Chris Froome will line up for this year’s Tour de France aboard a newly painted Factor Ostro VAM. We took a closer look at his race bike before the year’s biggest race got underway.
Factor has two road bikes that it offers to its pro riders, with the lightweight O2 VAM and this aero-optimised Ostro VAM. Given that the Ostro VAM can be easily built down to the UCI’s minimum weight limit, it’s not surprising that the pros generally opt for the more aero option.
The paint scheme, and the special kit that the riders will be wearing for their lap of France, is part of Israel-Premier Tech’s efforts to build a ‘Field of Dreams’ bike center at the Community of Hope in Bugesera, Rwanda, as part of the team’s Racing for Change initiative.
The complex will apparently consist of a pump track, a race track, and a community centre to help the people of Bugesera, and especially kids, by providing young athletes with a safe place to train as well as an infrastructure to develop their skills in cycling and beyond.
Back to the bike and the Ostro VAM hides all of the hoses and Di2 wires inside the cockpit, before routing it down the front of the D-shaped steerer tube and into the frame. It is a super clean design and certainly one of the nicest pro bikes to look at.
Thankfully, the Ostro VAM isn’t just about looks. This race bike rides beautifully and we were very impressed when we reviewed the frameset.
Israel Premier Tech isn’t a Shimano-sponsored team and you can see that instantly with the groupset. This is the older 11-speed Di2 stuff and while most of us wouldn’t complain about having it, the pros always want the best kit.
Not being sponsored does mean that the team is free to have other sponsors for various components. The first of these is Rotor which provides the InPower chainsets and chainrings. Froome still uses his Osymetric rings, but the rest of the team is on the Aero chainrings.
While we were looking at the chainsets, we spotted these massive wedges which have been epoxied to the frame. They're there to prevent the chain from dropping off the little ring and then jamming against the frame.
Look at the brakes and you’ll see another sponsor. SwissStop provides disc rotors and pads to the team.
BlackInc is a Factor in-house component brand and they provide the wheels, seatpost and cockpit. The wheels in this bike above are 60mm deep, but the riders also have a 45mm, 30mm and 20mm option should the terrain demand it.
The wheels are tubeless and the team uses Maxxis High Road tyres.
At the front of the bike you’ll find the Black Inc integrated cockpit. This one-piece design allows for all of the cables to run internally, comes in a number of width/length combos and offers a compact, slightly flared drop. The pro bikes that we saw all had a very long and very narrow setup to get some of those sweet aero gains.
Finishing the bikes are Selle Italia saddles, though we spotted that Froome was using a Syncros Tofino. As Syncros is a sub-brand of Scott bikes, could this indicate a switch to Scott for Israel Premier Tech next year? Or is Froome simply testing out new saddles?
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.