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Felt VR clearance and opinions

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Felt VR clearance and opinions

Old 05-20-20, 10:44 AM
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jwls
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Felt VR tire clearance and opinions

I am looking at the Felt VR options an my LBS and was wondering what real world experience with tire clearance is? The guy at my LBS eyeballed and said slick 35s. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has a VR and what tires you're successfully running.

I am also wondering - step up to Carbon?

19 VR30 - 105/hyd ($1910 Cdn)
19 VR5 - carbon/105/hyd ($2550)

I think the 2020 models are the better looking (VR40, VR Adv 105), but really feel the choice for me is between the '19 models (sale pricing). I have no experience on carbon - is it worth the $ to upgrade? Aside from Carbon they have different cranksets (FSA Omega / Gossamer Pro), Front derailleur clamp vs braze on, different tires.

Other bike options available tend more towards gravel/cross (Cube Nuroad Pro and Race, Caadx 105, Diverge E5 Comp). In which case I would ultimately run two wheelsets.

I left buying a new bike to this spring, and have been faced with store closures (now reopening, however no test rides) and limited bike selection. I ride mostly for fitness (primarily paved, but often very poor shape/rough/expansion cracks etc), and hope to join a weekly womens road ride. On the other hand from our house we have access to a maintained gravel path that goes around our little city and ends near a couple of local snack shack institutions. (from home 45km one way, or drive to trail for 37kms). My husband is hoping to pick up a new gravel bike and I'd like to join him on this route on week-ends. I took my current bike (25s) on a couple kms of the path last night. I wouldn't do the entire trail, but watching the road I made out just fine.

Last edited by jwls; 05-20-20 at 12:26 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 05-21-20, 06:47 AM
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powermatt99
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Felt says 30 if you maintain the 6mm clearance on each side. The space between the stays is 42mm. If you try to squeeze anything larger than 30, you might run in to warranty issues.
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Old 05-21-20, 02:35 PM
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Good thoughts on warranty - Thanks!
I came into this with the idea I wanted a minimum clearance of 32mm - hoping that would get me the comfort to ride longer distances on the gravel path with hubby. (I haven't tried 32s so that's a bit of a guess I suppose). I would run 28's if I join the womens road group here, and for general solo fitness rides - longer gravel path rides with hubby would be likely every other week if I'm realistic about schedule and weather. The VR series is what my shop recommended for me when I described what I was looking for and had expressed interest in the Avail AR. They look good, are available, but I feel I may want more clearance.
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Old 05-21-20, 04:54 PM
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I have the carbon VR5 and it is plenty comfy on 28s. It's not quite as comfy as my 501 steel Trek 520 on 28s but it's pretty close. I ride mostly in the city on roads pockmarked by a long winter and rambunctious snow plowing.
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Old 05-21-20, 11:59 PM
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We've got a VR6 (Tiagra) and i've been pretty impressed for the price-point (2018 model, it was on sale). Overall, decent value, the wheelset is heavy and so is the crank, but expected at the price, especially on a Tiagra-level bike. Bike was made in Taiwan with a very nicely finished frame, hydro-brakes, and Shimano everything minus the crank. At some point, we might upgrade the crank and wheels, but no need right now. Smooth ride out of the box. The 28mm tires are fine to start with, will probably upgrade to a better tire but keep the 28mm size as it's more than adequate. I'm used to riding 23mm, so take my 28mm recommendation with a grain of salt.

The Carbon frame is probably slightly lighter, but more importantly should damp more of the vibrations. On the downside, get into a really bad crash and the frame is toast. If I remember correctly, the Alu frame top out with the 105 model, while the carbon models at least from 2018 or 2019 all appear to use the same from from the VR6 all the way up the chain.

If you're looking at endurance type bikes, have you also considered the Cervelo C2 or C3? The C3 starts at Ultegra and the C2 is 105. It's a much more expensive bike, but dealers have been clearing out 2018 and 2019 models. You quoted pricing in CAD, so wondering if Cervelo might have more CAD friendly pricing just because they're originally a Canadian company (so is Argon18 I believe, but haven't looked at their lineup in a while).

Piermont Bike (in NY and longtime eBay seller) has quite a few clearance Felt VR models, but only in small sizes mostly. Not sure if they ship to Canada, but if you happen to need a smaller size, it might be a viable option.
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Old 05-22-20, 04:42 AM
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I have a 2017 VR30 (I don't think frame design/geometry has changed since the introduction of the VR range) and tried knobbly 38mm gravel tyres and no go, they rubbed both sides. Slick 35s would be as big as you'd get on it I reckon. I have 28mm Michelin Power Endurance tyres and latex tubes on it at the moment. I may go up to 32mm next time but for now 28's will do and are really plush/comfortable. .

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Old 05-22-20, 08:10 AM
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Thanks for the replies. It's great to hear real world experience with the bike. As someone with limited experience, and a current bike maxing out at 25mm, how do 30mm fare on maintained gravel paths (no large rocks etc)? I know growing up there was a period of time I took an old 10 speed riding on anything, but I'm hoping to go a little farther a little more comfortably. I think it makes sense to skew the bike towards road riding if I'm trying to stick with 1 bike. I see primarily the one gravel path I am likely to regularly ride. And if I end up riding that much that it's not working out for me, I petition hubby for N+1 lol. And he would probably be doing the same.

Thanks for the recommendation of a C2/C3. I have found a C2 in the city with a sale price of $3200 (I think 2019, they don't list model years). Not sure I want to take the jump up in price. I'm looking for a 54 - which is common and means shop get a high number of bikes in that size, but is also common and means there seem to be few left these days. Buying out of the US doesn't make sense when I factor in exchange and a minimum duty to bring it in of 13%.

We are having some changes to our restrictions starting today, so I will be calling the shop to see if there policy on test rides is changing.
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Old 05-22-20, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by intence View Post
The Carbon frame is probably slightly lighter, but more importantly should damp more of the vibrations. On the downside, get into a really bad crash and the frame is toast. If I remember correctly, the Alu frame top out with the 105 model, while the carbon models at least from 2018 or 2019 all appear to use the same from from the VR6 all the way up the chain.
According to my LBS website the 2019 VR5 has "UHC Performance Carbon Fibre" and the 2019 VR3 or 2020 VR Advanced 105 have "UHC Advanced + TexTreme Carbon Fibre" My googling has Felt saying UHC Advanced frames are 20% lighter then UHC Performance frames. Maybe I need the VR Advanced 105 lol.
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Old 05-22-20, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jwls View Post
According to my LBS website the 2019 VR5 has "UHC Performance Carbon Fibre" and the 2019 VR3 or 2020 VR Advanced 105 have "UHC Advanced + TexTreme Carbon Fibre" My googling has Felt saying UHC Advanced frames are 20% lighter then UHC Performance frames. Maybe I need the VR Advanced 105 lol.
Do you race?
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Old 05-22-20, 10:08 AM
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No, and no plans to. So I don't think that difference matters to me. But the colours one step up look nice lol.
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Old 05-22-20, 11:10 AM
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Start a Felt and use the leftover cash to start a fund for the gravel bike you will buy next season.
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Old 05-22-20, 10:41 PM
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Thanks for the help and information. I picked up the VR5 today. A quick spin locally before I had to run was great. I need to swap my saddle onto the bike and still need to pick up bottle cages. Might put what I have on and go for a morning ride.
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