Factor Ostro

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Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

Image
After a false start with an O2 VAM rim brake that I found dangerously flexible, and then a disc O2 that was good but would not hold any bottom bracket short of gluing it in permanently, I have moved on to an Ostro. Build is Dura Ace Di2 with Light Bicycle WR50. 7.01kg on lbs scale with one bottle cage, no bartape. Size is 56.

200km over the weekend. These are my initial impressions.

The standout characteristic is comfort. Considering the chunky aero seatpost and the massive front fork, I expected a very firm ride. I am aware others have been surprised by the level of comfort, including some professional reviewers, but I was skeptical. My guess is that the Ostro owes its comfort to the design of the rear triangle, and the included Black Inc. barstem. Those dropped seat stays must be relatively flexible – that’s all I can come up with. As for the barstem, I pushed down hard on the hoods while standing in front of the bike and there was significant give, enough that I checked to see if I had a soft front tire. In fact, at the beginning of the first ride, I kept checking both my tires thinking I might have a slow leak. The ride was that much softer than expected. Even with my hands on the tops beside the stem, the sensation was not in any way harsh over rough surfaces, so there is more to the front-end comfort than just the barstem. Perhaps some fork steerer flex?

Are these seat stays the source of comfort?.Image

One of my regular routes takes me over several wood bridges. The decking consists of horizontal boards that are badly worn at the edges producing sizeable gaps between them. These bridges form the perfect big hit comfort test as the surface just shakes the crap out of you, particularly if you hammer them. On Saturday I crossed them after about 100kms, so I was far from fresh, and my ass, hands, and feet have rarely had a smoother ride on them. Still felt like riding over cobbles, but the sharpness of the impacts was noticeably muted. On my second ride I added about 7psi to my tires to see if I was being fooled by low pressures. The comfort did not decline at all.

The rest of the performance variables easily live up to what you would expect from a state-of-the-art race bike. The Ostro feels plenty stiff out of the saddle, although it does not quite have that perfect sense of power transmission when you stomp on it as the very stiffest bikes do. There is some minor twist to the frame if you push hard at lower cadence. I think the top tube is not particularly rigid. My guess is that the top of the frame diamond has some flex, while the bottom is more robust. But this combination seems to work, particularly when you consider everything that riding involves beyond just stomping up a short incline. In terms of power transmission I would summarize the Ostro as very stiff, while not being perfectly responsive. More of a sense of inertia as opposed to tossable and snappy, pretty much what you would expect from and aero frame with relatively deep wheels and a 400+ gram fork. This impression is no doubt compounded by years spent riding a 6.3kg Parlee. It’s worth noting that I am 77kg with good short duration power. Lighter riders, or those with different power attributes might have a different sense of the responsiveness.

Handling-wise, the bike tracks very well, straight-line stability is excellent. There is an interesting sensation that the steering gets heavier at higher speeds that adds to the sense of stability. It almost feels like an overtightened headset, but of course the headset is just fine. Perhaps this is the result of the deep fork legs acting like wings. The Ostro steering is very precise in hard cornering, though I have experienced better, notably certain Colnagos. Still, it does an excellent job of keeping its composure (and line) in rougher corners. I assume a part of this is the result of the overbuilt fork. It just doesn’t budge.

A few looks at the fork and head tubeImage
Imagerear view
Image

I do have some reservations regarding the barstem. The bend of the drops is too tight particularly where my hands rest when working the brakes. This results in my palms contacting the bar at each side of my hand with a void in the center of my palm. It takes a bit of wiggling to really get the hand pressed into the curve – a must for good control in aggressive cornering/descending. A more uniform radius with a deeper drop would make a better bar.

