Gravel Gear

Reviewed: Felt F1X cyclocross bike

Felt's F1X is a great bike for the cyclocross race course, but it isn't quite as maneuverable as we'd like it to be.

MSRP: $7,000
Weight: 16.7 pounds (56cm)
Overall Star Rating: 4/5

Star Ratings:
Value: 3.5/5
Comfort: 4/5
Handling: 4/5
Acceleration: 4/5

We like: Great frame stiffness for sprints and attacks, 1X drivetrain is tailored to the race course.
We don’t like: Seatpost is difficult to adjust, not nimble enough for super-twisty tracks.

When the finishing straight comes into view, you’ll be glad you’re on board the F1X. An exceptionally stiff bottom bracket translates into eager sprints — fast, non-technical courses are meat and potatoes for Felt’s ’cross offering. It won’t amaze you in tight, technical switchbacks, though. The 1X drivetrain has a limited gear range, which means this is a pure racer; it’s not ideal for gravel grinding days.

Dura-Ace Di2 shifting with a Rotor crank is a solid choice for a bike of this caliber, but otherwise the parts spec is a bit off. We would swap out the too-wide handlebars, the cumbersome seatpost, and the wheels, at least on race day, in favor of some Zipp 303 tubulars or a similar set-up. The DT Swiss CXR1300db carbon clinchers are nice, but a deeper rim will shed mud better and stay light even on mucky courses.

Excellent geometry, combined with a carbon layup that took care of chatter on dirt roads, made for an exceptionally comfortable ride. Depending on the rider’s body proportions, sizing down may be in order.

The F1X feels longer than it appears, and that fact led to some difficulties in switchbacks. This bike is at its best in a straight line.

On flat, road-inspired sprints, the F1X hit its stride. Deflection in the bottom bracket was exceptionally low — a mere half-millimeter — and the F1X takes full advantage of that stiffness during bar-to-bar sprints on straightaways. The head tube deflection numbers are low as well, right around 1mm. The bike feels locked-in, reminiscent of some aero road bikes.