Team bike 2017: AG2R La Mondiale’s Factor
The first of the 18 WorldTour team bikes that make up a giant feature in #RIDE75 is the Factor for AG2R La Mondiale. We photographed the ‘O2‘ ridden by Jan Bakelants.
Jan Bakelants’ Factor O2
Bike sizing info
Manufacturer’s size: 54cm
Saddle height (from BB): 730mm
Handlebar height: 891mm
Drop: 130mm Reach: 555mm
Saddle setback: 80mm
Pro since: 2008 Age: 30
Height: 177cm Weight: 68kg
See the full feature, all 18 bikes from the 2017 WorldTour peloton, in #RIDE75.
AG2R La Mondiale has kept its name for 2017 but a lot has changed with bikes and components. This is the team that did a lot of testing of SRAM’s electronic eTap shifting system but this year it is using Shimano. The biggest news, however, is the switch from Focus to Factor bikes. Rounding out the package are items from the Black Inc catalogue and Mavic wheels instead of Zipp.
Firstly, let’s talk about the Factor frame. The brand has been around since 2007 and, not too long ago, ownership switched to three individuals including former Australian professional rider – and winner of the 2003 Tour de France green jersey – Baden Cooke.
In the last two years Factor has been transformed from a concept bike brand to one that is delivering frames to the pointy end of the pro peloton. For the 2017 season AG2R will be piloting the ‘O2’ which is Factor’s “climbing bike”.
The framesets are a claimed 730g and, with the complete team bike we photographed weighing in at just over seven kilos. Yet again, consumers could easily push this number below the UCI’s stipulated 6.8kg limit but the O2 raced by Jan Bakelants was ready for competition, complete with his power meter, race numbers (and some ballast).
The frame had a smooth finish with AG2R’s signature blue all over it. (Thankfully not the other ‘chocolate’ colour that makes up the insurance company’s identity.)
It’s worth noting that the frame is asymmetric (similar to others in the peloton) making the non-driveside thicker, to accommodate for the increased stiffness from the drivetrain.
Black Inc – Factor’s in-house component brand – takes care of handlebars, stems and seatposts but exact model names aren’t yet available as these were still prototypes. In the coming months we can expect to see a line of items on sale in carbon-fibre and aluminium but Bakelants and his colleagues were using alloy in January. (This is a common thread with most pro teams which need to consider weight, longevity and resistance to the demands of regular travel and/or riding.) Ceramic Speed takes care of the important duties: i.e. the bottom bracket and headset.
Like the rest of the teams AG2R is waiting for delivery of Shimano’s 9150 groupsets, so riders raced on trusted 9070 Dura-Ace. The mechanics did some neat work heat shrinking the cables and there are unique inclusions from the innovative designers at Black Inc: custom Di2 junction box holders at the front of the bike, as well as carbon-fibre race number holders at the back. For all the technology in cycling, many teams still resort to zip ties or glue because there has never been a specific item for the dossard.
The team has a sponsorship agreement with SRM but there was heavy demand for the new carbon-fibre cranks, so this bike is pictured with the Shimano 9000 crankset.
It’s great to see a brand like Factor come out swinging and, in only its second year since the relaunch, get behind a WorldTour team. It’s a bold commitment – and a great one for R&D. Keep your eyes open for Factor, it’s a brand with its finger on the pulse going the extra mile to produce parts for their team and customers alike.
– By Lachlan McKillop