Felt Decree 1 27.5″ Carbon Full Suspension Trail Bike Review
The Felt Decree 1 reviewed here uses the same FAST Suspension design as the Felt Decree 3 we have mentioned before, but the Decree 1 uses higher grade carbon fiber in the frame and offers a higher parts spec overall. The Felt Decree 1 is the second to top-of-the-line trail bike in Felt’s Decree line of mountain bikes and it is a compelling package in the most popular segment of full suspension mountain bikes – highly versatile 27.5” trail bikes.
Felt Decree 1 UHC Advanced + TeXtreme® Carbon Fiber Frame Design
The overall design of the frame on the Felt Decree 1 is the same as the Decree 3. However, the full carbon fiber frame on the Decree 1 uses higher grade UHC Advanced + TeXtreme® carbon fiber. The TeXtreme carbon adds a distinctive checkerboard weave appearance to the frame, but it is not just a cosmetic addition. This distinctive carbon fiber has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than the carbon fiber used on the Decree 3, so the frame is both lighter and stronger and the unique look is an added bonus.
We like that the 73mm wide bottom bracket found on the Felt Decree 1 is of the standard threaded variety, so there will be less potential for creaks, and bearing life should be longer than with a BB30 or PF30 design. While the Felt Decree 1 comes from the factory with a 1X11 drivetrain, the seat tube is oversized for strength, taking a 30.9 mm seatpost and the frame has provisions for installing a front derailleur if desired. The rear triangle of the bike is standard 142mm wide, taking a 12mm Syntace-style thru axle. While the frame does not use BOOST spacing on the rear triangle, Felt makes a good argument that the wheel strength benefits from BOOST are negligible on a bike like the Decree.
All cabling and hoses for the rear brake, rear derailleur, front derailleur if one is installed, and the dropper seatpost are routed inside the frame’s main triangle. As the rear triangle is not an integral part of the front triangle, the rear brake hose and rear derailleur cable housing exit the frame just in front of the bottom bracket and are routed outside the frame, under the bottom bracket. They then re-enter then chainstays and exit just in front of the rear derailleur and rear brake caliper.
Felt Decree 1 FAST Suspension Design
The rear suspension has the new Felt Active Stay Technology (FAST) design. I briefly described this design in the previous discussion of the Decree 3, but the basics of FAST are worth repeating. Unlike similar designs, there is no pivot where the seat stays meet the chain stays, as is typical with most rear suspension designs. Instead, the slightly arched seat stays are designed to flex slightly up or down, depending on whether the rear suspension is in compression or extension. The spring-type force that is stored in the seat stays by this flexing motion helps the shock return to its neutral, 30% sag position recommended by Felt. The results is a more responsive suspension that is also more stable and with less pedal induced bobbing. As an added benefit, the elimination of the rear pivot reduces overall frame weight and the Felt Decree 1 is a light bike for its range of travel at 25 lbs. 12 oz in the size Large we weighed.
The Felt Decree 1’s rear suspension also has the same frame geometry adjustability feature as described in the Felt Decree 3. There is a reversible insert at the seatstay/upper rocker link pivot. By switching this insert, the bottom bracket height can be changed by 10mm, from 340mm to 350mm, and the headtube angle is changed by .8 degree, from 66.5 degrees to 67.3 degrees. This allows the bike to be tailored to the rider’s specific handling and stability needs and the change is simple, requiring only a 5mm socket and (ideally) a torque wrench that goes to 12Nnm. A bike owner with just a modicum of mechanical skill can easily change this back and forth, depending on the terrain of the day’s ride.
Like all suspension designs, proper set-up of the suspension for the rider’s individual use, weight and riding style is crucial to how well the system works. At Fit Werx, we work with rider’s at the time of purchase on these crucial suspension settings to get you a good baseline from day one, thus allowing the suspension system to work as designed for you.
Felt Decree 1 Rock Shox Suspension Front and Rear
The front suspension is handled by the excellent Rock Shox Pike RC Solo Air suspension fork, offering 150mm of travel. The fork uses “Bottomless Tokens” for tuning. By adding or removing tokens, the rider can customize the performance of the air spring.
The rear is controlled by a Rock Shox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir shock absorber with 140mm of travel. The rear shock offers three choices of compression: open, pedal and lock. Rock Shock’s Rapid Recovery System is designed to let the shock recover faster so that the wheel tracks better. This is a good compliment to Felt’s FAST design, which further aids in shock recovery. The result is a tunable system that has the ability to offer very fast shock action, keeping tire in contact with the ground, for better control.
