THE ALL-NEW AR.
BETTER. NOT JUST FASTER.  

The new AR is the fastest road bike we’ve ever created. Yes, it’s insanely aerodynamic—the result of the most taxing development process in our history—but it also features our most sophisticated carbon frame ever, disc brakes, impeccable handling, and a ride quality that sets a new standard for aero road performance. So it’s not just faster. It’s better in every way possible.

THE ALL-NEW AR

The all-new AR is the bike you need if speed inspires and delights you. Whether you are in the hunt for PRs, segments, or Olympic gold, the AR is built to get you to your finish line. Not just faster but better in every way, the new AR is designed with performance in mind. We know that going fast isn't only about cheating the wind—though the AR doesn't disappoint on that front. It's also about keeping yourself fresher and more composed than the competition. This is why we built the new AR from scratch, starting with a blank slate. We took the performance data from the existing AR, knowing just how fast it is and that it remains a reference point for racers and much of the cycling industry. But, on top of this, we elevated the importance of ride quality and handling to ensure that the total package is simply the fastest and best aero road bike we've ever designed.

ORIGINS

When it was released over 10 years ago, the original AR platform emerged as a classic aero road bike, one that united traditional drop-bar manners and ease-of-use with top aerodynamic efficiency. With more than three decades of developing the world’s winningest track, time trial, and triathlon rigs, we rely on our aero experience to make the fastest bikes. The second-generation AR platform then set the standard for what a carbon fiber aero road bike could offer professional racers and dedicated enthusiasts, alike. Smooth and confidence-inspiring, the AR proved the ideal machine for crit racers, stage hunters, and, of course, breakaway artists. It became the benchmark for all other brands to chase. And, to this day, the AR has retained its position near the top in aerodynamic tests conducted by competing brands and neutral data-gathering experts, alike, all while being a relatively mature platform. With our sights set on creating a new AR, we knew had an already high bar to reach. But we're proud to say that in the all-new AR, we've created a faster, better bike that cheats the wind and rides better than ever before.

AERODYNAMICS

The aero paradigm has evolved. Gone are the elongated, deep-section, teardrop shapes and hard edges that were previously thought to be the most efficient at slicing through the wind. The latest industry research and theories have shifted aero bike development towards truncated, squared-off profiles (sometimes referred to as "Kammtail" designs) that have been optimized for real-world riding conditions. As a result, thoughtfully designed bikes will perform better during the actual riding and racing conditions that cyclists encounter most often. As the performance benefits of this new paradigm have taken hold, we've seen a validation of the speed gains ourselves. Our development of the new AR followed these theoretical models and industry improvements with more deliberate, hands-on efforts to advance our own platform.

Using advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software, our engineers created hundreds of virtual permutations of new airfoil shapes and designs and rigorously tested their merits over the course of several years. At the same time, they evaluated the structural characteristics of each potential airfoil design and accompanying transition to other frame parts, paying particular attention to the projected stiffness and ride quality outputs via finite element analysis (FEA) software. This is a holistic process that looks at the complete puzzle of seamlessly melding bicycle speed and rider performance. While it is meant to develop the most aero profiles, the process isn't myopic nor single-minded. This is where the additional study and research pays off as the results consider both a bike’s ability to cut through the wind and how it will utilize every watt of its rider’s power. In other words, this is how you create the world’s fastest bike.

To validate the results of these new virtual aerodynamic creations, our engineers would routinely rapid-prototype physical models and visit our favorite proving ground, the wind tunnel, to test the merits of various iterations of the AR in the tangible realm. And to truly learn how each prototype would perform across a wide spectrum of real-world riding conditions (and, let’s be honest, have some fun while we’re at it), we test-rode iterative versions to get a feel for acceleration, handling, compliance, and braking.

PATENTED "FISH LIPS" DESIGN OPTIMIZES AIRFLOW

Okay, so it's a funny name. But what it does is seriously cool. With a flared rear to the seat tube cut-out area, airflow off of the seat tube and onto the rear tire and wheel has been optimized for wider rims. And, with our patented design, the rider gets the benefit whether he or she is running 23mm, 25mm, or even 30mm tires.

