FRD | FELT RACING DEVELOPMENT

WHAT IS “FRD”?

FRD stands for “Felt Racing Development.” It’s more than a fancy acronym, and it represents so much more than only three words can convey. It’s a badge of honor that we bestow upon only the most advanced bicycle framesets that emerge from our laboratory. It’s a declaration that we unshackled our mad scientists and engineering virtuosos to create something unhindered by the expense of materials, unconfined from rushed testing and development timetables, and unrestrained by the limits of what’s come before.

Bicycles emblazoned with the FRD marque are created from a holistic process that focuses on the specific performance needs of athletes in a particular discipline, with research and feedback gleaned from our stable of world-class professional athletes and race teams. For triathletes, this means enduring up to a 112-mile ride in between grueling swim and run splits. For criterium racers, this means powering through a peloton and staying fresh for a finish line sprint. For road racers, this means attacking your rivals up a mountainous climb and extending your gap down a harrowing descent. Felt engineers investigate every racing scenario and decipher how to push a bike to its technological limits in order to maximize the rider’s every watt, reduce every bit of aerodynamic drag, and save every second of time.

"FRD is not one thing for all bikes [...] Each and every FRD-level platform is uniquely designed for riders to achieve maximum performance in their specific application."

WHAT ARE SOME DISTINGUISHING FEATURES OF FRD-LEVEL BIKES?

FRD is not one thing for all bikes. It does not simply mean a different type of carbon fiber, or merely a tweaked set of tube shapes, or enhanced aerodynamic efficiency, or a stealthy new paint job. It can be a combination of all of those things and so much more, depending on the application. An FRD-designated bike can be a stripped-down and further refined version of our most popular road race bike, like the FR FRD. It can be the lightest and most aerodynamic iteration of our six-time Kona-winning triathlon race bike, like the IA FRD. Or it can be a revolutionary superbike project unlike anything the world has ever seen, like the TA FRD track bike.

Each and every FRD-level platform is uniquely designed for riders to achieve maximum performance in their specific application. But there are a few elements shared by many of them. Below is a partial list of features found on various FRD-level bikes. FRD represents all of the blood, sweat, and tears shed by our professional athletes and engineers, alike. So when you see a Felt bike adorned with “FRD,” know that you’re looking at one of the best-performing two-wheeled machines on the planet.

THE WORLD'S FINEST MATERIALS

No expense is spared in sourcing the very best ingredients from the world’s leading carbon and composite developers, including TeXtreme carbon fiber. Many of the materials used on FRD-level bikes aren’t found on any other bikes on the planet.

NON-FRD CARBON LAYUP EXAMPLE

Most of our non-FRD frames consist of around 175 individual carbon pieces, each one precisely tuned to balance a stellar ride quality, superior pedaling stiffness, and low weight. Compare its complexity with an FRD-level frame. (Note that this is an artist’s rendering, and does not reflect an actual carbon layup.)

FRD CARBON LAYUP EXAMPLE

Our FRD-level frames are crafted from around 400 individual carbon pieces. This adds incredible amounts of time, cost, and labor in order to both design and produce a frame like this. But it’s worth it to achieve the lightest, best-handling, and highest-performance bicycle frames in the world. (Note that this is an artist’s rendering, and does not reflect an actual carbon layup.)

CUSTOM CARBON LAY-UPS ENGINEERED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

FRD-level framesets can include over 400 individual pieces of carbon fiber (more than twice the number found on other frames), all of which combine to create a level of performance and a ride quality that far exceeds the sum of its parts. Our engineers develop every frame in-house, at our global headquarters in Southern California. FRD-level carbon lay-ups also require a unique molding process that adds even more time and cost to the finished product, but makes for a frameset that offers even more performance and a better overall riding experience.

NON-FRD CARBON MOLDING PROCESS

The carbon fiber pieces for our non-FRD frames are laid up by the hands of skilled workers. The molding process involves a solid EPS core and a silicone sleeve to create the frame’s shape.

FRD CARBON MOLDING PROCESS

FRD-level frames are also built by hand, but utilize a unique hollow EPS core that molds the carbon fiber with more precision and to tighter tolerances. This means that the frame’s internal structure is identical to the outer structure, which reduces weight and helps the frame realize its full, intended potential.

CUSTOM HOLLOW EPS MOLDS

FRD-level bikes are constructed using custom hollow EPS foam cores. These are more expensive than the more common solid EPS cores utilized in bicycle frame construction, and they’re created from their own CNC’d molds. Hollow core molds allow the molding bladder to press against the EPS core itself (as opposed to a standard-level frame that utilizes a solid EPS core with a silicone sleeve), yielding an internal structure that is identical to the outside structure of the frame, thereby reducing weight from excess internal material. This also yields a frame that more closely behaves as intended from engineering simulations due to its tighter tolerances.

NON-FRD CORE & BLADDER

Once the molding process is complete for a non-FRD frame, workers can quickly and easily remove the solid EPS core from inside the frame with relative ease, as it has remained in a solid piece.

FRD CORE & BLADDER

Because FRD-level frames utilize hollow EPS cores, the final step in the molding process is extremely labor-intensive. This is because workers must spend much more time removing the remnants of the hollow EPS core—around ten times the amount of time! It's worth it, though, to help eke out every ounce of riding performance from the finished FRD-level frame.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL

In part because FRD-level frames utilize hollow EPS cores that require extra time to remove once the carbon molding process finishes, FRD-level frames receive extra time and attention from factory workers. Whereas the finishing process for a standard-level frame can take as little as a few minutes, an FRD-level frame requires well over one hour just to prepare it for the next phases of manufacturing. These working hours add up, both in terms of cost and other resources. But they’re necessary to create the finest bicycle frames in the world.

"FRD represents all of the blood, sweat, and tears shed by our professional athletes and engineers, alike."