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Inside Triathlon Archives: A Look At The 2011 Felt DA

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Dec 19, 2011
  • Updated Jun 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM UTC

Fit

The DA’s stack and reach values—its frame fit specifications—are moderately aggressive as compared to other tri bikes. This foundation allows for a fully rotated triathlon position but doesn’t require a position too demanding for most triathletes. The frame’s fit—stack and reach—is only one component of the DA’s complete bike fit.

A bike with a traditional front end has headset spacers and stem options that can be swapped to accommodate a wide range of fits. The Bayonet III system replaces the headset spacers and stem with a single, rotatable extension to connect the bars to the frame. This unique attachment system reduces the bike’s range of fit adjustment when compared to a standard front end, but still offers substantial adjustability. With the shortest extension piece, the DA’s aerobar can be positioned like the bike is spec’d with a 96mm stem positioned between 1 and 38 degrees above zero. The aerobar attachment piece can be swapped for a longer version, but it cannot be shrunk.

The Devox aerobars provide ample extension reach adjustability, but the pads themselves cannot be drawn back to the rider dramatically. The bars do offer the ability to fine-tune the elbow pad reach, and they can be raised substantially. The Bayonet III and Devox bars create a wide range of adjustability, but they struggle to accommodate a short reach distance from the rider to the aerobars or a low stack height to the top of the bars.

Aerodynamic Design

Every bike company wins its own wind tunnel test. I have never seen a piece of wind tunnel data published by a bike maker that shows a competitor’s bike to be superior to its own. Although it is of course impossible for multiple bikes to have the lowest drag coefficient, test conditions can be set to favor one bike over another. This ability to manipulate the results of a wind tunnel test makes it unwise to put too much stock in a manufacturer-funded wind tunnel test stating that it has the “world’s fastest bike.” A bike brand comparing two if its own products, however, carries more credibility. Instead of stacking the DA up against high-end tri bikes from other manufacturers, Felt compared the 2011 DA to its predecessor. The 2011 DA creates roughly 10 to 15 percent less aerodynamic drag than the 2010 version, depending on the yaw angle, according to the test published by Felt.

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Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at Ahersh@competitorgroup.com.

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