The Felt IA FRD Disc frameset is the pinnacle of Felt's triathlon technology and improves over the original IA by adding disc brakes and a redesigned carbon chassis that improves ride quality and performance in real-world race conditions.
Improving an Industry Benchmark
The Felt IA has long been the benchmark by which all triathlon bikes are measured and the Felt IA FRD Disc takes performance, ride quality, and value to an all-new level. Simply put - it is the fastest frame on the planet in all real-world racing conditions.
Since its debut, the IA has never been defeated at the Kona World Championships. As of the start of the 2018 racing season, it has been ridden to five straight victories in the women’s pro division at Kona, to say nothing of its countless other victories across the globe at both the professional and age-group levels. So how does one improve upon such greatness?
Every racecourse is different, with varying elevation gains, road curvature, and, of course, an endless variety of wind, both in terms of velocity and direction. No bike is ever truly raced in a straight line, and no bike is ever raced inside a vacuum. So, as it has been with Felt’s design philosophy for decades, our engineers sought to optimize aerodynamic efficiency in real-world conditions.
This means that they used advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to test hundreds of iterations of the new IA Disc at various yaw angles to accurately determine how the bike would perform across a broad spectrum of racing conditions. After crunching the numbers and deciphering the data, our engineers began taking various prototypes to the wind tunnel, where physical forms and tangible frames are truly put to the test.
Designs were scrutinized, updated, and tested again, all part of Felt’s painstakingly intense iterative product development cycle. In the IA Disc, our engineers crafted a bike worthy of carrying on the legendary IA name,
one featuring the improved performance that disc brakes bring to the riding experience, the same fit and feel as its beloved predecessor, and an increase in overall speed thanks to a steadfast commitment to aerodynamic efficiency and a markedly reduced level of rolling resistance brought about by the ability to utilize all modern tires.
Thru-Axle Disc Brakes
When it comes to triathlon bikes, disc brakes are the new standard in control, confidence, and handling. In crafting a replacement for the legendary IA, Felt engineers knew that the next generation would include disc brakes, that it must exceed the performance capabilities of its predecessor, and, like all Felt bikes, that it would be free of gimmicks, with its function always dictating its form.
Disc brakes are the best means of controlling a bicycle. Period. They provide more stopping power, greater modulation and more consistent performance than rim brakes. Plus, they perform better in adverse weather conditions. Wherever the road takes you, and in whatever conditions you find yourself, the disc brake-equipped IA gives you the confidence to tackle any descent.
To accommodate the added stopping forces provided by disc brakes, the IA Disc features thru-axles on both the front (12mm x 100mm) and rear (12mm x 142mm) dropouts, rather than traditional quick-release skewers. The thru-axle is a proven design that provides a more secure interface between the bicycle frame and the wheel, which also enhances the stiffness of the frame-and-wheel connection.
A stiffer interface at the rear of the bike provides noticeably crisper and quicker shifting with a fully functional and tuned drivetrain, while the front-end of the bike will sport increased handling prowess and a more predictable yet livelier steering feel. The IA Disc also includes a proprietary convenience feature in the form of a custom, flush-integrated, and removable thru-axle.
Better Tire Clearance
The IA Disc features more clearance than any previous Felt triathlon bike, meaning that it can accommodate tires up to size 28mm on select rims, per ISO standards.
Improved Stiffness and Ride Quality
Rather than slapping on a set of disc brakes to the previous generation IA and calling it a day, Felt engineers created an all-new beast in the IA Disc. While it retains the now instantly recognizable silhouette of one of the winningest and most popular triathlon bikes of all time, a closer inspection reveals key differences.
A brand-new fork sits front and center, which was necessary to handle the added stopping force of disc brakes, but also features a refined level of compliance to maximize ride quality, stability, and steering response. The IA
Disc also features a simplified and better-fitting single headtube cover for easier maintenance and adjustability compared to its predecessor.
The IA Disc also sports an all-new rear triangle that is built around the bike’s disc-brake and thru-axle system. Not only does this design provide the stiffness needed to handle the stopping power of disc brakes, but it also ensures crisper shifting with a properly dialed-in drivetrain, and maximizes pedal efficiency by transferring all of the rider’s power to the rear wheel so no watt is ever wasted.
Improved Carbon Layup
In trying to improve upon the performance of the legendary IA triathlon bike, Felt engineers revisited the core element of the chassis: its carbon fiber construction. Drawing on decades of carbon fiber innovation, they tested the merits of several new layups in conjunction with Felt’s industry-leading construction methods in order to ensure that the IA Disc would not only be as aerodynamic as its predecessor, but remain at the same impressively low weight and retain its incredible ride quality.
As such, the IA Disc features the most refined materials selection of any Felt triathlon bike, ever. Like most of Felt’s high-end race bikes, the IA Disc features TeXtreme® carbon fiber, a material manufactured by Sweden-based Oxeon. Utilized in leading-edge aerospace equipment, the patented Spread Tow fabric consists of flat tapes instead of yarns of fiber. With Spread Tow fabric, more fibers can be packed into a given area than traditional yarn. This means that more fiber and less resin are used for a lighter and stiffer lay-up.
When this tape is woven into fabric, less crimping or damage occurs, allowing for higher modulus carbon to be used in the fabric. Felt uses TeXtreme® to replace the heavier base structure of unidirectional carbon fiber. Any time you have off-axis plies, two layers of unidirectional material are needed. Now, because of TeXtreme®, both plies can be integrated into a single layer, resulting in half the weight while retaining the needed balance of structure.
The IA Disc comes equipped with Felt’s latest top tube storage solution, the integrated CALpac 2.0. This storage unit features ample space for all of the riding essentials to which a rider needs quick and easy access.
Likewise, the IA Disc includes the BTSpac storage device, located behind the seat tube. This unit is ideal for a flat tire repair kit and/or on-the-go tool kit, or any other items that a rider doesn’t require while pedaling on the bike. It’s shape has been aerodynamically optimized for the IA Disc, meaning that it creates no penalty in terms of aerodynamic drag. It can also be easily removed via two hidden bolts.
Geometry and Handling
The IA Disc features the very same tried-and-true geometry that has propelled Felt riders to the top step of the podium for over five years, which includes an undefeated run of five straight Kona World Championship wins. No other triathlon bike rides like the IA, and you’ll feel the difference from the very first pedal stroke thanks to its impeccable steering response for technical corners and stable handling for all-out, sustained efforts in the aerobars.