Factor has just launched an updated, more integrated version of their ultralight carbon road bike with the new disc brake O2 VAM road bike frameset that you can build lighter than ever. And to help spec your new superlight carbon climbers bike, their sister brand Black Inc has a new ultra-lightweight Twenty carbon wheelset with a wide internal tubeless rim profile, and has teased an even lighter tubular version on the way with carbon spokes…
Newly integrated Factor O2 VAM ultralight carbon road bike
From the outside the new O2 VAM looks much like the original O2 VAM, which isn’t a bad thing really. This was already a superlight bike claiming frame weights under 700g. Now they’ve added fully internal cable routing for even sleeker, lighter complete bike builds. Getting rid of external cable ports doesn’t really save much weight (or add any apparently), but Factor says it actually allowed them to further optimize their already complex VAM ultralight TeXtreme, Toray & Nippon Graphite Pitch-Based carbon layup even more – now stiffer at effectively the same frame weight.
What’s new in the lighter O2 VAM?
But with fully internal cable routing also comes improved aerodynamics. Many bikes resort to oversized headsets and larger headtubes to make this work – creating more frontal area and more drag. But instead, this new Factor O2 VAM kept a small headtube by using a new D-shaped steerer tube design on the full carbon fork – said to be reinforced for increased impact strength. That way you get full internal cabling through the standard 1 1/8″ upper headset bearing, and 1 3/8″ lower. (A custom-made headset compression plug keeps easy steerer length setup, as do split headset spacers.) The side benefit here, is that current O2 VAM owners can upgrade to the full-internal routing by buying the new fork on its own from their Factor dealer.
So… weight lost in the frame, then a bit probably added back in the fork, but again trimmed down in the hardware… A new seatpost clamp is said to be a bit lighter while increasing clamping surface area for better security, and the ability to run a lighter seatpost.
The new frame also moves to a direct-mount rear derailleur hanger for stiffer shifting and easier wheel changes. It keeps the same PressFit BBRight bottom bracket, 30mm tire clearance, and 12mm thru-axles.
Now the unpainted frame weight sits at a claimed 677g, including all assembly parts for a medium 54cm frame. It is available in five sizes (49-58cm) and three color options which add from 20-45g in weight… starting with this limited edition Attaquer rainbow or gloss carbon/chrome, up to the slightly more painted Israel Start-Up Nation team edition. Custom Prisma Studio paint jobs are also possible.
Factor O2 VAM – pricing & availability
The new Factor O2 VAM is being offered as a $5500 frame kit – only compatible with electronic shifting & hydraulic disc brakes. A similar rim brake frameset is still possible, but doesn’t get rid of all external cables due to the rim brakes themselves. The frame kit includes the updated O2 VAM frame, the new integrated fork, a one-piece carbon Black Inc bar+stem, Black Inc carbon seatpost (0 or 25mm offset), and CeramicSpeed bottom bracket & headset.
More builds are also possible through Factor’s online customizer, starting from $7300 with just a frameset & wheels. If you want a complete AXS bike it will range from $8145 to just over ten grand depending on how fancy and ultralight you want to get with your build kit.
Newly ultralight carbon Black Inc Twenty road wheels
Now to the matching superlight Black Inc Twenty carbon wheels… The Chrome & Attaquer edition bikes above are both sporting the new lightweight tubeless clincher climber’s wheelset. Designed to complement the new ultralight Factor O2 VAM and available now with the new bike or on their own, the disc brake wheelset has a claimed weight of just 1240g and a matching premium pricetag of $2400.
The low-profile 18.5mm deep carbon rims get reinforced to 20mm deep at the 24 Sapim CX-Ray & CX-Sprint bladed aero steel spokes for a durable build at such light weight. With a 21mm internal, 28mm external width optimized for 25-28mm tires, it uses Black Inc’s hooked tubeless-ready rim profile and spins on CeramicSpeed ceramic bearings.
Later this year a tubular version of the new Twenty will be released to shed more weight – built up with carbon spokes it is promised to come under 1000g for a complete disc brake road wheelset, ready for your first hill climb races of 2021…