TECH NEWS

Factor launches LS gravel race bike, with “optimised stiffness for gravel”

Factor’s first go at a gravel bike features a claimed frame weight of 950g

UK bike brand Factor has expanded its range of bikes with the addition of a pure gravel bike. The LS offers increased tyre clearance of up to 43mm over Factor’s 35mm Vista all-road bike. Factor has also focussed on keeping the weight down to a claimed 950g per frame.

Review: 3T Exploro Pro GRX 2020

Racing is still growing, especially in the US gravel market, and Factor seems keen to offer a race-focused gravel bike to cater for it beyond where their all-road Vista could due to its limited 35mm tyre clearance.

Factor LS Press 5
Factor's Vis Vires was one of the most revolutionary road bikes we'd ridden when we tested it back in 2014

The new LS offers room for 43mm tyres, pushing the capabilities of Factor’s bike range while sticking to the neatly hidden mudguard eyelets, internal cable routing, and focus on speed that we saw on their Vista.

The LS also offers mounting points for three bottle cages, compatibility with a frame bag, bar bag, top tube Bento mount and dropped seatstays. The frame is also able to take 1x and 2x drivetrains with electronic or mechanical shifting.

The frame is disc-only with flat mounts, 12x100mm and 12x142mm thru-axles and a 27.2mm seatpost. The only choice that appears a little unconventional is the 1 1/8" to 1 3/8" tapered headset. 

Factor LS Press 3

While aero has become a major factor (pardon the pun) in gravel race bikes over recent years, there are no watt-saving claims attached to the LS. It is certainly an interesting omission given the focus that 3T placed on making their new Exploro RaceMax, which was launched just a few weeks ago.

The big focus, Factor says, has been placed on frame weight in the development of the LS, with Factor saying that they drew on their “industry-leading expertise in carbon fibre construction.”

Factor LS Press 2

It all results in a fast race bike, or so Factor claims. “Diverging from traditional, pack-animal gravel bikes, the LS aids in immediate acceleration and climbing performance for aggressive riding to break free from the group without beating on the racer.”

Factor launches Vista all-road frameset

If you’re thinking that the geometry looks distinctly road bike-like, you’re not imagining things. Factor says that they’ve created a World-Tour proven geometry “by working alongside the highest level of cycling professionals.”

“Avoiding trade-offs associated with accommodating the larger tyre sizes preferred by gravel racers, the geometry is optimised to ensure exceptionally reactive handling.”

Factor LS Press 6

The LS looks to have a rather long reach, with the 54 frame size getting a 383mm reach. The stack also points towards a race-focus with the 54 size featuring a stack of just 566mm. The head tube and seat tube angles are relatively steep while the wheelbase is kept quite tight with 420mm chainstays throughout the five sizes. We’re predicting that the LS will be a rather nimble bike, but we’ll obviously wait for our first ride before we judge.

Speaking about the story behind the bike, owner of Factor Bikes Rob Gitelis said “Stepping into the gravel scene with the LS, I chose to name the bike after someone who lived the ethos of gravel long before gravel became popular. Larry Shahboz put me on my first race bike and gave me my first job at a bike shop. He welcomed and created a space for other “misfits” who loved bikes, and supported a long list of up and coming athletes. Gravel is founded in the principle of community and welcoming all even as it becomes an authority in racing. Larry created a community in the South Florida cycling scene, simply through his love of cycling. While he may not be here to witness the emergence of the welcoming gravel scene, I know he would have fully embraced and loved its core values based in community.”

Factor is offering the new LS as frameset for £2,650, or as a complete build using a Sram Force AXS groupset and Black Inc components for £6,999.

factorbikes.com

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.

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