You are asking me to split hairs on bikes that can - and do - win at the highest level.
Best common feature:
both have internal cable guides, which are really nice. Push the housing in, and it pops out the other side. Makes building a bike much easier.
- The brakes are a pain in the butt to set-up, but once set-up they work very well. There is an aerodynamic benefit, but they do require more work than just slapping on a typical pair of dual-pivot calipers.
- The bike is very stiff. I think it could be lighter and a bit less stiff. You do pay a price for the stiffness in terms of decreased vertical compliance. So it's a tradeoff. I don't know that the bike needs to be as stiff as it is. But you pedal and the bike goes. That is for sure.
- Handles better than the Felt. I really like the extra front center and longer trail. I find it is very stable, but also very maneuverable. I find I more easily pedal through corners and avoid potholes, bumps, etc.
- I HATE single bolt posts. I don't like "tapping" to make angular adjustments to saddle pitch.
- I Love BB30. It's a superior system. It's clearly an upgrade. Not unique to this bike, but it's still a positive
- Tighten bolts and they stay in place. The bike does not rattle or creak. It is very solid.
- This is THE steepest bike you can buy. You can run a saddle 8+cm in front of the BB. There is no other bike that you can get as steep as this one. That's not a necessity for me, but I was amazed at how steep you can get the bike.
- I don't like that the bike is designed around a Shimano drivetrain. Yes, other parts work, but there can be a bit of hassle, such as when I wanted to use Zipp cranks and I had to use the "scissor" brake, which I don't think works very well. When I set the bike up with Shimano, it was very simple. But once I got parts from SRAM, I had to work around some things. You can see this even with some of the changes made between 7800 -> 7900. For instance, you need to replace the barrel adjuster on the 7900 rear brake. I think it was foolish to design a bike to work optimally with parts made by someone else.
- I prefer the two-bolt seatpost of the Felt.
- If you wrench yourself, the Bayonet is more of a hassle than a traditional front end. I got so that it wasn't issue, but you have to take care. I'd equate the Bayonet with the Transitions brakes - more work than "normal," but worth the hassle.
- Even at proper torque, I found the seatpost would slip a couple mm, even using the stainless steel clamp.
- Ditto for the bayonet. Loctite and grease are necessities if you own a Felt.
If you ride the two bikes back to back, the Specialized is stiffer than the Felt. That's not a plus or a minus in my book. They are both stiff enough. But that's the difference you'll feel immediately.
Area where I think the Specialized is definitely better than the Felt - handling (more front-center and trail). Area where I think the Felt is definitely better than the Specialized - seatclamp is better (two bolts).
I only ever rode a 2008 Felt DA. I know a lot of improvements were made with the new Bayonet on the 2009+ DAs.
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