Article by Noel McKeegan
It weighs just 7.4kg, it's custom-built to the exact dimensions of the buyer and boasts the most advanced design and electronics system ever seen on a bicycle... and it's yours for a cool £21,995 (approx US$36K).
Beru f1 systems Factor 001 bicycle is definitely at the high-end of high-end when it comes to two-wheeled transport. The company has turned its expertise in motorsport to the humble bicycle and produced a finely tuned machine that includes 8-spoke monocoque carbon composite wheels and a lightweight composite frame designed using modeling software borrowed from Formula One.
Gear changes are controlled by Shimano’s ultra precise Di2 electric shift, there's hydraulic disc brakes (with an option of carbon discs), integrated LED lights and distinctive front forks that run in front of the headstem all the way to the handlebars.
Despite its high-tech credentials, we're not sure that we'll see the Factor001 gracing the Champs-Élysées on the final day of next year's Tour de France. It's primary purpose is as a state-of-the-art training bike, which leads us to the integrated electronics package.
The optional electronic training and monitoring system consists of an on-board computer, various motorsport-grade sensors, a GPS and a radio transmitter. This system enables the measurement of 15 parameters including crank force, core body temperature, chest expansion, speed and riding position. Up to ten hours of data can be analyzed.
Part of the purchase includes custom fitting of the frame which is made-to-measure to within 1mm, and a Formula One-style "seat fit" process. There's also an optional comprehensive cycling and fitness assessment covering technique, posture and performance - we don't think it comes with training wheels.
The Factor 001 is now available at the famous London department store Harrods. Prices start at £21,995 (the bike plus full electronic package costs £27,000).
“Harrods is the first retail outlet to offer the Factor 001, says BERU f1systems’ managing director John Bailey. “It’s a privilege to display the bicycle at such an iconic store.”
Overall, for all its technology and the hefty price tag, the bike is still quite conventional at first glance, but there's no denying it's a thing of beauty.