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Pro bikes, June 6, 2006

Mark McCormack's Felt F1C

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Photos ©:Steve Medcroft/Cyclingnews

Maaahk the Shaaahk

By Steve Medcroft

Mark McCormack
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Velo Cross Flow
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A rear-facing
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Felt uses
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The Colavita team
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Profile Design
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For US Pro Champion
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11-21 cassette
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In an environment
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In homage to Mark McCormack's New England roots, it says Maaahk on a strip of label tape on the top tube of his Felt F1C. It should say Maaahk the Shaaahk after his performance in the CSC Invitational in Arlington, Virginia last Saturday

Like a shark prowling shallow waters for the leg of an unwary surfer, The former U.S. professional road and cyclo-cross National Champion patiently and skillfully maneuvered through a churning sea of racers and into the final group - one of only 24 riders to remain of the more than 120 starters.

Elite racers know that even if they make the final selection, if they're more than ten spots from the front they stand little chance of winning in a tight, 0.6-kilometer, five-turn criterium like CSC. McCormack, instead of waiting to fight it out in a straight-up sprint, took an aggressive line outside the group on the final turn and found himself protected enough from a headwind by the right-field barriers that he was able to break twenty yards clear for the win.

The reason he was able to take tricky turn number five at high speed, a turn that sent riders to the hospital and crashed breakaway rider Brent Bookwalter (Priority Health) out of the lead? The unique cornering characteristics of his Felt F1C, says McCormack.

Started by motocross engineer Jim Felt just five years ago to offer frames for triathletes, Felt has grown from a US-only company with just six models to distribution across 27 countries and 140 models in the catalog.

McCormack has been riding Felt's road and cyclo-cross machines since he joined the Colavita squad in 2004. The F1C pictured here was issued to him at the team's pre-season training camp in January, 2006.

According to McCormack, his first impression of the three-piece construction, high-modulous carbon F1C frame was all positive. "I loved it from the moment I saw it," he said from his hotel between Commerce Bank Triple Crown races. "The look, the feel, the responsiveness were all amazing and it's the lightest bike I have ever ridden."

In the 60cm configuration (McCormack's size), the F1C is put together with 74-degree head tube, 73.5-degree seat-tube and a 600mm center-to-center top tube length. The all-carbon frameset is laid up in three pieces; front triangle, seat stays and chain stays separately. Felt says that the process allows them exploit the benefits of working with carbon; namely being able to shape tubes to maximize stiffness where you want it (laterally and torsionally) and to reduce it a little for comfort where you don't (vertically).

Taking advantage for Felt means changing tubing configurations all over the front triangle. The top tube alone shifts through three diameter, radius and shape changes. Felt swears this isn't an aesthetic exercise. "The large diameters at the head tube and bottom bracket along with increased wall thickness promote stiffness," Felt says on its Web site. "They then transition into smaller diameters with a reduction in wall thickness, providing a beautiful hourglass-shape and effectively damping out vibrations."

McCormack says all these design elements are the reason he was able to get through turn number five at CSC so well. "In high-speed corners on slightly bumpy pavement, this bike doesn't get the shuttering feeling as it seems to soak up the bumps and keep my tires in contact with the pavement."

That soak of road jitter in corners has given McCormack more confidence in the turns. "I feel like I have even better control due to the forgiving nature of the bike on the smaller bumps."

McCormack says although Felt's carbon road frame (which is matte clear-coated rather than painted or glossed) is as high-performance as a bike can get, he still rides his 7005 Superlite custom-butted aluminum F1X cyclo-cross bike and Easton SC7000 Scandium SC1 road bike. "I train on and race on the SC1 when I'm at home. I race the F1X in winter."

As for the rest of the build, whereas some pros tinker with every little component on their bikes trying to eke an ounce here and an ounce there, Colavita takes a straight-up approach to sponsor components; running a Reynolds Ouzo Pro carbon fork, Maxxis Courchevel tires, Profile Design bars, stems and seat post and Shimano Dura-Ace for everything else. "We have input on which Profile bars and stems and Maxxis tires to ride," McCormack says, "but I have nothing but great things to say about everything on my bike. It rides smooth, goes fast, and works just as well for hilly road races, technical criteriums, and long training rides."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Steve Medcroft/Cyclingnews.com

  • Mark McCormack poses at the start of the CSC Invitational in Arlington, VA June 3rd. He would win the race two hours later with skillful positioning around the final corner for the field sprint
  • Colavita / Sutter Homes Felt F1C
  • Velo Cross Flow saddle over a Profile Design Elite Strada carbon seatpost
  • A forward-facing view of the double-diamond top-tube design on the F1C
  • A rear-facing view of the same
  • Felt uses ultra-high modulous, 3K weave in a monocoque layup to produce a stiff and light carbon frame
  • The Colavita team runs the full Shimano Dura-Ace build with no modifications. Even the wheels come from Shimano. The production F1C ships with Mavic Ksyrium ES carbon wheels
  • Profile Design supplies most of the non-Shimano parts to complete the build. These carbon bottle cages weigh only 29-grams
  • For US Pro Champion Mark McCormack wants you to notice that he ran a 55 large chainring on his Shimano Dura-Ace Hollowtech 2 crankset
  • 11-21 cassette
  • In an environment when pro riders could have a bar filled with power, heartrate and GPS, McCormack runs a simple Polar heartrate monitor setup on his race bike
  • The cockpit on McCormack's Felt F1C; Profile Design Lava OS aluminum bars and stem and Shimano's Dura-Ace STI Dual Control levers

Full specification

Frame: Felt F1C, Ultra-high modulus carbon fiber modular monocoque with 3K weave, integrated headset, 60cm
Fork: Reynolds Ouzo Pro, carbon steerer
Color: Naked matte clearcoat

Handlebar: Profile Design Lava OS (Triple-butted 7075-T6 aluminum construction)
Stem: Profile Design Lava OS
Headset: Cane Creek Aheadset, integrated

Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace
Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace
Front Derailleur: Shimano Dura Ace


Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace Hollowtech 2, 55/42
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace
Pedals: Shimano PD-7800
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace 10-Speed, 11-23
Chain: Shimano 10-Speed

Tires: Maxxis Courchavel 3C 700x23
Wheels: Shimano Dura-Ace

Saddle: Velo Cross Flow
Seat Post: Profile Design Elite Strada carbon
Bottle Cages: Profile Design carbon

Additional info: www.feltracing.com