Felt's 2011 DA white paper

When I was a bike builder, we didn't have white papers. We might offer our bike in a white color.

Spec sheet? Price list? White paper? Sure, what other color paper do you think we'll use?

The bike business has gotten a lot more complicated since I was in it.

A "white paper" is an educational guide that informs readers on a topic, or a problem, or a product. The term used to be restricted to technical fields, and was an authoritative, unbiased report ideally free of an agenda.

Today, it's expanded to include publications produced by companies about their products. When used in this sense, is a white paper simply a propaganda sheet co-opting a term that offers the patina of legitimacy?

Yes and no. White papers produced by companies like Felt and Trek ought to be read through the skeptics prism. At the same time, authors of white papers understand that they're inviting a special scrutiny, because they're offering what they—by definition—claim is a less varnished look at their product or technology. Otherwise they would, and should, call it something other than a white paper.

Felt's white paper on the DA is here. It's a PDF, you of course need Adobe Acrobat, which, as a reader of white papers, you no doubt have.

As for our analysis of the paper: It certainly does include testimonials from athletes like David Millar who, of course, have an agenda. We can't see how these comments have any business making their way into white papers.

On the other hand, the white paper goes into much more detail when describing Felt's construction practices, e.g., internal molding, as well as the fluid dynamic modeling software that dovetails with wind tunnel testing to produce an aeryodynamic bike. Certainly this detail cannot be included in a brochure.

Refreshing is Felt's decision only to graph the new DA's aero stats versus the old DA.

Read it for yourself. There's a lot there. One can quibble as to whether the goal is to inform you of technical truisms, or to sell bikes. It's in the middle. Its goal appears to us the selling of bikes through informing you of technical truisms.