Factor Bikes have this week announced the arrival of their first production bike, the Vis Vires. We got a sneak look at the bike a few weeks back, which is the final culmination of a project that started with the striking concept Factor 001 six years ago. But it’s finally here, and there will be three models priced from £5,999 to £9,999.
The Vis Vires has lost some of the radical design features such as a complex electronics monitoring system and disc brakes since the early concept wowed the cycling word. It’s still recognisably a Factor though, and it’s clear aerodynamics have been an integral part of the design process.
There’s a novel split down tube (that’ll never get UCI approval) and a dual blade forkwith a bayonet steering assembly, something we’ve only really seen on time trial bikes up until now. Their own stem can be adjusted with a set of wedges to tailor the height. The rest of the frame is heavily aero shaped, including the seat tube and the aero seatpost, with an integrated seat clamp. They use a Ritchey seat clamp and they’re making use of Shimano’s latest internal Di2 battery to keep the external lines smooth and uncluttered. Cables and wiring are internally routed. There’s an ANT+ sensor incorporated into the chainstay, similar to that found on Trek and Giant frames.
Both brakes are mounted out of the airflow, the front behind the fork and the rear down below the bottom bracket. Like many other aero road bikes, they’re shunning traditional calipers and instead using mini V-brakes, in this case TRP’s TTV Alloy brakes.. The BB is an EVO386 compatible shell. The frame is made from a mix of high-modulus unidirectional carbon from Toray and medium-modulus carbon, with a claimed frame weight of just under 1kg.
Geometry for a 56cm frame (there’s five sizes available from 51 to 61cm) looks like this: 73.25° head angle, 73.3° seat angle, 403mm chainstays, 985mm wheelbase, 395mm reach, 563mm stack and a 562mm top tube. The bottom bracket drop is 70mm.
Factor will offer three models at launch, a £5,999 Ultegra Di2 model, a £7,999 Ultegra Di2 with Factor Power Cranks, and for £9,999 Dura-Ace Di2 and Factor Power Cranks. Each bike will be specced with Factor’s own wheels, Black Inc Factor 45mm carbon clincher rims paired with DT Swiss 240S hubs on the Dura-Ace bike and DT Swiss 350 hubs on the Ultegra model. Tyres will be Vittoria Open Corsa CX III 23mm, branded with Factor logos, or Vittoria Diamante Pro Lite 23mm tyres, depending on the model.
The Dura-Ace bike will be fitted with custom painted Enve handlebars to match the frame colour, of which there are three, and a Fizik Arione 00 carbon railed saddle. A Garmin Edge 810 is also supplied with this model. The Ultegra bike gets a Garmin Edge 510 computer. Both bikes are supplied with a Factor branded Scicon Aerocomfort TSA 2.0 bag for travelling duties.
Factor haven’t just designed a bike, they’ve also developed their own power meter crank. We’ve seen the introduction of electronics giant Pioneer recently, working with Team Belkin, so this market is really starting to get interesting with more products now available. Factor’s Power Cranks use internal torque and force measuring to monitor the power at each crank arm, which is something SRM’s Powermeter doesn’t do, but Pioneer’s system does.This allows you to analyse pedalling technique in much more detail. They’re claimed to offer an accuracy of 1 degree and use ANT+ so are compatible with Garmin’s Edge GPS computers.
It costs £2,000 and uses Praxis chainrings and has a 30mm axle, so will work with most BB30 bottom brackets. LED’s on the drive side crank arm indicate battery level, which is a Li-Ion cell that is charged by a self-attracting connector on the front face of the crank. Recharge time is a claimed 3 hours, from a PC or phone charger.
Factor have also developed their own Logger Box which communicates with the Power Cranks, and offers the usual post-ride indepth analysis you would expect. The Logger has GPS and will also work with ANT+ speed and heart rate sensors for further data capture. An inbuilt Bluetooth receiver is intended to let you hook it up to a computer for turbo trainer sessions using hteir own training software, for which they’ve partnered with Hunter Allen and Training Peaks. The Logger Box won’t be available until November and no price has been set yet.
Factor were born out of a group of engineers at bf1systms, a company that specialises in carbon fibre and electronics for Formula 1, wanting the challenge of applying their expertise from the high speed world of F1 to bicycle design. The resulting Factor 001 couldn’t have been more dramatic looking, with integrated electronics promising to monitor every component of the cycling experience. It’s been interesting charting their progress, through the subsequent and ridiculously priced Aston Martin special, to a final production model.
More details at www.factorbikes.com/
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.