Michael Woods has been racing this year for Israel Start-Up Nation on a bike that blends characteristics of dedicated climbing, aero, and cobbles machines. The Factor Ostro VAM boasts a whopping clearance for 32mm tires, and features slender, dropped seatstays as were popularized for bikes made for comfort on rough surfaces. It also has some aggressive aero sculpting, with NACA shapes on the down and seat tubes, plus internal routing on the brake and shifting lines. And yet, the frame only weighs a claimed 780g in a painted size 54cm, which is remarkably light.
On May 1, Woods rode to a dramatic victory on stage 4 of the Tour of Romandie when Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) crashed in the rain just meters from the line.
Earlier in the season, VeloNews photographer James Startt photographed Woods’ bike at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var.
CeramicSpeed bearings and components feature heavily on Woods’ bike, from the headset to the hubs to the bottom bracket to the Oversized Pulley Wheel System.
Factor sells complete bikes similar to the ISN team bike, but in a SRAM Red eTap AXS build instead of the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2. The Red bike sells for $10,099 with Black Inc 45 wheels, and features the CeramicSpeed headset and bottom bracket and Black Inc wheels, but not the OPWS that adds another $500.
Factor sells the bike with either the one-piece Black Inc bar/stem or with separate components. You get the internal routing either way.
Geraint Thomas (Ineos) and Michael Woods (Israel Start-up Nation) came to the line together on stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie, but Thomas’ hand slipped off the bars and he crashed, leaving Woods alone to take the win.
Climbing bike or aero bike? Michael Woods’ Factor Ostro VAM is both. It’s a 780g frame with NACA tube shapes on the down tube and seat tube.
Factor got its start working with the likes of Aston Martin, Lamborghini, and Ferrari. Its first production bike was the Vis Vires in 2013 that had a split down tube and an external bayonet fork.
CeramicSpeed ceramic bearings abound in the ISN Factor bike, including in the headset.
The Oversized Pulley Wheel System reduces drag by using ceramic bearings and by reducing chain articulation.
Black Inc was started by Factor owner Rob Gitelis. The Factor Ostro VAM comes with either an integrated bar/stem or a two-piece cockpit.
Woods has ridden as team leader at a few races this year. After winning stage 2 of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var in February, Woods has had a number of top-10s, including fourth at Flèche Wallonne and fifth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.