Factor Ostro VAM review

Factor Ostro VAM review

All round aero / climbing bikes have gained immense popularity among road bike enthusiast and racers in the past few years, combining the best of both worlds and simplifying bike and equipment choices for most courses. Apart from the lower weight (which arguably benefits ride-feel more than outright climbing speed), they usually provide better handling characteristics, ride comfort and practicality compared to full-on aero bikes, such as the SW Venge, Scott Foil or Trek Madone. Bikes like the SW Tarmac SL7 and Pinarello Dogma F are the benchmarks of this category, but what about the alternatives?

Why Factor bikes?

Factor is perhaps not the obvious choice just yet, being a smaller and relatively new brand compared to the established competition. Their radical Hanzo TT bike was the first that got my attention. This though is matched with competitive offering on the road in form of the Factor Ostro VAM, and an aero gravel bike that is truly unique on the market – the Ostro Gravel.

My first experience with the brand came in form of the aforementioned Factor Ostro VAM, which I have received in February of 2022. Availability at the time was scarce, and I was in dire need of a road bike to do my training on after ditching my SL7s, so I stuck with the “Soho Mix” colorway that was available at the distributor. This would not normally be my first choice, as this style of paint adds quite a lot of weight to the otherwise extremely light frame, but it looks very unique and, in my opinion, much nicer in real life compared to the pictures. Sizing wise, the choice was quite straightforward. The 52cm Tarmac was a great fit for me, so I stuck to this size with the Ostro. Yes, it has a slightly taller stack and shorter reach, but not on a scale that would affect my position too much. Limited availability made for some difficulties again with the cockpit. In the end I went for a bit of a bodged solution, as the size I was looking for was nowhere to be found, but more on that later.

What is the price of the Factor Ostro VAM relative to the competition?

While the frameset is priced at the premium end of the spectrum, it does include a wide array of parts and accessories. Frameset prices hower around 5500€ including the cockpit, seatpost, Ceramicspeed T47 BB, Ceramicspeed SLT headset, bar tape, spare derailleur hanger, universal computer mount and other small hardware. This makes it a really complete package and also a great value proposition, compared to the competition.

Is the cockpit included and can I specify the sizing?

Under normal circumstances, the Black Inc integrated cockpit is part of the set, together with its matching computer mount. The sizing can be configured during the order process, which certainly is a big plus compared to other brands (Canyon ehm…). Since spring 2023 the bikes have been shipping with the updated Black Inc Aero cockpit, which is available in a really wide array of sizes and features a contemporary geometry with a comfortable backsweep on the tops and a slight flare at the drops. This new version is also compatible with a specific set of aero extensions that can be purchased separately (the same model that is supplied with the Hanzo TT bike). There is a new modular computer mount as well, which can accept one or two GoPro style attachments depending on the base used. One drawback I have found is that only a Garmin insert/puck is supplied with the assembly. This is a bit of an oversight as everything else is present in the bundle.

What about the headset?

Headsets are almost always supplied with road framesets due to their specific sizing, but Factor bring it up a notch as they include Ceramicspeed SLT bearings, which require no maintenance and grease refills. Extremely handy on a bike with fully integrated brake hoses and wiring.

Do I need to buy a BB?

The bottom bracket is also included – also a Ceramicspeed unit no less. This is a good thing too, as the shell sizing is specific to Factor frames. It uses a T47 thread (another big plus), but it is asymmetric in design. The drive size bearings sit outboard in the BB cup and the non-drive side is inboard, with the cup recessed into the frame. This makes it effectively a (T47) threaded version of the Cervelo BB-right design. There is no need to worry about crank compatibility either. The supplied BB uses large diameter cups and houses 6806 Ceramicspeed bearing with an internal diameter of 30mm, so you can use cranks with 30mm spindles using the correct dust covers (which is what I do). Additional reducers are also present, enabling you to fit DUB and 24mm spindles as well, covering all the bases except Campagnolo UT.

