Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Going back nearly two decades to the late-1980s when motocross legend Johnny O’Mara requested Jim Felt, his best mechanic, to create the ultimate time trial bike, O’Mara used competitive age-group triathlons to stay in shape for the moto season. One thing led to another and Felt found himself receiving requests to build TT bikes for a smattering of world-class athletes. After the Zimbabwean superstar Paula Newby-Fraser won the 1991 Kona Ironman on a Felt (she went on to win 24 Ironman triathlons in her illustrious career), Jim knew it was time to dive headfirst into the industry.
Fast forward to today and Felt Bicycles makes a wide lineup of frames from road to cyclocross and, of course, TT models. Based in Irvine—a hotbed of Southern California talent across many disciplines—and sponsoring multiple professional teams and athletes, Felt receives rider feedback second to none.
The new F1x ’cross bike is the epitome of a UCI-ready course-crushing build. Utilizing Felt’s UHC Advanced and TeXtreme frame layup, this lightweight frameset is easy to shoulder for continuous stair run-ups. Smoothly designed internal cable routing of the SRAM Force CX1 group set ensures precise shifting and powerful stopping through the Force hydraulic-disc brakes. This bike is so agile it was born to float through the deepest sand pits while still handling the roughest, most-technical rooted descents you can find in Belgium.
Why the bike works for ’cross racing
Featuring a massive BB386 bottom bracket, 12×142 through-axle dropouts, a replaceable rear derailleur hanger and clean internal cable routing for either mechanical or electrical drivetrain setups, the F1x offers all the aesthetics and performance characteristics you would look for in a top-of-the-line CX steed. The complete build from Felt uses DT Swiss R24 Spline wheels with Schwalbe X-One Evo HS 467 tires, an Ergoterra Team Stealth handlebar, ARX II Team Stealth stem and Ionic VR25 Team Stealth seat post; a Prologo X Zero TiRox saddle completes this race-tuned build.
The everyday rider should not turn to this ’cross rig from Felt for an epic, backcountry mixed-surface adventure ride—the geometry is dialed for all-out 60-minute efforts in the muddiest winter conditions found on the Eastern seaboard. In the cockpit and out of the saddle going full gas, the F1x’s response is snappy and true, and accelerations to full speed make the bike feel like a road rig. It’s also perfect for the sprint-off-the-line, looking toward winning the hole shot. Once on course and in the drops, the smooth handling makes your technical skills shine with this high-end ’cross build. $5,500; feltbicycles.com