Rejoice weight weenies, there’s a new super light road bike in the world. Say hello to the brand new Factor O2 VAM which comes with a claimed sub-700g frame weight and a choice of disc or rim brake versions. It won’t be cheap though, with a price of $5,499 for the frameset.
The new bike, hailed boldly by the company as the “absolute best bike in the world” employs a “revolutionary” carbon manufacturing process and some fancy high-tech materials and was developed with the AG2R professional team it used to sponsor, and ups the integration and tyre clearance to a real-world friendly 30mm.
Is 700g light? It certainly is, but it’s not the lightest so put down that trophy… Trek’s Emonda SLR weighs 690g, a Canyon Ultimate CF EVO 10.0 LTD is 665g, an AX Lightness Vial Evo Ultra is 600g, Cervelo Rca is 667g and a Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod was 695g. All weights are claimed of course.
The O2 VAM, short for Velocità Ascensionale Media, apparently gains its feathery weight due to a “revolutionary method of carbon compression moulding” which Factor says allowed more unnecessary resin to be removed from the carbon fibre layup through the use of very high levels of pressure. Factor says it’s not only lighter but also stronger than the O2.
There are also some advanced materials used in the carbon fibre layup. It has added TeXtreme ( a spread tow carbon developed by a Swedish company and used by Felt), Nippon Graphite pitch fibre and boron fibre to the frame. These materials, claim Factor, help to maximise the frame stiffness without compromising rider comfort.
The journey to the launch of the O2 VAM began with feedback it was getting from the AG2R team it sponsored for three seasons from 2016 to 2018. It was riding the O2, the then flagship model in the company’s range, but all the feedback it was getting was fed into the development of the new O2 VAM.
Geometry carries over from that race-proven bike but it has updated the cable routing and ramped up the integration. There’s the usual integration we’re rapidly coming to expect on high-end race bikes. It has developed its own aero handlebar with all cables routed inside to keep the lines clean and the air flowing smoothly without drag.
More useful to everyday riders is the increased tyre clearance, there’s space for up to 30mm tyres, a move we’re seeing from more manufacturers with race and aero bikes. Wider tyres obviously benefit comfort but Factor also reckons the seat tube and seatpost design ensure a good amount of compliance for rider comfort.
“Historically speaking, bike brands have always struggled with the balance between maximizing profit versus developing the best bike possible. After over 20 years in the industry, I decided to throw out the rules and challenge FACTOR with one simple goal: to develop the absolute best bike in the world. With the O2 VAM I truly believe we have achieved this goal, and I can’t wait for our customers to experience this bike,” says Rob Gitelis, owner of Factor
The O2 VAM starts at USD5,499 for the chassis option, which includes frame, fork, seatpost, Black Inc barstem, CeramicsSpeed bottom bracket and headset.
More info at https://factorbikes.com/
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.