Felt FR3 Disc

Speedy and ready for long rides into the un­known

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - re­viewed by Philippe Trem­blay

Speedy and ready for long rides into the un­known

Ithought we were just go­ing for a 130-km road ride. It ended up be­ing more than that af­ter we turned down a steep, freshly graded gravel de­scent. The Felt fr3 Disc was pre­pared. Some say rid­ing gravel is more fun when you don’t quite have the right tool for the job. A road frame with 25-mm-wide tires wouldn’t be my first choice, but paired with Shi­mano br685 hy­draulic brakes, I nav­i­gated the chal­leng­ing sur­face with con­fi­dence.

The fr3 isn’t just for ad­ven­ture rid­ing. In fact, it’s a race-ready frame­set with a light­weight de­sign that’ll help you get up the climbs, too. The frame is made from the same uhc Ad­vanced + Tex­treme car­bon fi­bre as the top-end fr1. It’s a stiff layup that en­sures ev­ery pedal stroke put through the Ro­tor 3d30 crankset is turned into speed on the road.

Af­ter the gravel de­scent, we hit rolling hills. For half of the ride, we drove into a stiff head­wind to­ward our des­ig­nated lunch spot. The frame’s ge­om­e­try has been slack­ened com­pared with the F se­ries, the FR’S pre­de­ces­sor raced by the likes of Mar­cel Kit­tel and Tom Du­moulin. The fr3 has a taller head tube to of­fer a bit more com­fort, but with a slightly longer stem it be set up for a racer look­ing for an ag­gres­sive po­si­tion. The ge­om­e­try cer­tainly didn’t stop me from get­ting into a nice po­si­tion to drive the pace into the wind.

Com­fort and ver­sa­til­ity are in­creas­ingly em­pha­sised when com­pa­nies present their road frames. The fr3’s thin seat­stays en­sure that through­out long dis­tances and over rough roads, the bike doesn’t feel harsh. With the disc brakes, I rode with con­fi­dence in wet and gritty con­di­tions; I was never hes­i­tant to take the bike down an un­ex­plored or lesser-known road. The DT Swiss wheels are also com­fort­able. But, if you are look­ing for ex­tra speed or to shed a few grams, you could start with new hoops.

Han­dling gear changes by the Ul­te­gra de­railleurs are the Shi­mano rs685 shifters. While slightly bulky in the hands, they get the job done with the re­li­a­bil­ity and pre­ci­sion you ex­pect from Shi­mano’s sec­ond-tier group. The fr3 has ex­ter­nal cable rout­ing for me­chan­i­cal-shift­ing sys­tems. It’s a setup that you’re see­ing less and less, but is great if you work on your own bike. A Di2 group has its wires routed in­ter­nally. Af­ter lunch, we headed back to­ward the cars. On the hills, when I got out of the sad­dle, the fr3’s climb­ing prow­ess was ap­par­ent. Our fi­nal chal­lenge was yet an­other unan­nounced gravel road. This one led out of the val­ley we had de­scended into ear­lier. Thank­fully, the road hadn’t been re­cently graded but it still pre­sented a chal­lenge with steep pitches and sec­tions on which keep­ing trac­tion was tough. With tired legs, we started ped­alling up. While it could have been an ag­o­niz­ing grind to the top, the fr3 made it fun. The bike is great when you find your­self on new roads. It seems to en­cour­age you to tackle chal­lenges you might oth­er­wise by­pass. While it wouldn’t be out of place on a start line, it is thor­oughly en­joy­able for long ex­plo­rations on two wheels.

“It seems to en­cour­age you to tackle chal­lenges you might oth­er­wise by­pass.”

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