My bike Monday: Felt Decree FRD letting you flow fast down the trail
This bike seemed to like the higher speeds. It definitely rewards a rider who will push it to the limit.
Felt’s top-of-the-line, sub-25 lb., 27.5″ trail bike eventually showed me why the company’s logo, a pair of wings, is appropriate. Felt announced the new trail bike in the summer of 2015. Models – which range in price from $3,899 for an aluminum front triangle frame to $11,199 for the Decree FRD – came out later that year.
RELATED: De Rosa reveals the new Protos
On my first outing on the Decree FRD, with the geometry set to its slacker and lower setting, I made good use of the protective rubber bumpers on the Raceface Next SL crankarms while navigating my challenging Squamish, B.C., test loop. On smoother trails, this slack setup may not be an issue. For my next ride, I decided to forgo the extra forgiveness on the descents by steepening the angles slightly and raising the bottom bracket height by adjusting the flip chips. (Just a word of warning: do not try this trailside unless you have a second set of hands to help line things up.) This change, combined with the ability to drop the travel on the dualposition RockShox Pike fork, made the bike climb switchbacks with ease. The firmer rear suspension of Felt’s Fast (Felt Active Stay Technology) rear end and Monarch Plus shock seemed best left in the open setting to maintain traction on loose or rough climbs.
The bike started to show real promise when I decided to use it for a short mid-week race. I knew most of the trails, but had never ridden them at race speed. The acceleration of the DT Swiss carbon wheels made passing less of a burden and the SRAM XX1 drivetrain performed with incredible precision. This bike seemed to like the higher speeds. It definitely rewards a rider who will push it to the limit.
RELATED: The winter cycling apparel guide
My final test ride was in a steady drizzle with some riding buddies. There was an hour-long dirt-road climb followed by a mix of slick root-filled chutes and small drops, and then Squamish’s well-used flow trail, Full Nelson. On this last run, the Decree really performed at its best. The overall light weight and well-supported rear suspension seemed to give the extra pop needed off the jumps to make it to the transition, stick the landing and maintain enough speed, which is what you need to make a flow track fun to ride. The ability to correct a poor line choice on this bike was reassuring to say the least.
My only changes to this bike would be a slightly wider handlebar and different tires to better suit the terrain I ride. Otherwise, the spec is hard to fault with an old-school threaded bottom bracket, Reverb stealth dropper post and room in the frame for a full-size water bottle.
RELATED: Stocking stuffers for cyclists
With quite a few outings on the Decree, I think this bike would match up well with a confident, skilled rider who needs a versatile bike to race or just to enjoy trail riding in a variety of locales.