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Felt IAx: A user friendly tri bike with cutting edge aerodynamics

Felt's new IAx blends leading aerodynamics with user friendlness. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada
Felt's new IAx blends leading aerodynamics with user friendlness. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada
Felt’s new IAx blends leading aerodynamics with user friendlness. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada

Following the successful launch of the Felt IA, which have been ridden to 70.3 and Ironman World Championship victories under Daniela Ryf and Mirinda Carfrae respectively, Felt has released the IAx, which shares many of the aerodynamic design features with the flagship IA, but in a mechanically simpler and more affordable form. According to Koesel, the IAx is a response “to the movement away from user serviceability” of the latest crop of superbikes on the market, a direct result of the pursuit of an aerodynamic edge, which have seen both cost and complexity rise.

“People want to be able to travel with their bikes, to be able to work on it themselves when they arrive at their hotel the night before a race,” Koesel said, “They don’t want to have to relearn that process of how to adjust a brake or installing the handlebars if it’s a proprietary system.”

But simpler does not mean slower, according to Felt Road Product manager David Koesel, “The bike is born from the exact same tube shape as the IA, which is the fastest triathlon bike on the market.” When asked whether he would put the IAx up against the competition, such as the latest Speed Concept from Trek, and the Cervelo P5, Koesel responded, “I can’t wait to do it.”

Towards those ends, the IAx have industry-standard mountings for brakes, which makes it easy to adjust and swap out as necessary. The IAx also takes standard 1 1/8” stems and bars, which means triathletes will be able to put whatever bars they need on the IAx, in order to hit their fit co-ordinates. Although the stock Devox bars is able to offer a wide fit range, and solid aero bonafides.

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The IAx, Koesel said, is aimed at the triathlete who values “simplicity of the ownership experience. If you live 3 hours away from the nearest bike shop and you are not a technical person, or if you travel 4-5 times a year to race, and you want to be able to service that bike at any bike shop, then the IAx might be a better choice for you.”

The IAx will be available starting early 2016, in two models. The IA 10, equipped with an Ultegra Di2 drivetrain, will come in at $5600. And the IA 14, equipped with a mechanical Ultegra drivetrain, will come in at $4300.

The IA continue to remain in the lineup, in three models, the top-tier IA FRD with Shimano Dura Ace Di2 and Zipp Firestrike 404 ($18,000), the IA2 with Shimano Ultegra Di2 ($11,200) and the IA3 with mechanical Dura Ace ($6600).

The UCI legal B-series also continues with a three models line-up. Starting with the B14, equipped with Shimano Ultegra mechanical drivetrain at $2500. Followed by the mechanical Shimano Dura Ace equipped B12 at $3400, and topped by the Ultegra Di2 equipped B2 at $4500.

Downtube Bottle Bosses. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada
Downtube Bottle Bosses. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada

The down tube of the IAx features 3 bottle bosses, where the IA have none, to give triathletes flexibility mounting accessories, from companies like PRO, Torhan and X-Lab.

Seat Tube Bottle Bosses. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada
Seat Tube Bottle Bosses. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada

The Seat tube similarly features a set of bottle bosses, for mounting of bottles, some kind of aero hydration or a flat kit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom Bracket Brakes. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada
Bottom Bracket Brakes. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada

The rear brake is mounted under the bottom bracket, but is left exposed for accessibility and easier adjustment. The brake utilizes Shimano’s direct mount standard, giving options for changes and upgrades.

Felt IA integrated bento box. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada
Felt IA integrated bento box. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada

The IAx features the same built in bento box as the IA, offering secure storage of nutrition or a flat kit, without impacting the carefully honed aerodynamics.

Aside from the front brake, the IAx features a similarly clean front end as the IA. Not much to see here.

Felt IAx head on. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada
Felt IAx head on. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada
Felt IAx Nosecone. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada
Felt IAx Nosecone. Photo: Andre Cheuk | Triathlon Magazine Canada

The nosecone of the Felt IAx is built with a clever storage compartment, to house the junction box of Shimano’s Di2 electronic drivetrain, keeping it out of the wind and elements.

The completely integrated but costlier Flagship Felt IA carry forward for 2016. Photo: Felt Bicycles.
The completely integrated but costlier Flagship Felt IA FRD carry forward for 2016. Photo: Felt Bicycles.
The Dura Ace equipped B12 is a good value option. Photo: Felt Bicycles.
The Dura Ace equipped B12 is a good value option. Photo: Felt Bicycles.