BIKE TEST: Felt V100 Adventure Road Bike

With a catalog filled with everything from road, mountain, cyclocross, track, triathlon, cruiser and BMX bikes, it came as no surprise when Felt added the V Series of adventure road bikes to its lineup last year. And its popularity has seen the V Series continue into the 2016 model year with the same two builds—the V100 featured here and the Shimano 105-spec’d V85—carrying over. New for 2016 is the addition of a third, higher-end option in the form of the V55, which includes a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes. The V100 is the least expensive option of the trio at a cool $999.

Billed as a “do everything bike that doesn’t stop when the road does,” the V100 features disc brakes for added stopping power, plus clearance for the versatility of selecting from a wide range of rubber, which is a necessity for safe riding on gravel roads or hard-packed dirt paths, as well as plenty of tire choices. The hydroformed, TIG-welded aluminum frame comes in seven sizes and is paired with a carbon fork with a 1 1/8- to 1 1/2-inch tapered steerer. Its collection of tube shapes is fairly standard, with a sloping top tube; relatively thin, curved seatstays; and straight chainstays. There are also rack and fender mounts in order to optimize the V100 for commuting and touring.

The V100 runs with a diverse mix of parts from several brands, centered around an FSA Tempo crankset with Shimano Claris EIGHT-speed shifters. The gearing consisted of an easy-to-spin 50/34 chainring with an 11-32 cassette. Mechanical Tektro Mira disc calipers are used with a 140mm rotor in the rear and a 160mm rotor in the front. The cockpit is made up of Felt’s own items, including an aluminum stem and handlebar combination, as well as a 27.2mm aluminum seatpost capped with an extremely plush Selle Royal Look In Athletic saddle. The handlebar even comes equipped with top-mount Tekro levers for stopping power in an extra hand position. The wheels are also from Felt in the form of a set of 22mm-deep, tubeless-ready aluminum clinchers wrapped in size-32mm Vittoria Zaffiro tires.

Thanks in part to its large, tapered head tube, the V100 sports plenty of front-end stiffness, giving it a solid steering feel that’s a bit on the heavy side compared to other aluminum endurance road bikes we’ve tested. It’s great quality for novice cyclists and those who prefer plenty of handlebar stability, but not ideal for high-speed or technical descents. Pedaling efficiency is satisfactory, meaning that we felt a fair bit of flex at the bottom bracket, but we also recognize that this bike wasn’t designed for criterium sprints.

When it comes to climbing, the V100’s weight becomes immediately apparent, as it’s a fair bit heavier than pretty much every other adventure road bike we’ve tested over the past year, but it’s also the least expensive of the breed that we’ve tested as well. All of the parts including the drivetrain components are highly functional and get the job done—yes, you can find crisper shifting and lighter bits and pieces on other bikes, but those will set you back quite a bit more cash.

In terms of overall ride quality, the V100 is immensely enjoyable. The frame offers as much vertical compliance as any aluminum frame we’ve come across among comparable bikes in the $1000 to $1500 range, and its upright and slack geometry encourages a more relaxed riding position, meaning that the V100 will get you through a long day of riding in comfort.

The V100 wasn’t designed to be condition-specific but rather a highly versatile road bike that can handle pretty much any terrain. We applaud Felt for factoring in a variety of entry-level-friendly spec choices (compact gearing, top mount levers, big tires) that led to an enhanced experience. And in that regard the V100 is terrific, providing an overall ride experience that is more fun than its $999 price tag would imply. The V100 is proof that a good all-around road bike needn’t cost an arm and a leg.

• Stable handling, heavy steering
• Versatility in spades
• A whole lot of bike for the money

Price: $999
Weight: 24.2 pounds
Sizes: 43, 45, 51 (tested), 54, 56, 58, 61cm

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