You might not have heard too much from Felt in recent times but that very much looks set to change with Felt's launch of the Breed Carbon gravel race bike.
Building on the brand’s racing heritage - from Olympic golds in the velodrome to three decades of triathlon World Champ victories and twice clinching the CX Worlds with Wout van Aert - Felt is now doubling down on its performance focus, starting with its launch of the Breed Carbon gravel race bike.
To give a little context, Felt’s bikes are still being designed and developed in California - as they have been since 1991 - but last year the brand was bought by Pierer Mobility (an Austrian multinational specialising in all things two-wheeled), bringing a portfolio of sister brands to stand alongside Felt.
Depending on the country you’re in, you might not have heard of Husqvarna or Raymon, but these will be the brands where e-utility bikes and commuter/leisure models will be developed.
From now on, the focus is that "Felt is fast" - that’s a phrase you’re going to be hearing a lot more of - and will be focusing on performance. But enough of that - let’s jump straight into the details of Felt’s new Breed Carbon gravel bike.
Felt Breed Carbon gravel race bike
Felt has designed the Breed Carbon as more of a speed-oriented gravel bike. Sure, you can still strap bikepacking bags to it for an overnighter or a long weekend, but the intention is for the bike to be ridden hard, fast and competitively.
Yet this focus on fast still hasn’t come at the expense of capability for more rugged terrain. Optimised around 700c x 45mm tyres, there’s clearance for going up to 50mm, while the head tube has been designed to handle the stresses of a suspension fork, too.
There’s not a shortage of bosses on the frame, with a total of four sets around the main triangle - plus an optional top tube bag, But the focus of these mounts is mostly for carrying bottles - there’s no triple bosses on the fork for cargo cages and no mounting points for a pannier rack or mudguards.
The frame includes some pretty neat features. Integrated frame protection isn’t something we see so much on gravel bikes, but there are inserts over the bottom of the down tube and chainstay to guard against rock strikes and chain slap.
A faceplate on the lower part of the seat tube allows for a clean look when running 1x, but removing it reveals mounts for a front derailleur, opening up a wider range of gears with tighter jumps.
The overbuilt seat tube is quite an interesting point. That houses a rubber dampener for sounding out the bumps with a 27.2mm seatpost. Or, if you want more compatibility with a greater range of dropper seatposts, it’s removable and will allow a 30.9mm seat post to be fitted instead.
In terms of the geometry, the Breed Carbon leans towards the progressive but isn’t quite butting up against the established boundaries. In a size 54cm, the 70.5 degree head angle is very much on the slacker end, whilst the BB drop of 72mm is also a little lower than average.
Together with the 430mm chainstays - not super short nominally, but considering the tyre clearance that is notably tight - the geometry does look to be in line with Felt’s vision of more performance-oriented riding.
Maybe the 575mm stack is a little higher than you’d expect for its designs on racing, and the 385mm reach is a little shorter than the 400mm plus you see on more progressive frame designs. But with that said, neither is hugely out of line with comparative bikes.
Coming back to the tyre clearances, although there are plenty of bikes with that same capacity for larger rubber - the Canyon Grizl being perhaps the most prominent amongst them - most of these bikes tend to be optimised around long distance bikepacking and touring, rather than racing.
The majority of the recent crop of gravel race bikes have their clearances capped at 45mm, so the Breed Carbon is a pretty rare offering in its blend of trail capability and speedy intentions. Perhaps the 3T Exploro Race Max is the closest comparison, but although well respected, that’s hardly a mainstream bike.
Pricing is follows:
Breed Carbon | Force eTap AXS | $7,549 / £5,939
Breed Carbon | GRX 810 | $5,249 / £4,229
Breed Carbon | GRX 600 | $3,549 / £2,699
Breed Carbon | Frame Kit | $2,499
I’ll be having my first ride on the Breed Carbon in the foothills of the Austrian Alps, just south of the historic town of Salzburg - so we’ll see if it lives up to its promise.
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