2019 Felt IA16
Simply put, the 2019 Felt IA16 is one of the fastest triathlon bikes on the planet. And at near $3000, it's one of the best value triathlon bikes too.
After its debut in 2013, the Felt IA changed the triathlon market. With its introduction, Felt ignored the time-trial market and focused exclusively on building an excellent triathlon bike that specifically meets the needs of triathletes. You won't see this bike in any competitive time-trial events, as the frame shapes violate UCI rules for frame construction. For triathletes, that means you've got a bike that isn't limited by road federation design limitations.
Built for real-world aerodynamic situations, the Felt IA offers one of the fastest frames on the market, with ultra-deep airfoils from the headtube to the downtube to the bottom bracket area that are especially slippery on windy days.
In addition to the deep airfoils, the IA frame has seat stays positioned to minimize drag, a BB30 bottom bracket shell, and a unique aero seat post. The Felt IA frame is constructed using something Felt calls "Inside Out" construction, which essentially means they use an internal bladder during the molding process to minimize the amount of excess carbon trapped inside the frame.
This is something you'd expect to see on a high-end carbon bike and something you get with the IA, keeping frame internals super clean and preventing excess carbon.
The 2019 Felt IA16 comes with an upgrade to the carbon layup of the frame over the 2018 version, adding extremely lightweight TexTreme carbon to the layup. You can expect this to help shave a bit of weight and improve frame stiffness.
The IA16 comes with 11-speed Shimano 105 R7000 derailleurs and features microShift TT shifters, an alternative to the Shimano shifters that come on some competitor's bikes. You get a Shimano 11-speed chain, 11-28 cassette, and a FSA Omega Exo BB30 50/34 crankset.
Outside of the frame layup, the upgrade to Shimano 105 R7000 from the 105 5800 of the 2018 Felt IA16 is the biggest improvement. The Shimano 105 R7000 trickles down some of the mechanical advantages and aesthetics of the more expensive Dura-Ace and Ultegra options to a more affordable price-point.
The R7000 rear derailleur offers a wider gearing range than the 105 R5800 version, supporting up to a 30-tooth cassette with the short-cage derailleur that ships with the IA16. For riders seeking a bigger gear, an upgrade to a medium-cage derailleur will allow you to run an even bigger gear - up to a 34.
The Felt IA16 is equipped with the Devox alloy Bayonet 3 base bar and Devox F-bend alloy extensions. Some riders find the extensions to be a bit short and an upgrade can definitely improve the ergonomics of the aerobars for riders with longer arms.
Unlike the more expensive, fully-integrated cockpit of the top-of-the-line IA, these bars offer better adjustability through angling the extensions, a change that can improve comfort and aerodynamics for many riders.
The IA16 comes with tubeless-ready Devox 30A wheels and Felt Aero TTR2 folding tires.
Devox is a Felt house-brand and should provide quality consistent with the bars, wheels, and tires that previously carried the Felt imprint.
The saddle for 2019 is an ISM PS 1.1, a definite upgrade over the stock saddles of previous IA models.
The 2019 calpac, the cover for frame food storage near the front of the bike, is the same as the 2018 version.
For additional storage, the 2019 Felt IA16 has an aero storage box for the back of the bike. This area is well hidden from the wind and provides a place for a flat repair kit or personal items you might be carrying on your ride.
The 2019 Felt IA16 is truly an example of superbike performance at a non-superbike price, and should be on your shortlist if you're looking for a triathlon bike near the $3000 price point.