Felt Decree 1 SRAM X0 Component Group
The Felt Decree 1 comes primarily equipped with SRAM’s X0 1X11 group which offers much of the performance and light weight of the top of the line XX1 components for a fair amount less money. The 1X XO crankset is mounted with a 32 tooth chainring, turning through SRAM threaded bearing cups and it is attached to a 11-42 SRAM XG1175 cassette driven by a SRAM X1 chain. Nothing to complain about here when it comes to value or performance.
Braking duties are handled by the SRAM Guide RSC brake levers and the Guide RSC dual piston brake calipers. The Guide RSC system is SRAM’s most adjustable system offering lever travel and reach adjustment. The SRAM Centerline front rotor is 180mm in diameter, and the rear is 160mm. The brake performance offers excellent stopping power and lever feel; SRAM’s Guide brakes can now more than hold their own when compared to Shimano’s offerings and we like seeing the complete SRAM spec on the Felt Decree 1 compared to the mix of Shimano and SRAM many companies have gravitated.
The dropper seatpost on the Felt Decree 1 is the Rock Shox Reverb Stealth hydraulic seatpost, one of the best dropper posts on the market. The dropper post allows you the rider to adjust your saddle height to specific trail conditions, on the fly, with just the press of the bar-mounted switch.
Other ancillary items on the Felt Decree 1 include a cockpit with Felt’s alloy forged stem and, in keeping with the current trend towards wider handlebars, the carbon fiber flat top handlebars are 760mm wide, with a rise of 8mm and a sweep of 9 degrees. The saddle is a WTB Volt Race.
Felt Decree 1 DT Swiss M1800 Wheels
The 27.5″ wheelset on the Felt Decree 1 has DT Swiss M1800 Spline rims mounted to DT Swiss 350 hubs. The alloy rims are tubeless ready, with an internal width of 22.5 mm and the front wheel has a 15 mm thru axle, while the rear is 12mm. The DT Champion straight-pull spokes are laced 3 cross both front and rear for strength, and the straight pull is designed to make the wheels as responsive as possible. The tires on the Felt Decree 1 are the latest (and nicely improved version) of the Nobby Nic’s from Schwalbe in 27.5″ x 2.25″.
While the DT M1800 is not about to go head to head with an Enve M50 or an Industry Nine, it is a true bargain in the best sense of the word as it offers a competitive platform to many wheels that cost up to double what they run. The DT M1800 spec on the Felt Decree 1 is a smart one that keeps the weight in check while providing a very reputable wheel while keeping the overall price of the bike in mind.
Felt Decree 1 Weight
The Decree 1, in a Large (20″), weighed 25lbs. 12oz. (11.67 kg). This is a great weight for a full suspension bike with 150/140mm travel – making it lighter than many competing products at its price point.
Felt Decree 1 Frame Geometry, Sizing & Price
The Felt Decree 1, like the entire Decree line, is available in four sizes: Small (16”), Medium (18”), Large (20”), Extra Large (22″). We’re happy to help with sizing and it is important to remember that even with mountain bikes, not all frame designs fit all riders, so taking a Rider Matched approach is still important. Contact us and we can use your fit information or schedule a fit to find out how well the Felt Decree 1 works for you.
The price of the complete built ’16 Felt Decree 1 as spec’d from the factory is $6,499. However, if you want to use a different front fork, or different components, the frame is available for $3,000, so we can work to build a Decree 1 however you like and to suit your needs ideally.
How Does the Felt Decree 1 Ride?
Seeing as it is February in Vermont, we do not have much time on the Felt Decree design. However, the Decree is a 27.5” longer travel derivative of the 29” wheel Felt Edict design that has received great accolades and has proven itself to be one the lightest, best climbing XC full suspension designs on the market. Adding some travel and keeping weight down on the Decree preserves these great traits of the Edict while allowing for downhill escapades and tighter trails to be even better. 27.5” wheels have become very popular for many of our trails and riders. The Felt Decree 1 is very well positioned to meet many rider’s needs well as it offers 27.5” wheels, lightweight, plenty of travel and a really strong spec for the money. This all makes the Felt Decree one of the best “one bike” MTB platforms one could own for many New England trails and riders.
Contact us to talk more about a Felt Decree or to arrange a demo.