Will the frame accommodate my seating position?

Just like with the cockpit, the dimensions of the seat post can be configured when ordering. Two lengths and setbacks are available, making for four different options. The unit itself is a kammtail shaped unit as found commonly on other frames, with a one bolt rotating clamp in the seatpost head. I prefer this solution, as it makes for simple adjustments. The downside is that different clamp ears are required to fit round and oval saddle rails. Both of these are supplied with the build kit though, so under normal circumstances this should not be an issue.

Any additional small parts?

Apart from these important components, the selection of small parts shipped in the “pizza box” is also rather generous. You also get a set of decent quality Factor bar tape, a packet of carbon grip paste, a tall and short headset cover and 15mm of headset spacers, which interestingly are made out of machined aluminium and feature a split design. A spare rear derailleur hanger is also included, together with a rubberized chainstay protection pad. Weirdly, this one is not applied to the frame, so you have to put it on yourself.

Is it difficult to build?

As with most modern bikes with full cable integration, building the Factor Ostro VAM is not really a task for the home mechanic. However, in relative terms it is nothing overly complicated and the frame overall is comparatively easy to work on. To maintain a sleek frontal area, the upper headset bearing is not oversized, with the brake hoses running in the cavity of the front part of the fork, which is not the most common solution. For this, the fork front of the fork steerer is chopped flat instead of being circular. My particular sample is one of the earlier units, which features a D-shaped fork steerer and a machined aluminium brace that fits between the stem and fork steerer, allowing the hoses to run on each side. This part of the setup is quite finicky, as with my 52cm, minimal stack example, I had to also cut this tuning fork shaped aluminium wedge to fit with the cut steerer. This process is slightly frustrating, as you have to cut three separate thin sections which tend to bend around. The arrangement also calls for a proprietary expander for the fork, but luckily this is a pretty sturdy unit made of thick machined aluminium sections, unlike with some other brands that supply these hateful cheap expanders with a soft cast aluminium shell.

In later units, the whole setup has been cleaned up a lot by creating a fork steerer that incorporates the aforementioned wedge into the shape of the steerer itself, arguably making for a safer solution. The expander is also replaced by a bonded in threaded insert, plus the fork steerer has additional reinforcements ribs along the circumference. The rest of the design remains unchanged, so the earlier models can also be fitted with the new style of fork if needed. Interestingly, while the Ostro Gravel retains many of the features of the VAM, it uses a regular round fork steerer and an oversize upper bearing, as more commonly found on other manufacturers’ models. 

As mentioned above, I have received my frameset without the Back Inc. cockpit as it was not available in the correct specification at the time. This meant that I had to get a bit creative with the front-end assembly. Initially, I have used a 130mmx12deg Tarmac SL7 stem from my previous bike, which I have paired with an Enve SES 35/40cm handlebar. In my opinion, this is the best non-custom and non-integrated handlebar on the market right now, even though it is a couple of years old now.

The problem I had to overcome with this setup is that to somehow enable the brake hoses to escape in front and underneath the stem, while allowing the top cap to compress the headset at the same time. In the end, it wasn`t that complicated and I have managed to achieve it with a pair of slightly modified SL7 headset parts. Luckily it worked just fine, and didn`t even look out of place on the bike. As a finishing touch, I have removed the S-Works branding from the stem using a solvent. As this whole assembly was meant to be a temporary solution, I have also made sure to leave enough fork steerer uncut so that the standard BI cockpit still fitted with its 42mm stack – considerable taller than the SL7 stem. After the first couple of rides, I have switched to a 140mm SL7 stem to compensate 7mm shorter frame reach compared to the SL7, as the fit just felt slightly too short.

*Update: Enve have now modified the SES Aero bar, so that it has a cable port at the back of the stem clamp section. This now allows for a clean fit with the hoses run through the stem, without needing to mess with headset spacers like I did. It is important to note though that not all stems have an open cavity at the steerer, but incidentally the SL7 stem that I have used does, so this is a good example for a combination that works.

