Some might argue that going from building motorcycles to bicycles is slowing down, but for Jim Felt, the transition allowed him to share his creativity with the world quicker than ever before.
Motocross star Johnny O’Mara was exploring triathlon as a form a cross-discipline training for his time on the motorbike and needed a TT bike that provided that same feeling of effortless speed as his motor-driven ride. When he approached his motorcycle mechanic Jim Felt and asked him to take on the challenge, he could not have known that he was setting the wheels in motion for what would later become Felt Bicycles.
Jim made Johnny a TT bike, Johnny started winning races, and pretty soon, Felt bikes were in high demand. In 1991 Newby-Fraser won the Kona Ironman, pushing Felt Bikes to the front line of what was cool and what was needed to win races.
But before he could begin work on other bike models and distribute them to the rest of the world, Felt needed to expand. Teaming up with Bill Duehring and Michael Mullmann. Bill had years of experience in bicycle development and strong industry connections. Michael ran a successful distribution business in Europe, giving Felt Bikes the ability to broaden their horizons, setting sites on the European market.
Today, Felt Bicycles is based in Irvine California and distribute a huge range of bike models all around the world.
To create the best bikes, you have to first work with the best designers, engineers and riders. Secondly you need to work with the best materials, and thirdly, you need to be able to test your prototypes in the most advanced facilities. Felt can take years to design, develop and test a new bike model before it is finished and shipped to the show room floor. The whole process takes as long as it needs to.
A new high-performance bike is tested multiple times in a wind tunnel throughout its development. Aerodynamics are tested before the frame is even moulded from carbon-fibre. Felt claims this sets them apart from other brands who wind-test their bikes only in the final stages of development. Felt bikes are wind-tunnel developed.
Jim, Michael and Bill never set out to create the “…biggest bike company in the world, just the best.” That doesn’t mean they haven’t developed a huge range of products over the years.
Jim didn’t start from the bottom and work his way up. Felt started working on high performance road bikes, and those technologies have passed on and have been implemented in the design and manufacture of a huge range of bicycles, suited to every discipline of riding you can imagine.
While Felt works hard to keep pushing the boundaries, constantly challenging what its high performance bikes can achieve, it’s not all about winning races. Cycling is a culture spanning activity, and Felt makes bikes or everyone — from BMX bikes, to competent commuters, cyclocross machines, electric pedal-assist models and mountain bike tourers — there is a Felt to take you to new places on BikeExchange’s massive online marketplace.