Felt is admittedly more comfortable on the road than on the dirt. However, they have been making excellent 29ers and their Equilink suspension platform has received plenty of praises. Now it was my turn to give the Felt Compulsion 1 a good beat-down and have a little fun in the process.

2010 Felt Compulsion 1 Features:

  • Felt Equilink aggressive trail/all mountain full suspension frame with 150mm travel
  • 7005 double-butted aluminum with hydroform top tube & aluminum rear triangle
  • RockShox Monarch 4.2 shock compatible with Felt ISCG mount
  • 2010 RockShox Revelation Team 20mm
  • SRAM Stylo OCT 3.3 crankset
  • SRAM X0, X9 drivetrain
  • Avid Elixir R brakeset 185mm front/160mm rear rotors
  • Felt cockpit (bars, stem, seatpost, saddle)
  • Fulcrum Red Metal 1 wheels
  • Weight: 27.9 lbs
  • MSRP: $4299

Felt Compulsion 1 Review

With the local Felt rep out of town for a few weeks, I was able to hop on his personal steed — the Compulsion 1. Honestly, I wasn’t going into it with super-high expectations since I had yet to actually ride a Felt full-suspension bike. This all would quickly change as I stepped onboard and began assaulting my local singletrack (boy would it change!).

The overall spec of the Compulsion 1 leaves little to be desired… well, aside from swapping out the bars (personal preference) and wishing for an adjustable-travel fork. Drivetrain, wheels and everything else is perfectly-matched and fits well with the pricepoint. While this is no budget bike, you’re getting quite a bike for the money.

Ascending on the Compulsion is superb. The Equilink suspension provides solid climbing traction in a variety of conditions under a wide range of load. Seated climbs are efficient and smooth with no detectable power-robbing suspension bob or pedal feedback. Having the brake and chainstay together provides zero brake-induced lockout whatsoever. Standing climbs were surprisingly solid as well.

The only damper on the climbing ability is the lack travel adjustments on the RockShox Revelation Team. That little omission drops its climbing abilities just a tad as I felt the front end wander on steep, technical climbs. On a couple of occasions, the front wheel lifted off the ground under hard ascending on just the right pitch. I was able to reduce this with a bit more air in the rear shock, but all this would go away if Felt spec’d this bike with the Revelation Team U-Turn.

We all ascend with eager anticipation of the downhill. Luckily, the Compulsion 1 allows you to enjoy the up while you dream of the down. Once pointed downhill, the Compulsion absolutely shines. The RockShox Monarch 4.2 manages the squish, but the Equilink suspension design really shines. It’s a rare day that I’m able to slip on a bike and get it to absorb both large and small bumps right out of the box. Most of the time a few days of fiddling is required, but not so with this bike. I was immediately on the trails without much fuss enjoying super-smooth full-suspension bliss.

The Equilink suspension works extremely-well in all conditions. Looking it over, it acts similarly to the many virtual pivot designs on the market (VPP, DW-Link), but the biggest difference is in the dogbone (see above) that keeps the pivots from counteracting each other. Along with that comes a nifty chainstay brake placement (see below) which keeps braking and suspension forces on the same plane for feedback-free pedaling and smooth braking in all conditions.

Let me hammer this home a bit… no other bike in the past year has been as comfortable and smooth out of the box as the Compulsion. I’m pretty darn impressed with the Equilink suspension design as it just plain works and works well! It absorbs obstacles of all shapes and sizes and remains about as supple as can be while remaining active and nimble on the ascents.

Railing into the corners, this bike handles extremely well. I was able to quickly settle into it and push it pretty hard, however, really tight singletrack still gave this bike some troubles. Again, I think dropping the fork down a tad could make the steering a bit more racy for those instances.

Good Compulsion 1

  • Whoa does this thing absorb bumps… ultra smooth!
  • Climbs extremely well with instant traction in all conditions
  • One of the supplest bikes I’ve ever ridden
  • Lightweight overall package
  • Equilink suspension is the real deal
  • Fulcrum wheelset provides solid performance
  • Love the overall bike design and paintjob (metallic green shimmers in the sun)
  • RockShox Revelation is light and stiff with excellent squishyness
  • Love the swivel-out air valve on the RockShox Monarch 4.2

Bad Compulsion 1

  • Stock Felt bars were quickly removed
  • Adjustable travel fork would be nice
  • Monarch shock sounds like a mouse when compressed (but performed very well)

Bottom Line: 2010 Felt Compulsion 1 Mountain Bike

The Compulsion 1 completely changed my mindset that Felt was just a roadie company. Holy smokes does this bike perform! While this much travel is not always needed, it can still climb extremely well and descending — boy are the descents fun on this bike! After riding this, I’m a believer.

Buy Now: Find a Local Felt Dealer

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

3 Comments

  1. This review helped me decide on getting a Compulsion I and I’m glad I did. It really climbs great, to the point that I don’t think about using the pro pedal. Bob is nominal. I’m mostly a cross country style of rider, but love the downhills and fast sections, as the ride is plush yet responsive. Mine is set up with XTR and similar quality components. I had a Specialized Expert FSR previously and this is a nice step up.

    • Rob… It really depends on your bike and style of riding as well as the stem length and rise you have, but I prefer these bars in general:

      Easton Low Riser: EA70 or EC70
      Truvativ Noir Team Riser Bar

      I prefer a low riser carbon bar in a 680mm width. These have just the right upsweep and backsweep for comfort too. Those are my personal fav’s.

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