheel, and probably 200% stiffer !
I have a few idea’s on what to do next. The brakes are basic deore, which work ok but on the long twisty decents at Dalby for example, they start squealing near the bottom. I am thinking maybe they are overheating, so am going to upgrade to SLX or maybe XT soon, bonus being even more weight saved too.
I bought some cheap Truativ bars last week, used, but unfortunately I don’t like the extra ‘rise’ these have over my standard Felt bars, so am sticking with the Felts for now, but in future I think new Bars/Stem may knock a bit more weight off the front, and maybe stiffen it a tad more.
Looked at an XT crank, not sure I can justify the cost over the deore one I have, I can’t see much of an advantage only the fact it’s got XT written on the side (probably worth an extra 5mph though hey lol)…
So, the bike as it stands now ….
It climbs great for a full suss, I never use the remote lockout on the front (thinking about removing the poploc and cable), and the rear never bob’s much even when standing up and grinding it up rocky climbs. I am going to say, the Felt Equilink system does a brilliant job of keeping this bob to a minimum.
I do get a few pedal strikes, probably due to the low-ish BB and 175mm cranks, but I can live with that as the bike is very stable.
On downhill bits, especially very rocky sections, the bike is brilliant. I have never felt the need for any longer travel, 135mm rear & 140mm front seems to be more than enough, but I think I would now be struggling a bit if I only had 100mm. It lands jumps with ease & comfort.
The standard bike is not perfect, the wheels being a huge compromise, but even though the upgrades have pushed my total spend closer to £3000, I think they have transformed the bike into a seriously capable machine.
I am climbing really tricky steep rocky sections now, that I simply could not manage a few months ago, yes my skills have improved, but the bike has improved by as much, and it amazes me sometimes the way in which younger riders on £4000+ bikes cannot ride the stuff I can, which proves to me the Felt is a seriously under-rated design.