£2399.99 › Wind-cheating carbon road bike
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