Road Gear

Reviewed: Felt ZW2

This stiff and stable ride equipped with thoughtful component details is a great bike for someone who isn’t quite sold on racing yet.

Lab data: 18.4/20 (.64mm head tube deflection; .69mm head tube deflection)
Build: 13.5/15
Comfort: 13.5/15
Value: 12.4/15
Handling: 11.2/15
Pedaling response: 12.3/15
Aesthetics: 4.2/5

Overall: 85.5/100

Straddling the line between race machine and comfort ride, the ZW2 brings together the best of both worlds for a versatile take on women’s-specific design. A longer wheelbase (1,002-millimeters, size 50cm) and longer 417-millimeter chain stays make for a stable ride, especially at high speeds. It does require a little extra work to get through tight corners and isn’t as lively or snappy as a purebred race bike, but the heavy and fairly flimsy Fulcrum Racing 5 LG wheels probably have more to do with this than the frame itself.

The ZW2’s threaded bottom bracket (a threaded bottom bracket!) adds peace of mind, not to mention decent responsiveness when pounding on the pedals. The bike feels fast on the flats and efficient on climbs, especially when they are straighter roads.

But it’s in the details where the ZW2 really shines. The 50/34-tooth compact Ultegra Di2 drivetrain offers a premium feel and outstanding shifting without the top-of-the-line price tag. It also means you can run an 11-32-tooth cassette (thanks to the Ultegra medium-cage rear derailleur) for a wide range of gears that makes climbing just a little more enjoyable. On top of that, the bike comes stock with a Di2 climbing switch for easy access to shifting during extended climbs when your hands might be on the tops of the bars rather than forward on the hoods.

For smaller riders, the 3T Ergonova Team Stealth handlebar offers a shorter 77-millimeter reach and narrower width (38-40 centimeters depending on the size of the frame), providing a more comfortable riding position and secure grip on the bars.

The ZW2 is a great looking bike. The glossy black and electric coral paint job is reflective for a slice of safety when the light starts to dim on afternoon rides. And the subtle checkered design feels modern, chic, and just a little bit different than the other bikes in your group ride.

This stiff and stable ride equipped with thoughtful component details is a great bike for someone who isn’t quite sold on racing yet, but wants a bike that can handle hard efforts when riding with friends and is still comfortable for long solo journeys.

Price: $5,000
Component highlights: Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain with 50/34 crankset; Ultegra brakes; Fulcrum Racing 5 LG wheels
Weight: 16.92 pounds (size 50cm)

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