The Factor Lando XC cross-country race bike represents the brand’s first foray into mountain biking.
The Lando XC is pitched at fans of cross-country racing, be that competitive local league events or stage races such as the Cape Epic.
Factor Lando XC frame and suspension
The Lando XC’s frame is laden with performance-enhancing features riders have come to expect from a modern, high-end cross-country bike.
Attention has been paid to the aesthetics of the bike, with the seat clamp, rocker link with hidden hardware and rear triangle each shaped to smooth the lines of the frame.
It’s designed around a 1x only drivetrain, the headset is a tapered, integrated unit and it has a T47 bottom bracket. There’s only space for one bottle cage, but extra accessory mounts are available both beneath and on top of the top tube. Out back is a SRAM universal derailleur hanger.
The integrated headset uses self-lubricating bearings from CeramicSpeed.
The Lando XC has flex designed into the one-piece rear triangle instead of a weightier pivot with a one-piece carbon rocker driving the shock. This is vertically oriented to capitalise on the inherent strength and stiffness of the frame design.
Factor claims sub 100 per cent anti-squat (how much pedalling forces interact with the suspension) values in every gear. The figure sits in the low 80 per cent range at 30 per cent sag, in a bid, the brand claims, to offer supple suspension even under power in any of the cassette’s 12 gears.
Anti-rise (a measure of how much braking forces interact with the suspension) drops from almost 80 per cent to just over 60 per cent across the range of travel, which should help the rear suspension remain active under braking.
The DT Swiss 232 One shock provides 115mm of rear travel, the suspension design giving roughly 13 per cent progression through its travel. This makes it well suited to air springs, arguably the most suitable shock for this type of bike.
Factor Lando XC geometry
The medium bike I tested has a 67-degree head angle, 75.5-degree effective seat tube angle (varies with frame size) and 430mm reach.
The slack head angle and relatively long reach are intended to improve descending performance, while the seat angle puts the rider in an upright, centred and efficient seated pedalling position.
|Seat angle (degrees)||75.5||75.5||75.5||75.2|
|Head angle (degrees)||67||67||67||67|
|Head tube (mm)||90||95||105||117|
|Fork offset (mm)||51||51||51||51|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||40||40||40||40|
Factor Lando XC specifications
A SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain features AXS wireless shifting across a 10-52t cassette, with 175mm XX1 carbon cranks carrying a 34t chainring. Braking is via SRAM Level Ultimate brakes on 180mm front and 160mm rear rotors.
Black Inc (Factor’s in-house brand) provides its one-piece Barstem, in-line seatpost and Twenty Seven wheels. The saddle is a Selle Italia Boost Superflow and the wheels are wrapped in fast-rolling Maxxis Aspen 29×2.25in Exo TR tyres.
The DT Swiss F 232 One 120mm-travel fork features up-front, matched with a DT Swiss R232 One Remote shock, both attached to a two-stage remote lockout lever on the bars.
The headset features CeramicSpeed’s interesting SLT (Solid Lubrication Technology) system. This proprietary technology encases the bearings in an ‘oil-encapsulated solid plastic polymer’ and utilises stainless steel races to achieve a self-lubricating, corrosion-resistant and low-maintenance system.
The size medium Factor Lando XC weighs 10.59kg without pedals.
Factor Lando XC ride impressions
I rode the Lando XC on a range of terrain, mostly in South Wales, covering over 750km.
It has accompanied me on a couple of all-day, moderate-effort exploratory rides, short timed blasts on some typical test loops, and a successful attempt to go below two hours on a well-known loop in the Brecon Beacons.
Factor Lando XC setup
I aimed for 20 per cent sag front and rear, which meant 60psi in the fork and 125psi in the shock for my 70kg kitted-up weight.
Factor Lando XC climbing performance
It would be too easy to throw superlatives at the Lando XC when it comes to climbing. Whether it be steep, feature-laden tech trails or pure-power lengthy drags, it just flies.
The low-weight, purposeful seated position and fast-rolling tyres all point to a sprightly ride, but it takes a few extra ingredients to make a truly fast bike.
Factor has nothing to worry about there though; with the shocks in their middle compression setting, the back end hooks up surprisingly well given the sparse tread on the Maxxis Aspens. Even on wet rocks, damp roots and mud-splattered hardpack, I found traction plentiful.
Back-to-back efforts on the same climb revealed interesting comparisons between the fully open and half-closed suspension positions too; on looser sections where adding power can cause the half locked-out rear end to skip, the open setting allowed traction to regain faster.
Some low-cadence, high-power situations caused a little suspension bob if the terrain made the suspension compress in the open setting. That’s likely a result of fairly low anti-squat numbers and the shock tune meaning the open setting has a low threshold for low-speed compression damping.
