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Ultimate time-trial bikes: Factor Slick

Cyclist magazine
3 Aug 2017

Factor brings some impressive aerodynamic tricks to the time-trialling table

This feature was produced in association with Factor

Many bicycle manufacturers tout links with motorsport engineers and outfits, but arguably Factor has the closest ties of all with an industry that’s famed for its speed.

‘We grew out of the Norfolk-based firm bf1systems, which supplies components to Formula 1,’ says Factor’s Russell Mather.

‘We’ve evolved into the company we are now with input from David Millar, the AG2R team [which Factor sponsors] and Mavic, in whose wind-tunnel we have spent countless hours perfecting the SLiCK.

‘It’s the fastest time-trial bike that’s ever been witnessed in that wind-tunnel. And there have been a lot of bikes in there.’

While myriad facets are at play, including flattened, wide-set seatstays that provide a larger gap for to flow between the wheel and stays, reducing pressure and so reducing drag, the standout feature unique to the SLiCK is the ‘Twin Vane Evo’ down tube, which is effectively a tube with a narrow split down the middle.

“This offers two advantages,’ says Mather. ‘One is improved torsional stiffness, as effectively having two tubes for a down tube instead of one better helps to overcome the twisting forces a frame experiences between the cockpit and pedals.

‘But more importantly it offers aerodynamic improvements, allowing air flowing off the back of the front wheel to pass through the frame instead of having to go around it. This greatly reduces the drag coefficient of the bike.

Add in the 51 Speedshop cockpit, a marvel of wind-cheating engineering in its own right, and Mavic’s disc and tri-spoke wheels and you’ve got a bike that’s very much at home at the sharpest end of the race against the clock.

Factor Slick
Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 Di2
Wheels: Mavic 5-spoke front, disc rear
Finishing kit: 51 Speedshop Aerobar cockpit, Factor Custom Aero seatpost, Fizik Mistica Carbon saddle
Weight: 9.21kg
Price: £11,000 approx as pictured

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