Specialized SL7 Pro, Factor Ostro VAM, or something else?

I currently have a Madone 9, mechanical Ultegra, rim brakes, with Easton EC90 Aero 55 wheels. I’m interested in a new bike that has electronic shifting, disc brakes, wider tire clearance (30+), is somewhat light and aero (sounds like the holy grail). For some context, this bike is for crits, road races, and tempo group rides. I also would like to do BWR San Diego and local “groad” races like Huffmaster Hopper (hence the wider tire requirement).

I’m also somewhat interested in the Canyon Aeroad and Specialized Aethos but open to other suggestions! My budget is ~$8k.

Which one would you choose and what are your thoughts, comments, suggestions?

I’d go with the Factor Ostro VAM just to have something different…plus better climbing gears for BWR and local groad races.



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Isn’t the Madone a relatively light aero bike? Forgive my ignorance, but most modern bikes fit at least a 28mm tyre right? I’m just not seeing anything significant you’d get for $8k

I like the red paint on the SL7 Pro over the Factor paint jobs (and even better than my teal tint SL7 Comp Rival). Coming from a gen1 Domane I was blown away by how much I love the SL7, however I think these super bikes are all great and come down to personal preferences on ride feel, color, and things like amount of proprietary parts, previous experience with the brand, warranty, wanting to support your local shop, etc.

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It’s somewhat light but the SL7 and Ostro are lighter. It may not be the most rational decision but I want also want a new bike because having a new bike is fun.


The SL7 may also have a better resale value since Specialized seems to be a more recognized brand. Being in Norcal, I’d also like to support Specialized. However, I would prefer a SRAM group set because of the full wireless, but the Pro only comes with a SRAM 1x option… I have to admit that the red tint is nice!


Whatever is available in shorter delivery time than 2 years? Especially in US:) Buy whatever you like, and it will make you happy.

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Yep. I think the Factor Ostro wins in that situation. SL7 is harder to come by…

I was narrowing my “i want” list for 1 year now and it is never ending task and with your budget is really hard to buy bad bike. Can be not “perfect” bike but won’t be bad. Additionally in the current market you could probably resell any bike for parts and make profit out of this :wink:

Curious why no one has endorsed the canyon aero road. I’ve been looking at one and supposedly some availability coming in November…

IDK if anyone reads the Gran Fondo online magazine (it’s pretty awesome), but they recently did a super-bike showdown, and the SL7 came out the winner for all-around speed.

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I’d go with the Factor. Some background: I haven’t ridden Specialized since racing a Stumpjumper in the early 1990s (after racing the heck out of a Rockhopper frame to the point I could pull the chainstay into the big ring). I bought a Factor VAM early last year, right before the Ostro VAM came out (I would’ve purchased that instead). I love the ride of my Factor. I don’t know that this bike has any more proprietary parts than any other high-end (or upper mid-range for that matter) model. Also, as you no doubt saw, you have a lot of options for a custom paint scheme. I’ll admit that I did not want a Specialized, Cannondale, or Canyon because they are so common, but I looked at them wondering if that was where I had to go. Still, performance and comfort still came before wanting to be different, and I picked the Factor.

One comment regarding the VAM and its discs, and I don’t know if this applies to the Ostro or not. My LBS replaced the discs with – let’s say more exotic – ones that dissipate heat better. The discs on the VAM – again, I don’t know if they made the Ostro’s discs larger – are on the small side so they end up doing a lot of work. I live in Switzerland and do a lot of climbing, which means I do a lot of descending on steep, curving, narrow, two-way roads with plenty of blind turns where a car, tractor, horse, carriage, cyclist, or walker may be coming up, going down slower, or crossing the road. In other words, there’s a lot of braking and after a year, the stock discs just needed to be replaced. That said, I never had a problem braking. There was a lot of, let’s say, verbal feedback from the discs that alerted others to my presence, which also gave me a headache on long descents.

The Factor is an awesome bike.


I’ve got an Ostro on back order.

Great thing about Factor ( in the UK) is you can spec your bike how you like it.


Crank length

Rear cassette

One piece cockpit length/width

There’s not that many bike manufacturers in the UK offering this amount of variability.

For example most dura ace bikes come with a 52/36

Having recently crawled up Ventoux with a cadence as low as 67, I’ve specked a 50/34 with a 11/34 cassette.

Only small issue with them was I wanted to get an 11/30 as well, but they won’t supply both as it will hold up another build.

Hopefully I can pick up a 11/30 from somewhere


I enjoy reading the reviews, and this one had an interesting set of tests to estimate real-world speed differences between the bikes. Definitely worth a read, although it only has these bikes in the roundup:

  • BMC Teammachine SLR01 ONE
  • Scott Addict RC Pro
  • Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7
  • Trek Emonda SLR 9 eTap
  • Wilier Filante SLR Astana-Premier Tech Team

and didn’t include the Factor Ostro VAM. Compelling support for the SL7, if you buy into the test methodology.

Their magazine is great for the writing and pics as well as their willingness to compare different kinds of bikes, so the validity of their testing is really secondary to me. But it’s hard to find head-to-head comparisons otherwise, so it may be unique.

Genuine question: are SL7 owners happy with the new compression ring solution to the steerer tube issue? I find the longer expander plug a strange part of the answer to an issue with the compression ring. It makes ne wonder if something else is amiss…


I’ve been looking at the aeroad too… it’s about $2k less for a similar setup as the SL7 or Ostro.

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appreciate the review! A Chris Froome, on his YouTube channel, talks about the disc brakes and their annoyance a bit. To be fair, he’s not a fan of disc brakes though.

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I’d like to hear about this too. I also know that the Factor Ostro VAM had a steerer tube issue… Factor finally sheds light on that broken Ostro VAM steerer tube - CyclingTips