The perks of being a partner in a bike shop and training centre. My Experience with the FACTOR O2 Road Bike.
I still like to “walk the talk” when it comes to the products we sell and endorse. I encourage our staff to know more than the “info card” and inform clients of how a bike feels, handles and how it compares to other models. I find this more powerful than what the respective websites market online.
I have been fortunate to ride some of the finest road bikes made today. I have road Colnago‘s C50, C59, C60 and the newest C64. These hand-made frames are still which all bikes are compared to. I have also raced the former Guru Cycles flagship Photon bike which defined how light a frame can get (650g). Another Canadian company, Argon 18, has the popular and growing Gallium Pro model. I used to think that monocoque frames could not come close to Colnago’s hand-made lugged frame, but I was wrong. I can now see why the Team Astana has developed a strong relationship with Argon 18. The Gallium Pro is great value.
To further provide comparison, I believe one must also ride Titanium (T-Lab) and Steel (Tinno) bikes to truly understand what a “smooth ride” is like. These are not race bikes but I believe by riding these materials, they help the rider feel how bikes can be stable and can be ridden for hours without discomfort. You may then begin to better appreciate the responsiveness and power of carbon frames.
Then there’s the FACTOR O2, their signature Pro road bike as seen on Professional Tours. Although Factor has been in the bike business and manufacturing for awhile, they are considered the new kid on the block. We ordered a rim brake chassis with Black Inc Carbon wheels (50mm) and Black Inc’s one-piece handlebar and stem (Black Inc is Factor’s partner that provides the wheels and cockpits). As always, I took time to set-up the bike to my bike fit specs with my favorite Brooks C13 saddle. In the fit studio, the bike set-up felt correct.
The test, a 4 day in Camp in Penticton riding 350km up steep climbs, winding descents and in tight pelotons. In the first 5km, I was impressed. I was immediately surprised on our first climb, Vancouver Hill, that the bike felt quick. We then proceeded to cruise up and down the Naramanta Wine Bench. My first thoughts were “this bike takes off!” Everything felt connected and in one-piece. I was supposed to lead the group out on an easy “flush-out” ride but found myself pushing a little harder than required. My Bad! This was a true road machine with no power loss on the pedal stroke. It quickly became a pleasure to climb with. However, in my mind, climbing hills can be improved by getting fit and losing weight!
I routinely inform clients that “how a bike descends and corners, is what makes it great.” Is the bike stable? Are you able to let it go and feel safe? Sure enough, the next test on our ride was a winding 3 km descent into Naramanta. Feeling good, I “let it go” and tucked in. No hesitation or braking was needed. The bike was very stable. I was happy and impressed.
One of our clients, who was riding on a new C64 said to me “you like that Factor eh?” Overall, this is a light and stable bike. The Factor O2 is well engineered and balanced. The pricing is also competitive to other high end frames and they include Ceramic Speed wheel hubs and BB’s as standard features. Another nice touch that makes a customer feel like they received good value. The next step for me is to try FACTOR‘s other models as my first impressions were great.