Felt F55X 2012 Review

Cyclocross has become more and more popular in the last few years and this rise in popularity has led to an increase in the number of Cyclo specific bikes. The F55X from Felt is just that and combines an aluminium road frame with a carbon fork and rugged cross tyres. The F55X handles like a road bike but is capable of dealing with the rougher stuff, such as gravel and dirt tracks. It is finished with a road saddle, drop down handlebars and Shimano Ultegra STI shifters.

The F55X certainly handles itself well on the road and offered a responsive, quick and sturdy ride. The bike is also geared towards rougher surfaces though, with the addition of mud-proof cantilever brakes, a tapered head tube and a top tube with a flattened design for ease of shoulder carrying. The brakes have a large gap between the brake pad and the rim to ensure that no mud gets caught in the gap and reduces the performance of the brakes. During our test ride the brakes performed well and we felt confident to push the bike to its limits.
Felt decided to go with the Vittoria Cross HG tires and they offered a good compromise between grip and road performance. The tread pattern on the tires is too light to rival the off-road performance of a dedicated mountain bike tyre but it will still grip well on gravel and dry, dirt tracks. The good news is the tyre offers good road performance and we were able to get up some good speed on the Vittoria’s when we hit some nice, long straights. The rims on the F55X are Fulcrum Racing 7 CX and provided good performance throughout our test ride. The bearings have two sets of environmental seals, which is a big plus for those wetter rides as the seals will protect against the wet and muddy conditions.
Felt equipped the F55X with Shimano’s Ultegra STI shifters and you can really feel the quality in the smooth and precise gear changes. The Ultegra are in the second tier of Shimano shifters and provide excellent build quality and a long lifespan. The bike also has a large 1.5 inch diameter top tube at the fork, which reduces to 1.125 at the top. This results in a strong and durable bearing but not at the expense of extra weight. And talking of weight, the Felt F55X weighs in at around 10.4kg which, while there are lighter cyclocross bikes available, is still more than respectable.
The F55X is an impressive machine from Felt. It surprised us with it’s excellent road performance and handling and still managed to cope well on rougher trails and gravel tracks. The tyres are not going to give you the best of grip on the rougher and muddier terrain but the handsome looks and excellent shifters and brakes make the F55X a bike worth taking for a test spin.

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