written by: Evan Plews
This story actually starts over a year ago when I ran into Darren our
Felt rep at Santiam Bicycle. He told me about a program they were doing to get
some VIPs out on a new full suspension XC race bike. Of course, I have been a
bike tech geek for ages, so I was all over this one! After a few phone calls
and some conversations at Interbike, a new Felt FRD 100 showed up just in time
for me to race the Pisgah Stage race. While I was in total trial and error test
mode, and I didn't even have the proper shock for the bike, it was almost true
love at first ride.
The FRD had a long top tube, steep head tube angle and was as
torsionally rigid like a hard tail. This provided razor-sharp handling and
gobbled up the North Carolina knarl like a rabid animal. Minus an unlucky flat
tire, it would have carried me onto an unlikely podium finish despite weather
conditions that didn't favor me at all! The key to success? Felt's proprietary
Equilink suspension design. Designed to eliminate pedal induced suspension
movement, the little linkage behind the seattube does much more. It
accomplishes this by pushing/pulling the wheel towards the sag point of the
shock. Take the shock off the the suspension finds the proper postion whether
one lifts or pushes on the saddle.
While it may be a subtle effect, it does its job remarkably and once I
obtained the properly valved Monarch shock, I never needed to close the
low-speed compression "gate" to eliminate movement from pedaling.
Even better, the suspension stays low and level on steep downhills and under
heavy, even panick, braking!
This is the most incredible attribute of the design and allows the
rider to weight the middle of the bike without fore and aft movement due to
unnecessary suspension activity. Less movement equals better balance, equals
more convidence and more speed! Early this season, I rode the now dialed FRD to
victories at the El Paso Puzzler and 12 Hours of Santos proving its excellence
on two vastly different courses. It continues to be my weapon of choice for nearly
all my singletrack shreading "training rides" to this day!
Fast foward to Interbike Outdoor Demo 2010 and my first opportunity to
ride the fruit of the FRD 100 labor--the Edict. Felt went directly after the
only chink in the FRD's armour...extra girth. While Felt could have trimmed and
skimped to make the test mule lighter, they instead took the learning to heart
and did a total redesign. Well total except for the ride qualities that made it
The Edict has the same awesome race geometry, similar shock placement,
no pivot at the rear axle, but otherwise is completely different. The entire
frame is carbon composite and the promising Equilink is now... GONE!
I was willing to try the Cool-Aid, but dubious about that the flavor
would be the same. Turns out the Felt's engineering crew delivered the unique
Equilink ride with a little structural trick the makes the rear triangle
accomplish the same objective.
By using the composite rear end as a spring, and manipulating the
rocker linkage geometry, Felt made the rear suspension home in on the sag point
just like the FRD successfully did. Mission accomplished with over two pounds
of carbon induced weight savings! I took the Edict out for an exceptionally
long test ride and a few not-so-hot laps with fellow elite rider Robert
Marion--his comment, "You look right at home on that thing!" Which
isn't far from the truth after months on the FRD 100.
The new Edict does everything a great race bike should: absorbs bumps
a rider can't, induces traction and confidence, doesn't sap precious energy,
and most of all make it's rider FASTER!
Felt's project of making a great XC race bike was years in the making
starting with the Virtue then the FRD and now the final Edict. Deliberation
seems well worth it as they may have now the best suspension bike available!