£2399.99 › Wind-cheat­ing car­bon road bike

Cycling Plus - - FIRST RIDE -

With a strong triathlon and track bike pedi­gree it’s no sur­prise that Felt can make a pretty nifty aero road bike with fea­tures de­signed to help you cut through the air.

Most no­tice­ably the AR4 has a dis­tinctly slip­pery wind tun­nel-de­vel­oped frame, and a rear wheel cutout that’s very tight even with the some­what old-school 23mm tyres fit­ted. The seat­stays and chain­stays are de­signed to keep air mov­ing smoothly around the bike, though the most ob­vi­ous aero­dy­namic fea­tures are the smoothly curved bot­tom bracket shell, bladed fork, nar­row sculpted down-tube and seat-tube and re­versible aero seat­post. Felt claims th­ese help make the AR4 frame quicker than the Cervélo S5, among other big-name com­peti­tors, in the wind tun­nel.

It cer­tainly has a great sense of ef­fi­ciency when you put the power down, and it han­dles very con­fi­dently too, what­ever the ter­rain and to­pog­ra­phy throws at you. It’s cer­tainly not cruiser com­fort­able, but that seat­post has more flex than you’d imag­ine, and you can flip it from its stan­dard 72.5-de­gree an­gle to a steeper 78.5 de­grees for tack­ling time tri­als.

For a bike at this price we’d have pre­ferred a full raft of Shi­mano Ul­te­gra, rather than the RS500 chain­set and Tek­tro brakes, which are okay, but not up to Ul­te­gra level. The wheels are also a step down on what we’d like on a £2400 bike. But the aero frame is top-notch, the ride sharp and the per­for­mance ex­cel­lent. If you can find it at some­thing less than the RRP it’s well worth con­sid­er­ing.

A sharp per­former but some cost-cut­ting com­po­nent choices

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