Another characteristic of the bar that doesn’t thrill me is that it is hard to achieve a flat transition from bar to hood. There is a minor dip even with the hoods located as high as practicably possible, which makes some hand positions less comfortable. On the upside, I find the tops supremely comfortable.
Image

Stepping back and looking at the big picture, other than the superior comfort, my impressions are not gushing with superlatives. Fair to say it’s a case of the Ostro doing a very good job in all areas without excelling at any one thing. Some might find the overall feel a bit muted, but that IMO is vastly superior to abundant road surface feedback at the expense of comfort. The Ostro just handles everything without drama which could be mistaken for a dull personality in what is fundamentally a taught race bike. Not the case at all IMO. Rather, I would describe the personality as "serious" or "all business". As a package, it is certainly the best bike I have ridden. Note that I have not included speed in my assessment. It is entirely possible that the Ostro is right up there with the fastest bikes on the market. Something to keep in mind as far as "the big picture" in concerned.

From a commercial perspective the basic identity of the Ostro is “aero but also light”. If independent testing shows the bike to be very aero, and it can be built to 6.8kg without exotic parts, then my perspective is that the Ostro is a great success. I may be stingy with superlatives, but I also cannot find any fault. Throw in the comfort bonus and I think anyone who can manage the geometry would be happy with it.

Image the top tube has a little trough likely designed to aid stiffness, but in the rain I see it channeling water into the seat tube. Bike won’t see rain so no issue for me.

Image tidy rear light. No way I am strapping anything to the seatpost. The bike should come with a rear light solution.

Image Front mount situation, not the most compact but not bad. I won’t ride without flashing lights. Three friends hit by cars turning left into them in broad daylight in the last few months.
Last edited by Mr.Gib on Tue Nov 08, 2022 8:39 pm, edited 17 times in total.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

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wltz
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Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:49 pm

by wltz

That's one stunning bike! Stem angle looks steeper than the 6 deg figure made me expect. Thank you for a very balanced write up too!

I'm hoping to convince my employer to sign up for cycling to work and get my hands on one next year.

mrlobber
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Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:36 am
Location: Where the permanent autumn is

by mrlobber

Nice review!
Did that double Garmin mount come with your frame or ordered separately?
Bikes I know something of:
Vial Evo Ultra | SS Evo 1 & 2 | R5D | S5 | S5D | P5 | O2 V.A.M D | AR FRD | Addict SL | Plasma 3 | SL6 | Orca | Orca OMX D | Boone D | 596

Conradsleight
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:27 am

by Conradsleight

mrlobber wrote:
Mon Oct 03, 2022 10:10 am
Nice review!
Did that double Garmin mount come with your frame or ordered separately?
That's the new mount they're shipping as part of the package you can buy from factor (frameset, wheels, mount, etc). Mine came with the same one, but only started shipping on bikes recently delivered.

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wheelsONfire
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by wheelsONfire

Funny, i could use a flat ramp design on these with even tigher bend, 120mm would be better for me.
Part from that.....
Black Inc Road bar need to be slightly rotated to get a more or less flat angle.
Ofcourse this is impossible with combos as we all know.
If you want a 0 degree ramp angle combo, it's this Vision version you'd need
https://shop.visiontechusa.com/en/handl ... integrated
Bikes:

Ax Lightness Vial EVO Race (2018.12.21)
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=156137
Paduano Racing Fidia (kind of shelved)
Open *UP* (2016.04.14)


Ex bike; Vial EVO D

SashaJoseph
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:38 pm

by SashaJoseph

As an owner of a Factor Ostro myself too, I read your review with great interest. Since we have approximately the same body size and weight (I ride a 56 and weigh 77kg) and our bikes are similarly specced (7,16kg, 28mm tubeless tires, 42/48 wheels), I was really curious of your thoughts about the bike. The bikes I have owned recently: Specialized Tarmac SL4 and SL5 (both rim brakes), Canyon Ultimate CF SLX (disc), Canyon Endurace CF SLX (disc), Scott Addict HMX SL of the latest generation (I still own this one).