With such a short-travel bike, that was never a drastic issue and the mid setting is only the flick of a thumb away in any case, ramping compression damping up considerably. Out-of-the-saddle efforts half-locked were eye-opening, with very little bobbing.
With its goal of ‘staying true to [the] brand roots of racing first’, Factor has done the right thing in this area. The Lando appears happiest when your heart rate is red-lining.
Given the aggressive, racy low front end, the bike feels at its most comfortable when fighting gravity. The position isn’t so low that it’s unsustainable, however, and it’s a pretty intuitive stance to sit and tap along for considerable distances.
Factor Lando XC descending performance
The lack of a dropper post and a low, stiff front end and near-slick tyres, can be unnerving on steeper, faster trails. In a recreational setting, that makes it enormous fun seeing what can be managed; the up-to-date angles help to keep things relatively stable.
It’s comfortable getting off the ground, for instance, and in the right conditions it’s competent when the going gets steep and technical – although this is where a dropper post really would be helpful.
Black Inc’s Twenty Seven (referring to their width in millimetres, not their diameter in inches) wheels are predictably stiff, having a sizeable section carbon rim.
Rip through a well-supported corner and it’s possible to make the Lando’s lightweight rear end flex and twist, but don’t be fooled; the bike is massively stiff where it needs to be when you’re putting the power down. That means extremely fast acceleration out of those corners, and power delivery in general is an efficient, fuss-free process.
The BarStem from Black Inc is as stiff as an integrated unit. It offers incredible steering precision and its stiffness contributed to my hands going numb on longer descents.
I struggled to get used to the rocker paddle on the AXS gear shifter, but many of my colleagues prefer the new design to the conventional AXS lever.
However, the speed and consistency of electronic shifting is still remarkable and having that at your disposal in the context of cross-country is useful.
High-speed, smooth descents are a wild experience; thanks to fast-rolling tyres and the low overall weight, going extremely fast on flowy descents requires minimal effort.
While the fork struggled to achieve full travel, it did feel plush and supported from sag to mid-stroke once I’d got it set up.
It took some level of tinkering to get it to that point however, including removal of the two volume spacers it was shipped with and much trial and error.
The setup guide gave a good starting point, but I ended up with higher pressures on both the front and rear springs by roughly 15 per cent. The rear end feels just as plush and supportive, helping the bike feel like it has more than 115mm of travel.
The kind of rolling terrain found on many waymarked trails in the UK is another place the Lando is comfortable, the 115mm rear travel allowing the short downs to be capitalised upon to increase momentum for the inevitable switch upwards.
Where it excels is on more natural long-distance rides, the type found in the very stage racing and marathon events Factor intends the Lando for. Those events don’t typically feature a huge amount of steeper descending, so the lack of a dropper post isn’t a massive issue.
To boot, the efficient nature of the bike and the purposeful, upright but poised seating arrangement makes medium-to-long distances a relatively comfortable undertaking while it’s still able to rip up climbs and put a grin on your face through singletrack.
However, take the bike away from marathon racing and the lack of dropper does interrupt flow, or your ability to tackle the gnarlier descents the frame, suspension and rest of its spec are capable of hitting.
Factor Lando XC bottom line
For the rider who enjoys races involving as much up as down, regardless of the distance, the Factor Lando XC represents a high-end specific tool for that job.
Factor has aimed it at serious cross-country racers and those who like curly bars crossing over to mountain biking. It will suit those riders well. A dropper post would provide a boost to its descending capabilities, but many of the target audience prefer not to run one, so it’s a valid trade-off.
The fork pressure issue may hold the Factor Lando XC back, but it’s an impressive first venture into mountain bikes from a brand better known for skinny tyres.
|Price||AUD $9500.00EUR €8399.00GBP £6999.00USD $9199.00|
|Weight||10.5kg (M) – without pedals|
|Available sizes||S, M, L, XL|
|Tyres||Maxxis Aspen 29x2.25 Exo TR F & R|
|Stem||Black Inc BarStem, 160mm x 70mm|
|Shifter||SRAM XX1 AXS|
|Seatpost||Black Inc inline|
|Saddle||Selle Italia SLR|
|Rear Shocks||DT Swiss R232 One Remote|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM XX1 AXS|
|Handlebar||Black Inc BarStem, 160mm x 70mm|
|Bottom bracket||CeramicSpeed T47|
|Frame||Carbon fibre, 115mm (4.5in) travel|
|Fork||DT Swiss F232 One Remote, 120mm (4.7in) travel|
|Cranks||SRAM XX1 34T|
|Cassette||SRAM XG-1175, 10-42t|
|Brakes||SRAM Level Ultimate, 180/160 rotors|
|Wheels||Black Inc 27CD|