Apart from sorting the front end, the rest of the build process was standard fare, with no complications. Thanks to the design of the BB, there is a large cavity with the cups not installed, leaving for plenty of space to arrange the brake hose and the Di2 wiring. Speaking of the rear brake hose, Factor surprised me with the style of the included foam sheathing. These are supplied with most framesets to prevent rattles, here however they took it one step further, as the foam is pulled over a thin plastic sheathe, which enables it to just easily slide over the brake hose itself, without the need to wrestle it over, shaving precious minutes of the build time. The Di2 battery mount is a very basic 2-piece ribbed rubber unit that slots into the seatpost and while rudimentary, it does the job just fine. The part that I had my doubts about was the red plastic wedge that secures the seatpost in the frame. These doubts were confirmed too, as my saddle slipped away from underneath me after a couple hundred meters of riding, despite applying carbon grip tape and tightening it to the specified torque setting. I have resolved this by putting sticking some skateboard grip tape to the face of the wedge, and it has been problem free ever since. I don`t really understand the material selection here, as the plastic unit supplied does not have enough friction and/or stiffness to do the job. Luckily, it is a very simple design, so it should be easy to reverse engineer the shape and make it out of machined aluminium, which I am planning to do in the off-season (stay tuned). The Factor Ostro Vam, Hanzo and Ostro Gravel all use this same wedge, so it`s killing three birds with one stone. The wedge itself is pressed onto the seatpost by an M6 worm bolt that is threaded directly into the frame, no complicated hinged wedges like with some other frames. The downside to this of course is that the fact that cross threading the frame makes for a pretty complicated repair, instead of just replacing the unit like with Specialized frames for example. Speaking of replacements, both thru axles slot into removable threaded aluminium inserts, which is a big plus in my book. The final thing worth mentioning here is the rear derailleur hanger. Again, unlike cheap units supplied with most brands, this is a proper machined aluminium piece anodized in black. Factor also offer a Shimano Direct mount version, made in a similar high-quality fashion. I have opted for this immediately, as I prefer the cleanliness and stiffness of the direct mount setup. This part is also shared with all disc brake road frames from Factor, simplifying the ordering process.

The rest of the build kit was relatively standard fare. After using Sram Red AXS and Campagnolo SR EPS in previous years, I have opted for the tried and tested Shimano R9170 groupset. Unlike the current version, this was a fully wired setup still. Not a huge deal in itself, but the routing of the Enve bar can be a pain in the ass, particularly if you also add the extra wiring for sprint shifters, which I have also used. The front mech was outfitted with a K-Edge Pro chain catcher, as on all of my bikes, and the rear derailleur was upgraded with an SLF Motion Aero system for maximum efficiency. One thing Shimano that I am not a big fan of are their cranks and power meters, so instead of the R9100 unit I went for the new P2M NG SL 4×110 spider (initially) mated to 165mm Rotor Aldhu 30 cranks and 53×39 R9100 chainrings for optimal shifting.

I have already described the cockpit in detail – the only thing left to note is the bar tape. After trying many different models, I have stuck with my preferred Silca Nastro Piloti. Silca tapes have quickly turned into my favourite bar tape brand, due to their unique features, durability and comfort.

My trusty HED Vanquish 6 Pro wheels have been carried over from the previous bikes and remain my staple for a number of reasons, but more on that in a different post. To these I have mounted Shimano MT900 rotors, which are a big improvement over the earlier RT900s as they don`t warp and rub when heated. The cassette used was a pretty standard R9100 11-30 unit. The wheels were equipped with 28mm SW Turbo Cottons and latex tubes, which I have been using at the time – arguably still one of the best clincher options to this date. Later on, I have switched to a more modern tubeless setup with tire inserts, but more on that later.

