In the last few years cyclocross bikes have become more and more popular thanks to their versatility and good handling. More and more riders are turning to cyclocross bikes, not just to take part in racing, but also as a winter trainer and commuter bike. The rugged tyres and lightweight frame of a cyclocross bike means it can be used on rough gravel tracks, muddy trails and rough roads. A cyclocross bike doesn’t have the road performance of a racer or the off-road performance of a mountain bike, but sits perfectly between them.
The FX Series bikes have been designed to cope with the hardest terrain including thick mud, snow and sand. They are designed to provide stability under these conditions, whilst remaining lightweight for the steep demanding gradients that come with this sport. As with all series there is a good range for all abilities and price brackets so lets see what’s on offer.
This is the top of the range cyclocross bike in the FX series. It comes with full carbon frame and fork, SRAM Red drivechain with compact 46T/36 chainrings and 11-26T cassette. The seatpost and handlebar are carbon fiber with an aluminium stem and Avid BB7 cross disc brakes. It comes with a Mavic Crossmax SLR 29 wheelset and weights 16.5lb or 7.48kg.
2nd in the range it’s full carbon frame and fork is not quite a technically advanced as the 1KP Weave of the F1X, but nonetheless is still excellent material it just means a small additional weight. The drivechain is Shimano Ultegra Di2 with compact 46/36T chainrings and 11-28T 10 speed cassette. The bike comes with normal brakes, no discs. It runs on Shimano Ultegra tubeless wheels and weights 18.46lb or 8.39kg.
3rd in the lineup is the F3X has a similar frame and fork to the F2X. The difference between it and the F2X is the drivetrain is SRAM Force it comes with disc brakes, plus runs on CxR tubeless wheelset and weighs 19.12lbs or 8.69kgs.
The UHC performance MMC carbon ﬁbre frame features a 3KP weave and provides a low weight with a rigid and responsive ride. The ﬂattened top tube on the frame is designed to be ‘shoulder friendly’ and the F4X also features internal cable routing for carrying ease. The frame is joined by a UHC Performance monocoque fork that is designed to take the vibration of the rough terrain often associated with cyclocross ad is the same as the F2X and F3X offering.
Felt have equipped the F4X with Shimano’s Ultegra STI groupset and it provides quick, sharp and reliable gear changes. The 46/36T standard chainring and 12-28T cassette.
Felt have decided to go with Tektro brakes rather than discs. Felt also decided to equip the F4X with their very own CxR wheelset like the F3X, which again offers decent performance.
The F65X sits towards the lower end of the spectrum but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer excellent performance and a solid ride.
The main difference between the above and the F65X is the aluminium frame but, combined with the carbon fork, still provides a rigid and agile ride. The F65X’s frame is made from Superlight 7005 aluminium and comes with a ﬂattened hydro-formed top bar to make shoulder carrying more comfortable. The frame is available in a range of 47 – 60cm sizes so there should be an option to suit most riders. The 3KP weave carbon ﬁbre forks helped to absorb some of the vibration from rough tracks and bumpy roads and we were also impressed with the performance of the cantilever brake pivots that had minimum vibration even under high stress.
The geometry on the F65X is similar to a road bike, with a fairly steep headtube measuring 72 degrees and 430mm chainstays offering a zippy ride. The hydro-formed top tube is also ﬂattened to make it easier to carry on the shoulder over obstacles.
Felt have gone with a very classy black and white design that really makes the bike stand out without being too over the top. The wheels even match the frame design and lead to a high quality looking machine.
Felt have equipped the F65X with an SRAM Apex BB30 groupset and Avid BB5 disc brakes with a 160mm rotor in the front and a 140mm rotor at the back.
The rest of the components are made up of Felt’s own brand but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It not only keeps the cost down, but Felt are also known for making lightweight components. The F65X weighs in at around 20.81lbs or 9.46kg.
Like the F65X this cyclocross bike the entry level offering to the FX series, it has the same frame and forks setup and the Shimano 105 groupset and it’s very reasonably priced. The fact that the F75X uses a lot of Felt’s own components has meant they have been able to keep the price down, but not at the cost of quality.
The wheelset on the F75X is one of it’s strongest selling points though. The Felt CXR3 might not have the lightest rims around but the bearings on the hubs felt silky smooth and offered an excellent build quality. The Vittoria Cross XG tyres might not be top of the range but they still offered a good compromise between grip and road performance.
Felt have decided to go with Tektro front and rear cantilever brakes and they offered good performance on both wet and dry tracks. Many of the components on the F75X, such as the seat, handlebars and stem, are Felt own brand.
The Felt F75X is and excellent budget cyclocross bike. It offers a fast and responsive ride, has a good and reliable groupset in the Shimano 105 and also comes with an excellent wheelset for the price. It weighs 20.48lbs or 9.31kg.