It was first spotted at the Australian National Championships a few weeks ago after a leak on social media, and it’s now become pretty much impossible for the new Factor Ostro VAM to stay hidden. Both Simon Clarke and Stevie Williams of Israel-Premier Tech have been using the bike on the hot Australian roads of the Tour Down Under this week, seeing how it performs on a wide range of terrain. Factor likely opted to allow these two riders first dibs at giving the new model a whirl as they are team’s general classification favourites for this race and will likely go on to use the Ostro VAM as they target stage victories at Grand Tours.
Williams has ensured that the new Factor Ostro VAM has had a dream debut Down Under, finishing second on the crucial penultimate stage to Willunga Hill and propelling himself into the race leader’s jersey, which he successfully defended on the final stage to Mount Lofty.
The new bike features plenty of aerodynamic considerations, including a much narrower front end and deep fork legs which seem to be the trend amongst frame designs today (see the new Specialized Tarmac SL8, for example.) There aren’t as many changes at the rear of the frame, presumably to keep the weight of the bike low so climbers like Williams don’t have to sacrifice weight for watts when the road kicks up.
At the front of the bike, the VAM cockpit is fully integrated to ensure a clean, neat look. The cockpit appears to be the same as that on the current Ostro, with deep tops to aid aero gains and an aero Black Inc mount. The headtube has an hourglass shape which is another aerodynamic consideration – the Ostro has always been Factor’s more aero focussed offering while the O2 Vam is the brand’s lightweight model. The logo at the front of the bike is a nice touch and ensures that the Factor branding is extremely visible.
The wheels on Williams’ Ostro VAM are also new for 2024. They come from Factor’s componentry brand, Blank Inc, and are 48mm deep at the front and 58mm deep at the rear. The aim of these differing rim depths are to ensure that the front wheel offers better handling in windy conditions while the rear is more aerodynamic. The tyres on Williams’ bike were Continental GP5000 S TR tyres in 28mm and it appears that there is enough clearance on the bike for wider tyres to be used, too.
At the back of the bike there is a cut out on the back of the seat tube in order to make space for the rear wheel. Factor has also integrated Ceramic Speed bearings throughout the bike. To ensure as many weight savings as possible on the steep slopes to Willunga Hill, Williams used Elite Leggero Carbon bottle cages that are claimed to weigh just 17 grams each. While this isn’t pictured, the bike also features a chamber underneath the downtube to house the bike’s Di2 battery.
The new Ostro uses a relatively shallow standard D-shaped seatpost that can be adjusted using two hex bolts through holes in the frame. Williams looked to be using a Selle Italia Flite Boost saddle.
Israel-Premier Tech uses the latest Shimano Dura-Ace groupset with a chainset and power meter from FSA and Power2Max.WIlliams has a 55T chainring on his bike, seemingly not making any specific changes to his gearing in order to tackle Willunga Hill, despite the opening stages of the Tour Down Under being relatively flat. Since it is only a three kilometre climb, this is understandable, though Williams would likely make changes for bigger mountain stages in races like the Tour de France.
Williams’ race number mount looked to just be attached by tape rather than have any aerodynamic mount solution like other teams implement. A black piece of rubber also sat on the British rider’s fork in order to house his transponder during races.