Several years ago, Beru Systems (an F1 sensor and structure specialist in the UK) announced a concept bike, the Factor 001. I paid keen attention because, despite the estimated price (£40,000), here was a chance for talented engineering outside the bike industry’s box.
Time has gone by and little more was heard. World financial crisis, I can imagine the orders for this “personalized training machine” were not piling up. What a jolt when I encountered one first hand, in Seattle!
I can’t reveal its whereabouts for reasons of privacy, but it is one heck of a bike to behold. I had been at NAHBS (Handmade Bike Show) 6 weeks ago in Denver, so my eyes were calibrated to fine form. To learn everything about this crazy machine, visit the Factor/Aston Martin site. The current model is made in a series of 77 units only, for a mere $38,000 each.
We can ridicule such impractical bikes, but throughout cycling history, one-offs or concept bikes have led the way to future mass trends.
Sorry to say the wheels give me the creeps. This is not the way to build a bicycle wheel. Rumor has it these weigh several pounds each, and I hope so. Anything else would be dangerous. Even now, with such large spaces and inflexible struts, I’m a huge skeptic. I can think of a few wheels that would do the rest of the machine justice.
Factor says there are about 88 separate data feeds. Sensors, processors, cables are all imbedded in the frame. A clean look we rarely enjoy in cycling.
Even at 20+ lbs claimed weight, this is toy that attracts me more than the Aston Martin 77 for which it’s named. Cars do it all for some. Over designed bike are certainly unnecessary but I’d have fun on this one.
James Bond’s Aston Martin DB-5 had machine guns in its bumpers. I had to feel the front of the bike’s console to be sure. But I’m not telling!