Six point eight kilograms. That’s the arbitrary weight the UCI has decided every bike for use in competitive road races must meet. For a ten-year period between the mid-2000s and mid-2010s, the majority of the bikes in the
Tour de France peloton easily hit the UCI weight limit with many teams adding weights to bikes just to make them legal.
Then everything changed. With the focus on improved aerodynamics plus the introduction of electronic groupsets and disc brakes, bike weights have significantly increased over the past few seasons. Rarely now do we see standard team bikes get right down to that magic 6.8 kg, and rarer yet is an aero bike right on the UCI weight limit. But that’s exactly what we found in Mike Woods’ Factor Ostro VAM.
Well, almost. Mike Woods isn’t exactly on a standard bike, but it is an aero frame with disc brakes and electronic shifting weighing 6.8 kg, as confirmed by our own scales.
So just how has Mike Woods got this bike to within double-figure grams of falling foul of the UCI regulations?
Mike Woods rides a 52cm Factor Ostro VAM. With a claimed frame weight of 830 grams in a 54cm frameset with the standard team edition paint job. Woods, however, is riding a frame with a stripped back matt black paintjob with a few other notable tech tweaks to hit that lower limit 6.8kg.
Woods is riding with a Black Inc Integrated Barstem 110/40cm with a claimed weight somewhere in the region of 320 grams. Some of the team are racing with a new unreleased handlebar from Black Inc, but Woods has stuck with the current bar for his build.
Woods is racing with 11 speed Dura-Ace Di2. Most likely due to availability of the new 12-speed groupsets to a non-sponsored team, but what the R9100 lacks in the form of an extra cog, it makes up for in being slightly lighter than the new 12 speed groupset. It is unlikely Woods specifically opts for the 11 speed groupset to save weight, but it doesn’t hurt in the quest to get to 6.8 kg.
The Ostro features fully internal cable routing, a feature that typically adds weight to the frame thanks to integrated routing and design through the headset.
The Ostro isn’t short on aero tweaks and increased surface area. Just look at this aero profiled head tube and the satisfying fit between the fork crown and down tube.
As Mr Jagger said… Satisfaction!
Aero frames, profiled forks and dis brakes are not typically UCI weight limit challenging combinations.
The wheels and tyres are the first obvious weight-saving-specific build choices. Woods will race the mountain stages with these Black Inc Thirty tubular wheels and Maxxis High Road tubular tyres. Tubular setups weigh in slightly lighter than comparable tubeless or clincher setups. Although the tubular setup provides an easy way to save grams, many within the peloton have already made the switch to tubeless setups for even the high mountain stages all in the name of chasing reduced rolling resistance and some level of puncture protection when combined with sealant.
The Black Inc Thirty tubular wheelset has a claimed weight of 1230 gram and as such plays a significant role in getting the weight down. That weight saving presumably comes at the expenses of at least some aero gains compared to the only slightly heavier and deeper 40-50 mm rims typically seen in the peloton.
VAM – in cycling terms means Velocità Ascensionale Media (average ascent speed), but Factor uses it to signfy its lighter build high end frames.
On the face of it, the Ostro doesn’t look like the typical lightweight climbing bike. With deep aero tubes and truncated aero profiles the bike looks like it would be more at home on the flat lands and high speeds.
This Darimo T1 Carbon Aero Seatpost is the first weight-weenie special on this lightweight build. The Ostro features a proprietary seat post supplied by Factor, but Woods, and most of the Israel Premier Tech team, are racing with these carbon seatposts said to save around 60-70gr versus a standard Ostro seatpost from Spanish brand Darimo.
Woods is racing with a carbon railed Selle Italia SLR Boost Superflow Pro Team. At 130 grams it is likely amongst the lighter saddles within the World Tour peloton.
The Ostro features aero tweaks such as the compensation triangle at the seat tube / top tube intersection and the dropped seatstays.
The Rotor Aldhu crankset provides the next weight saving opportunity. Woods is running 170mm cranks with the Rotor Inspider powermeter.
Mike Woods bike is finished off with Shimano Dura-Ace pedals and Elite Leggero Carbon bottle cages.