Broadly speaking, we are on the same page with some nuances. Indeed, the bike does everything quite well. To be a bit more specific, it feels faster on flat and undulating terrain than any of the other bikes I have owned. Unsurpisingly perhaps as it is the most aero of all of them. Climbing is a different story. While not being slow, it is probably the 2nd slowest (the slowest being the Canyon Endurace CF SLX). There, I see a clear relationship between the weight and wheel height and the perceived climbing performance (the Ostro is also the second heaviest). Downhill performance is up with the best. It is confidence inspiring and certainly not twitchy (as opposed to the Tarmacs SL4 and SL5). If I had to pick the best downhiller, I would go for the Canyon Ultimate but it is also the bike I rode the most on long downhills. Regarding perceived acceleration, I will not surpise you by saying that this is largely of function of wheel height and weight, although the Ostro is on par with the 0,5kg lighter Scott Addict. Eventually, regarding comfort, I would not call it a comfortable bike like my canyon endurace bike was but it is clearly acceptable and actually the 2nd most comfortable behond the endurace (note that the Tarmacs and Ultimate were on 25mm tires, the others on 28mm tires).

Overall, I like this bike a lot. It has spectacular looks and is perfectly suited for where I live (flat to hilly terrain). The only negative points are the higher than expected weight and the relative lack of zipp when accelerating compared to other bikes I have owned.

ere are some of your findings that I fully share, others less so.

SashaJoseph
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:38 pm

by SashaJoseph

As an owner of a Factor Ostro myself too, I read your review with great interest. Since we have approximately the same body size and weight (I ride a 56 and weigh 77kg) and our bikes are similarly specced (7,16kg, 28mm tubeless tires, 42/48 wheels), I was really curious of your thoughts about the bike. The bikes I have owned recently: Specialized Tarmac SL4 and SL5 (both rim brakes), Canyon Ultimate CF SLX (disc), Canyon Endurace CF SLX (disc), Scott Addict HMX SL of the latest generation (I still own this one).

Broadly speaking, we are on the same page with some nuances. Indeed, the bike does everything quite well. To be a bit more specific, it feels faster on flat and undulating terrain than any of the other bikes I have owned. Unsurpisingly perhaps as it is the most aero of all of them. Climbing is a different story. While not being slow, it is probably the 2nd slowest (the slowest being the Canyon Endurace CF SLX). There, I see a clear relationship between the weight and wheel height and the perceived climbing performance (the Ostro is also the second heaviest). Downhill performance is up with the best. It is confidence inspiring and certainly not twitchy (as opposed to the Tarmacs SL4 and SL5). If I had to pick the best downhiller, I would go for the Canyon Ultimate but it is also the bike I rode the most on long downhills. Regarding perceived acceleration, I will not surpise you by saying that this is largely of function of wheel height and weight, although the Ostro is on par with the 0,5kg lighter Scott Addict. Eventually, regarding comfort, I would not call it a comfortable bike like my canyon endurace bike was but it is clearly acceptable and actually the 2nd most comfortable behond the endurace (note that the Tarmacs and Ultimate were on 25mm tires, the others on 28mm tires).

Overall, I like this bike a lot. It has spectacular looks and is perfectly suited for where I live (flat to hilly terrain). The only negative points are the higher than expected weight and the relative lack of zipp when accelerating compared to other bikes I have owned.

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Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

@SashaJoseph
Our findings are indeed quite similar. That is reassuring. Sometimes impressions of a bike are heavily impacted by other bikes ridden - it is easy to lose a balanced perspective.

The whole question of "higher than expected weight" and "lack of zipp" is an interesting one. The weight gain is not substantial and if it makes a better overall bike, it is worthwhile. I think this applies in the case of the Ostro. Regardless of any weight gain, the Ostro is still quite light for an aero bike and I suspect it will test very aero. If it does score near the top, it becomes that much harder to fault the weight.

