We're into Time Traveller 05: The Tech. Granted there are lots of areas of tech in cycling, this week we're focussing on the bike, and one brand in particular that I've had an affinity with since stopping racing. Here's the story of Factor, and my relationship with them. This is the first of five journals about bikes, and in particular, Factor.
You’d think during my 20 odd years of racing I’d have collaborated on numerous bike designs and ridden countless prototypes. You’d be wrong, I’ve only collaborated on two bikes, the first was my custom-made Dave Russell when I was 17 and the second was my MBK TT bike when I was an amateur in France at the grand old age of 19.
Not once as a professional did I have input on design, well actually that’s not strictly true: the Decathlon bike I rode with Cofidis was in fact a handmade custom-sized Cyfac, although beyond the sizing there was no other input. I did have one of only two custom Cervelo’s ever made, but again, that was only because it was physically impossible for me to fit their standard model so they fitted a 60cm top tube on to a 56cm frame, arguably one of the oddest looking bikes I ever rode, handled terribly, but it fitted. Look at the below photo, I had the longest negative stem the mechanics could find with the saddle jammed right back on the rails. Not perfect.
The end of my professional cyclist life was the beginning of my re-entry into life as an independently minded bike owner, I hadn’t had that option since buying my custom Dave Russell 20 years earlier (cue smallest violin in the world), so when Baden Cooke approached me about working with a new bike company where I would be able to contribute to design I was immediately interested. The fact it was a British brand with an enigmatic American owner based in Taiwan made it even more fascinating.