Tested: Felt Compulsion LT3
By Vernon Felton
2013 marked the return Felt's all-mountain line of Compulsion LT bikes, which briefly went on hiatus in the states. I'll be honest, I attempted to be neutral when approaching my time with the felt, but I realized within a few rides that I hadn't been entirely objective because I was genuinely surprised by how well the Compulsion rode.
I'm not saying that Felt makes a crap bike, but rather that felt has more street cred, so to speak, with the cross-country crowd than the burly, smash-into-shit and catch-air crowd. The Compulsion, however, could help change that perception. When it comes to aggressive terrain, this is a very good bike.
The Compulsion LT3 features a 150- to 160-millimeter- travel, carbon-fiber frame configured around Felt's Equilink design. Equilink is basically two short links tied together by a dog bone (the actual equilink) member. Felt says the design allows the suspension to remain neutral under pedaling loads and braking. I can say this: the Compulsion LT's suspension is reasonably smooth on small chatter, very controlled
in the middle of its stroke and outstanding when the hits come hard and quick.
The faster the speed and uglier the terrain, the happier the Compulsion LT. This doesn't mean that the Felt is a drag to pedal on climbs or rolling terrain—it has a surprisingly playful feel for an all-mountain model that skews toward the brawny side of the spectrum. the compulsion lt also pedals with a fair bit of efficiency and, at less than 31 pounds, it's no boat anchor. the felt, however, is just not quite as nimble as some other bikes in this category.
A lot of 'all-mountain' bikes are saddled with parts that belong on wispier bikes. Not so with the Compulsion LT. The Rockshox Lyrik RC fork, Crankbrothers Kronolog dropper post, WTB I23 rims, SRAM bash guard, ISCG mounts and 200/180-millimeter rotors are all right on target. The Avid Elixir 5 brakes lack tool-free adjustability and the X7 shifters didn't blow me away with outstanding lever feel, but both components work fine. Ditch the ridiculously narrow (for this style of bike) 680-millimeter handlebar and you've got a great kit for the money—particularly when you consider that this bike is equipped with a carbon-fiber main frame.
Many bikes get tossed into the 'enduro' or 'all-mountain' category because they sport six inches of travel and yet they don't possess the slack geometry, stout frame and burly parts to really excel on prolonged technical riding. The Compulsion LT, happily, is one bike that fits the bill. The Compulsion LT is no pretender. Kudos to Felt on this one.