Is a new Factor O2 VAM coming soon?

Dylan Teuns' blacked-out bike looks like a new aero-optimised but lightweight-focused Factor.

Photos have emerged of Dylan Teuns of Israel-Premier Tech riding what appears to be a new Factor O2 VAM. The photo shows Teuns training in IPT team kit on a blacked-out bike on what appears to be a cold and wet mountain, perhaps on a pre-Tour training camp.

Unless Teuns is about to make another mid-season transfer, as he did from Bahrain-Victorious to Israel-Premier Tech last season, we can assume this is a new Factor. Judging by its tube profiles, it’s most likely to be a new O2 VAM.

Factor last updated the O2 in 2020 with a lighter frame and fully internal cable routing, but essentially the O2 platform remained as it was. But if this is the new O2 and not an entirely new platfom, then judging by this photo, that’s about to change.

Factor declined to comment on the new frame when asked by Escape Collective.

While we have just this one, somewhat blurry photo to speculate from, it’s clear that this is an entirely new design for Factor. The new frame cuts a sleek profile with neither the deep aero-profiled tubes of Factor’s Ostro aero bike or the box-like down tube and round seat tube profiles of the current O2. 

Instead, the new frame features some incredibly thin tubes, made possible by the update to UCI regulations since that last iteration of the O2, which now permits frames with even main tubes down to 10 mm in thickness.

Most interesting is the new top tube profile. Frustratingly, Teuns’ black legwarmers somewhat obscure our view, but what we can see shows a tube that tapers from its thickest point close to the head tube to almost nothing as it meets the seat tube. The new Factor top tube very closely resembles a similar design we spotted on a new BMC time trial bike at the recent Tour de Romandie. At that time, we speculated this tapering top tube design might improve ride comfort with a little intentional flex and help manufacturers pass frontal-impact tests. 

Elsewhere, the new seat stays are mind-bogglingly thin, and dropped further down the seat tube, presumably for aero and weight savings with a little more ride-improving compliance thrown in for good measure. 

What’s more interesting is that new seat tube. If what we see is a finished article, Factor is about to move to a seat mast and collar style design. Trek has employed a similar design on the Emonda, and Factor seems to be following suit, presumably in an attempt to shed some weight on what looks like an aero-optimised but lightweight-focused bike. Furthermore, the seat tube is now more aero-profiled than the round tube on the existing O2. 

Up front, the head tube now features a truncated profile, presumably for improved aerodynamics. The fork still closely resembles that of the current O2, even down to the fork crown, which flows into the downtube. It also appears Teuns is riding with the new Black Inc integrated aero barstem first seen on the Ostro at last year’s Tour de France. 

Teuns is scheduled to ride the Tour de Suisse starting June 11 and presumably the Tour following that. Time will tell if the new Factor is still a prototype in testing or production ready and set to debut at either race.

The Tour de Suisse is undoubtedly the more straightforward event to debut a new bike at this season, with the UCI’s new Tour de France Equipment Register process requiring teams to register all frames they wish to use in the Tour by tomorrow, June 2. 

The new frame has yet to appear on the UCI’s list of approved frames, although we know manufacturers can request a frame be left off the list until it is officially announced. Should Factor and IPT want to debut the new frame at the Tour it will have to be formally approved by the UCI or given prototype status. 

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