Felt announced an all-new AR aero road bike for 2020. Said to be their fastest-ever road offering, the bike adds disc brakes and generous 30mm tire clearance. A new seatpost design boasts a 112% increase in compliance, while tube shape improvements speed up the frame by 9.4% at zero degrees of yaw.
2020 Felt AR carbon aero road bike
It’s been over six years since the introduction of the last AR, and Felt went back to the drawing board for the new model. The aero arms race continues, and Felt sought to improve their numbers all around, focusing specifically on low yaw angles (more detail on this later). And of course, everything new comes with disc brakes these days…
…and Felt said that riders of the previous AR demanded them. In an effort to optimize aerodynamics, the thru axles are countersunk fitting flush with the outside of the frame and fork.
Felt noted that the tube shapes are designed around newer aerodynamic theories. The old theory stated that yaw angles of over 10 degrees were common, while the new theory says that the majority of riding is done under 10 degrees – and often close to zero.
Felt provided the following drag comparisons between the old and new AR:
- 9.4% faster at 0 degrees
- 7.0% faster at -2.5 to 2.5 degrees
- 5.2% faster at -5.0 to 5.0 degrees
- 3.2% faster at -7.5 to 7.5 degrees
- 0.7% faster at -10 to 10 degrees
- 1.4% faster in overall conditions*
* “A weighted calculation that describes the distribution of time a cyclist travels aboard a road bike at specific ranges of yaw. We weight this as 90% of the cyclist’s time is spent riding between -10 and 10 degrees of yaw, and the remaining 10% of time is spent riding between both -20 to -10 degrees and 20 to 10 degrees of yaw. Utilizing this 90/10 distribution to weight the time spent riding within and beyond the range of +-10 degrees, respectively, was determined due to a variety of studies that have validated its veracity.”
Felt continues their use of TeXtreme carbon construction for 2020, and provided the following claims for stiffness:
- 11% improvement in lateral head tube stiffness
- 21% improvement in lateral stiffness of fork
- 15% improvement in torsional stiffness of fork
- 14% improvement in BB pedaling stiffness
Despite the increase in frame stiffness, Felt reports a substantial improvement in ride comfort, due to a new seatpost design. The post itself it split into two halves that behave like leaf springs, and are surrounded by a co-molded plastic/rubber sleeve. In total, the system is said to provide 112% more deflection than the previous AR. The clamping mechanism is reversible, allowing for 0 or 20 millimeters of offset.
Up front, the new AR uses what Felt is calling a semi-integrated design, with cables routed under and through the stem. The stem cam be removed without cutting the cables, and is available in 90 – 140mm lengths.
The full carbon stem includes a faceplate that’s designed for use with aftermarket computer mounts. If you don’t like the stock stem, Felt cites that you have the option to run a standard stem and headset spacers.
The bike includes a proprietary chain catcher that’s designed to keep the chain from falling off the inner chainring.
The new AR is offered in six sizes, all using 700c wheels.
Spec & Pricing
The AR is currently offered in two build levels, plus a frameset option. They expect to release FRD-level complete bikes and frames in Spring 2020.
The AR Advanced Ultegra Di2 ($6,499, 18.2 lbs) includes Reynolds AR58 wheels and Continental GP5000 folding tires.
The AR Advanced Ultegra ($4,999, 18.3 lbs) keeps the same wheels and tires, but opts for a mechanical drivetrain.
The AR Advanced Frame Kit ($3,499, 5.2 lbs) includes the frame, fork, headset, seatpost, and integrated chain catcher.
The 2020 Felt AR is available now, and includes a lifetime frameset warranty for the original owner.