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 continue finding success.

Factor O2 Disc Features:

  • RGi carbon fiber layup
  • Same geometry as the O2 rim brake model
  • 12mm thru axles front-and-rear
  • Flat mount brakes (140 or 160mm rotors)
  • Compatible with electronic groupsets only
  • 28mm stated tire clearance (larger may fit)
  • BBRight bottom bracket
  • Frame Weight: ~750 grams (frame)
  • Complete Weights: 16.6 lbs (orange), 17.3 lbs (turquoise-grey) — with pedals
  • MSRP: $5049 (full chassis)

Note: Originally posted as a first ride review in June 2017, it has since been updated based on a subsequent long-term experience aboard the O2 Disc.

Factor O2 Disc Review

My initial ride in June 2017 was this burnt orange beauty.

Factor O2 Disc Review

For a long-term affair, this was the build.

Factor O2 Disc: Love at First (and Second) Ride

At Bike Presscamp 2017, I was re-acquainted to Factor Bikes as their transformation was progressing. Hearing the story of the brand, its origins, the owners and ambassadors painted a clear picture of where the company was heading. For 2018 and beyond, there were huge aspirations for what was now a decidedly high-end brand. At this point, with almost two full seasons at the WorldTour level behind them, Factor has seen podium spots at some of the most prestigious races in the world.

Thus far, the word on the street was positive, but at that time, the O2 Disc wasn’t even publicly available. I was anxious to get first-hand experience with the Factor O2 Disc, so arrangements were made and I got a 56cm burnt orange test bike for the afternoon.

That initial 3-hour ride in June 2017 was super-impressive. I was dancing up Royal Street in Park City and descending faster than ever. Comfort was there and responsiveness was spot-on without being twitchy. It was love at first ride and I knew that I had to circle back for a long-term affair.

Fast-forward to spring 2018 and the pieces started taking shape as a full Factor O2 Disc chassis in turquoise-grey arrived to be built up with a full Shimano Di2 Ultegra R8070 Disc groupset and a pair of Zipp 454 NSW Carbon Disc-brake wheels. The game was afoot and I was anxious to see what the next few months of riding would bring.

Factor O2 Disc Review

Climbing Utah’s classic routes has been blissful aboard the O2 Disc.

Getting Re-acquainted

With several months gone by since that first dance up Royal Street, I had to get myself re-acquainted with the O2. The build was astounding and everyone at The Bike Shed was enamored by the beauty of the turquoise-grey frameset and the entire finishing kit. The latest Ultegra Di2 yields nothing to Dura-Ace in terms of performance and ergonomics (just a ~300 gram weight penalty), and the Zipp 454’s are pitched as the pinnacle of modern wheelsets.

Admittedly, I don’t have the most aggressive riding position, but with a few spacers, the Black Inc Integrated Barstem delivered a dialed-in fit that was efficient and comfortable for long ascents, curvy descents and fast rolling terrain. After a couple of break-in rides, I was eager to see just what the O2 Disc was made of.

Factor O2 Disc Review

The Factor O2 Disc atop the Alpine loop.

Mountains, Meet the O2 Disc

In case you weren’t aware, Utah has mountains. And, those mountains are accessible to the population centers along the Wasatch Front. These mountain roads offer sublime tarmac for testing bikes like the Factor O2 Disc and I was hellbent to find out how well I could impersonate Romain Bardet.

First, a few loops around the valleys were in order with rolling roads and punchy walls mixed in for fun. I was again reminded why my first rides in Park City were so memorable — this bike has serious chops. Power transfer is instant and handling is responsive without being twitchy. Standing climbs make you feel like you always have another gear available and the overall ride quality is fantastic. But, The big tests came when I aimed higher — the Alpine Loop.

The full loop encompasses 40 miles with nearly 4,000 ft of elevation gain (view Strava log). Doing the loop counter-clockwise takes you up past Sundance Resort on a climb that’s regularly featured in The Tour of Utah. It’s a rough one with initial pitches that sap the legs in a constant battle to keep enough energy to last for the entirety of the hour-long ascent.

The Alpine Loop in American Fork Canyon - Strava Log

The full Alpine Loop, counter-clockwise.

I was honestly grateful for the 11-32T cassette on this pitch with my 52/36 mid-compact chainrings. Grinding it out in the lowest gears was part of the experience, but no question, the O2 Disc was there with every pedal stroke. On this climb and others, I felt like I always had another gear left in me and could power up any climb on the menu.

Throughout the duration of my test period, the only changes I made were to swap out the Fizik Arione R1 for a PRO Stealth saddle as a test as well as going from Zipp Tangente Course R25’s to 28mm Pirelli PZero tires. Saddles are a personal preference, but going from 25 to 28mm tires makes a noticeable difference. You’ll have to decide for yourself which tire width suits your riding style, but the O2 offers all-day comfort with either configuration.

