Jim Felt founded Felt Bicycles because he wanted to design capable, high-performance machines. Felt was purchased by French conglomerate Rossignol in 2016, and the company has been working to revamp its lineup. Last fall Felt invited us to Riva Del Garda, Italy, to get a first look at its reworked lineup of Edict race machines. The Edict was known for its incredibly aggressive geometry but would be considered a bit old school now. With more machines going slacker, lower and “Boosted,” the Edict was in dire need of a few updates—if not a major overhaul. Felt didn’t rush in and simply adopt some new technologies. Felt took its time to release a worthy race machine. After our trip to Italy, we brought an Edict home with us to test it on our local cross-country trails.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
In the past, the Edict has targeted dedicated cross-country racers with its aggressive geometry and 100 millimeters of travel. The newest version of the Edict still embodies a more aggressive XC style but with a versatile shock tune and geometry that lends itself to all-around trail riding with the right upgrades.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
Felt designed the Edict with a full carbon fiber frame and rear triangle using its UHC Advanced fiber. The UHC design uses oversized tubes that are stiff and responsive without compromising weight. Felt offers the Edict in its lightest FRD layup, if you’re willing to spend the extra coin. The frame tubes also use Felt’s InsideOut construction, which eliminates excess fibers from the inside of the frame. Felt drastically redesigned the main frame using internal cable routing with ports similar to those on the Decree. Along with the internal cable routing is the option to run a stealth-routed dropper post and a 73-millimeter threaded bottom bracket.
The Edict received a reworked suspension platform and geometry to keep up with the needs of the modern racer. On the geometry side, Felt slackened the head angle to 70 degrees and steepened the seat tube angle to 74.3 degrees to provide stability when descending and an aggressive position when climbing. Adding to the nimble feel of the Edict are shorter chainstays with the enhanced strength of Boost spacing on the rear triangle. Felt also dropped the bottom bracket height and pushed out the reach. Felt spent quite a bit of time reworking the Edict’s suspension platform with metric sizing and a bearing mount on the RockShox Deluxe shock. The shock tune was designed to give riders the ability to slightly tweak the air pressures for trail riding or cross-country racing. The rear triangle uses Felt’s FAST design that molds the carbon in the sag position for a more responsive and active suspension.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
Felt offers four complete builds and two frame kits in the Edict line. Our test bike sits just below the top-end FRD version of the Edict, with a component spec that offers high performance without breaking the bank. Up front, the RockShox SID RL fork was plush and stiff under hard braking efforts. The SRAM Eagle X01 drivetrain shifted consistently and gave our test riders plenty of gearing with the 34-tooth front chainring. The real standout in the whole package was the RockShox Deluxe shock. Through chunder and rough bits of trail and racecourse, it was active and responsive.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Suspension setup: The Edict came to us with no bottomless tokens installed in the fork. We installed two tokens in the fork and set the air pressure to 20-percent sag, with the rebound set to match our local trails. In the shock, we started with 30-percent sag with three clicks of rebound but found this to be a little plusher than we hoped for XC racing. After a couple of rides, we added some air to drop the sag to about 25 percent. In this range, we were able to cash in on the pedaling benefits of the FAST suspension design.
Moving out: The Edict 1 comes stock with an 80-millimeter stem and 740mm-wide flat bars that provide both a comfortable trail and XC race feel. The stack height on the Edict is a touch higher than that of other XC race bikes we have tested, though. Our test riders dropped the stem all the way down for a more aggressive position.
Cornering: The refreshed geometry and active suspension made for plenty of traction in tight, high-speed corners. Our test riders were able to lean the Edict over, although warily at times, considering the minimalist tread of the stock Maxxis tires.
Climbing: We can argue for days about whether races are won on the climbs or the descents; regardless, the Edict can climb. The frame and rear triangle are impressively stiff, responding to every pedal stroke without a hint of hesitation. A majority of our test riders preferred climbing in the middle setting on the Deluxe but were satisfied leaving the shock open on rolling terrain. The geometry allowed us to have an aggressive, forward position to power over steep sections of trail and easily shift our weight over the bars. There were times some of our test riders would have preferred a lower stack when attacking the trail.
Descending: We got a feel for the handling and descending capabilities on the steep and rocky trails in Riva Del Garda, but we were really able to dial in the feel on our home trails. The Edict can handle some gnarly terrain and is surprisingly capable, especially at high speeds. With the suspension wide open and the wheels pointed down, we were comfortable letting go of the brakes and letting the suspension do the work. The suspension was very active and tracked the terrain confidently, whether on smooth singletrack or technical bits. The combination of the bearing mount and Counter Measure in the Deluxe shock gave our test riders far more small-bump compliance than they were expecting for a cross-country race bike. On bigger hits and more technical sections of trail, the FAST suspension had a comfortable level of progressiveness and felt supported through the stroke.
TRICKS, TIPS OR UPGRADES?
The Edict 1 has a well-thought-out build kit that seems fair for the price. Our test bike didn’t have any volume reducers installed in the fork. Most riders will want to invest in at least one, depending on how aggressive your riding style is. Felt included a remote lockout for the fork, but most of our test riders agreed they would have appreciated one with the rear shock as well.
While many cross-country race bikes have gotten slacker and lower, the Edict has stayed in a comfortable range that isn’t overly progressive. Felt has delivered a bike that can handle a broad range of trails and racecourses with its stiff frame and versatile shock tune. Felt has translated its racing legacy and attention to detail into a machine that is dialed and ready to rumble