The last piece of the puzzle was the saddle. I have had good luck previously with SW Power Mirror saddles, but I did not want to use SW components on this bike if possible, so I have randomly selected a Fabric Line-S Pro just to try it. Turns out this was one of the best choices ever, as I have stuck to this model to this day and never had any issues.

So, after going through all of this, the big question is, what is the Factor Ostro VAM like to ride?

To be honest, I really despise the classic bike review clichés, so I will not bang on about how the bike “climbs”, or how “responsive and stiff” it is. All race bikes are becoming ridiculously good these days, so in my opinion the differences will be in ease of setup, customisation options, finish quality, serviceability and general liveability. The Factor Ostro VAM of course scores pretty highly in all of these aspects as mentioned in the lines above.

As for the ride quality, the first thing that immediately struck me is how well the bike copes with rough surfaces compared to other bikes I have ridden (remember that I have kept the same wheel and tire setup, so it really is a fair comparison). Sure, this pays big dividends in rider comfort and reduces fatigue slightly, but to me as a racer, the biggest benefit of this comes out when railing rough descents. The bike stays incredibly planted, giving me a huge boost in confidence when going downhill. This is not just a perception either, as I have broken all of my downhill PRs on my local technical descents. There is one nasty switchback combination in particular, where the difference between the Ostro and my previous bikes (SL7, Aethos, Venge, Madone, Emonda) really comes out. This is the only bike that tracks well enough through the braking bumps on the off-camber entry that I can still dive onto the inside line without shaving off much speed or being bumped offline.

Apart from this (significant) upside, the bike rides and responds like a good race bike should in other situations as well. One thing that many of my previous bikes have suffered from is front disc rub when riding out of the saddle, but this is not the case with the Ostro luckily. This means that sprints and attacks are dealt with sublimely. As for the aero efficiency, I have also done some aero testing later on, and even though I am not able to directly compare the frameset to its competitors, the results acquired are pretty reassuring. All in all, I am extremely satisfied with the overall package that the Ostro VAM represents, and I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for a competitive race machine.


What is the Ostro VAM like to live with? Here are some build updates:

The first significant rebuild came in June 2022, when my custom Speeco cockpit arrived. Due to the nature of the bike, this meant a full rebuild and re-bleed, but it really was worth it. It is quite an extreme upgrade, but it certainly brings the bike to a new level with its 32cm/38cm width. The reach is mimicking the previous Enve setup, with more length left at the bar to provide more support in the aero position. We have also modified the angle to -17 degrees for a lower position, bringing it more in line with the Tarmac. Since this was a custom project, and actually the first UCI legal bar of this kind that Speeco have made, it was not perfect initially. The first thing I have ditched was the flimsy computer mount, in lieu of a 3d printed unit that nicely matches the shape of my Wahoo Bolt. The bar uses the common “spoon” style mounting interface, leaving for plenty of space for customisation. We also needed to adjust the height of the custom spacer that blends the cockpit to the headset, this was 3d printed later (MagCad / Shapeways) as well and turned out rather sleek. I have also replaced the standard hardware with some black titanium bolts for extra bling and added some Silca Nastro Aero grip pads on the tops for a more secure hold in various positions.


The bike has not stayed in that form for long though, as in August 2022, I have decided it was time to upgrade to the new 12spd R9270 groupset. Thanks to the semi-wireless nature of this new version, the rebuild was a much quicker affair this time. Honestly, I did not expect much of a difference, but in the end, I was pleasantly surprised. The biggest improvement arguably was the updated brake calliper setup, with improved pad clearance and a much simpler bleed process. The updated lever design has also pleased my hands, getting rid of the blistering issue on my palm that was caused by the previous version. Of course, the servo wave piston actuation is a nice touch as well, which I have missed previously after my experiences with GRX. Later on, I have added the new RS801-S sprint shifters as they became available. These are a night and day difference compared to the bulky SW-R9150s used before and made the whole setup extremely sleek. This whole affair did not go down without issues though, as one morning I came back to my front wheel covered in oil and the brake lever running empty. One of the pistons has cracked during my previous ride, letting go of all the pressure. Luckily, it held up until I got home, otherwise things could have gotten ugly. After a quick RMA, I was back on track with a new unit and a fresh bleed.

