After a chaotic year of bike swapping, I've finally decided to head back to aero builds. I spent 7500 miles on an S-Works Venge and decided I wanted a little better ride quality. That led to an S-Works Tarmac which did provide a much better ride quality, definitely felt more explosive, but also never seemed to hold top end speed as well. Then I felt a little more fancy pants and went for a Colnago C59. While the Colnago was a lovely bike, there was some bad juju with the acquisition, build, and ultimately the behavior of the Di2 - which quickly had me out of love.
Within about a month of riding the Colnago, I realized that the impression "ride quality" diminishes a bit for me. It's something you get used to and then it's just another bike. This ended up making the Colnago feel a bit less special (except to look at). For me, the only sensation I've had on a bike that persists (other than enjoyment) is the element of speed from an aero bike. I never get tired of that feeling when you're tapping out a rhythm over 25mph and the bike just feels like it will stay there.
After spending some serious quality time with Google hunting down the next steed, I was reminded how fond I've always been of the look and tech of the Felt AR. I snagged a 2015 AR1 frameset which arrived in not as great of shape as I like... so now I'm riding it while waiting for my new FRD frameset to arrive. This thread will focus on the build for the FRD (and answer any questions people have got comparing the different rides!)
With only a couple hundred miles on the AR1, I would comfortably say the bike climbs and rides as well as the Tarmac - which is to say better than the Venge but not as good as the C59. It definitely feels faster than I remember the Venge though!
The build (will add individual weights as I have them):
2015 Felt ARD (54cm)
SRAM Red eTap - 1377g excluding brakes, cables, and chain
Enve 4.5 tubular w/ CK R45 - 1361g excluding skewers
Enve SES Road bar (soon to be replaced) - 245g
3T Arx 120mm (to be replaced) - 131g
S-Works Power saddle
Arundel Mandible - 28g x2
Alligator mini i-links
EE direct mount rear brake - 74g w/o pads
Tririg Omega X front - 144g
Look Keo Blade carbon/ti