Felt Bicycles Celebrates 30th Anniversary With A Look Towards The Future
We’re proud to celebrate three decades of pioneering, racing, and winning. This wild, strange, and thrilling year—2021—has marked both a historical milestone for Felt Bicycles, and a whole new road ahead for how we’ll continue chasing our dream of creating fast bikes, savoring the best rides, and pushing ourselves and our riders in the realm of racing. As this year draws to a close, we’re looking back on how we got here and what lies ahead.
BORN FROM RACING
Our founder and namesake, Jim Felt, cut his teeth wrenching as a world-class mechanic for the premier brands and top athletes in the sport of motocross racing. In the late 1980s, motocross champion Johnny O’Mara—one of that sport’s pioneers in employing a rigorous fitness regimen—asked Jim Felt to build him a triathlon bike. An avid triathlete himself, Felt was given the opportunity to test his mettle at crafting a high-performance race bike.
In 1991, however, the true genesis of the Felt Bicycles brand emerged, when Jim Felt was able to put into practice many of the innovative designs he had dreamed about for optimizing a rider’s position and improving aerodynamics. While working out of his garage in Southern California, Felt crafted a revolutionary bike for the three-time Kona triathlon world champion, Paula Newby-Fraser. Dubbed the “B2” thanks to its stealthy, matte black finish, the bike featured an advanced aluminum construction that was both lightweight and incredibly stiff to maximize pedaling efficiency. Most significantly, however, is that the bike featured geometry optimized for the unique challenge of triathlon—allowing the rider to achieve a position comfortable enough for a 112-mile effort and saving some energy for a marathon run immediately afterwards, while also maximizing the rider’s aerodynamic efficiency.
It was a revolutionary approach to maximizing an athlete’s speed for a specific discipline of bike racing, and it formed the ethos of how we’ve created every one of our bikes since. Paula Newby-Fraser rode that Felt B2 to her fourth triathlon world championship in Kona that year, cementing her legacy as one of the sport’s all-time greats. Her win also validated Felt’s design concepts, paving the way for the launch of the Felt Bicycles brand shortly thereafter.
BRED IN CALIFORNIA
Throughout the next few decades, Felt Bicycles grew, as did our reputation as a purveyor of high-performance machines, all designed to elevate the riding experience of countless cyclists and triathletes through practical engineering, the very best materials, and zero marketing hogwash. Belying this success, Felt Bicycles remains a relatively small operation in Southern California, committed to our core guiding principles and the passionate riders we serve. Year-round sunny weather and pristine riding conditions coupled with in-house engineering, research and development, and prototyping, allow us to test and push new iterations each and every day, finely tuning the latest crop of bikes for the season to come. We’ve never done things the easy way, only the right way. And we put the rider’s needs first to create the finest cycling experience possible.
THREE DECADES OF WINNING
Over the past 30 years, we’ve been fortunate to have partnered with some of the world’s greatest cyclists and triathletes to develop bikes capable of both winning at the highest levels of competition and delivering the uniquely unbridled joy that only a bicycle can provide. In triathlon—where our deepest roots lay—Felt bikes have propelled the likes of Michellie Jones, Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae, and Daniela Ryf to multiple world championship victories at Kona. Daniela Ryf and her IA Disc bike still hold the overall and bike course records in the women's division. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the legendary Jan Frodeno took home the gold medal in the triathlon competition, while Emma Snowsill scored the victory in the women's competition, with both athletes racing Felt bikes.
In road racing, back in the late 2000s, we partnered with the Garmin-Slipstream team and helped them secure a team time trial victory at the Giro d'Italia, as well as top-five finishes in the overall classification at both the Giro and the Tour de France. In the early 2010s, we partnered with the Argos-Shimano cycling team and their star sprinter Marcel Kittel, who stormed to four stage wins at the 2013 Tour de France aboard his famed F model race bike. A season prior, Kittel's teammate John Degenkolb scored five stage wins at the 2012 Vuelta a Espana.
In women's road racing, the great Mara Abbott won the 2013 Giro d'Italia Donne overall title aboard a Felt bike. The legendary Kristin Armstrong, winner of an unprecedented three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the time trial, captured the latter two aboard her Felt DA time trial bike. In 2016, Chloe Dygert, then riding for Twenty24 Pro Cycling, won both the UCI Junior World Championship road race and the time trial aboard her Felt F and DA bikes, respectively.
Inside the velodrome, Dygert has also been an integral member of the women’s USA team pursuit squad, which has captured multiple rainbow jerseys, as well as two Olympic medals. Most recently in Tokyo this past summer, Jennifer Valente took home a storied gold medal in the omnium event aboard her Felt Tk FRD track bike. Our track roots run even deeper, thanks to our storied partnership with Sarah Hammer, the multi-skilled and multi-time world champion in the velodrome, as well as Taylor Phinney, who won a rainbow jersey in the individual pursuit in 2010.
In the world of cyclocross, Belgian superstar Wout Van Aert won two of his three stellar world championships aboard the Fx race bike, in 2017 and 2018. Elsewhere on the dirt, Swiss mountain bike star Thomas Litscher won the 2011 XC U23 world championship aboard his Felt bike. And, in 2017, another Swiss mountain bike sensation—Nicola Rohrbach—scored a stunning victory at the Roc d’Azur. Likewise, Current mountain bike sensation Sina Frei won a rainbow jersey in 2017 in the XC U23 event.
Of course, those are just a few highlights from the pro ranks. We’d be remiss if we didn’t celebrate thirty years worth of victories, hard-fought podium places, and gritty finishing performance of amateur Felt racers around the world. If you’ve ever raced a Felt bike, we thank you, and you will always be part of the Felt family.
THE ROAD AHEAD
A few weeks ago, with the dawn of 2022 peeking above the horizon, we announced the most significant milestone in the history of Felt Bicycles. PIERER Mobility AG—the group behind vastly successful powered-two-wheeler brands like KTM, Husqvarna, and GASGAS motorcycles—acquired Felt Bicycles in an exciting and bold move into the world of human-powered, two-wheeled racing machines. Like Felt Bicycles, the brands that comprise PIERER Mobility AG are rooted in racing, above all else. It’s what drives them, and it’s what makes our new partnership so thrilling. With PIERER’s support, Felt Bicycles will be better equipped than ever before to elevate the cycling experience for our riders, and to enhance the business practices for our dealers and other partners.
If the past thirty years have taught us anything, it’s to always keep pushing. We cannot wait to share with you what the future has in store for us. And we promise that 2022 is going to be an amazing year.
Come join us for the ride.