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Alex Dowsett reveals Hour Record Factor Hanzo - Video

Alex Dowsett has revealed the bike on which he will attempt to break the UCI Hour Record on Wednesday, opting for HED wheels, 23mm tyres, and a £950 gold chainring on his Factor Hanzo. 

Dowsett, who will attempt to break Victor Campenaerts’ benchmark of 55.089km at the Aguascalientes velodrome in Mexico, is making his attempt independently from his pro team, Israel Start-Up Nation.

As such, he is free to choose his own equipment and kit for the ride, rather than having to go with the products of the team's sponsors, as was the case when he previously broke the record as a Movistar rider in 2015.

Still, Dowsett has opted for a bike made by Factor, who supply Israel Start-Up Nation, namely the Hanzo, which is the new time trial bike from the British company. 

“It’s a phenomenal TT bike, a massive step up from the Slick. I can’t stress enough how good this bike is,” Dowsett said in a video presenting the Hour Record bike. 

The frame itself is narrow but the forks are wide, calling to mind the radical Hope Lotus bike ridden recently by British Cycling riders, albeit less extreme. Dowsett noted that the likes of Filippo Ganna and Ashton Lambie had been running extremely tight forks and tyres but he explained he liked the distance.

“The fork is intentionally splayed very wide, far from the wheel,” Dowsett said. “The width of bike is not in same vein of the Hope Lotus where the idea is to put the forks in line with legs; this is simply to stop wheel-fork interaction.”

The Hanzo is a time trial bike that has been adapted for the road, and a standout feature are the chainstays, seatstays, and dropouts. Unlike the rest of the bike, that rear section is not made from carbon but from 3mm 3D-printed titanium.

“What that’s done is made it ridiculously stiff. It makes a smooth track feel bumpy and it has enabled us to have track mounts.”

After trying out two different wheel options this week, Dowsett has opted for HED Volos, which just about had the edge on Campagnolo Ghibli’s in testing. He’s pairing them with Vittoria Pista Ora tyres, going for 23mm front and rear. 

In terms of gearing, he has gone for a 61-tooth chainring and a 13-tooth sprocket. The golden chainring, which stands out against the black frame, is the Aerocoach Aten 61T, which retails for £950.00 and claims to save 2.4 watts (or 25cm per lap) at 60kph. 

“The idea of this chainring is outside of it has been built up to smooth off airflow between chain and chainring,” Dowsett explained. 

Dowsett is using 170mm Rotor Aldhu cranks with “bog-standard” Speedplay pedals, and an Izumi Super Toughness Kai chain. The bottom bracket and bearings are from CeramicSpeed although Dowsett has taken it upon himself to take the parts and degrease them for optimal efficiency.  

In an event where aerodynamics are paramount, a key feature of the bike are the bars, which in this case are the Ascalon model from Aerocoach. Dowsett favours off-the-shelf models rather than custom-made, but explained that the 20-degree angle would be UCI-illegal so he has had to place shims under the pads to bring it in line with the 15-degree regulations. 

“This is quite unique in that it’s not a stack system; the fork is the handlebar stack,” Dowsett explained. “It’s very stiff, it’s genius. It’s sort of a bayonet system, it took some time to get made accurately and it had to be super strong. It’s a little bit heavy, but weight really doesn’t matter on the track. In fact, we modelled weight gain, and worked out that adding 3-4kg, without compromising aerodynamics, would cost you one third of a watt. When you’re trying to hold 350, that really is something quite irrelevant.”

Dowsett’s bike is rounded out with a Simmons saddle, underneath which sits his head unit, superglued in place in an elite-level hack. Hour Record hopefuls aren’t allowed to have real-time data displayed on their bars but Dowsett will be able to log his numbers and analyse them afterwards.

Alex Dowsett's Factor Hanzo for the Hour Record

  • Frame: Factor Hanzo
  • Forks: Factor Hanzo
  • Base bar: Factor Hanzo
  • Head unit: Hammerhead Karoo2
  • Tyres: Vittoria Pista Ora 23mm
  • Wheels: HED Volo
  • Chain ring: Aerocoach Aten 61T
  • Chain: Izumi Super Toughness Kai (waxed)
  • Sprocket: White Industries 13T
  • Saddle: Simmons
  • Handlebars: Aerocoach Ascalon
  • Bottom bracket: Ceramic Speed coated BB-Right PF 24mm
  • Pedals: Speedplay Aero
  • Cranks: Rotor Aldhu (170mm)
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