I’ve recently noticed Factor and now seriously considering an Ostro Gravel over a Specialized Crux. But, to be honest, I haven’t heard much about this company until recently and could be my recent Youtube subscriptions with Phil Gaimon and Dylan Johnson riding Factor bikes.
Secondary question is, what are Black Inc’s (Factor’s in-house brand) reputation?
I have ridden a lot of Specialized in my days but trying to move away from the big S as I have not found their customer service very personal, especially after having issues with multiple Roval wheelsets (broken spokes) where I was simply told to go pound sand…
See heaps around here in Aus, the ostro gravel looks seriously nice. Factor are a pretty standard high-end bike manufacturer from Taiwan like many others, and for what it’s worth IPT race on the ostram vam in the pro ranks. Haven’t heard anything bad about the brand or black inc.
That might be a little bit more than I need to know about Rob Gitelis
But as to the original topic, Josh Poertner had him on the Marginal Gains podcast a couple years back. I found it interesting and worth a listen if you are considering their bikes as he talks about their manufacturing process and what not:
I have a LS gravel frame and love it. I also have dealt with their customer service. They are located in Washington state I believe. I would have to go back and look at my emails to be sure. The reason I was dealing with them is I went on the website and did bike fit calculator and came up with a 56 cm. I had looked at the Geo charts and thought they were pretty close to my tarmac. But after I received the frame and built it up it seemed to be a little large. The stack height on their frames or a lot taller. So I contacted them which was a girl named Beverly She was very helpful. So I ended up buying a 54 at a reduced rate. I hope this helps.
They originally started up out of a company making components for F1 teams, their first bike was full of telemetry sensors and other non-bike technology and integrated everything, before that was a thing. They’ve changed hands and changed their ethos since then, Baden Cooke is now on board and they’re doing really good things. Their UK HQ is now next door to Lotus Cars, if that makes any difference; there’s plenty of good engineering coming out of that part of the world. If I had the money they would definitely be on my shortlist. They remind me of Cervelo back in early 00s.
Yeah, I didn’t think the service was ‘bad’, per se, more that I felt their tone was just a touch brusque and they weren’t as overly helpful with some details as they might have been. Perhaps just very busy, as you suggest.
I was lucky enough to score one of the first Ostros in February of 2021. I love the bike. They were having an issue with their forks that led to one snapping on a pro tour rider that spring. I reached out to Ostro to see if I needed to be concerned, and I was surprised to receive a personal reply from company chief Rob Gitelis who promptly got a new fork with a reconfigured steerer tube to me. I was impressed by how responsive they were.
A friend of mine bought an Ostro in winter 2021-22 and developed a crack in the frame a few months later. I gave him Rob’s email address and he had a new frame within a couple of weeks.
I’m very happy with my experience and would probably buy another bike from them.
Another Factor Ostro owner here. (Currently based in the US). I’ve had it for about 5 months and am very happy with it. (I chose them after focusing on companies that have their own manufacturing facilities, which can apparently increase the quality control from design and engineering through to manufacture).
I found dealing with Factor US and Taiwan team very responsive to my questions and needs. My interaction with them was all online and via phone. My order took about 10 weeks instead of the estimated 6. Delayed mainly because of the availability of Shimano 12-speed groups. To compensate for the delay, they threw in a Ceramic Speed OPW anyway — at no cost to me. I didn’t ask for or expect it, so nice to see a company making such an effort. Ovefrall, I rate their sales and support service highly.
They are mostly direct-to-consumer (a la Canyon) but do apparently have some experience centers or inventory that one can see IRL in limited locations. I worked carefully with my local professional fitter to get my fit right and aligned to their specs. Going with their measuring system alone (you submit a set of your measurements to them) would have resulted in a stem length too short for my preferred riding position.
I went with a complete bike that included Black Inc wheels, seat post, and an integrated bar-stem combo (with integrated computer mount), as well as bottle cages.
So far, happy with the performance and durability of the 45mm wheels. Integrated bar-stem is very comfortable for my geometry and hand-size (small-medium). The only niggle that I’ve had was adjusting the saddle tilt. The clamp set-up is a single-bolt system so it’s a little fiddly to set small/precise angle adjustments. (Darimo, high-end composite component company does make a compatible seat-post).
i got a factor as well as i was impressed by the company and from what i heard in an interview with Rob G and James Huang of cyclingtips. the interview of which i can’t seem to find.
one thing to note is that when i bought direct from Factor was that i was charged an import fee in CA. if you’re not in california then i’m not sure that applies, but just letting you know as it wasn’t something i had expected.
overall though i’m really impressed by the bike (and black inc components)
I placed my order this morning. Still a tad worried about the bar even though we did a fit. I might not put the bar on the bike till I log some rides with a different bar combo to make sure im happy with the length.