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Felt’s new track bike flips bike design on its head

Jordan Gibbons
20 May 2016

Felt has used science to break all bike design convention.

Have you spotted it yet? It took us a while. There are some conventions to bicycle design that everyone sticks to: pedals thread to the front, disc brakes go on the left and the drive train goes on the right. Except Felt, because it decided to do away with convention and place the drivetrain of the new TA FRD USA track bike on the left. What would drive the engineers to such heresy? Science.

Felt claims that the aerodynamics of a bike are such that they are faster when the airflow is across the drive-side of the bike. Since you only ride counter-clockwise on a track, or left, it means the airflow is always hitting the non-drive side of the bike, so Felt has switched it. It’s also claimed to improve the handling, as the weightier portion of the bike is now inside the corner. In fact, Felt hasn’t stopped the asymmetry there.

The tube shapes of the entire bike have been reshaped for air coming from the left hand side of the bike, while the HED wheels have also been custom-made to match the frame. So the big questions are: does it work, and why hasn’t it been done before? Well Team USA will be riding them at the Rio Olympics, so the proof will be in the racing.

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