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A TK1 FRD build set-up in the wind tunnel for testing.

An early IA prototype being tested in the wind tunnel.

AERODYNAMICS AERODYNAMIC PRINCIPLES


Before delving into the unique ways that Felt has become a leader of aero bikes, its
best to understand a little more about the concept itself. The goal of all aerodynamic
development is to reduce drag.

An object is considered aerodynamic if its shape reduces the drag from air We like to think of aerodynamic efficiency as free speed for the end user.
moving past it when compared to similar objects with similar purpose. If you It is something we put a lot of time, resources, and energy into developing
build a bike that is as light and stiff as your competitors, but make it require and perfecting.
15 less watts to move at the same speed, youve created an aerodynamic
advantage.Felt does just that with its aerodynamic engineering.

AERODYNAMICS 1
UNDERSTANDING DRAG
AND ITS EFFECTS
To understand exactly what drag is, think of a baseball being dropped into a
swimming pool. As soon as the ball hits the water its rate of descent drastically slows.
This is because the water in the pool is taking away energy from the ball, creating
drag on the ball and slowing it down. Air does the same thing when forced to move
around objects such as bikes. When you consider that bike races are often won by
hundredths of a second, the importance of decreasing drag becomes obvious.

Felt athlete Daniela Ryf aboard an IA FRD.

REAL WORLD RESULTS


Aerodynamic bikes that create the least drag are faster and more efficient.
Riders expend less energy on aerodynamic bikes, leaving more gas in the
tank for the race-winning final sprint.

AERODYNAMICS 2
FEA results showing areas of high turbulence.
Various early renderings & sketches of the IA.

Felt engineers spend countless hours researching how frame tubing shapes effect the
movement of air around the frame. Equal attention is paid to the aerodynamic effect
of various components including wheels, brakes, forks, and seat posts, ensuring that
all real world conditions are accounted for in the research and development.

YAW
Felt employs the same big-picture ethos to experimentation with yaw angles. Yaw is
defined as the angle a rider is pedaling into the wind. If there is a direct headwind the
yaw angle is zero. As the wind approaches from one side or the other, that number
begins to increase. Since the yaw angle is seldom a steadfast zero degrees during
any given bike ride, designing a bike to excel in that condition is impractical. Felts
aerodynamic bikes are engineered to be particularly efficient in a range of 5 to15
degrees of yaw, which is far more common for riders to encounter on the road.

AERODYNAMIC DESIGN PROCESS


Felt employs a thoughtful, multi-tiered aerodynamic design process that combines
virtual, wind tunnel, and real world testing. While it requires more time, theres no
arguing with the end results. Anyone who has ridden the Felt IA triathlon bike or AR
road bike already understands the value of this intricate method.

AERODYNAMICS 3
VIRTUAL TESTING & CFD
The Felt aero design process begins in the virtual world with the use of sophisticated
software for Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis. Commonly used in the design
of Formula 1 racecars, racing boats, and the aerospace industry, CFD enables Felt
engineers to analyze complex airflows that create unwanted drag on riders and bikes.
With CFD, Felt engineers can predict how various frame shapes and designs will
perform in real-world wind conditions.
FEA test results on an AR

CFD
Even with this state-of-the-art technology, it is a time consuming process. For each
run, the time investment is at least six-seven hours and up to three days. Custom

CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) is an engineering tool that creates a virtual wind macros allow the software to run unassisted for days for multiple variations. But the

tunnel in the computer. It calculates the finite details as simulated air passes over the output is worth this arduous effort. Using CFD, Felt engineers can examine everything

frame and components. Almost any situation can be analyzed such as the effects of from the effects of various tube shape designs to the results of changing the gap

different yaw angles and wind speed. between the rear tire and the seat tube.

Custom plots and CFD charts allows Felt engineers to look at pressure, velocity,
and turbulence, and then compare those numbers to other variations in design.
In contrast, the wind tunnel provides only one number: total aerodynamic force. In
tandem, CFD and wind tunnel testing provide complimentary data for developing the
most aerodynamic bikes.

AERODYNAMICS 4
CFD test results on an IA.
Felt athlete Mirinda Carfrae completes wind tunnel testing on the IA FRD

WIND TUNNEL PROTOTYPING


The wind tunnel is a vitally important cog in the aero bike design process. Many
companies dont go into the tunnel until a bike is already finished. At that point,
A frame modification is made to an SLA prototype in the wind tunnel.
it becomes just a marketing tool, and not part of the development process.

Felt takes an entirely different approach. After literally hundreds of hours of CFD Instead of wind tunnel tested, Felt aero bikes are wind tunnel developed. Felt
analysis, Felt constructs a 1:1 scale prototype model fully built with components engineers bring prototypes to the wind tunnel, make changes, and then refine the
and then heads to the wind tunnel. There, engineers validate the aerodynamic design before the carbon fiber molds are ever cut. There is a big difference between
principles refined in CFD, make scrupulous modifications, and examine the wind tunnel testing a finished bike and executing multiple trials before ever finalizing
effects of various components on a bikes total performance. Felt calls this the design.
process Wind Tunnel Prototyping.

AERODYNAMICS 5
The USA track team races on TK FRD.

Felt athlete Daniel Holloway races the Felt AR.


STRATEGIC TESTING
When molds are finally made, prototypes are built and delivered to Felts core family
of key testers. This includes both sponsored athletes such as three-time Ironman
World Champion Mirinda Carfrae and USA Criterium Champion Daniel Holloway, as
well as Felts experienced in-house staff. All the members of this team present crucial
feedback to the engineers, which is then incorporated back into the finished product.

Those finished products include Felts renowned IA triathlon bike, Tour de France
proven AR aero road bike, and TK series track bikes, which will be piloted by
numerous 2016 Olympians. All three are considered best-in-class aerodynamic bikes,
and all three provide the free speed that separates an average aero bike from a
great one.

AERODYNAMICS 6
Mirinda Carfrae riding her IA FRD to victory in the 2014 Ironman World Championship.