Last year, I spent the better part of an afternoon aboard the Factor O2 Disc. I was so enamored that I had to figure out a way to build one up for a long-term affair. As luck would have it, I was able to do just that. As a result, the other bikes in the quiver have seen considerably-less miles since the O2 arrived.
Factor is a newcomer to the world of superbikes, but doesn’t back down from the old guard in any way. Pricing is premium, but so is build quality. And, Factor is unique in that they include the full cockpit build (Black Inc. Barstem, seatpost and CeramicSpeed bottom bracket/headset) with every frameset. Add those items up and you’re getting over $1000 in top-shelf components with every frameset — not bad.
When considering superbikes, there are many known players that come to mind — particularly Pinarello, Bianchi or Colnago — but Factor has quickly become worthy of consideration on that list.
What Makes a Superbike So Super?
So, you may ask, what makes a bike a “superbike”? Glad you did ask because here’s my checklist when testing a bike for superbike-ness.
Is it exclusive?
Essentially, is it only sold in specialty bike retailers, not your local Trek Store. Look for Factor Bikes at your local speciality bike shop or online at CompetitiveCyclist.com.
Do people ogle over it?
I mean, do people stop and ask you about it or drool incessantly? When I dropped the O2 Disc off to my mechanic to be built up, everyone gathered around to check it out. Then, when I came to pick it up, he and others mentioned several times just how beautiful the bike was and how fun it was to build up.
I brought the bike back into him to re-bleed the rear brake and he gave me a hard time because I hadn’t cleaned it in several rides. Beautiful bikes should be ridden, but alas it is a superbike, so maybe I should clean it more often.
Does it cost a small fortune?
You get the picture. Dentists, executives or those who ride bikes that cost more than their vehicles realize the value of a rarefied bike. But, if you are looking for something special and can afford it (or are saving your pennies), then the Factor O2 Disc should be on your short list. And, remember that with all Factor Bikes, a frameset includes the full cockpit, headset, bottom bracket and saddle — which makes that build a touch more palatable.
In the end, a build like this one will cost right around $10k — more if you go with Shimano Dura-Ace or SRAM Red eTap HRD and a power meter.
Does it make you feel like you could ride in The Tour de France?
Honestly, you can’t. But a legitimate superbike will make you feel stronger, faster and help you ride better. While nothing trumps fitness or power-to-weight ratios, a nice bike does help. Depending on how it is outfitted, the O2 Disc can either be an all-day crusher or an ultralight climber. We’ve seen this bike excel at both as Silvan Dillier took second place on his at the 2018 Paris-Roubaix and Romain Bardet rode it to third overall in the 2017 Tour de France while also taking Stage 12 in the mountains.
Buying this bike won’t instantly take you to WorldTour level, but it will sharpen your skills and give you a responsive, comfortable platform that can be ridden all day or pushed up lung-busting ascents.
Does it have no-compromise technology and construction?
Certainly, looks mean a lot, but superbikes are also the pinnacle of design and technology under the hood. Getting the proper ride quality and low weight requires the use of the right varieties of carbon fiber in a calculated layup schedule. All of that is intended to give the bike a signature ride. Responsiveness, comfort, lateral stiffness, aerodynamics, etc. are all optimized for top-shelf performance.
With Factor, they are the manufacturer. They own the factory where their bikes are produced and remain in control over every part of the process. Every inch of the frame is poured over and optimized to make the O2 responsive and fast yet compliant enough for a 3-week Grand Tour and Paris-Roubaix alike.
Factor O2 Disc: A Superbike Indeed
Having met all that criteria, the Factor O2 Disc has been a joy to ride over the course of the past 4 months. Mountains, flats, descents — it’s all been a ton of fun on this bike. If you’re looking for a race-worthy, responsive bike with disc brakes, the O2 is a great choice. Admittedly, I’m not as flexible as some riders, so my fit required more spacers than I’d like, but that didn’t hamper the bike’s performance.
Overall, the Factor O2 Disc is a nimble-handling bike that looks drop-dead gorgeous and has large enough tire clearance to comfortably ride 28mm tires (or larger) to add even more comfort.
My custom build included:
- Shimano Ultegra R8070 Di2 disc groupset
- Zipp 454 NSW Carbon Clincher Disc-brake wheels
- Full Black Inc cockpit — seatpost and integrated barstem , as shown. Complete build weight, as shown was 17.3 lbs (with cages, Pioneer power meter and Speedplay pedals).
- Total cost: ~$10,000
The Final Word
If you are looking for a unique superbike that can climb, descend and excel at fast, rolling terrain, the Factor O2 Disc is a great one.
More Info: Read Our Factor O2 Disc Review