Now, onto descending. Leaning into mountain roads, the O2 really shines. As far as handling goes, I’d put it a touch more responsive than the BMC Roadmachine 01, but not as touchy as the Cannondale SuperSix. Advanced-level bike handlers will absolutely love it as the O2 tracks nicely and responds in a jiffy without getting loose at speed. Luckily, the geometry keeps everything on the stable side of things. But, at higher speeds than I’m interested in descending (45mph+), I could see it requiring an even more adept bike handler.

From my first grin-filled descent down Royal Street in Park City to long, high-speed descents down American Fork Canyon, and everything in between, the Factor O2 Disc has remained composed and ready for more than I can give. You simply won’t out-descend it.

Factor O2 Disc Review

The long-termer was turquoise-grey with Zipp 454 NSW wheels.

Factor O2 Disc Review

The short-termer was burnt orange with Black Inc wheels.

Some Thoughts on Spec and Such

Equipped with the Zipp 454’s, I have been able to nab some very fast times on rolling terrain while experiencing little in the way of crosswind-induced handling issues. To be honest, the O2 should have something more climbing-friendly, but that’s the beauty of building your own bike — simply choose the wheelset depth that best suits your terrain.

Factor chose to use the BBRight bottom bracket standard and utilizes asymmetric tube shapes throughout the frame. From the semi-integrated Svelte fork, to the pencil-thin seat stays, the O2 Disc is a work of art that rides as well as the best superbikes on the market. Additional thought was put into things like cable routing (which has been rattle-free), an integrated seatpost wedge and classy, high-quality paint work.

Factor O2 Disc and Svelte Fork

The semi-integrated Svelte fork offers responsive tracking and aerodynamics.

While it’s not a daily occurrence, removing the axles does require the use of a 6mm allen key, so make sure your tool has the right one should you get a flat. Additionally, the frame is routed exclusively for electronic drivetrains, so kiss those cables goodbye because they won’t work here.

I will also add that while the Black Inc Integrated Barstem is great overall, should you want a standard bar/stem combo, you’ll have to figure out a way to make that happen. Some retailers may swap out the integrated unit for a standard Black Inc carbon bar and stem (but, that’s no guarantee). Also, if you’re going Di2, be sure to get the bar end junction box as the standard stem-mounted one makes for quite a cluster up front.

And, let me not forget my biggest frustration with the O2 — extreme toe overlap. It’s terrible, but you get used to it and do your best ensure your toes are out of the way during tight turns. Still, it gets me on occasion. That’s the trade-off for such a short wheelbase in a performance-oriented bike.

The Good

  • Stiff, responsive and predictable
  • Climbs so well, you always feel like you have another gear left
  • Standing efforts are rewarded
  • Very comfortable and even more comfortable with bigger tires
  • Those paint schemes are bonkers
  • Comes with Ceramicspeed bearings
  • Full Black Inc cockpit and Fizik saddle is a huge value-add
  • Predictable handler on descents

The Bad

  • Very racy fit (good for some, but maybe not for all)
  • Egregious amounts of toe overlap
  • Watch that seatpost wedge when swapping posts (shaking it back out of the bottom bracket is a chore — yeah, I did that)

The Bottom Line: Factor O2 Disc

After an initial lovestruck afternoon aboard the O2 Disc turned into a long-term affair, this one is definitely something special. I have loved every ride aboard this bike — from hourlong ascents to rolling TT efforts and mountain curves. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an equally-beautiful frame that delivers the kind of ride quality that this one delivers. And, that complete Black Inc cockpit with Ceramicspeed headset and bottom bracket is a huge value-add — especially when stretching to fit within a budget.

Buy Now: Visit CompetitiveCyclist.com 

In Summary

9.2 Can I Keep It?

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. You'll be able to dig deeper and the bike will always respond in kind.

  • Ride Quality 9
  • Handling 10
  • Climbing 9
  • Descending 9
  • Pedaling Efficiency 10
  • Value 8

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

13 Comments

  1. Hi Jason, great review. Its new bike time and I’m currently faced with the tough choice between this bike and a Dogma F10.. I see you reviewed the F8 back in September last year. How do you feel the two bikes compare, as they ended up with the same overall score? Do you felt you had a preference of one over the other? Did either one stand out on the climbs or the descents or at the end of a very long day in the saddle? Cheers Alex.

    • Alex… boy, that’s a tough call and splitting hairs for sure. Are you looking at the Factor O2 Disc or rim and F10 Disc or rim? There will be slight differences in how they perform.

      I will say that my time on the O2 Disc was limited to an afternoon and the F8 was over the course of 6 months.

      That said, the O2 Disc was impressive enough that I’d say it would be my personal choice — even though the Dogma is an absolute pleasure to ride and gets the aero nod. But, for me, tire clearance trumps here. Even the rim brake version can accept 28mm tires and you can’t do that on the Dogma.

      Both are equally zippy on the uphill and fast and fun on the downhill. For me, it comes down to tire clearance and 28mm tires are the norm.

      • Jason.. yeah first world problems eh!

