Road Gear

Factor refines O2 VAM for integration, stiffness, and weight reduction

The O2 VAM gets sleeker and lighter with internal routing, a stiffer design, and a new Black Inc climbing wheelset.

Factor has done some whittling and tinkering to its O2 VAM to make the lightweight climbing bike even lighter, faster, and more fun to ride. That’s largely due to Factor’s focus on integration and internal cable routing, which allowed designers to rethink the O2 VAM’s carbon structure and frame dynamics.

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At this point, internal cable routing seems like a no-brainer. Hiding cables and hoses reduces drag, and it creates a clean, fast aesthetic. So Factor tucked its cables away on the O2 VAM, but in doing so, the company set another design goal: Hide the cables without adding weight to the overall system and without increasing the head tube size — which in turn, according to Factor, makes the front end of the bike more aerodynamic.

The cables and hoses route through the Black Inc. handlebar and stem, and straight into the head tube of the O2 VAM. In order to make space for the cables without enlarging the upper bearing size, Factor redesigned the fork steerer into a D-shape, thereby allowing routing space. This isn’t a new design, as other brands like Trek have done something similar. Factor says the steerer is reinforced for impact strength, so no need to stress about the D-shape sacrificing structural integrity.

Head tube and cockpit
An integrated cockpit hides cables that route through the head tube. Photo: Factor Bikes

Factor also uses split spacers, which makes it far easier to adjust the stack height of your cockpit. The fork steerer itself can be cut to length and adjusted properly using a compression fitting.

Factor says the unpainted, size 54cm frame weighs just 677 grams; three paint finishes are available and add between 20 and 45 grams to the finished frame weight.

dropped seatstays
A redesigned seatpost clamp shaves weight. Photo: Factor Bikes

The O2 VAM also gets a redesigned seatpost clamp. While that may not sound super glamorous, Factor says the new clamp increases the clamping surface while reducing weight by 14 grams over its previous system.

The rear derailleur hanger is a direct-mount system, which Factor says will stiffen up the shifting system and improve shift quality. It also moves the derailleur mounting point rearward of the axle path, making it easier to drop the rear wheel out of the frame to perform wheel swaps.

O2 VAM’s Black Inc 20 Wheels

To top off all the revisions, Factor has launched the O2 VAM with new Black Inc 20 wheels. Factor says the clincher version of the wheels weighs just 1,240 grams, and a lighter, sub-1-kilogram tubular version with carbon spokes will be available at a later date. The rim depth varies: It is 20mm at the spoke beds and 18.5mm everywhere else, and the internal rim width measures 21mm, which means you can get a decently wide tire in there. Factor says the wheels are optimized for use with 25-28mm tires.

The freehub body has also been updated, and the hub itself features CeramicSpeed bearings.

The O2 VAM is available to order now. Keep an eye on Team Israel Start-up Nation riders at the Tour de France to spot the new O2 VAM. It seems Factor isn’t done launching new bikes this year either, as spy shots of a new aero bike have been swimming around the internet recently as well. Perhaps we’ll get more details on that one as the Tour de France approaches.