Felt has a strong pedigree in triathlon. The B2 Pro is almost top of their 2009 range with only the DA ‘dream machine’ above it. It features a carbon frame with top-end Shimano and Zipp components, tri-specific steep angle geometry and comes race-ready from the box, once you’ve strapped on your own pedals.
The Felt was ridden hard during its testing period, including an outing at the Springfield Triathlon, a course one of our testers has raced numerous times before. Whether it was the placebo effect, a freak day or the bike, one way or another he managed to crack a minute off his PB on the Felt after only three goes on it, so it certainly delivered the goods when it mattered.
Comfort was great, the tri-bars being nice and wide for stability and the steeper angle of the seat tube putting you over the bottom bracket enough to allow max power without being unstable up front on descents. Climbing was also a joy due to the relatively light weight and the way the bike lets you ride ‘on the hoods’ (more on this in a moment), so it would be a good choice for hilly courses.
Purists will always prefer tubulars but clincher tyres do offer a more practical ownership experience for the majority of us. The Vittorias on the B2 were excellent – supple but grippy and having an aluminium braking surface on the Zipp rims does make for much more consistent stopping power than the carbon equivalents.
The Felt-branded saddle is padded on the nose, which makes it ideal for hours spent on the tri-bars in comfort, and internally routed cabling makes the whole thing very tidy in appearance, even if maintenance can be painful when things need re-threading.
The initial impression of the B2 is that the frame finish and quality is excellent. The striking angular shapes and bright colours are unmistakeably Felt. The cutaway of the seat tube follows the rear wheel precisely, but could perhaps have been pulled in a little tighter; other than that there’s little to moan about. The Felt-branded tri-bars, adjustable stem and seat post are nicely finished, and the rubber grippers on the base bar have a great little nobble, which lets you ride like you’re ‘on the hoods’ of a road bike – a nice touch on climbs.
The latest Dura Ace groupset that adorns the B2 is a departure from the silver finish of the past. The dark anodising is not to everyone’s taste but functionally the gearing works with the precision our Japanese friends are famous for. The fork on the B2 is a design akin to that seen on many recent Look bikes.
Felt call this design the Bayonet and it performs well, with the adjustable stem offering a variety of riding heights. What other performance gains there are is unclear but it looks the part, which will be enough for some! Special clincher edition Zipp 404 and 808 wheels finish off the package with lightweight, reliable hoops for almost any conditions.
At £4,500, a lot is to be expected of the B2. Functionally it’s a great bike, as borne out by our tester’s racing PB, not to mention many very pleasurable training rides. You can’t fault the components, either, and the attention to detail is nice, with plenty of adjustability in the cockpit area that enables the rider to get really comfortable.
Some people got quite excited about the design and flair of the machine, though others were a little underwhelmed, saying that it lacked a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that you might reasonably expect with a price ticket that hefty. You’ll probably know the first time you see it if the B2 is for you: if your initial reaction is ‘wow’, you won’t be disappointed in the performance so the investment would be justified. If, on the other hand, you feel a bit ‘ho hum’ then maybe it’s a good idea to look around some more. For this kind of cash, you’ll have plenty of choice.
Frame Felt B2 Carbon
Forks? Bayonet SL fork/steerer
Groupset Shimano Dura Ace
Wheels??Felt special edition Zipp 404 frontt/808 rear clinchers; Vittoria Diamante Pro Light tyres
Cockpit Felt alloy adjustable stem; Felt carbon base bar and tri bar
Seating Felt aero seat pin; Felt tri-specific saddle
Weight 8.25kg (18.16ilbs)
Sizes 50, 52, 54, 56, 58 cm
Contact : Saddleback 01454 299965