INTEGRATED CHAIN CATCHER

For added security, we've built a nifty chain catcher directly into the frame so you can keep the speed going without mechanical worries.

WHAT IS YAW & WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

It is a common misconception that yaw angle is the angle between a cyclist’s direction of travel and the ambient wind direction (i.e. the direction from which the wind comes from and impacts the cyclist). However, “yaw angle” is actually defined as follows: The angle between a cyclist’s direction of motion and the apparent wind direction (aka, “relative wind vector,” or the combination of rider speed and the ambient wind direction). Recent studies have shown that cyclists spend the majority of their time riding at low yaw angles. However, the term “low yaw” is relative. So for clarity, based on our research and a survey of other independent studies, we consider the range of yaw angles that can most accurately be defined as “low yaw” to be -10 to 10 degrees. This information was the basis for our developing our new airfoil paradigm, which led to the creation of the new AR.

AERODYNAMIC OPTIMIZATION : OBJECTIVE, UNWEIGHTED RESULTS

In the interest of transparency, we present the following data. These percentages are unweighted comparisons between the drag coefficients (i.e. aerodynamic efficiencies) of the new AR and the previous generation AR, conducted by independent operators of the world-renowned San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel.

The results were as follows:

0 degrees = 9.4% Faster*
-2.5 to 2.5 degrees = 7.0% Faster
-5.0 to 5.0 degrees = 5.2% Faster
-7.5 to 7.5 degrees = 3.2% Faster
-10 to 10 degrees = 0.7% Faster*
“Faster” is defined as more aerodynamically efficient than the previous generation Felt AR.

Based on the findings of our wind tunnel test results, the new AR is significantly faster than the previous generation AR at the ranges of yaw listed above. These data are incredibly significant, because contemporary research studies show that a cyclist spends the vast majority of his or her time (~90%) riding at yaw angles less than 10 degrees (positive or negative). Note that this is a conservative estimate, as most studies focus on the efforts of an individual cyclist riding alone, such as during a solo training scenario, time trial effort, or when a cyclist is attacking in a race and is “off the front.” It’s fair to say that a cyclist riding in a large pack of other cyclists, or peloton, could see upwards of 95-99% of their time spent at yaw angles of less than +-10 degrees.

DISC BRAKES & THRU-AXLES

Disc brakes are found on the entire Felt road line-up. Our all-around road bike model (FR series), our cyclocross race bike (FX series), and even our flagship triathlon model (IA series)—all of which have won World Championships in recent seasons—feature disc brakes. Through testing and experience, we know that disc brakes can win races on the biggest stage. So from the beginning of the AR project we knew that the next-generation bike would have disc brakes exclusively.

On road bikes, disc brakes allow you to have more control over technical roads, to brake later into corners and carry more speed, and to perform in every type of weather condition, while always offering maximum control and confidence. Quite simply, over the course of a ride, disc brakes are faster due to all of this increased performance. From an aero standpoint, disc brakes can often be less aerodynamic than rim brakes on a road bike. So, to eclipse that hurdle and not only make the newest AR ride better, accelerate more rapidly, and stop with greater control, but also make it more aerodynamically efficient, we optimized the AR frame and fork development to include the use of disc brakes from the outset. We didn't just add disc brakes to a frame. We incorporated disc brakes as part of the frame's aero profile. It all came down to embracing the new paradigm of airfoil development and committing to a painstaking development process of optimizing how those airfoils interact across the whole of the bicycle. What you see is what you get: No gimmicks, just pure speed and function.

SEAMLESS THRU-AXLES

While a thru-axle system is a given on modern disc brakes, its benefit isn't just the additional security of keeping the wheel in place. It translates to a better road feel, and a sense that you can really rail it on the bike. For those who've ridden disc-brake equipped bikes with thru-axles, you'll understand that the added stiffness of a thru-axle helps make the bike feel exceptionally planted during out-of-the-saddle efforts, especially uphill. On our new AR, we took the added step of countersinking the front and rear dropouts and creating custom thru-axles with a flush-mount design. This ensures that there's no random edge to catch the wind and decrease aero efficiency even the slightest bit. It's a relatively small detail, but we always sweat the details.


