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What bike will Chris Froome ride in 2021?

Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 V.A.M
(Image credit: Colin Levitch)

With Thursday's news that Chris Froome will be moving to Israel Start-Up Nation at the end of the 2020 season, the four-time Tour de France champion will undergo a wholesale change in sponsorship of his bike, components, kit and accessories. For the first time in 10 years, Froome will say addio to the Pinarello brand that he's ridden to no fewer than seven Grand Tour victories, and hello to British brand Factor. 

For at least the next two years, Froome will be aboard Factor Bikes, after the Norfolk-based manufacturer signed a three-year deal with Israel Start-Up Nation prior to the 2020 season.

For the first time in the Briton's career, he will be using disc brakes. Factor supplies Israel Start-Up Nation with two road bikes, both of which are committed to disc brake technology. Its aero road bike – the Factor One Disc – is most often ridden by sprinters such as André Greipel. However, it's the lightweight Factor O2 VAM Disc that Froome will be interested in for his tilt at further Grand Tour success.

One rider who has been using the O2 VAM in 2020 is fellow Briton Alex Dowsett. Cyclingnews got a closer look at the bike ahead of the Tour Down Under season opener in Adelaide. 

The Factor O2 VAM

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The Factor O2 VAM - likely to be the bike ridden by Froome in 2021 and beyond (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

It will represents wholesome equipment change for Froome for the 2021 season (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

This bike belongs to Alex Dowsett, who at 4cm shorter than Froome, will use a similar-sized frame (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

Froome stays with Dura-Ace Di2 shifting (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

...but will use disc brakes for the first time (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

Froome will undoubtedly add oval chainrings to the Dura-Ace chainset (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

However, instead of Shimano's own power meter, 4iiii will be counting the watts (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

The same exists on the left hand crank (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

Israel Start-Up nation also use CeramicSpeed's watt-saving OSPW oversized pulley wheels (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

Froome will likely have free-reign to choose his own pedals (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

Not dissimilar to Pinarello's MOST handlebar, Factor uses Black Inc's one-piece bar-stem combo (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

An integrated out-front mount will hold the computer, though it's not guaranteed which brand that will be in 2021 (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

Heat-shrink keeps the cables tidy and aerodynamic - Froome will surely appreciate this marginal gain (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

Froome has long used Fizik saddles, but with Selle Italia providing saddles, it remains to be seen whether he'll be permitted to continue this trend into 2021 (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

Black Inc makes three road wheelsets with depths of 30mm, 60mm or 80mm (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

Maxxis will provide Froome's tyres. Yalla translates to 'come on' or 'let's go'. (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

Instead of Shimano's disc brake rotors, Israel Start-Up Nation uses Swissstop (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
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Alex Dowsett's Factor O2 VAM

They are using the Swissstop Catalyst rotors and SwissStop 34 RS pads (Image credit: Colin Levitch)

Weighing in at 7.23kg with 60mm wheels, the O2 VAM certainly has the potential to meet the 6.8kg UCI weight limit that Froome will require for Grand Tour mountain days. 

While there will be some familiarity in the groupset, with both teams sporting Shimano Dura-Ace components, the big change comes with braking technology. Team Ineos is yet to make the leap to disc brakes, whereas Israel Start-Up Nation is committed to the technology for 2020 and beyond. 

All of Factor's road bikes spin on Black Inc wheels. Dowsett had opted for the Black Sixty 60mm deep all-rounder wheels in Adelaide, but the brand also offers a shallower Black Thirty 30mm climbing wheel, which will no doubt be Froome's go-to on the race-deciding mountainous days. 

Israel Start-Up Nation is also sponsored by CeramicSpeed, who provides the team with its range of ceramic bearings and OSPW oversized pulley wheel system. This system is claimed to save six to nine watts, a more-than-marginal gain. 

Israel Start-Up Nation currently uses Bryton Computers, but only as part of a one-year agreement, so there's no guarantee which brand of cycling computers Froome will use next year. 

In terms of his kit, Castelli will be replaced by Katusha clothing, which is less than one year into a three-year contract with the team. 

"We're excited. We know he's a very technically orientated rider and it's a great opportunity for us," said a Katusha spokesperson referring to Froome's meticulous attention to detail. "We're a young, small company continually looking for investment during this difficult time, but he'll be a great asset to the company as we try to improve our product range."

Scicon sunglasses will replace the eyewear previously provided by Oakley, and he will switch from Kask helmets to Giro – likely to use the Aether MIPS. Israel Start-Up Nation doesn't have a shoe sponsor, so it seems likely that Froome will continue his long-standing relationship with Sidi, and will likely use the Sidi Shot or Sidi Wire 2 Carbon shoes.

  • Frameset: Factor O2 VAM
  • Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Hydraulic Disc caliper
  • Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Hydraulic Disc caliper
  • Rotors: SwissStop Catalyst
  • Brake pads: SwissStop 34 RS
  • Brake/shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 Hydraulic Disc Brake Dual Control Lever
  • Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150 with CeramicSpeed pulleys
  • Cassette: KMC X11-SL
  • Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
  • Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100
  • Chainrings: Oval chainrings
  • Bottom bracket: Ceramic Speed
  • Wheelset: Black Inc Black Sixty / Black Inc Black Thirty
  • Tyres: Maxxis Campione
  • Handlebars: Black Inc Integrated Barstem
  • Handlebar tape: Factor
  • Stem: Black Inc Integrated Barstem
  • Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace PD-R9100 
  • Saddle: Selle Italia
  • Seat post: Black Inc seatpost
  • Bottle cages: Elite Cannibal XC
  • Computer: TBC
  • Rider height: 1.86m
  • Bike weight: TBC
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Josh Croxton

Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.