My new Felt Virtue 50 2015
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Nik Gnashers



Joined: 30 Dec 2014
Posts: 265
Location: Lincoln

PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.

I have a full Bearing/Bushes replacement kit, and the toolkit to fit it, all ready to go, so the bike can provide me with another years worth of fun in top condition.


Anyone considering a Felt, I would say do it. They are right up there with best in terms of design. Maybe not the lightest of bikes for similarly priced models, maybe not the best looking, but they are strong, ride well, and are capable all-rounders if you ride red/black routes as I do. There are probably bikes out there for the same price which are lighter, some which climb better, maybe others with some advantages in other area's, but I honestly don't think there are many with the value for money all-round capability that the Virtue design has.
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Nik Gnashers



Joined: 30 Dec 2014
Posts: 265
Location: Lincoln

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update for Jan 2016 :

Got the new suspension pivot bearings & bushes replaced. I didn't do them myself, it just looked like a proper pita so I paid my LBS £45 to do them lol (thank you Arrow Cycles, N Hykeham, Lincoln).
The bike is now wearing a Saint BB & Crankset, stronger and lighter than the old Deore. The chain is a LOT lighter than my old one. Still a little bit wary that the slit's in the chain might fill up with crud and wear everything a bit quicker, but oh well you can't have it both ways I guess...



The Saint BB casing looks very nice indeed..



Loving the new calipers, but again, those fins will probably just fill themselves up with muck and be useless, so maybe a bit pointless.



Can't wait to get it mucky (so I can spend two hours cleaning it again, obviously).......

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Felt Virtue 50 (2015) with upgrades
Done : Sherwood Pines, Dalby Forest, Cannock Chase, Gisburn Forest, Thetford Forest
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MPX309



Joined: 17 Jul 2014
Posts: 770
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice upgrades there mate. Bike's looking good
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Gunner



Joined: 15 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MPX309 wrote:
Nice upgrades there mate. Bike's looking good



Totally agree, very nice. Wink

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KTM540



Joined: 24 Sep 2013
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Location: Mudlands

PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, very worthwhile upgrade's Cool .. and I hope you can now see the difference/advantage of stiffer cranks rather than just a branding thing ?

I certainly have every time I've gone from a budget crank to a quality jobbie

Wink

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Nik Gnashers



Joined: 30 Dec 2014
Posts: 265
Location: Lincoln

PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the comments chaps.

I will update with my impressions of the new bits when I get time to properly try them out.

Smile

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Felt Virtue 50 (2015) with upgrades
Done : Sherwood Pines, Dalby Forest, Cannock Chase, Gisburn Forest, Thetford Forest
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Nik Gnashers



Joined: 30 Dec 2014
Posts: 265
Location: Lincoln

PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quick ride this-morning, just to check everything is tight, and brake lever position is good etc. No creaks no noises so all good roll on the first proper ride !


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Felt Virtue 50 (2015) with upgrades
Done : Sherwood Pines, Dalby Forest, Cannock Chase, Gisburn Forest, Thetford Forest
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Leedodds



Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 150
Location: Blyth, Northumberland

PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking very nice
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Threevok



Joined: 30 Jul 2012
Posts: 2141
Location: South Wales Valleys

PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loving those cranks.

I am quite tempted to drop the Race Face ones I had in mind for the build - for those ones.

The only thing I don't like about them though is the fact that the chain-ring bolts are covered.

Can those covers be left off ?

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Nik Gnashers



Joined: 30 Dec 2014
Posts: 265
Location: Lincoln

PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Threevok wrote:
Loving those cranks.

I am quite tempted to drop the Race Face ones I had in mind for the build - for those ones.

The only thing I don't like about them though is the fact that the chain-ring bolts are covered.

Can those covers be left off ?


You could use 'normal' chainring bolts instead of the supplied flush fit ones, I can't see why not, and then you would 'see' the bolts as you can on other chranksets.

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Felt Virtue 50 (2015) with upgrades
Done : Sherwood Pines, Dalby Forest, Cannock Chase, Gisburn Forest, Thetford Forest
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Threevok



Joined: 30 Jul 2012
Posts: 2141
Location: South Wales Valleys

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks

I know it sounds silly, but I plan to run a gold chain on black cranks, with a black chain ring.

The gold touches on this crankset fit my design concept perfectly, except I wanted gold chain-ring bolts also.

BTW I already have a gold Saint BB installed *lol*

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Nik Gnashers



Joined: 30 Dec 2014
Posts: 265
Location: Lincoln

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well,
First proper ride of the year today at Sherwood Pines (the Red is in great shape, I posted in the Pines section).
Just wanted to report the upgrades have made such a difference.
I never thought I would really notice any difference with the Saint cranks, it's only a crank right ? ... Wow, totally different, solid up the climbs, and just rock solid everywhere else too, like landing from a jump, the bike feels so much different.
The XT brakes were squeaking a bit at first, quite annoying, but they did 'wear in' after 20 mins, and are silent now (thank f). Much better than the Deore they replaced, which I sometimes needed 2 fingers on the lever. Now 1 finger is plenty, allowing me to brake later and ride corners faster as I have an extra finger gripping the bars, sounds daft but it is hard to explain.
The bike was a dream today, I felt like I was sat on a proper weapon, just need to get my fitness / skills to raise up and match the bike now !

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Felt Virtue 50 (2015) with upgrades
Done : Sherwood Pines, Dalby Forest, Cannock Chase, Gisburn Forest, Thetford Forest
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Nik Gnashers



Joined: 30 Dec 2014
Posts: 265
Location: Lincoln

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After about 40 rides this year, my original headset decided to crumble, so I took the forks out to have a look, and the FSA original headset was a very cheap one with old fashioned bearings in open races, which had obviously gone rusty with washing the bike, and then crumbled !
Replaced (by my LBS) with a Cane Creek 'Forty' series, which seem to be mid-range but very highly rated for the money, so happy again.
Think I may need to change the chainring, cassette, & chain again soon though heheh.
There is also some play in the equilink bushes, side-to-side, and also when you lift the weight off the back wheel holding the seat, you can feel some play. Bit frustrating as I had all the suspension pivot bearings & bushes replaced 9 month ago, and the equilink was supposed to have been done with that, obviously not.
Have emailed Felt EU to ask for advice.

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Felt Virtue 50 (2015) with upgrades
Done : Sherwood Pines, Dalby Forest, Cannock Chase, Gisburn Forest, Thetford Forest
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KTM540



Joined: 24 Sep 2013
Posts: 1694
Location: Mudlands

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had a similar headset in the Trek, when I ditched the Rockshox it came with, I found what grease there was in there had washed out, and the bearings were starting to rust ... this was on a 2 month old bike at the time Shocked
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Robmet



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 1892

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like Felt, really like their approach to things engineering wise. They were on my wanted list but unfortunately I could source one in my size.

There is a huge difference in quality of grease too, the stuff that gets used in manufacture is generally pretty low grade.

Have a look at Petrocanda grease, I use the Peerless LLG on all my bearings and its really very good.
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