BEST BUDGET MOUNTAIN BIKE FOR MARIN - FELT DECREE 3

One nice perk of being in the bike biz is that I get to try a lot of nice bikes. The new, all carbon, 27.5" wheel Felt Decree 3 exceeded my expectations when I rode it. My test consisted of the local Marin Lakes Loop ride up Eldridge Grade around Lake Lagunitas and over to Shaver grade, eventually ending in Fairfax. A short ride but enough to understand the Decree's features. The $4499.00 Decree 3 has a very solid component spec. Highlights include a RockShox Pike RC Solo Air fork with 150mm travel, KS LEV DX dropper seatpost, and 11 speed Shimano XT derailleur featuring an 11-42t cassette.

I immediately felt comfortable in the cockpit. Climbing up Eldridge, the 2.25 Shwable Nobby Nic tires never felt like they were wasting energy but still provided plenty of traction on the decent when paired with the RockShox Monarch RT3 shock. The Decree felt more like a 25lbs cross country race bike than the 27lbs of trail bike that is. Felts FAST rear suspension design works great. FAST was originally designed for cross country bikes but works really well in this application.

When pointed downhill, the geometry of the Decree is spot on too. A 66.5 degree head tube angle and 73 degree seat tube angle get bonus points for both efficient climbing and stable down hilling. Only a few times did I want a larger front tire over the stock 2.25 on the bike, but that is a personal preference. Other than that, the bike performed as a trail bike should.

I came away wishing I could keep this one. Why you ask? It was the balance that impressed me the most. It climbed like a cross country racer but the 150mm/140mm travel was ready for anything here in Marin and beyond. Anyone looking for a trail bike with cross country DNA should put this bike on their short list! Check out the Decree 1 and Decree FRD for even more carbon goodness!

Link to this bike: http://feltbicycles.com/USA/2016/Bikes/mountain/Trail-27-5-/decree-3.aspx

Link to Felt Bikes: http://feltbicycles.com/USA.aspx