The Felt B12: A Brief Review

By James Robinson

You can get all kinds of bikes for triathlon performance, but unfortunately things get pricey once you start aiming for things that improve your times. Of course you can compensate with good technique, catching lead rider's slipstreams, and improving braking and pedal control, but if you want to take the field you need something that gives you that bit more. Fortunately, there are lower-priced options that give you performance that's more akin to a high-end bike: like the Felt B12 for example.

But how can a bike really claim to perform like a super-expensive example, while being on the cheaper side of the fence? The answer in this case is Felt's incredible pragmatism when it comes to constructing their setups. They don't commit entirely to the top gruppo options, such as chrome plated nuts, or gold alloys, but what they do commit to is every piece of kit that directly and noticeable improves performance. To begin with, it should be pointed out that in terms of stuff that's entirely their own they do well too. The TTR3 tyres for example are tight and solid, while remaining lightweight.

This thinking carries through to the crank setup. Here you can see that cannibalism of Felt at work. The SRAM gruppo setup on cranks is outstanding, but most of this is to do with the chainrings. That's something Felt have capitalised one, buying the red chainrings for their own model, while keeping the rest of the crank cheap and functional. The result is a massive boost in performance without a massive hike in price.

A similar logic comes into play with the chain section of the bike. Chains are known as 'consumables' - they're meant to wear out in time and be replaced. As a result, Felt have dispensed with the idea of gold plated chain - a standard high-end buy - in favour of something that works just as well, but which will wear out faster. Save gold chains for the races - most of your training doesn't need that kind of performance.

You can't cut corners with everything, but the Felt B12 brings a top notch bike within the reach of people that don't want to spend over 2000.

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