Apart from this, there was a change in the crank setup as well. One of my customers needed the 165mm aluminium Aldhu 30 arms in a hurry, so I have sold him mine and got the Aldhu Carbon version instead. Even though I don`t really care much for weight savings, I have to admit that the organic shapes of the carbon cranks are a much better fit aesthetically compared to the boxy and industrial machined aluminium version.  Immediately though there was a rub, in the most literal sense, as the recessed pedal threads of the carbon cranks meant that I could no longer use my preferred narrow spindled Wahoo Aero pedals without my shoes contacting the arms. This meant that I had to go back to the standard spindles on the pedals, which solved the issue. Later on, in the season though, another one appeared. I was chasing a phantom click in my drivetrain for months, before I found out that the aluminium spline interface bonded to the non-drive side crankarm got loose, enabling it to rotate relative to the spindle, creating the aforementioned constant clicking noise and a weird sensation under pedalling. I have managed to RMA the unit, but I went back to the more robust and reliable aluminium version. This simplifies the things too, as my other bikes use the same crank arms anyway.

The 30mm spindle is another possible source of issues, as it slots directly into the inner race of the bearing. This means that the tolerancing can be hit and miss, as there is no soft interface to take up the slack if needed. My unit was on the low side, so there was some play between the spindle and the bearings, resulting in some creaking under load. This is an easy fix though, as an application of retaining compound shuts it down. The downside to this comes out when you need to disassemble the BB, but due to the modular nature of the Rotor crankset, you can remove both arms and the spider separately, so you have clean access to the spindle. You can use a heat gun to melt the retaining compound, or just rest the aluminium shell of the BB against a vice and press or hammer the spindle out.

In May 2023 I have managed to crash the bike pretty hard, which lead to another (unplanned) rebuild. The frame itself fortunately got out without damage. The only casualties were the brake levers – surprisingly both of them broke at the same time. The hollow upper structure of the new wireless units admittedly makes for a less resistant design overall, as I have never seen the 11spd versions brake in the same way. Because of this (and the fact that a sale at the distributor put them at 1/3 of the price), I have cheaped out an I got Ultegra levers instead of the Dura Ace model. The only difference that I was able to point out are the titanium bar clamps on DA, but I have obviously salvaged these and put on the Ultegra levers. There is one annoying gripe I have found with Ultegra vs. DA though – the retention springs of the shift buttons fit fairly loosely in the lever, and they tend to vibrate when riding over coarse tarmac. I have experienced the same thing earlier with my gravel bike, but I have thought the issue is specific to that set of levers. Now it turned out that there may be a wider spread issue.

Since that point, I have been using the bike in a more or less unchanged form, with only a few minor modifications. In July I was on a big training block involving a lot of climbing up a nearby mountain range, where the road quality is pretty terrible. To prevent sore hands, I have switched to the much thicker Silca Nastro Cuscino bar tape, which has proven to be a very effective solution. In this period, I have encountered two more Shimano related problems. At a certain point, my left side sprint shifter sporadically stopped working, despite having no visible damage and properly showing up in diagnostic mode. One day it would work every time, then not at all and back again. Eventually I ran out of patience and have changed it to a new unit, with the old one being RMAed. Another thing I was really looking forward to were the new 12spd specific Dura Ace 54×40 chainrings. While the system works really well even with the older 11spd variant, I have expected these to be even better. And to be frank, I was not wrong in terms of shift performance, except I noticed I am getting quite a lot more front derailleur rub at the extremes of the cassette. The problem persisted despite fiddling with the adjustments – until I have realised the chainring itself does not run straight. I was quite baffled by this, as I have never experienced something like this from Shimano, and also because I always stick to the proper torque and tightening pattern. Eventually I have ordered a new ring, which did fix the issue. Again, I am in the process of RMAing the old one.

