Since the beginning, Factor Bikes have always been about high performance. Unafraid to be bold and push the boundaries. Our history dates back to 2007 where it all began in Norfolk, England when Factor was an offshoot of BF1 systems, dedicated to working at the highest levels of design with some of the fastest, most prestigious brands in the world, including; Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Maserati and a string of F1, Moto GP, and WRC teams.
Here, we take a look back at the various machines that have shaped Factor Bikes into what we are and stand for today.
FACTOR BIKES TIMELINE
2009 – The 001
In 2009, Factor took its first step into the cycling industry when then Managing Director of BF1 Systems, now MD of Factor Bikes UK, John Bailey, set his team a new challenge – to build a bike. And not just any bike. A bike that went beyond tradition, constructed with an F1 mindset. Naturally, speed and flawless perfection were the be all and end all.
After some trial and error, the revolutionary, way beyond its time 001 was born, using the latest technologies, knowledge and resources of F1. The 001 was quickly deemed the most advanced bike ever, idolised for its cutting edge technology and its seamless aesthetics.
Standout features of the bike included its fully equipped ergonometric data recording system with the ability to track leg power, an integrated GPS system, and an impressive physiological data collection package that tracked ECG, respiration rate and skin/core body temperature.
The bike was exhibited at the London Science museum and quickly made waves through the cycling industry as the most innovative bike to hit the market. Only fifty models were produced.
2012 – THE ONE-77
Due to popular demand, Factor’s next project was a collaboration with then customer of BF1, Aston Martin. With combined efforts, a refined version of the 001 was created – the 0NE-77 super bike. Just 77 models were produced. Key differences to the 001 included its improved cockpit and standout finish designed by the world renowned car brand’s own, while the bars and saddles went that extra mile, hand stitched with the very same leather used inside their cars.
2013 – VIS VIRES
The 001 and the Aston Martin ONE-77 were the start of something special. And just the ticket that BF1 needed to then turn what was initially just a project, to a stand-alone business within the cycling industry. When a proposal was presented to BF1 to turn the 001 into a production bike, the founders grasped the opportunity, and Factor Bikes took its first official step into the cycling industry.
With the help of a US-based agency, the previous F1 inspired models were transformed into a more functional, commercial product, named the Vis Vires. The aerodynamic innovation unsurprisingly went against all UCI rules, completely dedicated to maximising aero advantages, combined with total integration systems, an all-data-in-one mould-breaking package and the original 001 power meter crankset.
Once the hard work had been done and wind tunnel testing had proven its unrivalled performance, the Vis Vires was raring to go to production. But one crucial thing was missing – a factory. Then began the start of a budding relationship with Rob Gitelis who owned his own factory in Taiwan and had years of extensive experience designing, engineering and producing some of the best bikes in the world.
Rob’s reaction to the innovative, far from simple Vis Vires was an immediate yes and the Vis Vires was exposed to the world.
2015 – THE ONE
Rob’s expertise and avid experience in the industry didn’t go unnoticed and his instant understanding of what Factor and John Bailey were all about was just the sign that Bailey (at the time still GM for BF1) needed to hand over the reins to Rob.
When the deal was sealed, Rob immediately got to work to shape the Vis Vires into the ONE that boasted a more refined front end and was for the first time in Factors history, a UCI approved bike with the ability to race legally. The ONE was developed with input from pro riders and expert engineers injecting an essential racer’s experience to what would be Factor’s first real racing bike. The aerodynamic weapon soon after hit the start line for the 2016 season as Factor took on sponsorship of British UCI Pro Continental team, ONE Pro Cycling.
The ONE still stands as our longest running production bike, currently available in an updated version of the original. An aero bike that has since its release been ridden to a string of victories by various different teams; from Continental level, to the World Tour.
2016 – THE O2
The next obvious move was to veer away from pure aerodynamics to create a lighter weight bike. Something for the all-rounders with the ability to climb comfortably, yet still capably hold its ground across all terrains. With the design focus set on achieving just the right balance of comfort, aerodynamics, and low weight, the O2 was made.
From launch, the O2 sparked immediate interest and hype, and only several months later World Tour GC star, Romain Bardet, had encouraged his team at the time, AG2R to approach Factor about becoming their technical partner for 2017. Although Factor was still finding its feet in the industry, the opportunity that presented itself was one that simply could not be passed. The chance to step up into the World Tour was here. Take the risk or lose the chance…
The instantaneous huge leap forward for the company, came with its obvious bouts of hard work and stress, all worth it however when Bardet rode to a momentous victory at the 2017 Tour de France on the O2. The dream was well and truly alive.
Later down the track, the O2 was updated and this newer version currently stands as one of our signature road models.
2017 – THE SLiCK
Following Factor’s prompt entry into the World Tour the essential next step was to develop a time trial bike to meet the requirements of WT racing. A bike that Factor had planned in the pipeline was quickly moved to top priority. With the guidance and support of former professional and time trial expert, David Millar, soon after the race season was underway, the SLiCK came to life. Primed and ready to take on the World Tour.
