British pro cyclist Alex Dowsett is Mexico this week riding a customized Factor Hanzo time trial bike converted for the track in an attempt at the prized Hour Record, reclaiming it in fact. Aiming for at least 55.09km in 60 minutes on the same Aguascalientes velodrome where Victor Campenaerts set the current record 2.5 years ago on a custom Ridley, Dowsett hopes to take advantage of a custom-modified prototype of Factor’s next gen TT bike, with plenty of additional incremental gains.

Alex Dowsett’s prototype Hour Record Factor Hanzo track bike

Alex Dowsett has one advantage coming into what he’s calling “Sixty Minutes of Hell”… he’s already held the title. Back in May 2015 after the UCI rule change, Dowsett was the 4th rider to set a new benchmark at 52.937km on a modified Canyon Speedmax. His record held for just over a month before being eclipsed by Bradley Wiggins, so he’s been itching to reclaim the title.

Factor Hanzo World Hour Record track bike setup Alex Dowsett, Silverstone wind tunnel

c. Factor, Silverstone wind tunnel photos by Sean Hardy

Dowsett’s new Hour Record bike started life as a Factor Hanzo time trail bike. If you haven’t heard of that one, don’t be surprised, it’s not in the lineup yet, nor had it received UCI approval in the UCI’s early September update.

Factor Hanzo World Hour Record attempt custom prototype track bike of Alex Dowsett, Team GB Worlds

c. Alex Dowsett on Twitter

But, we’re guessing that it’s been approved since, as Dowsett rode the new TT bike to a 5th place in the Mixed Relay of Team GB at Flanders Worlds later in September and the British national TT champs.

Factor Hanzo time trial bike Factor Hanzo World Hour Record attempt custom prototype track bike of Alex Dowsett, front end

Factor assures us that the new Hanzo is indeed on the way and will be raced at the start of next season by Dowsett’s Israel Start-Up Nation team, calling it the only current TT bike designed under the recently relaxed UCI aero regulations… with an incredibly narrow frontal profile that’s just 15mm wide at the headtube!

Factor Hanzo World Hour Record attempt custom prototype track bike of Alex Dowsett, narrow front profile

Complete custom track bike build

Factor Hanzo World Hour Record attempt custom prototype track bike of Alex Dowsett, complete

track photos c. Factor Bikes & via Alex Dowsett YouTube screengrabs

The complete bike build takes advantage of being an individual attempt, not a team-sponsored deal, so Dowsett has cherry-picked the fastest, best components he could imagine. The modified Factor Hanzo frameset is sponsor correct, but wouldn’t work with track wheels or Dowsett’s preferred cockpit, so it had to get chopped up a bit.

Factor Hanzo World Hour Record attempt custom prototype track bike of Alex Dowsett, wide legs

Featuring intentionally wide-set fork legs and seatstays to allow free air movement over modern wide aero wheels & tires, the bike was also designed for thru-axles, disc brakes, and rear derailleur. Modifying the front end was easy, with the front wheel using custom bushings to convert to the track bolt-on axle.

Factor Hanzo World Hour Record attempt custom prototype track bike of Alex Dowsett, Silca 3D-printed ti rear end

Out back though, the rear half of both the carbon chainstays & seatstays have been replaced by a 3mm thick hollow 3D-printed titanium rear end made by Silca to convert the road bike to horizontal track ends. And Dowsett says the result is crazy stiff.

Factor Hanzo World Hour Record attempt custom prototype track bike of Alex Dowsett, AeroCoach Ascalon aerobars

Alex Dowsett prefers a generally stock but adjustable aerobar setup, using the Hanzo’s basebar paired to the same AeroCoach Ascalon stock aerobar extensions with 1-finger grip and forearm supports that he races on the TT bike.

Factor Hanzo World Hour Record attempt custom prototype track bike of Alex Dowsett, custom cut aerobar support

The new Hanzo bike isn’t designed for universal aerobar setups, so the integrated carbon vertical support – which is actually an extension of the fork – had to be custom modified to make everything bolt together securely.

Factor Hanzo World Hour Record attempt custom prototype track bike of Alex Dowsett, Simmons saddle, Karoo 2 computer

Not to be missed is the wild carbon Simmons Pursuit SR 1.0 saddle with a Hammerhead Karoo 2 computer mount superglued underneath to log data.

Factor Hanzo World Hour Record attempt custom prototype track bike of Alex Dowsett, training ride

Rolling stock is composed of the overall 28mm wide lenticular HED Volos hollow cavity carbon disc wheels (just like the leftside drive Felt) with a White Industries 13T splined track cog, wrapped with 23mm Vitoria Pista Oro tubular track tires – the wider setup outperforming Dowsett’s previous narrow wheels in the wide open Hanzo frameset.

Factor Hanzo World Hour Record attempt custom prototype track bike of Alex Dowsett, AeroCoach Sten chainring

Drivetrain is a mix of 170mm Rotor Aldhu 24 alloy cranks with a track-specific 144BCD Power2Max NG power meter spider and AeroCoach’s shiny carbon-reinforced titanium Aten 61T chainring that promises real, quantifiable drag reduction over even the best other aero rings. The chain is a benchmark Izumi Super Toughness Kai waxed track chain. And pedals are Speedplay Aero with their seals removed and lighter grease.

Overall, all wheel, BB & headset bearings are by CeramicSpeed with seals removed and low-friction track grease inside.

Hour Record skinsuit

On top of a fast bike frame, Dowsett is chasing every incremental marginal gains he could find, including a custom asymmetric skinsuit designed for turning left for him by Vorteq in the UK. He is also now allowed to ride with shoe covers, something Campenaerts couldn’t do a couple of years back.

Factor Hanzo World Hour Record attempt custom prototype track bike of Alex Dowsett, training

Alex Dowsett’s Aguascalientes Hour Record attempt is scheduled for later today, and you can likely watch a live stream from Dowsett’s YouTube channel.

Current Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts had last year promised he would come back to reclaim the title if Dowsett is successful, but just this week via his own YouTube channel commented on how hard it would be, even though he knows how he could improve…

Now we wait and see if there’s a new Hour Record later today.

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