This is my review and first impressions of the Factor OSTRO VAM, my brand new road bike! In this piece, I will run through the details of my new bike, how it compares to other Factor models and most importantly why I chose the OSTRO over anything else.
It seems like only yesterday that I rode my first Factor. It was the O2 and I was blown away by how well it rode. The combination of the Black inc Wheels with CeramicSpeed bearings meant it rolled along almost effortlessly.
The Factor ONE
I have been lucky enough to have ridden thousands of miles on both the Factor ONE and O2 over the course of 2 years. The ONE is the out and out aero offering and once up to speed on the flat it just goes and goes. The power transfer is faultless and all the effort you put in goes to the rear wheel powering you forward!
The Factor O2
The O2 is more of your climbing bike with it being lighter. Even though the O2 is not considered aero I have never had a problem when riding on the flat. Certainly faster than any of the other brands that I have ridden.
I was able to ride the latest O2 at the recent Mallorca 312. Hear all about it here
The Factor Ostro VAM
Then we have the Factor OSTRO VAM. This bike is the ‘love child’ of both the O2 and the ONE. It is lighter than the ONE but more aero than the O2. Other brands have advertised that they have created the “one bike” that does it all, but I truly believe that they still have made compromises.
Being a bike fitter I have had a number of the top models in my studio. Nothing visually had blown me away. I am aware that you cannot be sure what goes on ‘under the hood’ but from a design/aero stance, I have been disappointed. Factor own their own factory and this is shown in quality and attention to detail of their frames. I also believe this is why it is the most state of the art aero design. They can react fast to new developments in the bike building world.
I did not get to ride the OSTRO before I purchased it, (and yes, I have paid for it!) but I have every faith in this bike delivering on its claim of a “Superlight Aero Race Bike”.
I have specced Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8070 for my build. This was ordered some time ago as a stop-gap while waiting for the Dura-Ace 12speed to become available. For me, it functions just as well as Dura-Ace and certainly better than SRAM in my opinion! It may not look quite as aesthetically pleasing and yes it is a few grams heavier, but I don’t believe it functions any worse than Dura-Ace. It is cheaper to replace the consumable parts when running Ultegra rather than Dura-Ace which tend to wear out faster. I wax my chain rather than using oil which is cleaner, smoother, less friction and help prolong the life of my drive chain.
The OSTRO has been developed and optimised with Black Inc FORTY FIVE wheels so why would you choose anything else? Yes, the SIXTY may be more aerodynamic but this comes with extra weight. As with everything, there is always a trade-off. The CeramicSpeed bearings that come standard with the Black Inc wheels are amazingly smooth and friction-free. Well worth getting upgraded with whatever wheels you currently ride.
The barstem is fully integrated so it is crucial that you get this correct ahead of the build. Luckily for me, I have had the benefit of riding both the ONE and the O2 with different sized cockpits so could choose what I liked and worked for me. This meant I ended up with a mix from both bikes so went for 400mm x 110mm. I feel more comfortable slight narrower and as a bonus, this is also slightly more aero. I see lots of people riding bars too wide for them. In the old days the bigger the bike the wider the bars. The trend nowadays is to go more narrow. I would highly recommend having a bike fit prior to your purchase to confirm the correct size for you.
Even being a bike fitter it is impossible to say that X is the perfect saddle for you. For me, it has been a journey and I have worked my way to the Specialized Power 143. I think the shorter nose style with a cut-out aids comfort on the bike for most riders. Knowing that I got on well with the shape of the Power I decided to treat myself and purchase the new 3D Specialized S-Works Power Mirror Saddle. The technology is designed to spread the pressure and thus remove hot spots. I spend a great deal of time in the saddle and you have got to be comfortable.
The Maiden Voyage
With getting the bike at the end of the season and not wanting it to get dirty, I have only managed to get out for a short 20-mile ride. This was around my local area in Norfolk and it certainly did not disappoint. Somehow they have managed to achieve the perfect mix of stiffness, aero and comfort. Being brand new, it was smoother than both previous bikes. I would say it was as comfortable as the O2 to ride but had the speed of the ONE. This was increased I felt as I hit any sort of climb. I did not feel any difference when climbing to the O2. I was unable to get the bike up to a prolonged period of riding 25mph+ so cannot comment yet as to how it would compare at those sorts of speeds.
While riding this bike I could not help thinking: ‘What more could you want from a bike!’
If you want the fastest bike on the flat then you will not get a better bike than the Factor ONE. However, if there are any sort of climbs on the route, which generally there are, then the Factor OSTRO is the bike. I live in flat Norfolk and still picked the OSTRO. If you think of how much of the time you are riding above 25mph then this is the smaller percentage so in my mind you are going to be better off on the OSTRO.