Featuring a split ‘Twin Vane EVO’ down tube to combine aerodynamic efficiency and maximum frame stiffness, the SLiCK’s Twin Vane EVO was the end result of years of tireless work developing the downtube that has been a signature part of Factor’s history since as early as the 001.
A year later, Factor went on to expand the SLiCK’s abilities by including a selection of tri-specific features to meet the demands of triathletes. It still stands as our most popular bike for triathlon and ironman.
2018 – ViSTA
In 2018, the time came for Factor to broaden its horizons and take a trip down the road of discovery. With the feedback and technical assistance of 2012 Giro d’Italia winner – Canadian, Ryder Hesjedal, the development of the ViSTA came to fruition. The bike was created with the inspiration of breaking categorical industry barriers to become an all-round, ‘all-road’ bike. Providing the rider with the ability to ride on the road comfortably with the option to hit adventure mode and head for the trails in a heartbeat. Versatile, comfortable and adventure seeking.
“The ViSTA truly embodies the All-Road, “discover without limits” ethos.” – Rob Gitelis.
2019 – O2 VAM
The following season, the decision was made to focus on developing an ultra lightweight climbing weapon. Retaining the same geometry as the O2 but with several key updates, the O2 VAM was created, fittingly named after the Velocita Ascensionale Media theory. The feather light bike’s key differentials to the O2 were and are fully internal cable routing, a stiffer bottom bracket design and a revolutionary method of carbon compression moulding, which reduces excess resin, making the frame lighter and stronger
“The development of the O2 VAM took around a year. We were able to design the shapes pretty quickly, but we did about 50 different iterations to achieve the ride quality we wanted in a sub-700g disc brake frame.” – Rob Gitelis.
As the O2 VAM continued to gather hype and with an exciting new partnership confirmed for 2020 with World Tour team, Israel Start Up Nation, motivation was at its greatest and innovation beckoned. In came new Director of Engineering, Graham Shrive, bringing with him over 15 years of extensive industry experience, a great appreciation for bikes, and a fresh perspective.
2020 – LS
As the gravel cycling world continued to boom, the time came for Factor to want in and to bring something unique to the table in the LS – a pure race gravel bike, solely designed for performance over mixed terrain, with the added perk of still being ‘fast’ enough to ride on the road.
Since the beginning, Factor’s top priority has been performance and speed. So, to bring that to the gravel scene and expand into a new market was the next logical step forward.
The 950g World Tour proven frame that was built for speed, optimised for off-road stiffness and race-focussed handling is currently ‘raced’ on across the globe by a number of our world-class gravel racing/off-road athletes, including; Ruby West and Dennis Van Winden.
2020 – OSTRO VAM
Later season, arguably Factor’s most successful, unique project was born – The OSTRO VAM. The ‘everything’ aero racer was carefully designed alongside Israel Start-Up Nation (now Israel – Premier Tech) with the intention of developing a racing weapon that would be suited to an array of terrains, benefited to a world-class climber like Dan Martin, in equal measures to sprinter, André Greipel.
“With the OSTRO VAM we were able to listen to the initial feedback from the riders and then make some minor stiffness changes to accommodate their wishes. Feedback from riders is always valuable and well-received by our engineering team. Our unique position of owning our dedicated manufacturing facility means that we can react quickly to implement these kinds of changes,” shared Rob.
“The end result was a race bike that was considered perfect for both André Greipel and Dan Martin. It was very special to see Martin win stage 3 of the (2020) Vuelta a España in an uphill sprint finish on the OSTRO VAM.”
The OSTRO VAM was debuted by the team at the 2020 Tour de France and following hugely positive feedback from the riders it shortly after hit the market.
The bike, named after the winds that sweep through the Côte d’Azur and Nice, now stands as Israel Premier – Tech’s most popularly ridden race bike across the WT calendar.
2021 – HANZŌ
Factor’s latest development is the HANZŌ: a world-class time trial bike that was constructed under the latest UCI guidelines, deeming it among one of the fastest time trial bikes on the planet within the regulations.
The fiercely aerodynamic time trial weapon named after a famous master of sword fighting ninja, was carefully developed alongside the likes of 4x Tour de France champion, Chris Froome, time trial specialist, Alex Dowsett and Israel Premier – Tech’s own industry experts, Paulo Saldanha (Sport Scientist) and Dr. Ciarán O’Grady (Aerodynamicist).
The bike was created to assist in elevating the team forward to a new level of performance. Since their establishment they have only continued to climb the World Tour rankings and prove their position as one of the world’s leading professional cycling teams. With a number of time trial and GC specialists on the squad, the next logical move was to provide the team with a time trial bike developed specifically for the World Tour, pushing every rule to the absolute limit to create the fastest possible machine.
In 2021, the team played a pivotal part in trialling the HANZŌ out in training and races across the calendar, providing valuable feedback along the way. Performance wise, they rose to being consistently competitive in time trials, and even winning them.
Our bikes have significantly evolved over the past 15 years, but one thing that has remained consistent since the beginning is our commitment to innovation, speed and performance. Racing is in our DNA and this stems right back to our routes in motorsport. Our journey goes on as we continue to strive for aerodynamic and aesthetic perfection at the sports highest level, with no compromises along the road.
Keep up to date with our latest innovations and follow us along for the ride: