The Ironman World Championship might not be happening this year, but there has certainly been some exciting news that companies have saved for race week. Felt bicycles announced at 12:30 pm EST (the time the race in Kona would have started) that it has resigned four-time Ironman World Champion and five-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion Daniela Ryf.
Ryf won her first title in Kona in 2015, taking the next three races in a row. Her five 70.3 world titles came in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Felt bicycles was founded in 1991. That year founder Jim Felt was approached by Ironman world champion Paula Newby-Fraser about designing a bike with 24-inch wheels. Then an engineer with Easton, Felt designed the bike that, to this day, Newby-Fraser recalls as one of her favourites. That year she took her fourth of eight world titles. Ever since then the company has been renowned for its innovative bike designs.
Here’s how we described the Felt IA FRD Disc that Ryf rode to take the 2018 Ironman World Championship:
At the press converence Felt held to show off their new flagship bike, the IA FRD Disc, Daniela Ryf, Mirinda Carfrae, Josh Amberger and Kaisa Sali were on hand to show off the bikes they would be racing on in Kona. ITU Grand Final champion Ashleigh Gentle was also there with the bike she planned to use at the Noosa Triathlon.
The obvious big change to the previous version of the FRD is the addition of disc brakes to the frame, which provides better braking performance and makes it easier to switch out wheels – you don’t have to worry about rim widths (the new frame can handle up to 28 mm tires) or adjusting brake pads. The frame also features a new rear triangle with added lateral stiffness, so more of your power goes into moving you forward. There’s a new fork, too, designed to handle the added stopping power of disc brakes and provide even better aero performance. There’s a new head tube cover for easier maintenance.
The changes certainly make for a speedy ride. Ryf ripped through the Kona bike course in a blazing 4:26 on her way to the fastest ever Ironman time.