When Factor started under BF1, it was all about data collection and looking at it from an engineering point of view with an F1 background. That led to The One’s split downtube and other unique designs and electronic integration. When Rob Gitellis and Baden Cooke bought the brand two years ago, Rob was already intimately involved in extremely high end carbon fiber bicycle design and manufacturing, and Baden became a test pilot and brand ambassador. They created the O2 and sponsored AG2R La Mondiale.
With that sponsorship, the team started riding the O2, which has a more traditional round tube frame, but they needed a TT bike. The rest of us, however, needed a disc brake road bike. Fortunately, Factor made both…
New for 2017 is the O2 Disc, which uses the same frame as the rim brake version but with no brake bridge on the seatstays and the needed reinforcements at the brake mount areas.
They say it’s about 40g heavier, making it around an 800g frame, and fork is about 20g heavier.
Since switching owners and becoming Factor Holdings, they’ve opened up or acquired additional sections. EM2 is the design firm Rob created, Acme is his carbon fiber parts manufacturing with its own proprietary processes and materials, Factor Design is the bicycle design and line they bought from BF1, and Black Inc. is the component line, which they make 100% themselves except for the Sapim spokes used on the wheels and CeramicSpeed bearings in the bottom bracket, headset and hubs.
This gives them complete control over all of the manufacturing, but also lets them tune cockpit and wheels to the frame to offer a more cohesive package. They’re sold as a chassis, a rolling chassis with wheels, and a complete bike. Like the original O2, it uses a BBright bottom bracket shell, which works with BB386EVO, Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo cranksets.
A complete bike in size 56 weighed in at 16.23lb (7.36kg). Available beginning of August, likely starting around $4,999. Builds will include their Black, Inc., Thirty, Fifty, or Eighty wheels (or a mixed combination front to rear). They’ve started making their own hubs to keep bearing seat tolerances ultra tight so they’re no binding (they were using DT 240s before). Disc brake versions of existing wheels will run about $50 more and use Centerlock rotor mounts. O2 Disc bike cockpit includes their one-piece 295g bar/stem.
Factor’s first 275 frames were all shipped to sponsored teams; they say they had about $3 million invested in the brand before they ever sold a bike. Now, they’re finally getting production up and running to deliver customers’ bikes. But for the teams, development never stopped once they had them on the ONE and O2. The latest is called SLiCK, it gets the split downtube design that carries all the way through the BB section.
Like The ONE, the Twin Vane Evo split downtube is designed to minimize drag. This bike takes it a step further and splits the lower part of the seat tube, too, letting air pass directly to the tire and move around the wheel and eliminate any pressure zones between tire and frame.
The seatstays are spread very wide to prevent pressure zones and minimize turbulence. They also spread the bottom bracket out as far as possible by using BBright and gave it oversized chainstays to maximize stiffness. This was one part of the effort to make the bike handle well, something not always associated with TT bikes.
Up front, the fork is also split wide for better stability and steering precision. Brakes are integrated for aerodynamics, which is complemented by the unique single-post aero bar platform. Rather than using two individual masts mounted to the bullhorn handlebar, this one’s a height adjustable single mast design with elbow pads and extensions firmly attached to a one-piece top. Both are also adjustable for width and length, and the design is much cleaner.
Wires and brake lines are all hidden. Pricing ranges from $6,299 to $12,499. Available now.