Update – October 2023

Recently I have received and built up my new Factor Ostro VAM, in Prisma studio colours. We had no idea how it would look like, as the paint scheme is quite extreme, but it turned out great. This came as a fully built new bike with Dura Ace R9270 and Black Inc 60 wheels. I already had a buyer for the old one, so I have spent a day merging the two to create my new setup.

I have carried over my custom Speeco bar, along with my preferred Silca tape and sprint shifters for the cockpit area. For the wheels, I have stuck to my trusty HED Vanquish RC6 Pros and the BI wheels went to the old frame for the buyer, along with the BI cockpit (360×100) that I have sized specifically for him. The setback seatpost also got transferred to my new frame, instead of the inline unit that came with the new bike.

Factor have shipped the groupset with MT900 rotors in 160/140. I have decided to go with CL900 140/140 units instead and will sell those. Same goes for the crank. The supplied item is a CS-R9200 170mm 52×36, so pretty standard for the given bike size. Obviously, I prefer a spider-based power meter, so I kept my trusty P2M NG 110SL with the Rotor Aldhu cranks and 30mm spindle. I was hoping to keep the fresh BB in the new frame, but as it turns out, Factor also have a 24mm specific unit that they use for Shimano builds. This meant sticking to my old BB. Luckily, the bearings are still in good condition. Ceramicspeed coated bearings are more or less bulletproof. Unfortunately, the same can`t be said about the standard units supplied here, but I have a set of SLF bearings in case they go out.

Despite the factory Shimano build, Factor does not include the DM hanger for the rear mech, so this I have also transferred from the old bike. Another upgrade that I had on the old bike was a black SLF Motion aero system. I had a new one in stock that matched the frame colour, so I have left the old one for my client and used the new one instead. This is a slightly updated version too, with some changes to the mounting hardware.

The buyer for the old bike also needed a power meter with a 165mm crank length, so I have opted for a Stages LR Dura Ace unit. This was the simplest and quickest option given the 24mm BB. In the past, these units were not great in terms of the accuracy, but Stages have luckily solved the issue with the current generation. I already have some clients on these units, and they are happy with them. In fact, I was considering one for my new build, mainly due to the gorgeous design of the Shimano crank. In the end, I stuck with P2M due to the rechargeable battery, modular design and the autozero feature.

For the spider, I have decided to give the R9200 54×40 chainrings one more chance. To my surprise, they worked out perfectly fine this time. I have thoroughly cleaned up all the mounting interfaces and used 8Nm of tightening torque instead of 6Nm. The chainring now sits nice and flush. More importantly, it also runs perfectly straight, without causing rub in any gear combination. I am really happy about this, as the old R9100s I was running have huge mileage in them, and frankly, they don`t look anywhere near as good.

This being a brand-new frame, it also comes with the updated fork steerer design that no longer uses the aluminium support wedge. The installation is of course much simpler due to this. Obviously, this is a plus in itself, but I also have the feeling that the front end of the bike is noticeably stiffer and more responsive than before. This makes sense, as the sidewall thickness off the steerer appears to be thicker too.

My last build was not as fancy as my bikes used to be, so for this pink rocket I want to change that and go all out. The first specialist part I have used are the Carbon Ti bottle cages. I had these sitting on my gravel bike for a while. In training, they were fine too, but unfortunately, they did not hold the bottles reliable at race pace. I know however that they are perfectly fine for road use. I had three full road seasons on my previous pair without any issues, so I am confident they will hold up fine.

There are a few more upgrades that I have ordered for the bike, and they should all arrive in the coming weeks:

The first one is a setback Darimo carbon seatpost. When this arrives, I will transfer the existing unit to my Ostro Gravel. Firstly, I prefer the one bolt design of the VAM seatpost. Secondly, the Ostro Gravel comes with an inline seatpost, so I cannot set my saddle position identically. The Darimo post will kill two flies with one stone.

