A new Factor aero road bike was recently spotted outside the Israel Start-Up Nation team bus by fans at the 2020 Criterium du Dauphine.
The bike appears to be a mashup of the brand’s One aero road bike and O2 VAM lightweight climbing bike. An as-of-yet unreleased model called the Ostro popped up on the UCI’s approved list of frames and forks earlier this month – could this be it? Will the Factor Ostro be Chris Froome’s new road bike?
The four-time Tour de France champion recently announced he would be leaving Team Ineos, where he has spent the majority of his career and taken all of his major victories, for the Israeli team (which is sponsored by Factor bikes) at the end of the 2020 season.
Lightweight and aero?
Outwardly, the new bike looks quite similar to a number of other current aero road bikes, such as the Merida Reacto and BMC Timemachine, but the VAM designation on the top tube – which stands for ‘velocità ascensionale media’ (‘average ascent speed’), and has traditionally been reserved for Factor’s lightweight bikes – would seem to indicate it has aspirations as something of a climbing bike too.
Though weight can be saved through the strategic use of higher modulus carbon fibre, in this instance it appears weight savings have been made in other ways, too.
The seatstays, for example, have been dramatically thinned down. The seat tube and seatpost also appear to have lost some surface area and mass.
The seatstays, seatube and seatpost all appear to be slimmed down to save weight.
Unlike the One, this new bike also has a more traditional fork and head tube arrangement, and though we can’t be totally sure from this single image, it appears the One’s trademark split down-tube arrangement doesn’t feature on this new bike.
These changes also likely translate into weight savings because the more simplistic design likely requires less material to manufacturer, and, all other things being equal, less material ought to mean less mass.
The handlebar looks very similar to the Black Inc integrated handlebar from the O2 VAM. However, this new model is clearly designed to offer fully internal cable management for at least electronic drivetrains and hydraulic braking hoses.
The integrated handlebar offers fully internal cable routing and the fork and head tube arrangement is much more traditional than on the Factor One aero road bike.
Elsewhere, the bike is built up with stock parts currently used by the WorldTour team, including Black Inc tubular wheels, Dura-Ace R9150 Di2 and a Ceramicspeed OSP system.
As aero road bikes have become lighter in recent years, the convergence of lightweight and aero design is a route we’ve seen a few brands starting to explore recently.
Specialized, for example, recently caused a stir by consigning its dedicated aero road bike, the Venge, to the annals of history with the release of the Tarmac SL7.
It boldly claimed the new bike was almost as aero as the Venge, but can still hit the UCI’s 6.8kg weight limit, making the heavier aero platform obsolete (in its view).
When can I buy one?
Currently, Factor remains tight-lipped about this new model, but as mentioned at the start of this piece, a new bike called the ‘Ostro’ was recently added to the UCI’s list of approved frames and forks.
Whether or not this is the Ostro, we suspect we could see a formal announcement around the upcoming Tour de France, given it’s the sport’s most important shop window.
As always, if we can tease out any more details or pictures from Factor we’ll be sure to update you.