The new 100mm-travel Felt Edict range is billed squarely at the XC market. With three carbon models, two aluminium bikes and a selection of 26in options, there’s something for every pocket.
The entry-level Felt Edict Nine 60 gets a sleek, hydroformed aluminium frame, where the gloss black finish really highlights the smooth, flowing lines of the design. A steeply sloping top tube gives it the second best standover on test, but it’s the only bike here not to have a seatpost QR, so dropping the saddle is a pain. Out back, the driveside chainstay drops down to provide the necessary clearance for the front mech when the suspension compresses, and while the main pivot looks spindly, at no point during the test did we think that the Felt Edict Nine 60 was flexy. However, sometimes under hard pedalling efforts there was a faint knocking noise from around the BB, but we couldn’t detect any play in the pivots and never managed to pinpoint the source.
Regardless of the frame material or wheel size used, the Edicts all have 100mm of travel. To save weight, Felt hasn’t used its signature Equilink suspension design, favouring its Fast Active Stay Technology which also better lends itself to the full carbon frame construction, as it lets Felt eliminate the most rearward pivot. Damping duties on the Nine 60 are care of RockShox: the Monarch R shock doesn’t get a lockout, but there is one on the XC32 fork.
Shimano’s cup and cone hubs simply can’t match the smoothness of the sealed bearing units found elsewhere in this test, but the ultra-wide WTB rims are easily the best here. With the same tyres and pressures as the other bikes, there was noticeably less tyre roll when cornering hard, which simply adds to the Felt Edict Nine 60’s overall feeling of directness.
We couldn’t see any difference between the Tektro Draco brakes fitted to the Felt Edict Nine 60 and the Draco IIs on the Specialized Camber, other than having smaller rotors, but there was a massive difference in stopping power, and on longer trails we had to use two-finger braking to keep the Felt under control. Also, the 3×9 Acera shifters don’t share the light, crisp action of the higher spec Shimano Alivio and Deore units.
We loved getting a wide 720mm rise bar as standard, especially when the spec lists it as 680mm. Unfortunately, there was no such mistake with the 100mm stem, which had to go after the very first ride as it was pulling us too far forward on the descents and overloading the fork.
The Felt Edict Nine 60 isn’t your typical 100mm-travel XC bike. For starters, it’s a tad short in the cockpit for anyone who splits saddle time between on-road training and off-road racing. Also, while it pedals efficiently, with much less suspension activation than the other bikes when cranking hard, we were surprised at how well it absorbed the hits, so it was still a total blast on the descents. It helped that the steering isn’t so sharp that it robs the bike of high-speed control, too. There is, however, no escaping that it only has 100mm of suspension, so the ride is noticeably harsher than the Giant Trance X29er 2 when the trails get longer or turn nasty. Despite this, the bike felt very balanced front and rear and goes some way to compensate for the lack of length and stability in the frame. All in all the Edict Nine 60 offers an engaging ride, and with similar-travel bikes we are positive the Felt could easily hold its own — it’s just not the most versatile or capable bike here.
With some extra length in the frame the Felt Edict Nine 60 would be a great marathon race bike. It’s fast, stiff and efficient, but even in the second largest frame size on offer, the Edict Nine 60 feels a little cramped for long days in the saddle. If anything, its proportions are better suited to a typical thrill-seeking trail rider — but with only 100mm of travel front and rear, the Edict Nine 60 doesn’t really have enough grunt to excel in this company, even if its handling and attitude are pretty much spot on.
MBR rating: 7
Frame 7005 aluminium 100mm travel
Shock RockShox Monarch R
Fork RockShox XC32 100mm
Wheels Shimano M525 hubs, WTB SD i23 rims, Continental X-King SL 2.2in tyres
Brakes Tektro Draco 180/160mm
Drivetrain Shimano Alivio chainset, Acera shifters, Alivio f-mech, Deore Shadow r-mech
Sizes S, M, L, XL
Weight 14.5kg (32.1lb)
Size tested L
Head angle 70.9°
Seat angle 70.4°
BB height 327mm
Front centre 685mm
Down tube 692mm
This test appeared in the July 2013 issue of MBR, alongside the Cube AMs 120 29, Giant Trance X29er 2 and Specialized Camber.