Currently, I am using the Line-S saddles from Fabric. I get along with them really well, but frankly, they are rather ordinary. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to test Wove saddles, and I was really impressed (Woved?!). I have decided to get them for all of my bikes, including the V8 saddle for the Hanzo. They are already on the way to me at the time of writing, so I am quite excited for these.

Even though the new CL900s are quite a good improvement in the brake rotor department over the MT900, I am quite frustrated by the potential wonkiness of Shimano rotors, even when brand new. Also, having an aluminium core inside the rotor is not an idea that I would be really fond of. I have been looking at Carbon-Ti rotors for a while. Many of my discerning customers use and praise them, but the 6-bolt only compatibility put me off. Finally, they are available as center-lock, so I have plunged for a set.

I have recently received my Silca pre-order for next season as well. One product that has caught my attention, is their protective frame wax coating. My fancy new paintjob will be a great place to try it out. Ideally, this would have been applied to the bare frame before assembly, but unfortunately I just did not get to it in time.

To top everything off, I have ordered a complete set of titanium bolts from Betterbolts.com. I have found this brand by accident, but they have some interesting options. If everything goes well, I will start stocking these products in the shop as well.

All of these upgrades should be realised in the next few weeks, so stay tuned to see how they go!

Update – November 2023

Most of the upgrades are already in place at the time of writing. I have already had the chance to test the Wove Mags saddle and I was really impressed by it´s comfort. I had to make a few adjustments to my position, but overall I am really happy with the switch. Of course I will inform you about my experiences with it in more detail in a separate review later on. 

The titanium bolt kit has also arrived during my off season break. Arguably, they do not make much of a difference to the ride experience, but they do look extremely neat. I have been able to upgrade all of the brake caliper FM mount bolts, the FD + chain catcher bolts and the stem clamp and steerer compression nut bolts to anodized Titanium units from Betterbolts. Apart from the looks and (minimal) weight savings, the corrosion resistance is also a big benefit – particularly as the stock FM bolts from Shimano often suffer from this. 

I already have some experience with the previous iterations of Carbon Ti rotors, so I was keen to give these new Center Lock variants a go. Thermal stability and brake increased performance are the metrics I am looking for here mainly as the weight savings will again be quite minimal. As the bike is now on winter vacation, I will report on the performance of these during the season, along with a complete brake rotor shootout that I am planning (stay tuned).

Originally, I was planning to keep my existing set of HED V6 wheels in this bike, but with the sale of my spare set I have decided to build a dedicated race only wheelset for my new Ostro. The old set has been transferred to my Ostro Gravel for winter training duties and a fresh set of V6s has taken it´s place. For maximum efficiency I have upgraded it with Ceramicspeed Coated wheel bearings using a minimal fill of Race day grease. As the bike will not be used in grimy conditions, I have shod the wheels with the new(ish) Continental GP 5000 TT TR tires to minimise rolling resistance. Puncture protection is taken care of by my usual combination of a Tubolight tire insert and the excellent Silca Ultimate sealant. Custom lightweight white reflective decals make the HED logos pop on an already flashy bike build. 

With all these changes, the bike is more or less in the final condition as I have imagined it, apart from the Darimo seatpost. Unfortunately this still hasn´t arrived until now – so stay tuned for one final build update.

Update – December 2023

Two crucial updates, both in the same area: Firstly, our aluminium seatpost wedges are finally ready, so the slipping is finally a thing of past! You can read more about them here and order them here. Needless to say, they became an instant success as many riders suffer from the same issue with the Ostro, Ostro Gravel and Hanzo framesets.

The other, and final piece of the puzzle is the Darimo seatpost. After almost three months of wait it is finally here, and it is a really beautiful piece of kit. I will install it in the coming days an upload some information sometime next week.

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