Bicycle Review: Felt Nine 60 (2014)

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Although the Nine 60 isn’t something new for us, we couldn’t help but wonder if the handful of improvements, including a lower weight and a lower price, made the bike more appealing. Well, do the new components of the Nine 60 enhance its capabilities?

Frame/On the trail

Felt stands for premium bicycles, so expectations are high, and the Nine 60 doesn’t stray from this line. Very nice finishings round up the frame, and the quality of the paint also lives up to the brand’s reputation, even if this meant a few extra grams.

Stiffness remains unchanged, 89.6 Nm/degrees, so the bicycle can easily serve heavier persons. Also, agility is unaltered thanks to the same 71 degrees of the head tube angle, as well as the capacity to provide a good climbing position through the 73 degrees seat tube angle. Subsequently, you won’t get to see the front wheel rise from the ground when riding up steep slopes. Last, but not least, the Nine 60 has a huge advantage in the fact that it’s available in a large variety of sizes, starting from 14 inches, despite the fact it’s a 29er.

Overall, the Nine 60 mountain bike reveals itself to be stable and even more maneuverable than the previous generation, probably due to the wider 720mm handlebar, a simple trick that enhances significantly the rider’s experience. However, the bicycle lacks the feeling of a genuine XC machinery because of the stem’s rise that elevates the handlebar’s height, because of the fork’s limited capabilities, and because of the seat stay’s rack mount that you will very often wipe with your legs.

The frame is also fitted with two water bottle cage mounts, but the one found on the seat tube will not allow the seat post to be fully lowered due to the mounting screws. And, as in the case of the previous Nine 60, you’ll have to carry with you a key if you plan on adjusting your saddle height during riding, as there is not quick release seat clamp.

Specifications

As far as entry-level suspension forks go, the Suntour XCM, with its 100mm of travel and 30mm stanchions, works decently, a word that we couldn’t use for describing the confort it offers or 2.8kg (6.17lbs.) weight.

We can find the same 3×9 drivetrain as we did last time, with the heavy Shimano Acera triple crankset (44/32/22) connected to a 11-34 SRAM cassette, that provides a very helpful set of gear ratios for climbing and even for reaching high speeds on flat terrain. Good performance comes from the Shimano Deore rear derailleur, but we think this only counterbalances the slow action of the front Acera one.

In order to sell the bike for a lower price, Felt needed to cut some costs, and this can be clearly seen in the case of the brakes, the Tektro Draco being replaced with the lower HDC-300. Functioning isn’t that bad, but modulation wasn’t a term that was included in HDC-300’s features, and neither was weight too highly regarded concerning this on/off type of brakes.

However, the wheels seem to save the day. With a weight loss of 400 grams, you can expect to get faster acceleration, and extra grip and rolling speed thanks to the WTB Nano tires and their large side knobs and small center knobs.

Conclusion

With wider bars, Felt Nine 60 is easier to handle when descending, and the lighter wheels increase its overall performance. Combined with the lower price announced for this year, it’s a great option for recreational riding or for taking a shot at a low-level XC race, but Felt should do something about that fork and those brakes.

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