High-end, boutique bikes are everywhere. Some are steel while others are titanium. Still, others are perfecting their craft with carbon fiber — spending painstaking hours optimizing the layup schedules for the ultimate performance. Factor Bikes is a relative newcomer to those ranks and if their other bikes are as good as the new Factor O2 Disc, they are going to find success.
Factor O2 Disc Features:
- Same geometry as the O2 rim brake model
- 12mm thru axles front-and-rear
- Flat mount brakes
- Compatible with electronic groupsets only (available with Shimano Dura-Ace or SRAM Red eTap HRD)
- Weight: ~750 grams (frame), 16.2 lbs (complete)
- MSRP: $5099 (frame and fork)
Factor O2 Disc is Love at First Ride
I got the lowdown on the first day of PressCamp, but had to wait until day two before I could ride it. I had other-worldly expectations for the new Factor O2 Disc — even though I hadn’t even swung a leg over the original. Those expectations were based on “word on the street” and the belief that the people behind Factor were legitimately out to build the type of bike they wanted to ride — not something that the corporate controller was forcing them to build.
As it turns out, all my expectations were legitimate and the O2 Disc lived up to the hype and then some.
I reserved a 56cm bike for Wednesday and showed up with plenty of time to take the bike into the garage and set it up properly. Saddle height is only one factor when testing a bike, and I took the time to adjust my stack and reach so I could have the best experience possible. Without question, that extra time spent dialing things in made for an instant connection and allowed me to push the envelope and truly find out what this bike is made of.
Of course, the biggest feature of the O2 Disc is the fact that it has disc brakes. Much to the chagrin of purists, road disc brakes are here to stay and while they do come with a 1 lb. weight penalty, bikes like the O2 Disc pretty much make that argument a non-issue because it just rides so darn well.
Equipped with 140mm rotors front/rear, the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset delivered quality shifting and equally-superb braking all over Park City’s winding descents. The complete bike was also equipped with the full gamut of Black Inc components (stem, bars and seatpost) and with Black Inc Fifty C Disc wheels. Without question, this build left absolutely nothing to be desired.
The Dance Up Royal Street
Between Deer Valley Resort’s two base areas lies a good little climb called Royal Street. With almost 1000 ft. of vert over 3 miles, it’s a good push for about 18 minutes. During that effort, I was able to feel the efficiency of the O2 Disc. The 45mm deep wheels felt smooth and fast and I had no issues with them on a climbing bike like the O2. Crosswind stability was superb and they just rolled like champs with their smooth Ceramicspeed bearings.
Seated climbs were met with consistent power transfer and a zip only found on bikes like this. Standing efforts are equally-rewarded as the O2 dances and responds to every bit of rider input. I found myself looking for “one more climb” even after I was far spent.
Descents were equally-impressive as I felt immediately-comfortable at speed and through the sinuous turns around Park City. This bike responds immediately to rider inputs without exhibiting an ounce of twitchiness. Every corner was met with confidence and exited with more speed than I had achieved ever before. In fact, my descent back down Royal Street was a PR, but the crazy thing was that I didn’t even try. I wasn’t going all-out, but the O2 simply made quick work of the descent.
On top of responsive climbing and planted descending, the O2 Disc is one of the most comfortable all-rounders I’ve swung a leg over. Yes, it had 28mm tires (which, I’m sure helped), but almost all of my bikes have 28mm tires these days, so it wasn’t an unfair comparison. You could likely squeeze 30mm tires on this bike, but trust me, you’ll be rewarded with significant comfort with 28mm tires. At the WorldTour level, AG2R rode the O2 rim brake during this year’s Spring Classics, so that’s certainly saying something for the level of comfort this bike brings.
All cable routing is tidy and I didn’t experience any rattles whatsoever. I’ll add that Factor doesn’t mess around in the bearings department as Ceramicspeed bearings are used throughout (headset, bottom bracket and hubs) for extra-smooth rolling and handling.
The only niggle I noticed was that on hard standing efforts I could get the front disc rotor to “ting” every so slightly. Additionally, things looked pretty tight with 140mm rotors, but I’m told that 160mm’s will fit.
Keep in mind that this was only a 30 mile ride, but I’d be willing to bet on many more miles of smiles aboard this one if I ever get it as a long-termer.
Note: Factor will be working with select retailers in the United States. Backcountry.com already carries the O2 rim brake and I’m assuming they will be a primary partner when things get more situated.
- Makes the disc brake argument irrelevant because it just feels so amazing
- Zippy responsiveness out of the saddle
- Descends with the utmost confidence
- Absolutely impeccable fit and finish
- Ceramicspeed bearings throughout
- Single-color paint schemes are where it’s at
- A little front rotor “ting” during standing efforts
- Token chainstay protector was peeling off (I’d expect something better)
The Bottom Line: Factor O2 Disc
After two hours of testing on familiar roads, I didn’t want to give the O2 back. I kept looping around for “one more climb” just because it was so impressive. I loved every minute aboard this bike — climbing, descending and rolling terrain. Yes, it’s a premium price point but it leaves nothing to be desired if you are in the market for a high-end bike.
More Info: Visit FactorBikes.com
Very few bikes have impressed me as much as the O2 Disc has. This bike rewards the rider with nimble handling, responsive climbing, confident descending and comfort beyond its category. It's expensive, but on par with other bikes in its class and this one outshines every other super bike I've ridden to date.
- Ride Quality
- Pedaling Efficiency