COCKPIT & STEERING / HANDLING

While fully hidden cable routing systems can appear aesthetically minimal when installed in a precise configuration, a truly closed-off system carries with it several drawbacks. Chief among these is a significantly more tedious and time-consuming maintenance process. It also makes the bike more difficult to easily break down for travel. And, due to inherent space constraints, many fully hidden systems can cause excessive wear and tear on cables and housing if not perfectly set up by an expert mechanic. Likewise, one-piece handlebar-and-stem configurations limit a rider’s ability to dial-in their preferred body position, as well as fine-tune their favored steering interface. With the AR’s tried-and-true system, riders have the option of using our semi-integrated stem (in lengths from 80mm to 140mm) or their favorite stem in whatever material and length they prefer, as well as their preferred handlebar in a myriad of materials, shapes, and sizes.

 

But we still wanted to bring something special to the new AR’s cockpit. So we designed a brand-new and unique stem. Its oversized shape ensures the symbiotic, two-way transfer of road feedback to the rider’s hands and every last bit of rider power and torque to the road. Simply put, this stem was built for the world’s most powerful sprinters. It also allowed us to develop a method of running cables, wires, and hoses in an aesthetically clean way, while also tucking them away to further improve aerodynamic gains, and to make mechanical work nearly as user-friendly as a traditional-style stem. Best of all, the proprietary stem adds a tremendous amount to the AR’s incredible handling prowess. The bike corners like a dream with a light steering feel and a firmly planted sensation that makes you feel like you’re riding on rails. Fast yet functional—that’s what racers require.

SEATPOST & RIDE QUALITY

We pioneered a unique seatpost design for the previous-generation AR, and it offered such a high level of aerodynamic efficiency and a superb ride quality that we used it as a basis for our latest World Championship-winning triathlon bike. For our new AR, our engineering team fine-tuned the post's shape as part of the complete airfoil project. In addition to a more aero profile the post still features the signature split design that serves three unique functions.

One, it allows for an aerodynamically optimized interface between the post and the frame’s seat tube junction; this means no extraneous clamps. Two, it allows the two halves of the post to flex and shear independently of one another, which increases overall rider comfort by mitigating the effects of high-frequency chatter and low-frequency big hits from making their way from the road to the rider. To ensure optimal ride quality, we created a co-molded insert that lives within the junction of the seatpost and seat tube, giving the entire interface added compliance and a super tuned ride. Third, the slotted seatpost design allows for the use of a proprietary clamping mechanism that is designed specifically around the unique properties of carbon fiber and intended to ensure maximum reliability. Rather than using a commonplace band clamp-style mechanism that would compress the leading and/or trailing edge(s) of the aero-shaped post, the AR’s system clamps each wall of the post against each inner wall of the seat tube. This not only ensures that the seat tube and seatpost will not be damaged due to unnecessary compression, it also results in a lighter overall setup thanks to the use of thinner carbon walls, as well as a more finely tuned level of compliance for rider comfort.

The new AR’s seatpost provides 112% more flex than the version on the previous-generation AR. Purists will say that an aero race bike shouldn’t be “comfortable.” But we disagree. A modest increase in compliance at the point where the rider rests the majority of his or her body weight makes for a more comfortable ride quality—this means that you can ride harder for longer, and that you’ll be less fatigued when you start your sprint to the finish line.

THE RESULT

Speed and performance and a rig that feels like an extension of the rider. If you got this far in your reading then you want to know all of the technical aspects of your next bike, and you sweat the details as much as we do. That's great! What you now need to do is ride and see for yourself. We'll be along the road with you, hunting KOMs, lining up for the town line sprint, and chasing our very best results together. #FeltFamily