Spotted: Chris Froome’s customised Factor Ostro isn’t exactly sponsor correct
Chris Froome may not be the force he once was and has come to this Tour de France as road captain rather than leader, but he nevertheless seems as focused as ever on being his best.
Froome rolled out for the start of stage one on the Factor Ostro VAM, but with a number of differences between his bike and that of his teammates.
Most notably, Froome’s bike now has Lightweight Meilenstein discs wheels, a switch we also observed on a select number of other ISN team bikes. Team Ineos has opted for the famously lightweight German wheels for climbing stages the past two years. It seems other teams are now following suit, just as Ineos move onto Princeton CarbonWorks wheels.
Froome is a long time fan of the O-Symmetric chainrings so it is no surprise to see him stick with these. However, somewhat surprisingly, Froome has these chainrings mounted to an SRM Origin carbon crank power meter. The reason for this isn’t entirely clear as Team ISN has a partnership with 4iiii and its Shimano crank based power meter, and O-Symmetric offer a Shimano compatible chainring option.
Uptop Froome has opted for handlebars from Factor’s sister brand Black Inc, however not the integrated setup as used by the rest of the team. Froome is instead running a more traditional two-piece bar and stem combo, with FSA’s lightweight (126g) OS 99 carbon stem. Interestingly the ISN team mechanics have maintained the internal cable routing and the associated aero benefits, despite this non-standard setup.
Froome also runs an as-of-yet unidentified saddle. The saddle might actually give us a clue as to the reasoning for so many changes to the British rider’s bike.
At first, it’s easy to assume Froome has made such adjustments in a bid to shave as many grams off the bike as possible. However, weight-saving might not be the full story here.
As we know, Froome suffered a severe accident at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2019. Such injuries can often lead to persistent issues for riders when back on the bike.
Given the saddle here features what appears to be alloy rails, and not lightweight carbon, it might be safe to assume the change in the saddle, bars, chainrings, and cranks could partly be to aid Froome to deal with any on the bike issues from that awful crash.
One thing more difficult to explain is Froome’s decision to run a Rotor Uno front disc calliper. A decision made even more bizarre given Froome has opted to stick with the Shimano Dura-Ace calliper on the rear. As was well documented earlier this year, Froome is not the biggest fan of disc brakes, perhaps something to do with front rotor and pad rub?