As well, there is nothing mysterious about the "lack of zipp". Zip, or acceleration is directly correlated to overall weight and wheel (rim) weight. The Ostro will perform no worse and no better than similar weight and similarly equiped bikes. It's only a negative when comparing it to a lighter bike with lighter wheels. These bikes are certainly faster when accellerating, particularely uphill. My comments regarding power transmission were more related to feel as opposed to actual quantifiable performance.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

TLN
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by TLN

.
His: Orbea Orca OMX
Hers: Cannondale Synapse HM Disc

Conradsleight
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:27 am

by Conradsleight

Mr.Gib wrote:
Mon Oct 03, 2022 11:10 pm
@SashaJoseph
Our findings are indeed quite similar. That is reassuring. Sometimes impressions of a bike are heavily impacted by other bikes ridden - it is easy to lose a balanced perspective.

The whole question of "higher than expected weight" and "lack of zipp" is an interesting one. The weight gain is not substantial and if it makes a better overall bike, it is worthwhile. I think this applies in the case of the Ostro. Regardless of any weight gain, the Ostro is still quite light for an aero bike and I suspect it will test very aero. If it does score near the top, it becomes that much harder to fault the weight.

As well, there is nothing mysterious about the "lack of zipp". Zip, or acceleration is directly correlated to overall weight and wheel (rim) weight. The Ostro will perform no worse and no better than similar weight and similarly equiped bikes. It's only a negative when comparing it to a lighter bike with lighter wheels. These bikes are certainly faster when accellerating, particularely uphill. My comments regarding power transmission were more related to feel as opposed to actual quantifiable performance.
To your point on weight. Mine currently comes in at 7.5kg fully loaded with full BRG paint (including fork and rear). I think I can get it a little under 7kg if I swap to Roval alpinists, darimo seatpost, and a few other tweaks. Could probably get down to 6.8 if I swapped the crank arms too.

For me this is the first really high end bike I've owned, so am curious how much of a difference that ~lb of weight would make to feel. Given I'd be losing about 200g from the wheels and 500g overall, I imagind it'd make the bike feel a bit more on the "snappy" side. But curious to know your thoughts as like I said, this is the first high end bike I've owned (my previous ride was an entry level from ~11 years ago)

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Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

Conradsleight wrote:
Mon Oct 03, 2022 11:56 pm
...am curious how much of a difference that ~lb of weight would make to feel.
I easily notice as little as 200 - 250 grams, particularly if the weight loss is in the wheels. A pound (454 grams) is huge and very noticeable. If it's weight high up on the bike (bars, stem, saddle), you really notice it when you are out of the saddle and tossing the bike side-to-side. Makes the whole thing feel more responsive. The thing about weight loss is that the biggest wow moment is the first ride following the change. You do partially get "used" to it after a while, but when you pull it off the rack it will always feel nice and light in your hands if you are sub 6.8kg.

One caution about losing weight with lighter wheels, is that there is little that is worse on a bike than flimsy wheels. If you are a decent size, make sure stiffness is a key criteria in any future wheel purchase.

One reason I am down near 7 kg is that my wheels are 1350g. Not bad for 50mm deep and 32mm wide. :D
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

Conradsleight
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:27 am

by Conradsleight

Mr.Gib wrote:
Tue Oct 04, 2022 12:31 am
Conradsleight wrote:
Mon Oct 03, 2022 11:56 pm
...am curious how much of a difference that ~lb of weight would make to feel.
I easily notice as little as 200 - 250 grams, particularly if the weight loss is in the wheels. A pound (454 grams) is huge and very noticeable. If it's weight high up on the bike (bars, stem, saddle), you really notice it when you are out of the saddle and tossing the bike side-to-side. Makes the whole thing feel more responsive. The thing about weight loss is that the biggest wow moment is the first ride following the change. You do partially get "used" to it after a while, but when you pull it off the rack it will always feel nice and light in your hands if you are sub 6.8kg.