        The decision is actually between the Factor 02 rim and a F10 rim, but reviews on the Factor are pretty scarce. Either choice seems awesome but that doesn’t make it any easier!! Unfortunately my opportunity to test ride is even more limited than yours, but both have been ridden albeit short rides.

        Most of the rides locally are 4-6hr rides on flatland, but ultimately the bike is being bought for consecutive days of 150km+ rides in the Alps. So climbing, stability on descents and which absorbed the most road noise are the factors I had been weighing up. As for tire choice, I hadn’t planned as big as 28mm but sounds like maybe I should consider it..

        Hmm, its a hard one alright and appreciate your insights!!

  2. Can we say it? This looks Very much like the Canyon Ultimate. Nice. The disc weight penalty has decreased with the new Dura Ace 9170 disc Di2 set. Nearly finished my Supersix Evo HiMod disc 56cm bike at a hair over 15lb with Zero SS pedals and the Hollowgram carbon disc wheels.

  3. Hi Jason, the Royal St descent is fun isn’t it! I am looking between this and the Specialized Tarmac Disc (S Works). Any thoughts between the two?

    • Both are likely to be pretty comparable. Factor will give you more of a boutique feel, but S-Works is nothing to scoff at.

      Looking at the geometry, it looks like the Tarmac is slightly lower and longer (only by a few mm). The Tarmac has a lower BB for a touch more stability (though the Factor was solid). Hard call as both are also aero optimized as well and both are light and responsive. Tough call, amigo.

      I’m hoping to get on a Tarmac, but the wait list on sample bikes is pretty long currently. I do have the Factor O2 Disc as a long-term review bike with Shimano Ultegra Di2 this spring, so I’ll update the review accordingly.

      Thanks for your comments and I hope I’ve helped.

  4. Hi Jason,

    I am currently in the market for a new road bike and my two candidates are this beautiful Factor 02 Disc and Cervelo R5 Disc. I like to climb but I am not one those explosive climbers that you know like Romain or Marco that attacks ascend like its nothing. I am more of steady relaxed climber. My buddies called me relentless Wes because I may be slow but I do enjoy those long climbs. Therefore I am currently looking for a bike that would assists me better in climbs and make me appreciate ascending more.

    Now if I may kindly ask, based on the rider profile that I just mentioned above, which one do you think I would enjoy better? R5 Disc or 02 Disc?

    Also this might question might be odd. But I would like to also kindly ask. Since both bikes are very expensive, I believe that this will be my bike for a while (its been 6 years since I got a new bike). Between Cervelo and Factor, which brand do you think hold its value? Lets say after 10 years, you and your fellow cyclists would still be able to say that “hey Jason, that’s one classic ride”.

    Thank you for taking your time and reading my comment. Hope this message finds you well. Take care!

    Sincerely,

    Wes

    • Hey Wes, thanks for the comment and question. Definitely a tough one to sort through because the R5 disc sure is beautiful and very much a head-on competitor with the Factor O2 Disc. Both are going to climb with the best bikes on the market, so I would have a hard time choosing a winner there.

      I will say that Cervelo does have a longer history and track record from a resale perspective, but I’d consider other things, like geometry first. The R5 is a little more comfortable of a fit with a taller stack and shorter reach than the O2. But, the O2 comes with some very sexy Black Inc. bits.

      Cervelo’s are and will always be classic bikes to own. Factor hasn’t yet gotten to that point, but I don’t see why they won’t be in that ballpark in 5-10 years.

      Both are going to be amazing bikes. I’m interested to hear what you choose. Sorry, I can’t make that decision for you. 🙂

      • No need for sorry Jason. Thank you so much for your kind reply and I have to say that I always enjoy your knowledgeable Bike Reviews.

        If I may kindly request however, would there be chance for you to review the all new Cervelo R5 Disc? That would be astounding. Again, thank you so much Jason

  5. torben slyngborg on

    Hi Jason
    Thanks for the great Reviews.
    I´m considering to buy a Factor 02 – it is beautiful, responsive, light and…. and….
    BUT …. You write, that “Egregious amounts of toe overlap” …. I use 45 /11 / 29.5 in my Shoes.
    Will I have a very Big Problem, when I´m cornering?
    And I am 192 cm, but not with the longest Legs (89cm) !
    Will a size 58 be the right choice for me, or do You think, that a size 61 would be better suited?
    Kind Regards
    Torben, Denmark

    • Torben

      Yes, the toe overlap is significant, but on par with every other race-oriented climbing bike out there. The Trek Emonda SLR has the same issue. I find myself just becoming aware of it on tight corners — it just comes with the territory, I’m afraid. Sizing is so difficult without a proper fitting, but keep in mind that this bike does feature an aggressive geometry. I have about a 2.5-inch drop from saddle to tops and still have 25mm spacers under the stem.

      FYI: the Pinarello Dogma F10 (and presumably F12) doesn’t have much toe overlap and neither does the new Specialized Venge Pro. Somehow they have made it work.

      I continue to ride this bike and really love how it handles and rides overall. Tire clearance is awesome as well — I’m running 30c tires and love it.

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