One caution about losing weight with lighter wheels, is that there is little that is worse on a bike than flimsy wheels. If you are a decent size, make sure stiffness is a key criteria in any future wheel purchase.

One reason I am down near 7 kg is that my wheels are 1350g. Not bad for 50mm deep and 32mm wide. :D
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, that's helpful. For wheels I am thinking the Roval Alpinists which are supposed to be pretty stiff. At my high end ie. winter weight, I weigh around 78/79kg, and when I'm in shape, closer to 73/74kg.

To save the weight I'd be looking at wheels, saddle, seatpost, and cassette. I've just swapped my rotors so already saving about 72g there.

flmo
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by flmo

Hi, curious to hear whether your initial feedback on the bike still holds true after (probabaly) a couple of additional miles. Has anything come up in the meantime? Or any additional thoughts on the OSTRO? Thank you!

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Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

flmo wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 9:24 am
Hi, curious to hear whether your initial feedback on the bike still holds true after (probabaly) a couple of additional miles. Has anything come up in the meantime? Or any additional thoughts on the OSTRO? Thank you!
Not only does my initial feedback hold true, but after close to 2000 km in the last month, my opinion of the Ostro has only gone up.

The handling of the bike is absolutely superb. It is very quick steering which I like, but the quality of the tracking is the real standout. By tracking, I mean both the sense of being on rails in corners and holding a very true line without being upset by road uneveness, and the ability to place the front tire EXACTLY where I want it. One of my regular routes takes me around a rough medium-to-high-speed corner with a 4cm wide crack right at the apex that runs across the entire road. In a spot, a mere 3cm from the inside edge of the road surface, the crack is filled in with a 2cm wide bridge of tarmac. Other than my Colnago, the Ostro is the only bike on which I am able to hit my little "bridge" every time at full speed. Just super precise in the handling department. You do have to be engaged to get the benefit. Unskilled or unfocused riders might not enjoy it so much - as it should be.

In the comfort department, I remain very impressed. The bike feels plenty stiff out of the saddle so you might expect a firm ride. But it is very easy on both the hands and ass. I haven't ridden more than a few top race bikes, but the Ostro is by far the most comfortable I have experienced. It handles both big hits and road buzz very well. FWIW I am now riding Continental GP5000S TR. 28mm front, 30mm rear. Pressures between 60 and 70 psi depending on the day. Worth noting that when I increase the pressure, I notice no decrease in comfort.

And while I have no data that would tell me how fast the bike is, my seat of the pants sense is that the Ostro is very, very fast. I am not talking about a "breeze in the hair" feeling, rather more how I have been surviving tough moments in group rides vs in the past on other less aero bikes. Particularly when the speed is very high, I am lasting longer on the front, and closing gaps with less agony.

Also no issue whatsoever with the construction. Paint is flawless, seat post and clamp work beautifully, brake mounts are perfect, and headset is perfect and holding without adjustment. The Black Inc handlebar is excellent - very comfortable. Took a few tries to dial in the right position for the levers - profile is just a bit different than other bars I use.

The only item that required attention was the bottom bracket. After the first two rides, the cups had to be re-torqued to eliminate a tick noise. That's pretty normal for any threaded bb. However, a dozen rides later a similar noise appeared. This time I just removed the crank and re-greased the Shimano adapters and all was quiet again. This tells me that those adapters can be an issue. In the past I have not had any noise issues with them. Nothing to be concerned about as it is possible to get a bottom bracket that is native to Shimano 24mm as opposed to the supplied 30mm + adapter/reducer combo.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

by Weenie


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CN2000
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Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2022 6:55 pm

by CN2000

Mr.Gib wrote:
Mon Oct 03, 2022 12:34 am

Image Front mount situation, not the most compact but not bad. I won’t ride without flashing lights. Three friends hit by cars turning left into them in broad daylight in the last few months.
Which front light is this?

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